Metal Monday 10-25-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week, we get a bit heavy and discuss the mighty Slayer.  Or perhaps it’s SLAAAAYERRRRR!  Part of the Big 4 of American thrash, and hailing from Huntington Park, California, Slayer has been around for nearly 40 years, recently retiring in 2019. 

Slayer features the double guitar attack of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, the thrash metal drumming excellence of Dave Lombardo, and the blood curdling screams of vocalist Tom Araya.  They were the one band that legitimately scared me when I was younger.  Attending and surviving one of their concerts in the old days was an accomplishment on its own.

#11

Diabolus in Musica-1998

Slayer experimented on this one and the result is the worst album of their career.  That said, I find there are some decent offerings here, such as Bitter Peace, Death’s Head, and Stain of Mind.  Even a bad Slayer album has some opportunity.

Best Song:  Bitter Peace

Best Deep Cut (Aren’t ALL Slayer Songs Deep Cuts?):  Bitter Peace

#10: 

Repentless-2015

The album with a made-up name.  Recorded with Gary Holt on guitar and Paul Bostaph on drums, this is a rather weak offering.  It’s not a horrible record, but there is nothing that reaches out and grabs the listener.  When the Stillness Comes sounds like King’s attempt to channel his inner Hanneman and write something on the more moody and melodic side.  But again, we have our moments here.

Best Song:  Chasing Death

Best Deep Cut:  Chasing Death

#9: 

God Hates Us All-2001

This album, appropriately released on September 11, 2001, starts off with a bang with the trifecta of Disciple, God Send Death, and New Faith.  Unfortunately, things go south for a while until Bloodline completely saves the back half.

Best Song:  New Faith

Best Deep Cut:  New Faith

#8: 

Divine Intervention-1994

The first album to feature Paul Bostaph on drums, Divine Intervention is the also the first Slayer record that disappointed me (nothing to do with Bostaph’s drumming!).  Again, there is hope with, Killing Fields, Dittohead, and 213.

Best Song:  Killing Fields

Best Deep Cut:  Killing Fields

#7: 

Christ Illusion-2006

Lombardo’s return!  I really have nothing against Paul Bostaph, I promise!  He’s an amazing talent, but Slayer needs Lombardo like AC/DC needs Phil Rudd (sorry, Chris Slade!).  Coincidently, this album is a return to form for the band.  Check out Flesh Storm, Skeleton Christ, Eyes of the Insane, and Jihad, for starters.

Best Song:  Flesh Storm

Best Deep Cut:  Flesh Storm

#6: 

World Painted Blood-2009

This record doesn’t get a lot of love in my opinion.  I find it extremely underrated.  I love the title cut, especially the middle breakdown.  In fact, nobody does the driving, mid-tempo thrash like Slayer, especially when placed within an otherwise fast song (see World Painted Blood, War Ensemble, and Angel of Death for reference). 

The record is a perfect mix of top speed and slower thrash, such as Psychopathy Red (fast) and Playing with Dolls (slow).  Other standouts are Hate Worldwide and Human Strain.

Best Song:  World Painted Blood (it WAS a single, so I guess not a deep cut)

Best Deep Cut:  Human Strain

#5: 

Hell Awaits-1985

Now we get into the classic five albums.  These five records feature Slayer at their creative peak, with Hell Awaits representing the band heading toward its classic sound.  More polished than its raw predecessor, the album features the amazing title cut, complete with its breathtaking thrash metal opening.  No matter how many times I listen to this song, the two-minute jam before the lyrics starts gets me going every time!  Other strong tracks include At Dawn They Sleep and Necrophiliac

Best Song:  Hell Awaits

Best Deep Cut:  At Dawn They Sleep

#4: 

Show No Mercy-1983

Dangerous, hungry, and raw.  That is how Show No Mercy sounds to me, nearly 40 years after its release.  That Slayer had yet to find its defined sound does not matter on this album.  Slayer classics on this record include The Antichrist, Die by the Sword, and Black Magic.

Best Song:  Die by the Sword

Best Deep Cut:  Fight Till Death

#3: 

South of Heaven-1988

Fresh off their iconic Reign in Blood, Slayer decided not to rewrite history and went for a more stripped down and slower approach.  While Silent Scream and Ghosts of War conjure up the ghosts of Slayer past with their fast tempos, the meat of this record is in the mid-tempo numbers, including the classic title cut, complete with it’s haunting album intro.  Further robust offerings include Mandatory Suicide and Behind the Crooked Cross.

Best Song:  South of Heaven

Best Deep Cut:  Behind the Crooked Cross

#2: 

Reign in Blood-1986

Considered the standard in thrash metal by many, Reign in Blood comes in at a tidy 34 minutes.  I remember the old cassette that had the entire 10 songs on one side.  Flip it over and play it again!

The classic Angel of Death leads it off.  That breakdown in the middle is mind-blowing.  Alter of Sacrifice and Jesus Saves anchor the middle section, while the album closing duo of Postmortem and Raining Blood is unequaled.  The breakdown after the intro and before the vocals on the title cut is, in my opinion, the finest thrash riff there is.

Best Song:  Angel of Death

Best Deep Cut:  Postmortem

#1: 

Seasons in the Abyss-1990

Simply put, the finest collection of Slayer songs in its catalog.  A perfect mixture of blazing speed, mid-tempo, and doom and gloom thrash, Seasons represents the final chapter in the classic Slayer era. 

The fast:  War Ensemble, Hallowed Point, Born of Fire

The mid-tempo:  Blood Red, Spirt in Black, Temptation

Doom and Gloom:  Expendable Youth, Dead Skin Mask, Skeletons of Society, title cut

This was the record that introduced me to how much of a whack job Ed Gein was!

Best Song:  Seasons in the Abyss

Best Deep Cut:  Spirit in Black

Metal Monday 10-17-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week we will talk about the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness.  Ol’ Oz has been doing this for nearly fifty years, first as the lead singer of heavy metal trendsetter Black Sabbath, and then his own solo career.  Of course, who can forget his TV show?  Ozzy has enjoyed a few stints in Sabbath, and the band has taken part in a successful farewell tour, leaving Osbourne to his own band.  It is Ozzy’s solo albums that we will rank this week.

#11: 

Down to Earth-2001

Featuring Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, this album mostly misses the mark.  It has nothing to do with the musicians, rather, the songs themselves.  While Zakk Wylde plays guitar on the record, he does not take part in any of the songwriting.  For this matter, Ozzy collaborated on the outside and the result is the #11 ranked album in Osbourne’s catalog.

Best Song:  Facing Hell

Best Deep Cut:  Facing Hell

#10: 

Scream-2010

Firewind guitarist Gus G. and drummer extraordinaire Tommy Clufetos debut on this record.  Not much else to write about. 

Best Song:  Let it Die

Best Deep Cut:  Let it Die

#9: 

Black Rain-2007

Another rather weak effort here, as well.  After lead single, I Don’t Wanna Stop, the album provides few memorable moments.  Closer, Trap Door ends things on a somewhat positive note, however.

Best Song:  I Don’t Wanna Stop

Best Deep Cut:  Trap Door

#8: 

Ozzmosis-1995

This one had Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler pounding the four string.  Not a bad effort, but not the first Ozzy album I would put on, either.  I do enjoy lead single, Perry Mason, as well as the ballad, See You on the Other Side.  The album’s highlight for me is, I Just Want You.

Best Song:  I Just Want You

Best Deep Cut:  I Just Want You

#7: 

The Ultimate Sin-1986

A poppy affair, this album has some decent moments, however, not enough to push it higher into the countdown.  The title track, Never Know Why, Killer of Giants, and Fool Like You are pleasurable listens.  That said, the highlight is the one smash single which closes out the record, Shot in the Dark.

Best Song:  Shot in the Dark

Best Deep Cut:  Never Know Why

#6: 

Ordinary Man-2020

I’ve got to hand it to Ozzy.  I didn’t think he had it in him at this point in his career.  I truly enjoy this album, despite my standoffish expectations.  Lead single, Under the Graveyard is the one song most folks will be familiar with, and the number is quite catchy.  This is not the highlight, however.  Straight to Hell, All My Life, Eat Me, and Scary Little Green Men are all worthy of a spin or two.  For me, the record’s shining moment is on, Goodbye, a tune that starts with a plodding tempo, before moments of an all-out assault that reminds this reviewer of 80’s thrash.

Other surprises on Ordinary Man are the collaborations, first with Sir Elton John on the title cut, and later with Post Malone to close out the record with, It’s A Raid and Take What You Want.

Best Song:  Goodbye

Best Deep Cut:  Goodbye

#5: 

Bark at the Moon-1983

This album features the debut of guitarist Jake E. Lee, in the unenviable situation of replacing the iconic Randy Rhoads, who was killed in a plane crash.  Lee carries himself better than admirably, proving himself a talented guitarist in his own right, as well as a competent songwriter.  The record, while notches below the first two, is a solid effort from Ozzy, nonetheless.  In addition to the smash title cut, the album contains underrated deep cuts, You’re No Different, Centre of Eternity, Slow Down, and Waiting for Darkness.

Best Song:  Bark at the Moon

Best Deep Cut:  Waiting for Darkness

#4: 

No More Tears-1991

A huge record, upon which Ozzy toured on as part of his first farewell tour, No More Tears featured a polished sound and significant contributions from Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.  A brilliant bass guitar line drives the smash title cut, while ballads, Mama, I’m Coming Home, The Road to Nowhere, and Time After Time give the album plenty of MTV and radio hits.  Give a listen to deep cuts, I Don’t Want to Change the World and Desire.  

Best Song:  No More Tears

Best Deep Cut:  I Don’t Want to Change the World

 #3: 

No Rest for the Wicked-1988

The introduction of 21-year-old Zakk Wylde as the new guitarist, this album doesn’t receive a ton of accolades, but is as underrated of an Ozzy record as there is.  With MTV hits, Miracle Man, and Crazy Babies, leading the way, the record sold more than 2 million copies in the US alone.  Give a spin to single, Breakin’ all the Rules, as well as deep cuts, Devil’s Daughter (Holy War), Bloodbath in Paradise, and Fire in the Sky.

Best Song:  Fire in the Sky

Best Deep Cut:  Fire in the Sky

#2: 

Blizzard of Ozz-1980

Ozzy’s first solo record also unleashed guitar wizard Randy Rhodes, formerly of Quiet Riot fame.  An incredible album, Blizzard features major hits, Crazy Train, I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, and Goodbye to Romance.  Quite a way to stick it to your estranged former bandmates in Black Sabbath!  That said, Sabbath were doing their own great things around this time.  Give the haunting Revelation (Mother Earth) a try.

Best Song:  Mr. Crowley

Best Deep Cut:  Revelation (Mother Earth)

#1: 

Diary of a Madman-1981

While most would flip this album with Blizzard of Ozz, I tend to disagree.  Nothing against the debut, however, I find the follow up to be a more cohesive, if less commercially successful collection of songs.  The first half is brilliant, with Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll, and Believer.  Meanwhile the album closes with the more than solid trio of, Tonight, S.A.T.O., and the epic title cut.

Best Song:  You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll

Best Deep Cut:   You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll

Metal Monday 10-11-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week, we will go after the mighty Iron Maiden.  This English outfit is a heavy metal icon and one of my favorites!  In fact, there are days where I may view them as my favorite band of all time.  However, that changes from time to time.  That said, if I’m in the mood for heavy and progressive classic metal, Maiden is who I turn to.

Having been around for more than 40 years, Iron Maiden has undergone several lineup changes, primarily the comings and goings of lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson.  The band’s classic lineup consisted of Dickinson on vocals, guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, bassist Steve Harris, and drummer Nicko McBrain.  This is also the current lineup, with the addition of long-time guitarist Janick Gers to round out the group to six members.

#17: 

The X Factor-1995

Blaze Bayley’s vocal debut with the group.  Nothing against Blaze, but the songs for this album don’t stand up to other Maiden releases.

Best Song:  Sign of the Cross

Best Deep Cut:  Sign of the Cross (anything on here is a deep cut)

#16: 

Virtual XI-1998

See notes above.  Although, The Clansman is a great song.

Best Song:  The Clansman

Best Deep Cut:  The Clansman

#15: 

No Prayer for the Dying-1990

A major drop-off from the preceding Iron Maiden albums.

Best Song:  Tailgunner

Best Deep Cut:  No Prayer for the Dying

#14: 

Dance of Death-2003

Although #14 on the list, there are some decent tracks on this record, notably the brilliant, Paschendale.

Best Song:  Paschendale

Best Deep Cut:  Paschendale

#13: 

The Final Frontier-2010

Not a bad release.  In fact, I can see myself pushing play on any of the top 14 albums in this list on any given day.

Best Song:  Satellite 15…The Final Frontier

Best Deep Cut:  The Talisman

#12: 

Fear of the Dark-1992

Dickinson’s last album before his 8-year absence.  There are some moments here, such as the wonderful title cut.

Best Song:  Fear of the Dark

Best Deep Cut:  Afraid to Shoot Strangers

#11: 

A Matter of Life and Death-2006

Maiden toured on this album by playing it in its entirety.  Weekend fans were not impressed, but I would have liked to have seen it.

Best song:  These Colours Don’t Run

Best Deep Cut:  These Colours Don’t Run

#10: 

The Book of Souls-2015

Making the Top 10 on this list is nothing to sneeze at.  There are some great songs on this record, such as, If Eternity Should Fail, The Red and the Black, The Book of Souls, Death or Glory, and Tears of a Clown.

Best Song:  Tears of a Clown

Best Deep Cut:  Tears of a Clown

#9: 

Senjutsu-2021

The latest Iron Maiden album.  A more than solid release, indeed.  The band takes a page out of its last album (The Book of Souls) and creates several marathon tracks that are neither boring nor overwhelming.  Give a listen to the title cut, Stratego, Lost in a Lost World, The Time Machine, and Hell on Earth.  For a band to put out something this strong after 40 years is quite an accomplishment.

Best Song:

Best Deep Cut:

#8:

Brave New World-2000

Dickinson returned for this album.  A very successful return it was.

Best Song:  Blood Brothers

Best Deep Cut:  Blood Brothers

#7: 

Somewhere in Time-1986

The first of the classic 80s albums to appear in this list.  There are some great songs on this one, such as Caught Somewhere in Time, Wasted Years, Heaven Can Wait, The Loneliest of the Long Distance Runner, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Alexander the Great.

Best Song:  Wasted Years (OK, this may sound like I’m taking the easy way out, but I assure you, I love this song!)

Best Deep Cut:  Alexander the Great

#6: 

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son-1988

This is another classic record with some outstanding songs.  Give a listen to Moonchild, Infinite Dreams, Can I Play With Madness, The Evil That Med Do, The Clairvoyant, and the title track.

Best Song:  The Evil That Men Do

Best Deep Cut:  Moonchild

#5: 

Powerslave-1984

We have reached the Top 5 and we are going to see why these albums are among the big boys.  This record gave way to the ridiculously successful World Slavery Tour in 1984-85.  Is there a one-two punch from this band stronger than Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight

The album closing title cut and Rime of the Ancient Mariner are epic deep cuts that may not be considered deep cuts at all to more seasoned Maiden fans.

Best Song:  Two Minutes to Midnight

Best Deep Cut:  Rime of the Ancient Mariner

#4: 

Piece of Mind-1983

The debut of drummer extraordinaire Nicko McBrain.  I’m partial to drummers.  I wonder why?

Nicko leaves little doubt as to his talents with the opening drum lick of, Where Eagles Dare, which kicks the whole thing off.  There are so many great songs here, including, Revelations, Flight of Icarus, Die With Your Boots On, The Trooper, and Still Life.

Best Song:  Revelations

Best Deep Cut:  Revelations

#3: 

Killers-1981

I am quite partial to the Paul Di’Anno fronted albums, not because I think he’s a better vocalist than Dickinson.  In my opinion, he is not.  However, the songs on these two records reflect a young, up and coming, and hungry band who is destined for big things.

Check out the title cut, Wrathchild, and Murders in the Rue Morgue, which is certainly in my personal top five Maiden songs.

Best Song:  Murders in the Rue Morgue

Best Deep Cut:  Murders in the Rue Morgue

#2: 

Iron Maiden-1980

There isn’t a clunker in the bunch on this one.  An incredible debut record from a then unknown band out of England.  Check out, Prowler, Remember Tomorrow, Running Free, Phantom of the Opera, Charlotte the Harlot, and the title cut.  Remember Tomorrow would slot into my personal top five, as well.

Best Song:  Remember Tomorrow

Best Deep Cut:  Remember Tomorrow

#1: 

Number of the Beast-1982

“Woe to you, oh earth and sea

For the devil sends the beast with wrath

Because he knows the time is short…….”

Dickinson’s debut is the best album in the band’s entire catalog.  And it’s not all that close, either.  From the quoted title cut above, and including the classic, Run to the Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name, the record also contains incredible deep tracks, Children of the Damned, The Prisoner, and 22 Acacia Avenue. 

Try as they might, Iron Maiden could never top this one.

Best Song:  Hallowed Be Thy Name (#1 on my personal list)

Best Deep Cut:  Children of the Damned

Metal Monday 10-4-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week, we will study the Thunder from Down Under, AC/DC.  Here is an iconic rock band that has been around for close to 50 years, which is unfathomable to me.   The band has undergone several lineup changes due to dysfunction and tragedy, yet its core members throughout most of its history has been the Young brothers, Angus and Malcolm (died 2017). 

Obviously, Angus Young is the most visual member of the band with his schoolboy outfit and raucous guitar solos, while the lead singer tandem of Bon Scott (until his death in 1980) and Brian Johnson give a strong voice to the songs.  However, it is some of the more subtle things about AC/DC that draw me to the band, including the four on the floor rock solid drumming of Phil Rudd, as well as the eighth note throbbing bass lines of Cliff Williams.  The late Malcolm Young was the main songwriter, along with his brother, and authored some of the most badass rock guitar riffs of all time.

#16: 

Fly on the Wall-1985

Not much to write here.

Best Song:  Fly on the Wall

Best Deep Cut:  Fly on the Wall

#15: 

Blow Up Your Video-1988

A couple of strong tracks to lead off the record, but things fizzle out quickly after that.

Best Song:  Heatseeker

Best Deep Cut:  Go Zone

#14: 

Flick of the Switch-1983

Again, not too much going for this record, either, although I do enjoy the title cut.

Best Song:  Flick of the Switch

Best Deep Cut:  Guns for Hire

#13: 

Rock or Bust-2014

This album and subsequent tour were plagued by personnel issues, namely, Malcolm Young’s departure due to illness.  Meanwhile, Phil Rudd’s legal trouble did not allow him to tour, while Brian Johnson’s hearing issues forced him off the road mid-tour, to be replaced by Axl Rose.

Best Song:  Rock or Bust

Best Deep Cut:  Sweet Candy

#12: 

Stiff Upper Lip-2000

This album had some decent moments, however, once again, there is a fair amount of filler.  I do enjoy the title cut, as AC/DC continues a trend of leading off with their best song.

Best Song:  Stiff Upper Lip

Best Deep Cut:  Meltdown

#11: 

Ballbreaker-1995

The return of Phil Rudd after a long absence.  As a drummer myself, I admire his robotic-like style, and his ability to produce such a fat sound.  The man has no frills but go ahead try to stay on point as consistently as he does.  As for the album, it’s okay.

Best Song:  Hard as a Rock

Best Deep Cut:  Whiskey on the Rocks

#10: 

For Those About to Rock-1981

This record almost had no chance, coming on the heels of the wildly successful Back in Black.  That said, it’s a pretty strong output, with some solid deep cuts (obviously the lead-off title track carries the whole thing).

Best Song:  For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Best Deep Cut:  Put the Finger on You

#9: 

Black Ice-2008

The final album for Malcolm Young.  Black Ice has some great songs, including (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) the lead-off Rock and Roll TrainBig Jack, Anything Goes, and War Machine highlight a strong first half, however, the record is way too long at 15 songs.  If it were cut down to the normal 10-11, we would be talking about putting this one higher up on the list.

Best Song:  Rock and Roll Train

Best Deep Cut:  War Machine

#8: 

Power Up-2020

When I heard AC/DC was releasing a new album, I didn’t have high expectations.  At this point in their illustrious career, I was expecting something along the lines of Rock or Bust.  Boy, was I surprised when I started listening to this one.  Give the band credit.  They put out a very good album.

Best Song:  Through the Mists of Time

Best Deep Cut:  Realize

#7: 

The Razor’s Edge-1991

A comeback album of sorts following a string of subpar offerings, The Razor’s Edge put the band back in the limelight.  Featuring the iconic Thunderstruck, as well as singles, Moneytalks and Are You Ready, the record was promoted with a very successful world tour.  AC/DC was back! 

Best Song:  Thunderstruck

Best Deep Cut:  The Razor’s Edge

#6: 

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap-1976

The classic title cut starts this one off with a bang and it doesn’t really let up.  A dirty sounding album with other standout tracks, including, Rocker, Problem Child, and Squealer.

Best Song:  Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Best Deep Cut:  Squealer

#5: 

High Voltage-1975

The first internationally released AC/DC album (there were two releases in Australia only), High Voltage contains many of the same songs as the pair of domestic releases..  The album features It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll), Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer, Live Wire, TNT, and the title track as its standouts.  A very underrated record and a sign of things to come for this new band.

Best Song:  Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer

Best Deep Cut:  Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer

#4: 

Back in Black-1980

A lot of folks may wonder if I am feeling okay for ranking this one so low.  Trust me, I think it’s a great album!  It’s just that there are three beasts ahead of it! 

An introduction to new vocalist Brian Johnson following the untimely death of Bon Scott, Back in Black has become an all-time iconic record, with several songs that will be played on classic rock radio forever.  Starting with, Hells Bells, and continuing with, Shoot to Thrill, the album also contains the classic title cut and the uber-successful, You Shook Me All Nite Long.

If I were to have a gripe with this album, however, it would be that classic rock radio has played the hits to death, almost to the point that I cringe when I hear them, even though they are fantastic songs.  Furthermore, some of the other songs don’t do much for me.  While I enjoy, Have a Drink on Me, and, What Do You Do For Money Honey, I cannot seem to get into, Given the Dog a Bone, Shake a Leg, and Let Me Put My Love Into You.  In addition, I still have no idea how Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution is still a favored track of so many.

Best Song:  Hells Bells

Best Deep Cut:  Have a Drink on Me

#3: 

Let There Be Rock-1977

A short little ditty at eight songs, Let There Be Rock never strays too far from my AC/DC playlist.  From the groove of the title track to the drive of Dog Eat Dog, Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be, and Whole Lotta Rosie, this one is a masterpiece, and also features, probably my favorite AC/DC song, Bad Boy Boogie.  Also, don’t fall asleep on Overdose.

Best Song:  Bad Boy Boogie

Best Deep Cut:  Overdose

#2: 

Powerage-1978

Perhaps the reason I love this record is because there are no huge radio singles in the bunch.  Nope, there is just a collection of great rock and roll songs.  Strong songs?  Where do I start?  Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation, Down Payment Blues, Riff Raff, Sin City, What’s Next to the Moon, Gone Shootin’, and Up to My Neck in You.  I almost feel bad for the other unnamed tracks because they are decent themselves.

Best Song:  Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation

Best Deep Cut:  Gone Shootin’

#1: 

Highway to Hell-1979

Why is this ranked number one?  Well, let’s find out.  Starting with the gigantic title cut and going straight into, Girls Got Rhythm is a strong one/two punch.  But it doesn’t stop there.  This album also features, Walk All Over You, Touch Too Much, Shot Down in Flames, Get it Hot, If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It), and the grooving Love Hungry Man.  Whew!

Best Song:  Shot Down in Flames

Best Deep Cut:  Touch Too Much

Metal Mondays

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week we will discuss Motley Crue, the bad boys of rock and roll.  These guys made a major impact during the 1980s hair metal movement.  Though the nineties and 2000’s rendered them somewhat irrelevant, they have enjoyed a bit of a renascence with the release of The Dirt movie, a film based on bassist Nikki Sixx’s book of the same name.  I will say that as a kid, Motley was my favorite band and my first ever concert was the band on the Dr. Feelgood tour.  After that night, I was hooked on the Crue and the live concert experience in general.

#9:

New Tattoo-2000

There are some decent songs on this offering, but more filler than anything.  This album is the only Motley Crue release not to feature drummer Tommy Lee, who had left the band the prior year.  In his place is former Ozzy Osbourne skins man Randy Castillo.

Best Song:  Hell on High Heels

Best Deep Cut:  Fake

#8:

Generation Swine-1997

This record signaled vocalist Vince Neil’s return to the group following his five-year absence.  In fact, replacement vocalist John Corabi began the recording sessions for the album.  Generation Swine featured many of the industrial sounds that were hip in the genre at the time.  Some decent songs, but overall,  not a great record at all.

Best Song:  Afraid

Best Deep Cut:  Generation Swine

#7:

Theater of Pain-1985

This was the disappointing follow up to two masterpieces.  It also began a hair metal trend of the power ballad, with the smash hit, Home Sweet Home.  Despite this, and the hit cover of Brownsville Stations’, Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room, Theater of Pain showed a band deep in the throes of drug and alcohol abuse, with many songs I consider filler.  In addition, with the two aforementioned big hits, this is the point that the band was losing its underground feel and going mainstream, not necessarily a bad thing, however, if you read on, you will see what attracted me to the band in the first place.

Best Song:  Home Sweet Home

Best Deep Cut:  City Boy Blues

#6: 

Saints of Los Angeles-2008

A surprisingly strong album at this point in the band’s career, SOLA was plagued by poor promotion and what appeared to be simple laziness on Motley’s part.  Apparently intent on being a nostalgia act, the band failed to cash in on an opportunity to have an actual hit record.  While the raucous title track was a solid choice as the lead single, follow up selections were questionable.  The ballad, The Animal in Me could have been a perfect follow up single, however, has been largely unheard by most people.

Best Song:  The Animal in Me

Best Deep Cut:  The Animal in Me

#5: 

Girls Girls Girls-1987

Wild Side, the title track, and Dancin’ on Glass get this album off to a rollicking start, and deep cuts, All in the Name Of and You’re All I Need are strong offerings, however, there is a substantial amount of filler here, as well.  For me, I cannot get past, Nona, and the cover of Jailhouse Rock.  This tour for this album was cut short due to concerns someone in the band would die if kept on the road.

Best Song:  Wild Side

Best Deep Cut:  Dancin’ on Glass

#4: 

Dr. Feelgood-1989

The first offering from a cleaned-up Crue, with Bob Rock at the buttons.  This was the band’s first #1 album, complete with five smash singles, including the title track, Kickstart My Heart, and Same Ol’ Situation.  Sonically, the record is a masterpiece, and inspired Metallica to work with Rock on their upcoming self-titled fifth album.

Dr. Feelgood was Motley Crue at its creative peak and signaled the beginning of the end for the band on top of the hard rock world.  Following a successful tour to promote the album, internal strife and the changing rock scene toward grunge led to the band’s demise.  Singer Vince Neil would leave the group in 1992.

On a more upbeat note, my first ever concert was Motley Crue on the Dr. Feelgood tour in 1990.  That experience hooked me on live rock concerts.

Best Song:  Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)

Best Deep Cut:  Slice of Your Pie

#3: 

Motley Crue-1994

This was the first Motley album sans Neil, featuring John Corabi on lead vocals.  Corabi’s vocal range and strong rhythm guitar skills technically made the Crue a better band, however, not a more successful one.  Fans could not get past the fact that Neil was out of the mix, and the transition of the average rock fan’s taste toward Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden didn’t help matters either.  Commercially, Motley Crue, the album flopped.

Musically, the self-titled record was a brilliant curveball.  The band experimented with a harder edge, made possible by the talents Corabi brought to the table.  No longer did Sixx need to write songs that fit Neil’s vocal range.  The result was a collection of hard rock, blues, with a little psychedelic thrown in.  If you haven’t given this album a listen, go for it!

Best Song:  Misunderstood

Best Deep Cut:  Til Death Do Us Part

#2: 

Shout At The Devil-1983

Masterpiece!  This was Motley Crue with a larger recording budget and the same hunger they brought with them when recording their debut (more on that album coming up).  In fact, for decades, I would have put this record at number one on this list.  Alas, it’s the instrumental, God Bless the Children of the Beast, and the cover of the Beatle’s, Helter Skelter, that push it down to the runner up position.   I must admit, I hit the “SKIP” button when those two tracks come on.

As for the rest of the album, WOW!  There are classics everywhere, from the title cut, the brilliant Looks That Kill, single Too Young to Fall in Love, plus the amazing deep cuts, Bastard, Red Hot, Knock ‘Em Dead Kid, and Ten Seconds to Love.  The band, to an 11-year-old kid in 1983, sounded dangerous, while still maintaining that raw sound that more commercially successful bands can afford to get away from.  My point here is that there is really something special about this band when it sounds raw.

Anyway, I need to get off this album before I flip it back to number one!

Best Song:  Looks That Kill, but there are plenty of challengers!

Best Deep Cut:  Knock ‘Em Dead Kid

#1: 

Too Fast For Love-1981

The debut.  The album where Nikki Sixx put his vision of what a rock band should look, sound, and feel like forward to the people.  Stunning visuals that attract the kids?  Check.  Pretty boy frontman to lure the ladies?  Check.  Wild and crazy antics, tales of booze, drugs, and womanizing to bring in the dudes?  Plenty.

As I get older, I gravitate to this record when I feel like listening to Motley Crue.  I can close my eyes and feel the hunger to climb out of the gutters to stardom.  These four guys were destined for greatness and in this album, you can feel their desire for doing whatever it took to make it happen.

Too Fast For Love starts out with my all-time favorite Crue song, Live Wire.  While many bands have been known to promote their best song out of the gate, Motley was able to back it up, not only on this album alone, but throughout the next decade.  Some albums were much stronger than others, however, there were always enough hits to get them through.

I love the punkish, almost new wave feel that the band combines with their main calling card of hard rock.  Come on and Dance, Public Enemy #1, the beautifully haunting, Merry Go Round, and Take Me to the Top close out a robust side one. 

Meanwhile, side two is no slouch, containing the underrated, Starry Eyes, the punky title cut, and the ballad turned rocker, On with the Show.  It’s a short and precise record that makes the listener of this new group take notice and anticipate what could possibly come next.

Best Song:  Live Wire

Best Deep Cut:  Merry Go Round

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