Celebrating 28 Years of “PAINKILLER”

(by Velina of “My Rock Mixtapes”)

It’s been over a month since I saw the mighty Judas Priest in my hometown during “Hills of Rock 2018” Festival but I can still hear the voice of the Metal God, Rob Halford and still get those goosebumps when I think of how awesome the whole experience was. During the festival I had the chance to finally listen to “Painkiller” live – one of my favorite Judas Priest songs from my second favorite album of theirs. The moment I heard that iconic, instantly-recognizable opening drum solo, my heart jumped right off my chest and just fell on that stage. This was a moment I will forever remember and cherish.

Now, we are celebrating the anniversary of arguably one of Judas Priest’s finest albums in their career and what many fans consider as their greatest comeback. When “Firepower” hit the shelves this year, critics referred to it as Priest’s best album since “Painkiller”. The albums after “Painkiller” also suffered from the constant “Painkiller” comparison curse. Whatever those guys do, it seems like this 1990 release is always in the talks. There’s a reason why and I don’t think you need a long essay to convince you of the magnitude and influence of this album on the heavy metal scene.

Before I continue, here’s one of the songs I love the most from the album:

I know the dedicated fans are quite familiar with the story behind it but let’s just remember a few important details that I believe should be known about this release by every rock/metal fan out there. First of all, “Painkiller” is the last album to feature Rob Halford – that’s of course until he comes back in 2005. It’s also drummer Scott Travis’ debut and by the way – he is one of the best drummers I’ve seen live ever! The sounds itself was way more aggressive and with a reason – the band had to take something back and that was their redemption. The credibility was surely retrieved after the release of “Painkiller”. The band put back the “heavy” in “heavy metal” with that 1990 release and the critics acknowledged it. Fans, too! Tours, millions of copies sold and a newly-found fame was surrounding the band but as you know, Halford wanted to do his own thing for a while. That’s why they parted ways for some time and  vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens stepped as the band’s new frontman in 1996. Still, Rob came back and the band was once again together. 

Let’s celebrate the album by playing some of the most iconic songs from it. As I mentioned already, “A Touch of Evil” is my favorite song, though the title track is a close-second. 

Let me know what you think of this album and what is your favorite song on the comment section below!

 


References:
Featured image, retrieved from: https://hmrock.com.br/produto/judas-priest-painkiller-cd/
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] DARE – Out Of The Silence (1988)

dare-out-of-the-silence-1988

Out Of The Silence (1988)

Genre: AOR / Pop Rock / Hard Rock
Duration: 49:44
Label: A&M Records Ltd.
Producer(s): Larry Klein

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OVERVIEW

Rising from the ashes of Thin Lizzy, hard rock band Dare debuted in 1988 with a phenomenal collection of melodic rock gems, titled “Out of the Silence”. Led by keyboard player and vocalist Darren Wharton, Dare quickly established a solid fanbase with their powerful AOR statement. Don’t look for any traces of Thin Lizzy because you won’t find them. Dare’s “Out of the Silence” is an elegant melodic rock treasure, combining all elements, necessary to make it unforgettable. From the enhanced but highly pleasant keyboards to the intriguing lyrics; from the monumental hooks to the brilliant haunting voice of Darren Wharton “Out of the Silence” was destined to conquer and please our ears.

Well-polished rockers like “Abandon” and “Into the Fire” are a couple of the stand-outs and reasons why this is an absolute classic AOR album that should be owned by everyone. “Into the Fire” impresses with its mysterious intro that progresses into a magical, captivating sonic experience I wish everyone could experience on a daily basis. “Abandon” has to be one of the greatest opening tracks in the history of AOR records – indescribably satisfying hooks and persuasive chorus that could win the heart of anyone.  Let’s talk ballads – “King of Spades” is a supreme mellow rocker, granting you a first-row seat to the beautiful but touching confession of Darren Wharton. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” is a personal favorite and one of my most beloved guilty pleasures. Regardless of the high level of sugar, it’s still a sensual, quite cushy love song that is suitable for all the softies out there. “Runaway”, “Under the Sun”, “Return the Heart” – all unbelievably well-done songs that go straight to your heart and never leave.

All in all, “Out of the Silence” is a masterful testimony of how great the ‘80s were. Albums like this one possess those enchanting rock vibes that just make you play it over and over again. I am a sucker for melodic rock and this is one of my favorite AOR albums. I do hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!
Cheers to Dare!

Tracklist:

  1. “Abandon” – 4:35
  2. “Into The Fire” – 4:53
  3. “Nothing Is Stronger Than Love” – 4:42
  4. “Runaway” – 4:29
  5. “Under The Sun” – 6:12
  6. “The Raindance” – 5:23
  7. “King Of Spades” – 4:44
  8. “Heartbreaker” – 3:38
  9. “Return The Heart” – 5:09
  10. “Don’t Let Go” – 5:37

Into The Fire

Abandon

Under The Sun

Nothing Is Stronger Than Love


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

The Triumphant Debut of BAD COMPANY (1974)

Mark Sullivan 70's Rock Archive
Bad Company, 1974

When we talk about triumphant rock debuts, the conversation should start with a few artists, including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Boston, Van Halen, even Guns N’ Roses. Another band that most certainly deserves to be mentioned along with the big names is Bad Company. Their glorious 1974 debut achieved much more than critical and commercial success; the self-titled album of the supergroup brought good old-fashioned rock&roll back into the music scene. Filled with catchy straightforward classics, “Bad Company” is the perfect example of album oriented blues rock, showcasing the band’s biggest selling point – their moody but quite soulful signature sound.

In 1973 vocalist Paul Rodgers (Free), guitarist Mick Ralphs (Mott The Hoople), bassist Boz Burrelll (King Crimson) and drummer Simon Kirke (Free) teamed up to form one of the most gifted (at least in my opinion) British hard rock supergroups – Bad Company. One year later, their debut album became the first ever album to come out of Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label. The record was an instant success, showcasing excellent musicianship and a brilliant formula, which they followed through the rest of the ‘70s.

bad-company-debutThe debut album topped the US Billboard chart, spent 25 weeks on the UK Albums Chart and spawned three timeless hit singles. Fans, critics – everyone was giving it their stamp of approval. The music scene in the early 70s was drowning in flamboyancy and experimentalism – nothing wrong with that of course. Among the dazzling theatrics and extravagant musical innovations, “Bad Company” was the much needed “back to the roots” record. Unpretentious, quite simple even, the debut album creates the perfect bluesy, soulful, working class rock&roll atmosphere.

paul-rogers-and-mickBad Company’s secret weapon was the strong songwriting collaboration between vocalist Paul Rodgers and blues-based guitarist Mick Ralphs, both shining as bright as the Sun on the self-titled effort. Loaded with classic rock staples like “Can’t Get Enough”, “Rock Steady” and “Ready for Love”, the record was destined for success. Interestingly, even the more dynamic songs on “Bad Company” are fueled with a sense of danger, under an umbrella of gloom. That’s definitely the ultimate charm of the band and ultimately the record itself – moody but instantly captivating. I have always found an immense attachment to “Ready for Love” (original by Mott the Hoople). Paul Rodgers’ vocals absolutely did it for me – with his sensual, quite erotic even performance, he simply immortalized it. The title track is another high point from the record – I have never witnessed such a brilliant synergy between piano and rock&roll. Not to mention the intriguing theme of the song – a band of fugitives and “rebel souls” that carry nothing but trouble with them! Sounds like a good soundtrack, doesn’t it?

If you want to get into Bad Company, this is the record you should start with. Play it as loud as possible if you want to experience the ageless magic of pure hard solid rock&roll. This album (along with a couple of more, of course) defined the mid-70s and for that it truly deserves to be appreciated. “Bad Company” is a historically relevant debut and nothing can take that away from it. Hope you guys got reminded of this classic and will go play it now!

Listen to the whole album here:


References:
“Bad Company” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Company_(album)
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[’80s Rock Album Focus] GIANT – Last Of The Runaways

giant-last-of-the-runaways

Last Of The Runaways

Released: August 29, 1989
Genre: Rock/Hard Rock/AOR
Duration: 55:16
Label: A&M
Producer(s): Terry Thomas

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OVERVIEW

 

Giant’s “Last of the Runaways” deserved so much more than it actually got. Unfortunately, the time wasn’t right for it – by 1989, the heydays of album-oriented rock were long gone. Despite its high production value, melodic quality and outstanding vocals and riffs by Dann Huff, “Last of the Runaways” somehow got lost in the transition period from the ‘80s to the ‘90s. Nevertheless, there will always be rock fans like me and you, who can truly appreciate a piece of art when they see it, regardless of any other factors. The debut album of Giant has a lot to offer – from solid rockers, fueled with mind-blowing riffs, to emotional power-ballads, the whole album is a pure melodic paradise.

“Last of the Runaways” makes a clear statement right from the first tune – “I’m a Believer” is a solid rocker with one of the most chilling, hair-raising guitar intros. What follows next is a beautiful, well-balanced selection of arena rock tunes, perfectly demonstrating the artistic skills and qualities of Giant. “Innocent Days”, “Can’t Get Close Enough” and “No Way Out” are just a few of the dangerously obsessive rock tornadoes that could be heard on this album. I’m saving the best for last – “Last of the Runaways” gives us three of the greatest power ballads ever written – “Love Welcome Home”, “It Takes Two” and of course their most commercially successful song, “I’ll See You in My Dreams”. How Dann and the rest of the guys wrote such powerful and emotionally-charged pieces of art is beyond my understanding, but believe me when I say this – If you are searching for a heart-stirring musical experience, look no further than those three tunes, especially “I’ll See You In My Dreams”. (I mean just listen to those lyrics “…Time, time will never be a friend of mine again, It tries to make your memory fade, but I won’t let it end…”)

Last of the Runaways” wrapped up the ‘80s in an outstanding way, with excellent music craftsmanship and gorgeous selection of rockers. I can’t recommend it enough! Giant’s next step – the sophomore album “Time to Burn” yet again proved that they weren’t your ordinary hard rock/hair metal band. Listen to the songs and I hope you will understand what I’m saying…

Tracklist:

I’M A BELIEVER
INNOCENT DAYS
I CAN’T GET CLOSE ENOUGH
I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS
NO WAY OUT
SHAKE ME UP
IT TAKES TWO
STRANGER TO ME
HOLD BACK THE NIGHT
LOVE WELCOME HOME
THE BIG PITCH

I’m a Believer

I’ll See You In My Dreams

It Takes Two

No Way Out


 

References:
“Last of The Runaways” Official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_of_the_Runaways
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

’90S ROCK BLAST: THUNDER – BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

thunder-backstreet-symphony

BACKSTREET SYMPHONY

Released: April 4, 1990
Genre: Hard Rock
Duration: 56:26
Label: EMI, Geffen Records
Producer(s): Andy Taylor
Certified: Gold (BPI)

backstreet-symphony-casette

backstreet-symphony-vinyl

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OVERVIEW

I would like to draw your attention to this wonderfully done rock album by Thunder – an often forgotten British band which unfortunately couldn’t become as big as they should have, for one reason or another. It’s an absolute pity because there was and still is a huge chunk of talent over there – Danny Bowes is a brilliant vocalist and he absolutely kills it on this record.

“Backstreet Symphony” was their coming-out party; a debut album, full of enjoyable, spirited and full of enthusiasm rockers. The record doesn’t really offer any groundbreaking surprises in terms of lyrical approach or musicianship, but that doesn’t make it a bad one. From start to finish, “Backstreet Symphony” displays a great deal of skill and class, all wrapped up in a satisfying selection of hard-rockers, power-ballads and even blues-inspired tunes. “Love Walked In” is a terrific power-ballad and the finest moment of the record (and I’m not just saying it because I’m a power-ballad person). “Dirty Love”, “She’s so Fine”, “Backstreet Symphony”, “Distant Thunder” – all sensational tracks you can rock all day and all night with. “Until My Dying Day” is an interesting tune, transforming from acoustic to a quite intense, guitar-driven composition. The straight-up hard rock cover of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’” adds another star to the record.

The unpretentious, spirited sound of “Backstreet Symphony” is what makes it so good. Any track has the potential of giving you some sweet time. Don’t pick just one, grab and listen to the entire album!

Tracklist:

(1990 Original release)

“She’s So Fine”
“Dirty Love”
“Don’t Wait for Me”
“Higher Ground”
“Until My Dying Day”
“Backstreet Symphony”
“Love Walked In”
“An Englishman on Holiday”
“Girl’s Going Out of Her Head”
“Gimme Some Lovin'”
“Distant Thunder” (CD only)

Love Walked In

Backstreet Symphony

Dirty Love

Gimme Some Lovin’

Until My Dying Day (LIVE)

An Englishman on Holiday


References:
“Backstreet Symphony” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backstreet_Symphony
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] ASIA – ASIA

Asia - Asia


ASIA

Asia - AsiaReleased: March 18, 1982
Recorded: June – November 1981, Townhouse Studios, London
Genre: AOR, Progressive Rock, Rock, Pop Rock
Length: 44:22

Label: Geffen
Producer(s): Mike Stone
Singles: “Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”, “Soul Survivor”
Personnel: Steve Howe – guitars, backing vocals, Geoff Downes – keyboards, backing vocals, John Wetton – bass guitar, lead vocals, Carl Palmer – drums, percussion

Certified: 4xPlatinum (RIAA)

TRACKLIST:

“Heat of the Moment”
“Only Time Will Tell”
“Sole Survivor”
“One Step Closer”
“Time Again”
“Wildest Dreams”
“Without You”
“Cutting it Fine”
“Here Comes the Feeling”

aSIA - ASIA - CD

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OVERVIEW:

This monstrous debut record by the supergroup Asia was released back in 1982 and proved that there was indeed a reason why those immensely talented and versatile musicians from YES, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles got together in the first place. “Asia” spawned one of the most distinctive rock tunes of the 80s – “Heat of the Moment” which became their ultimate signature song. That was not the end of it, though – the record is full of catchy hooks and fine melodies, perfectly designed to fit the demands of the commercial radio stations. If you are looking for some traces of YES or ELP on this album, you won’t find them. “Asia” doesn’t really impress with lengthy instrumentals or heavy lyrics but it does impress with its style and class. We cannot deny the excellent collaboration of Steve Howe‘s guitar Carl Palmer’s drums and Geoff Downes’ keyboards. Plus of course, John Wetton’s vocals which are the essence of the record! They created a much needed spark with this record and it’s quite sad that they couldn’t live up to this album in their following endeavors.

“Heat of the Moment” sets the tone for the record by definitely kicking things off with the biggest bang ever. It’s one of those songs that leave a lasting memory and definitely one of the most memorable and enjoyable classics from the 80s. “Only Time Will Tell” is one of the fines moments of the record as it demonstrates the perfect fusion between pop and rock. The track can’t but affect us with its harmonies and perfect little details, such as Palmer’s powerful drums and layered chorus. “Sole Survivor” is the absolute rocker from the record, combining excellent Hammond organ playing and a basic straight-up rock ‘n’ roll fashion. Some other fine moments from the record include the intriguing and quite fierce guitar intro of “Time Again” which definitely has the “wow” effect on listeners. The essential melancholic track comes in the form of “Without You”, which again demonstrates fine keyboard playing and smoky vocals.

Many people have rather conflicting opinions about this album; however I believe the above mentioned songs are good enough to make it up for the lack of substantiality that could be felt in the rest of the album. Overall, it’s a “modern-classic” record that brought together extraordinary people and spawned hit singles which we still love and listen to even today! Good job~

HEAT OF THE MOMENT

SOLE SURVIVOR

TIME AGAIN


 

Credits:
“ASIA” official Wikipedia webpage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia_%28Asia_album%29
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~

[The Greatest Rock Albums of the 80s] AC/DC – For Those About To Rock We Salute You

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When we think of AC/DC’s long music career and their enormous catalogue, probably the first record that comes to our minds is “Back in Black”. This ultimate blockbuster not only changed the game for the band by turning them into international rockstars, but became the second best-selling album of all time with around 50 million copies sold worldwide! Can you imagine the strength of impact this pure hard rock wave had on the world? I wasn’t born at that time but I can still feel it today. How can you top the success of rock anthems such as “Back in Black”, “Hells Bells” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”? It’s indeed quite the task… The bar was set too high and everyone was curious to see how can AC/DC come up with something even better than that…

In 1981, AC/DC went on a new journey as it was time to look ahead and make some new music. “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is the album that followed up to their highly successful “Back in Black”. The record couldn’t match the numbers of “Back in Black”, however their winning streak most definitely continued.  With phenomenal tracks such as the quintessential rock anthem “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” and the massive hit single “Let’s Get It Up”, AC/DC won the #1 spot on the USA charts. The effect of the album was quite evident, despite always been compared to their previous one. The record has its strong and weak points, however one thing is for sure – it’s indeed one of their greatest albums of all time and I often say that it can easily match “Back in Black”.

The mastermind behind the record is Mutt Lange – a producer with extraordinary abilities, I admire with all my heart and soul. It’s his third and final collaboration with AC/DC, unfortunately.

Brian Johnson was already well accustomed to the new band and things were working out quite naturally for them, as we can hear on the album.

Let’s talk music…


 

For Those About to Rock We Salute You

vinyl ~Released: November 23, 1981
Recorded: May – September 1981 in Paris
Genre: Hard Rock, Rock, Blues Rock
Length: 40:10
Label: Albert / Atlantic Records
Producer(s): Robert John “Mutt” Lange
Singles: “Let’s Get It Up”, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”
Personnel: Brian Johnson – lead vocals; Angus Young – lead guitar; Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, co-lead guitar; Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals; Phil Rudd – drums, percussion


TRACKLIST:

1. For Those About To Rock ( We Salute You )
2. Put The Finger On You
3. Let’s Get It Up
4. Inject The Venom
5. Snowballed
6. Evil Walks
7. C.O.D.
8. Breaking The Rules
9. Night Of The Long Knives
10. Spellbound

56CB59A66.png

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OVERVIEW:

In comparison with “Back in Black”, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” grabs the ear with its laid back, carefree and a much friendlier vibe which was probably a direct reflection of the state of the band at that time. After the phenomenal success they just had, it was quite obvious that they were not as hungry or pushy as before. For them, this album was a celebration of their triumph.

On “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”, AC/DC effortlessly achieve a perfect balance between their typical fierce sound and a more relaxing, radio-friendly feel. It’s must less commercial and heavier which directly ensured their place on the airwaves. The band moved a little bit further away from their punk infused grounds into a more mid-tempo AOR album. However, they did manage to keep that original, “AC/DC-typical” addictive sound we fans love and are so accustomed to.

AC/DC is not exactly the first band that comes to your mind when you think of thought-provoking lyrics. This album doesn’t quite impress us with stunning words, however one think it does is showing us how hard they can hit hard and how easily they can blow the roof off the place. With “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”, I feel like the band presented a more refined technical skills and Brian Johnson was definitely at his top game.

The finest moments of the record would have to be the title track – “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” and the rhythmical and extremely catchy “Let’s Get It Up”, “Inject the Venom” and “I Put The Finger On You”. Plenty of cool verses, crazy guitar riffs and memorable shouts on all of those tunes, however I feel like except the title track, no other song could stand out from one another. Unfortunately, the finest moments of the album end with those four songs. The following tunes doesn’t really inspire with exceptional musicianship or outstanding delivery. The flaws could be easily spotted as we go from one song to the next one. Surprisingly, however, I believe this album possesses a very important characteristic – the more you play the tracks, the more you enjoy them.  

ac dc 1981


 

AC/DC hit as hard as they can right from the beginning. The title track is the ultimate rock anthem that changed the world. The monstrous “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is an absolute concert staple and the band’s greatest trademark! The song is simply one of AC/DC’s finest accomplishments and a song that can’t but put you in an instant terrific mood! I’m quite fond of the intro that slowly but steadily builds up your excitement. Not to mention Brian’s high growls and impeccable vocal delivery…Just listen…

Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We’ll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
Cos rock has got the right of way
We ain’t no legends ain’t no cause
We’re just livin’ for today
For those about to rock, we salute you
For those about to rock, we salute you…


 

The following three tracks didn’t perform quite as well as the title track. They all have similar characteristics and impress with a very lively, catchy and enjoyable formula. I am especially fond of “Inject the Venom” which really gives me quite the chills…

No mercy for the bad if they want it
No mercy for the bad if they plead
No mercy for the bad if they need it
No mercy from me
Tell no truth an’ tell no lies
Cross your heart and hope to die
Never give what you can’t take back
Scratch like a cat
If you inject your venom
It’ll be your last attack…

Loose lips sink ships
So come aboard for a pleasure trip
It’s high tide so let’s ride
The moon is risin’ and so am I
I’m gonna get it up
Never gonna let it up
Cruisin’ on the seven seas
A pirate of my lovin’ needs
I’ll never go down
Never go down

I put the finger on you, yeah
My hands all outta control
I can’t stop it gettin’ down on you
It’s movin’ of its own accord
I got fire in my finger tips
Radiate it all to you
I can’t control it
Can’t even hold it…

~

Overall, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You” is a very fine album which unfortunately is quite underrated and will always be compared to “Back in Black”. I enjoy the friendlier vibe and the more refined and natural sounds, however I do wish they put a little bit more effort and try to not play it so safe. I feel like the album sold so many copies due to the huge title track. What happens after it, however, is just a bit unsettling. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the album, however the songs just progressively become less and less interesting. Regardless, I do love those four tracks and listen to them quite often…
Cheers!


 

Credits:
AC/DC Lyrics, retrieved from www.azlyrics.com
For Those About to Rock We Salute You Album Review, retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com
AC/DC official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC/DC
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~