MOTLEY CRUE – Shout at the Devil (2003 remastered edition)
If Too Fast For Love was nothing more than a gloriously wreckless demo pressed to vinyl, then perhaps Shout is the first “real” Motley Crue album. It is certainly among the best, with only Too Fast and ’94’s self-titled coming close to the metallic goodness of this disc in my world. It is a shame that the original cover did not survive to CD (a pentagram embossed on a pure black cover) because it was a statement of purpose: You are about to Shout at the Devil.
Instead, the CD (and cassette!) cover had four makeup wearing dude-chicks scowling, primping, preening and teasing. However, it was the 80’s, and it was OK then. Don’t let the cover scare you away. The Japanese vinyl replica CDs also have a replica of the original pentagram cover. I had one years ago, but sold it off to buy the remaster with bonus tracks. But we’ll get to those later.
The album opens with a piece that, when we were kids, I loved and played over and over again because it just sounded cool: the spoken-word “In The Beginning”. “In the beginning, good always overpowered the evil of all man’s sins…” It sounded cool, so we used it on Halloween tapes and just about anything else we could think of.
Then, the opening chords of “Shout At The Devil” hit you right between the eyes, Mick’s guitar as wreckless and hammering as ever. The man had yet to really discover his bluesier talents; for now he was just content to sloppily riff you to death. All is well. Vince Neil drunkenly slurs every lyric, but it works. Tommy’s drums are as simple but as hard hitting as ever. Really, Tommy’s not a great technical drummer but his hard hits give him a great sound perfect for this album.
You should know most of these songs: The adrenaline rush that is “Looks That Kill”, the mid-tempo harmonies and drama of “Too Young To Fall In Love”, and even the Beatles cover “Helter Skelter”. Side two of the album is the real surprise, loaded with non-singles that kick as much butt as the singles. “Red Hot” is a proto-thrash number, while “Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid” is as good as anything on side one. There’s also the equally good but controversial “Bastard”. The PMRC attacked it for the line, “In goes my knife, I pull out his life, consider that bastard dead.” When I was 12 years old, we owned this on cassette. There was no lyric sheet and Vince Neil slurred so much, you couldn’t make out the lyrics. I had no idea at all what he was singing until about a decade later. By then I was old enough to understand that it’s just storytelling.
There’s a bit of filler in “God Bless the Children of the Beast”. It’s nice for Mick Mars fans, a caveman version of neo-classical guitar, but otherwise it’s just an intro to the manic “Helter Skelter” cover. Kind of like how Sabbath used to throw in a slow instrumental just before hammering you once again with riffage, just that I think Sabbath’s stuff was a little better executed.
The bonus tracks here are rough and not nessesary, except for collectors (like this guy!). “I Will Survive” was completely unreleased until the first run of Crue remasters came out. It’s a decent track but not up to the album’s lofty standards. “Hotter Than Hell” is a demo version of “Louder Than Hell” from the next album. (Not availablke on this CD is a great track called “The Black Widow”, finally released a little later on Red, White & Crue. Also missing is “Sinners and Saints” which is on Supersonic & Demonic relics.)
There are also three more demos from the albums sessions: “Shout”, “Looks That Kill” and “Too Young”. The 1999 remastered edition did not have “Too Young To Fall In Love”. That was a Japanese bonus track instead.
There’s also a music video for “Looks That Kill” for your PC if you care, but I don’t. All the Crue vids were made available on the Greatest Hits DVD.
I believe Shout At The Devil is the essential Crue album to own, and also a great metal album for any collection. Yes, Priest, Sabbath, Maiden and Purple are the cornerstones, but Motley Crue for a short time were the flag bearers. This is a great sloppy metal meal, a burger and fries with all the works. Enjoy the meal.
Original LP artwork, and remastered CD back: