REVIEW: Quiet Riot – Alive and Well (1999)

 

QUIET RIOT – Alive and Well (1999 Deadline Music)

When Rudy Sarzo rejoined Quiet Riot, re-completing the classic Metal Health lineup, there wasn’t much fanfare. There also wasn’t much fanfare for this album which came and went without so much as a whisper. The reason is pretty simple. Like most of Quiet Riot’s post-1983 output, it’s not that great.

It’s better than I feared though. Some of these new songs are darnright good. “Against The Wall” is the best of the new songs, a rocker that would have fit on Condition Critical as one of the best tunes. It’s a peppy, upbeat motivational rocker. “Angry” is also not bad, being pretty heavy with a great vocal delivery from DuBrow. It is incredible that right up until his death, Kevin DuBrow’s voice was as strong as ever. “The Ritual” is a groover, something previously unknown for Quiet Riot. It’s mean and nasty and it works really well.

The rest of the new material isn’t all that hot. Quiet Riot’s problem has always been poor songwriting. Much of their best material were either covers or co-writes. There are awkward choruses that just don’t hit the spot; bridges and verses that jar with the riffs. These songs don’t sound like completed songs, they sound like a bunch of parts stuck together. Witness “Too Much Information” (which I actually like the lyrics to quite a bit), “Don’t Know What I Want”, “Alive and Well”, and “Overworked and Underpaid”. These are not great songs. They have neat parts and nice bits buried within them, but as a whole…sorry, no. There is also one truly awful song, the funk-crap of “Slam Dunk (Way To Go)”. What an awful song. Truly a terrible, terrible song that never should have made it past the demo stage.

There’s one previously released track, the AC/DC cover “Highway To Hell” (previously released on the AC/DC tribute album, Thunderstruck). It’s OK, but let’s face it, very few bands can cover AC/DC. Carlos Cavazo can’t play that rhythm part and make it sound right. Sarzo’s bass is a little too bouncy. Otherwise, it’s an OK cover, but once again Quiet Riot are padding out albums with covers…

The record company made them re-record six of the old classic tracks, and here they are tacked onto the end. Some are OK. “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” (one of my personal favourite Quiet Riot songs) has been rearranged acoustically. Carlos’ acoustic guitar is beautiful, and because this song presents a new arrangement, I think it’s worthy of inclusion. The rest offer very little of interest. Why re-record old classics? There’s no real artistic reason, only financial reasons. I guarantee you that you will not replace your old copy of “Metal Health” with this re-recorded version. And the new version of “The Wild and the Young” is just bad, bad, bad. All the techy-uniqueness of the original has been replaced by pseudo-heaviness and funk. Yes, funk, there’s a funky break right in the middle that should have been excized. It’s just awful.

As an album, Alive and Well has enough good going on to make it listenable, but this is no comeback. This is treading water, zero growth. Amazon is loaded with positive reviews, fanboy-ish as they are. Well, I am the biggest Quiet Riot fan around. And I’m just being objective here when I say this: Unless you’re die-hard like me, you don’t need this album.

2.5/5 stars

38 comments

  1. QR played here in Tbay plugging this disc even though it hadn’t come out yet. I know they played a few tracks of of this the only one which I remember was Overworked/Underpaid.
    I agree with u that I don’t even remember any of these other tracks at all and like u said. They did play all the bonus tracks live off of this disc. Nuthin really good after 93.
    I can say that they were always loud esp for bar standards as I seen em twice in a bar and once at a outdoor event here in Tbay.
    Esp Cavazos guitar,his guitar was always cranked to the point of so much treble it was brutal on the ear lobes!!!
    The one time I ventured down to the front and when u stood to the left all u could hear was guitar and to the right all u could hear was Sarzos bass…so I retreated pretty quickly cuz I though my head was gonna implode !!!
    But they (Dubrow esp) were entertaining but I really don’t know about this continuous roll over in vocalists BUT if they were to show up here again….ummmm I would attend!

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        1. Maybe Miley can tell us. She doesn’t lick basses but maybe we are missing out on a world of tastes that we ignore because a bass or a wrecking ball doesn’t classify as “food”.

          Just saying it’s possible is all.

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    1. I saw some live clips of Jizzy and he definitely has more stage presence than the last 3 singers combined. We’ll have to see. Frankie has done something smart — he’s releasing a new album,m half new songs and half old live unreleased tracks with Kevin. Which means I’ll have to buy it.

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        1. Yeah and the one that is the real stinker is called Down To The Bone. The only problem with reviewing it, is listening to it. Something I have not done in a long, long, long time.

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        1. Like I said I can take a dump on the album cover, take a picture of it, and post it as the review!

          But as much as I’d like to, I won’t. I’ll give you an honest to goodness tar n’ feathering!

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        1. Its the basis for the entire artform going way waay waaay back. Guitars as the extensions of ones own apparatus. Drummers get the short end of the stick and thats why they invented the keytar.

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  2. This has to be said. Quiet Riot is one of the most overrated bands in the world. Their two first Japan only records weren’t released anywhere else and I guess there’s a reason for that. Metal Health? Well, it sure had some great stuff on it – and some good songs as well so I’ll give them that album. But while Condotion Critical wasn’t an awful album, it jut turned out as Metal Health’s sloppy second. They even recorded another Slade cover. C’mon already – how transparent is that? QR III? Yeah, let’s drown the whole bloody thing in keyboards and synthesizers because it is 1986 and all. On the other hand, that album features The Wild And The Young, QR’s best song ever, but too bad about the production. But let’s pump, pump, pump, pump… Gawd!
    Enter Paul Shortino and the self titled album was their best in my book. But after that failed, I have downloaded a couple of QR albums just to see if the could manage anything worthwhile. Terrified, Down To The Bone, Rehab… Sorry, but what a load of useless crap.This one I haven’t even heard and after this review I won’t bother with that.
    Saw them at Sweden Rock the same year Kevin DuBrow died and I only held out for three songs. They weren’t bad but bored the living daylight out of me. Despite Kevin DuBrow’s major cocaine addiction, his voice was really strong though, I’ll give him that, but his new non-curly wig made him look really daft.

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    1. Nailed it in all respects, Jon. I that the QR album with Shortino has aged pretty well, compared to the awful shite that is QRIII. Surely one of the biggest disappointments I ever spent my hard-earned allowance on. I think for me to review that album, I just have to take a shit on the album cover.

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      1. Hahaha. That would be a sight for sore eyes….
        But I think that the albums recorded after the Shortino album are even worse than QRIII. As I said, QRIII has The Wild & The Young on it. Love that song.

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        1. Down To The Bone is shit. Guilty Pleasures is shit. The rest have OK moments…I know you’re not a fan but I really liked Terrified. I consider that the last good QR.

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        2. Oh, Guilty Pleasures, I have heard that one as well. I wonder if that album is a guilty pleasure for anyone…

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  3. “Slam Dunk (Way To Go)”. What an awful song. Truly a terrible, terrible song that never should have made it past the demo stage.

    Ahhh… thank you so much. Exactly why I wanted to read this review. Blunt with a touch of wit.

    I don’t see a review of Guilty Pleasures, but I put “Rock the House” on par with “Slam Dunk” in terms of terribleness. Maybe not quite as low, but in the same septic tank.

    I see your comment about Terrified being good. I agree 100%. There are a few duds, but “Cold Day in Hell” and “Terrified” hold up. And “Resurrection” is cool… I’ll just go read your review of that and shut up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Charles, you are right, I have not tackled Guilty Pleasures yet. But I will. I haven’t played it in at least 10 years. I don’t remember anything besides Rock the House, which was just a re-write of the QR formula anyway. I am not sure what QR I have left to review. Probably just Guilty Pleasures and some live stuff!

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      1. I just re-listened to Guilty Pleasures recently. It’s bad. QR with Paul Shortino is the one I have not revisited the longest time… at least 15, maybe 20 years. This blog is making me think I need to spin it again. I remember disliking it so much that I never ripped it to mp3, so I’ll have to pull out the actual CD. I think the only Quiet Riot records I don’t have are the original 2 with Randy and Down to the Bone. I just got the US Festival disc recently, which kind of kicked off a Quiet Riot revisiting phase… If nothing else, Kevin was a showman… maybe one of the greatest ever.

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        1. The Shortino one I go back-and-forth on. Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it, sometimes it’s just “there”. But it was something different that’s for sure. A little more bluesy, but I think it worked.

          Down to the Bone is dreadful. From the guitar tone to the songs to the production, just flat.

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