Welcome back to the Week of EPs! Each day this week, I’ll be checking out a variety of EP releases, both famed and obscure.
MONDAY: Aerosmith – The Other Side (1990)
WOLFSBANE – All Hell’s Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson’s Place! (1990 Def American)
I only own one Wolfsbane release on CD, and it’s this EP. I remember that their Rubin-produced debut Live Fast, Die Fast didn’t sound as good as a Rubin production should. This follow-up EP was produced by someone named Brenden O’Brian, who is presumably a different producer than the famed Bredan O’Brien. Whoever it is, there’s little wrong with the production here. It has guts and clarity. The drums could use some more oomph.
The opening track “Steel” is one that I remember from Blaze Bayley’s live album. Hearing it again, it’s fucking awesome! “Tough as steel!” repeats the chorus which is appropriate for this razor sharp attack. The guitars by Jase Edwards are choppy and aggressive, and they really sell the song. I like when the rhythm guitar drops out during the solo, and all you have is bass and drums — just like it would be live.
“Paint the Town Red” is good time hard rock. It still has a toughness to it, because of the basic guitar-based production. There’s a radio-ready chorus and plenty of rocking melody, so if you had to pick one song as a potential hit, it’s “Paint the Town Red”. Then it’s on to the ridiculously over the top “Loco”. This time the guitars are almost a parody of shredding, so insane are they. I can’t say I’m overly fond of “Loco”, but it sure does rip.
In 1990, you had to have an accessible song with acoustic guitars on your CD. “Hey Babe” is that song. Blaze’s flat vocals lend it some character, but otherwise it’s a pretty standard sounding 1990 rock ballad. The dry guitars are very tasteful, the highlight of the track. “Totally Nude” is a pretty dumb title, but it’s actually a pretty good hard rocker. As the guitars blaze up and down the fretboard, song works its way into your head.
“Kathy Wilson” is a little bit of a mini-epic. Based on the classic film Invaders From Mars, it’s a little corny but absolutely cool at the same time. Blaze acts out some of the movie lines in spoken-word segments, but wails away on the choruses. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that this is an impressive little track. It’s a little more complex than the standard rockers, but has the same blitzkrieg drive.
Consider picking up All Hell’s Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson’s Place! at a reasonable price for a nice brief addition to your metal and Iron Maiden collections.