REVIEW: Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast (1989 cassette)

WOLFSBANE – Live Fast, Die Fast (1989 Def American cassette)

Blaze Bayley did not emerge from out of nowhere when he joined Iron Maiden.  Six years before The X Factor, Bayley released his debut album with Wolfsbane, produced by Rick frickin’ Rubin of all people.  Presumably this means Rick laid on a couch and didn’t wear shoes.  Let’s have a listen, then.

“Man Hunt” is Van Halen meets Iron Maiden; as bizarre as that concoction may sound is half as much as it is good!  It’s EVH and DLR, “Back in the Village”, hunting for painted ladies.  Blaze shows off some impressive pipes, but guitarist Jase Edwards showcases all the good things you can do with a speedily-played six-string.  Dirty Blaze must have hooked up with a bird according to “Shakin'”, which takes the sound back into the pocket.  A Dokken/Halen hybrid with a touch of sleaze, and certainly harder edged than what most American bands were doing in 1989.  “Killing Machine” sounds a bit like a lost Van Halen demo from 1977 but with a 1980s heavy metal drummer instead of Big Al.  There’s no break between it and “Fell Out of Heaven”, acting like one big multi-parted song.  Blaze is on the make again, sounding like a big dirty Ian Astbury.  Add in the absolutely blitz of “Money to Burn” and you have a definitive “lust” trilogy.

Side two opens with a punchy tune called “Greasy”, possessing an unholy scream that you wish they would have utilized in Maiden.  “I Like It Hot” is the funny summer cruisin’ tune, one the most commercial song on the album that is decidedly not commercial.  You can sing along to the terrific chorus on “All Or Nothing” but the blitzkrieg speed makes it clearly radio unfriendly.  The only power ballad “Tears From a Fool” is harder edged with a long solo, uncompromised and remote.  And with not even a breath’s break, “Pretty Baby” concludes this album-length treatise on picking up chicks in an accelerated manor.

The sonics of this Rick Rubin production are typically dry and crisp, but with an annoying snare drum sound that makes you question his hearing.  He arranged some cool gang vocals with both melody and rawness, but Live Fast, Die Fast doesn’t have any special sonic qualities that scream “Rubin”.

Wolfsbane happened an interesting niche here.  They blended the best aspects of American hard rock, tossed it with some heavy fucking metal, and a singer who didn’t sound like everyone else (with a dirty mind).  It was dangerous and it was different.

Was it good?  Yeah!  To quote the Heavy Metal Overlord, even Rick Rubin couldn’t fuck it up.

4/5 stars.

28 comments

  1. Blaze did actually scream a little bit in Maiden but never when he should have (such as The Number of the Beast)

    Here’s him doing it at 1:17

    and again at 3:49 and 4:05

    Now here’s the pathetic “yeah” at 0:55

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Booze/Birds and Bad Language sounds like another weekend for Ladano out at the cottage! haha.
    I always meant to check these guys out but their stuff wasn’t around in the shops. Good on Blaze still doing what he does though.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was fun! I love these crazy bastards. Kathy Wilson was a step up soundwise but both are brill. And who really cares about production? I don’t! Some of my favourite albums sound like total balls. Sometimes bad sound is the right sound. I know you feel the same way… cause you love Born Again!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I sometimes care about production. If it seriously inhibits my enjoyment, then yes. Born Again doesn’t do that to me, and part of that is ye olde nostalgia that we have discussed so often! Having Born Again on CD sounds a million times better than my memories, so to me it sounds better then it ever did!

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      1. I’m just having a laugh really. There are productions that bug me. Where its maybe an inappropriate sound for the music but most likely it’s where things have been over produced. Like Psycho Circus or something like that? Albums that just sound like shite tend not to bother me so much cause the bands vibe usually survives. But I can’t really think of an album where the production alone is a problem… there’s usually other factors too. Like Psycho Circus!

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    1. Rick Rubin is not my favourite, you may have noticed. I liked his work with The Cult and the Four Horsemen of course. Johnny Cash. Not much else. I definitely was surprised to see studio footage of albums being recorded, and him not even there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A lot of Rick Rubin hate in the comments. I guess that would have to be because of his new brickwalled stuff that sounds like total ass? I think Danzig’s first disc, early Slayer, The Cult’s Electric, and Tom Petty’s Wildflowers sound pretty good.

    I did quit buying stuff by him. Ballbreaker by AC/DC sounds awful. Like it was recorded in a closet. The less said about Death Magnetic the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Four Horsemen is the best album he ever produced, in my opinion! What a rock solid album. Some great Johnny Cash records too. Though I often question how much he had to do with any of them.

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  5. After Headbanger’s Ball aired I Like It Hot, I found it best not to bother with this band. I thought (and still think) that tune stink, so I haven’t heard any of this album at all.

    I always wondered if Iron Maiden chose Blaze Bayley as Bruce Dickinson’s replacement because of his looks – he do look a lot like Bruce, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My friend and I have a whole weird fandom thing about man hunt. (manhuntmanhuntmanhuntmanhunt)

    Especially the bit in the video with the words manhunt written down.

    Reminds me of the Mrs. Doyle ‘go on’ written sign from cult Irish Priest comedy Father Ted

    Liked by 1 person

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