As I was leaving for work on Friday morning, I thought to myself, “You know, I wonder if Harrison or anybody would feel like going live tonight. Just shoot the shit for an hour. It might be a fun way to be social on a Friday night and it only has to be an hour.”
I messaged Harrison in Australia just as he was tucking in for the night, and he graciously agreed to get up early and join me for an impromptu live stream. Setting his alarm clock, Harrison prepared for our first live show since July!
This may have been the first thrash metal album I ever bought. I was late to the mosh pit, but I think I chose a good first thrash. Lead video “Electric Crown” was in rotation on the Power 30, and I loved the speed combined with melody and a virtuoso guitarist. To me, “Electric Crown” blew away any of the Metallica singles I’d heard so far. It was way superior to the overly simplistic “Enter Sandman”.
One of the coolest sounds I ever heard came from Alex Skolnick’s guitar. In that melodic, four-note descending lick, the fourth note…just shakes. I sat there in my bedroom with my guitar, trying to make the same sound, failing every time. Skolnick was increasingly interested in jazz, and you can hear that in some of the soloing and tubey tone.
The Ritual is the most commercial Testament album. That made it an easy gateway to thrash. Did they sell out? By all accounts, The Ritual is the album on which Alex Skolnick stepped up in terms on contributions. As a schooled musician he wanted to try some different things, and indeed he left the band shortly after to grow as a player. This isn’t a sellout, but it’s the album on which the guy who was trained by Joe Satriani had a lot more influence. (After he left, the band went hard back to the extremes of thrash with Low and Demonic.)
Not a sellout, then. But there are definite parallels to the contemporary Metallica album. The slower metal chug of “So Many Lies” is this album’s “Sad But True”. The Ritual also has a modern, crisp production (by Tony Platt) though not as fully stuffed as Metallica.
Immediately after “So Many Lies”, drummer Louie Clemente goes into a gallop on “Let Go Of My World”, an angry testament to independence. See what I did there? The longest song on the album is the title track, an anti-drug anthem that rocks it slow and forboding. “Kill yourself, killing time.” Vocalist Chuck Billy has a mighty set of lungs, the kind that make you listen up. These lungs are put to great effect on “Deadline”, the mid-tempo banger that finishes side one. There’s something just slightly different about the beat and there’s nothing equivalent on the Metallica album. “Deadline” is arresting, kickin’ and menacing all at once.
“As the Seasons Grey” continues the blistering metal, not as fast as yesteryear but more measured. Dig that false ending. “Agony” and “The Sermon” offer some variety, but Testament are best when served fast. Right? Right? No – check out the ballad “Return to Serenity”! Testament were of course no strangers to ballads. “The Ballad” and “The Legacy” worked out well for them previously, but “Return to Serenity” blows them away. Alex Skolnick’s clever, echoey guitar hook is spellbinding. This incredible ballad really should have been a hit. That’s why they included it again on 1993’s Return to the Apocalyptic City EP. It should be as well known as hit ballads by another big name thrash band. The Ritual closes on a stampeding “Troubled Dreams”, an album highlight and as persistent as the wandering nomad in the lyrics.
There are more important Testament albums than The Ritual, such as their landmark Practice What You Preach. It still remains a high water mark in the catalogue.
I posted my original review for Draw the Line back in 2013, but what you see below is brand new — a complete redux. For Deke‘s review of Draw the Line over at Arena Rock,click here!
AEROSMITH – Draw The Line (1977 Columbia, 1993 Sony)
The intial batch of Aerosmith platters (particularly Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic, and Rocks) are all but undisputably great records. Most agree that, for a couple years anyway, Aerosmith created some of the great most important rock music in America. Draw The Line, Aerosmith’s fifth, was considered at the time to be a drop in quality although it has certainly aged well and fared better in hindsight. Compared to Rocks, perhaps it stumbles behind like a drunk tumbling out of the bar, but it is still a magnificent piece of rock and roll damnation. And you gotta love the cover art caricature, by Al Hirschfeld.
The drug problems had sunk in, a monkey it would take them another decade to shake, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the title track. Even though they were basically only recording music in order to keep paying for drugs, they still managed to create some legendary music on the title track. This is desert island material, one of those songs that I don’t want to live my life without. To this day nobody has written anything as perfectly manic as “Draw The Line” from start to finish. They may have been falling apart, but musically they were capable of cranking out breakneck rock and roll of the highest quality. It was Van Halen’s frontman David Lee Roth himself who proved the mettle of “Draw the Line” in a scientific way. When all else failed, he used it to drive a yak heard away in the Himalayas!
And I still have no idea what Steven Tyler is singing after the lead solo break. This is what it sounds like to me: “OOOH check mate don’t be late take another pull, that’s right, impossible, when you gotta be yourself you’re the boss of the toss so dice the price baby baby and Draw the Line…” I’m certain that’s not entirely right, and who knows what the fuck it means, but I’m not going to go and look up the lyrics. Do you know why? Because Draw the Line didn’t come with lyrics. If Steven Tyler wanted me to know what the hell he’s singing there, he’d have written it down.
Much like they did with “Nobody’s Fault” from Rocks, thrash metal pioneers Testament covered “Draw the Line”, which was released on their Signs of Chaos compilation. Once again, it’s a perfect fit for the thrashers.
It doesn’t end there with “I Wanna Know Why” being one of the catchiest of the early ‘Smith rockers. Those Tyler piano touches and Aerosmith horns make it the most “rock and roll” of the tracks. It’s brassy, sassy and shows no indication of the decay setting in at all. “Critical Mass” was also great, a song that grooves along smoothly.
Although Aerosmith fared well in the past marrying funk and rock, “Get it Up” doesn’t work as well. While the band were playing beyond what you’d expect them to be able to, their songwriting was starting to fizzle. Joe Perry’s “Bright Light Fright” kicks the decibels, but sounds unfocused and haggard. The saxophone solo is a highlight, but listening to “Bright Light Fright” is like watching a drunk partying in top gear. You know the crash is inevitable, and soon.
Turning sharply back towards jaw-dropping quality, “Kings and Queens” is regal and mighty. Listen for the banjo lying underneath. Oh if Aerosmith could only achieve lofty heights like “Kings and Queens” today!
“The Hand that Feeds” is a crap song, but “Sight for Sore Eyes” is better. Aerosmith seemed to be leaning on the funkier side on the latter half of Draw the Line. They close it with a chugging blues, a cover of “Milk Cow Blues” perhaps showing that Aerosmith didn’t have enough ideas of their own, perhaps not — they have always done covers. Regardless, “Milk Cow Blues” is well executed, sounding very live and reckless in the studio, just like it should be.
This is impaired Aerosmith, but not entirely off the rails yet!
Packaged clean and sharp, Aerosmith made their intentions clear on the cover art for Rocks. The album launched a million guitar players and a hundred careers in rock and roll. It is also notable as being the last album before a major turning point; the point at which Aerosmith let the drugs work against them in a major way.
“Back in the Saddle” is an impressive opener. The main riff in the song is not a guitar, but Joe Perry playing a six string bass. Steven Tyler has mastered his own voice by this time, squealing and shrieking in conjunction with the hooks. In some ways “Back in the Saddle” sounds like the birth of the true Aerosmith. “Last Child” meanwhile nails the oft-overlooked funky side of Aerosmith.
“Take me back to-a south Tallahassee, Down cross the bridge to my sweet sassafrassy, Can’t stand up on my feet in the city, Gotta get back to the real nitty gritty.”
With the help of an understated horn section, Aerosmith turn “Last Child” into something special. This unexpectedly fades into the metallic aggression of “Rats in the Cellar”. A spiritual sequel to the song “Toys in the Attic”, this one’s even meaner and faster. Somebody said that the goal here was take what the Yardbirds were doing and turn it up. Harmonica hooks and slide guitar goodness — I’d say they nailed it.
I need something groovy and right in the pocket after that, and “Combination” sung together by Tyler and Perry is one such groove. “Combination” is an album highlight boasting hooks and cool bass licks galore, and listen to Joey Kramer tearing it up on the drums! “Sick as a Dog” is another semi-forgotten classic. I’ve loved this melodic rocker (similar to past tracks such as “No More No More”) since day one. I can’t help but get it in my head every time I actually am sick as a dog. (Knock wood, no major illnesses yet in 2015!)
Perhaps the most important song on Rocks is the Whitford/Tyler composition “Nobody’s Fault”. Along with “Round and Round”, Whitford has a knack for coming up with some of the heaviest Aerosmith riffs. Testament covered it in 1988 for The New Order, taking it to an extreme that Whitford couldn’t have predicted. The post-apocalyptic lyrics fit the concept of the Testament album.
Aerosmith’s original recording of Nobody’s Fault features some of Tyler’s most impassioned howls. Drummer Joey Kramer considers it to be his best drumming, and I’m sure Whitford feels the same about his guitar work. Although you can still hear that Aerosmith beat, “Nobody’s Fault” proves the band are versatile and more than just another American blues rockin’ band.
Bringing back the funk, “Get the Lead Out” isn’t particularly a standout except in terms in performance (which, with Aerosmith, is always above reproach). “Lick and a Promise” returns us to quality, with a stock rocker about Tyler’s favourite subject. We’re now at the end of the record, and “Home Tonight” continues Aerosmith’s knack for ending an album effectively with a slow number. A piano ballad with plenty of guitars, “Home Tonight” adds that bit of class that Rocks needed in order to compete with an album like Toys in the Attic.
So how does Rocks compare with Toys in the Attic, anyway?
Too close to call. Rocks is definitely a heavier record, and Toys in the Attic is closer to the dead-center of Aerosmith’s sound with the horns and strings. Otherwise, it’s splitting hairs.
TESTAMENT – Signs of Chaos: The Best of Testament (1997 Mayhem)
I bought this in the winter of 1997. I hadn’t listened to Testament in a few years. I’d bought The Ritual album in 1992, but they kind of lost me post-Skolnick, when they went hell-bent for death metal. Therefore the idea of a good, remastered single disc compilation album covering the entire career was appealing to me. All the key tracks that I wanted were here, including two incredible B-sides!
Shortly after The Ritual came out, singer Chuck Billy denounced it as too soft, too commercial, and not the direction he and Eric Peterson wanted to take the band in the future. Regardless of this, the single “Electric Crown” was chosen to kick off Signs of Chaos (including the brief instrumental intro, “Signs of Chaos”. I’ve always felt it was superior to a couple of its chief rival songs at the time: “Enter Sandman” and “Symphony of Destruction”. You be the judge. I think I have a strong case.
As I delved into the disc I found that I was very hit-and-miss with Testament’s earlier material. For example “The New Order”, the title track from their 1988 album. I find it thin production-wise, and melodically a bit awkward. It’s hard-hitting and thrashy as fuck, but strangely enough I prefer the earlier track “Alone in the Dark” from 1987’s The Legacy. Not only does it boast a stomping riff, but also a chorus that sticks to the head.
“Dog Faced Gods” introduced me to the Testament world of blast-beats and death metal growls. This was from the first post-Skolnick album, Low. Now Peterson and Billy had the chance to indulge their heaviest urges, and they did a fantastic job. Featuring the stellar drum talents of John Tempesta (currently in The Cult), this is Testament brought to a whole new level. While death metal growls are not normally my bag, Billy sings in a “normal” voice during the cool chorus. As for the rest of the song, it is a precise complex of drum fills, lightning-fast guitar licks, time changes and riffs.
If you thought “Dog Faced Gods” was heavy, then “Demonic Refusal” might very well blow you out of your seat. The followup album to Low was called Demonic and it took things further out to the boundaries. Gene Hoglan on drums this time, “Demonic Refusal” is even more evil and scary. It still boasts a head-crushing riff and has a strangely catchy quality to the vocal. Chuck Billy convinced me on these songs that he is a diverse, talented thrash metal singer among the best in the genre.
“The Ballad” from the landmark 1989 album Practice What You Preach was about as close as Testament got to a hit single. The timing was right, seeing as Metallica had success with “One” the year before. Even though it is clearly a ballad (albeit a heavy one), the song has balls and metal fans had no problem embracing it. To me it seems to be based on a prototype of some of Iron Maiden’s softer material. The album Souls of Black, which followed Practice, was considered little more than a rushed carbon copy followup. That may be the case, but either way the song “Souls of Black” is still as catchy as ever. Skolnick’s fluttery licks are a highlight, as is Chuck Billy’s groovy lead vocal.
I find it funny that “Trial By Fire” is listed as a CD-only bonus track. I guess this album must have been released on cassette too in 1997. “Trial By Fire” isn’t one of the best songs in my books, but it does contain more outstanding Skolnick guitar shreddery. A brief word about Alex Skolnick for those who don’t know: He was one of Joe Satriani’s students, and he’s also well known for playing jazz fusion on the side. In fact he left Testament initially to enable him to explore that kind of style. His tone is really warm, and you can feel the vacuum tubes humming in a vintage amp when he plays.
Another uber-heavy song, “Low” from the album of the same name, is just as good and memorable as “Dog Faced Gods”. The Low album featured one of the most respected guitarists in the death metal genre, James Murphy (Death). Murphy’s chops helped bring Testament closer to that line between thrash and death, while maintaining the virtuosity that the band had with Alex Skolnick.
“Practice What You Preach” and “Over the Wall” provide a double-punch of early Testament heavy metal. To me, “Over the Wall” is not an outstanding song. It’s good for a head-bang and has a killer solo, but it’s not particularly special. “Practice What You Preach” on the other hand nails it. Testament were crossing groove and thrash metal together successfully, before Metallica painted it Black. “Practice” remains one of their highest achievements from the early years.
I mentioned earlier that Souls of Black was considered by many to be little more than a second generation copy of Practice. This extended to putting out another ballad. “The Legacy” was one of their earlier compositions, polished up for Souls of Black. While it’s the lesser known song, I think I prefer it to “The Ballad”. The production seems a little more full, although the two songs are very similar. As far as ballads go, I don’t think either song holds a candle to the next track. “Return to Serenity” from The Ritual is a beautiful song, with gorgeous guitar tones. It’s a less dark than the other two songs, and lyrically discussing those special places that you may have had as a child, and returning to serenity. I would put “Return to Serenity” up against virtually any similar Metallica song, and I believe it would blow them away. While both bands have a lead guitar player that was taught by Joe Satriani, I believe Alex Skolnick to be on a completely different level from other guitar players in this genre.
“Perilous Nation” is a plenty-good thrash party, but again this is listed as a CD only bonus track. I just find that amusing on an album released in 1997. The CD ends with two smoking covers: “The Sails of Charon” (Scorpions) and “Draw the Line” (Aerosmith)! We all know Testament are huge Aerosmith fans, since they covered “Nobody’s Fault” earlier. Both are absolutely incredible covers and alone worth the price of the CD. “Draw the Line”, already a manic-fast song, is give a dose of Liquid Schwartz in the ol’ engine. I defy you to refrain from banging your head. What an awesome song to end the CD on, and this review on!
SCORPIONS – Taken By Force (1977, 2002 Hip-O/Universal remaster)
I don’t have all the Scorpions albums, but I’m filling in the blanks with some of the critically acclaimed early albums. Through that process I discovered that I really like the Uli Jon Roth period! Taken By Force was their last studio album with Roth, although it was followed in 1978 with the double live Tokyo Tapes. Taken By Force was also the last Roth-era album that I needed in my collection. Unfortunately, according to the Wikipedia, although this remaster contains a bonus B-side and live track, it also contains an edited version of “Sails of “Charon”, a flaw common with almost all CD versions.
Taken By Force immediately states its heavy metal purposes with “Steamrock Fever”; the sound of a jackhammer and pounding riff opens the album. Its anthemic chorus, melded with some Roth six string trickery and that unrelenting jackhammer will knock you down. The Scorpions are not winning any awards for lyrical poetry, preferring to take the sledgehammer route with their message too.
All this is well and good, because next is a respite. At least for a few moments, “We’ll Burn the Sky” allows you to cool down, before a classic Schenker riff takes the fore. “We’ll Burn the Sky” is classic Scorpions. It combines their penchant for melody and talent for executing memorable guitar riffs. Roth’s slippery classical-like licks are icing on the cake.
“I’ve Got to Be Free” is the first Roth composition and features the odd bluesy licks flickering in and out of an otherwise heavy rock song. I really like the screamed verses. The broken-English lyrics of “The Riot of Your Time” seems to refer to the death of Elvis Presley, while foretelling the future of “’94 or ’95”. According to the Scorpions, if the world is still alive by 1995, it will “be the start for the riot of your time”. I don’t know what that means exactly, but the guitar seems to echo The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” through a heavy metal filter.
The original LP would have been split there and side 2 introduced by wind-like sounds, before entering “The Sails of Charon”. That windy intro is cut on this CD, so “Charon” commences with the riff. Surely, “The Sails of Charon” must go down as Uli Roth’s greatest contribution to the Scorpions. This majestic masterpiece is ambitious, elegant and exotic. And heavy. Let’s not forget that the riff, while highbrow, is as heavy as a load of concrete. (Incidentally, Testament did an amazing cover of this.)
“Your Light” is a funky Roth composition, one of the most likeable on the whole album. When I say “funky” I don’t mean Sly and the Family Stone, think more the Deep Purple variety of funky. There is also common ground here with sounds that Van Halen would later inhabit. Then, “He’s A Woman – She’s A Man” resumes the sledgehammer assault that dominated side one. New drummer Herman Rarebell had his first writing credit on this single. Album closer “Born to Touch Your Feelings” is a ballad, with a long outro and overlapping voices. It’s a solid, dramatic closing to an album that grabbed my attention at every turn and every song.
This 2002 remaster contains two bonus tracks. First is “Suspender Love”, which was originally the B-side to “He’s A Woman – She’s A Man”. It’s a slinky tune, fun and all, but very much unlike Taken By Force as a whole. Still, I have no problem with the inclusion of relevant B-sides, so I’m glad to have this. The other bonus track is “Polar Nights”, originally from Virgin Killer but included here in the Tokyo Tapes version. This was done because when Hip-O reissued and remastered Tokyo Tapes, they did it as a single disc meaning this song wouldn’t fit. It was included here so you could still buy a complete Tokyo Tapes. This is kind of sloppy, but at least the whole package is still available. Also, since “Polar Nights” is a showcase of Uli’s bluesy, funky fingering, it’s also a nice way to close his final album with the Scorpions.
As usual, the Scorpions courted controversy with their album cover. The original “graveyard gunfight” photo was replaced in many regions with a plain cover with band photo. This remaster unfortunately has the alternate artwork. Shame about that.
SLASH PUPPET – No Strings Attached (2007 Sun City Records)
Slash Puppet were one of the biggest names of the burgeoning Toronto rock scene of the early 1990’s. Unfortunately, unlike their competition Sven Gali and I Mother Earth, they never got signed to a major label. They did, however, manage to sell out 2500 copies of their first recording, The Demo, an independent cassette, via mail order. They were the darlings of M.E.A.T Magazine and appeared on MuchMusic’s Power Hour. Slash Puppet signed a management deal with Ray Danniels and SRO (Rush) who later also handled Van Halen, King’s X, and Extreme.
I was one of the 2500 people who ordered The Demo. Every mail order was accompanied by a glossy 8 1/2 x 11 autographed photo. I still have mine, this is especially treasured since their talented lead guitarist, Lou Garscadden, passed away in 2001. Today, lead vocalist Mif (originally billed as “Tony Terrance Dartanian”, for some weird reason) is a successful actor. That’s him as the mob boss in Norm McDonald’s hilarious Dirty Work, billed under his real name, Anthony J. Mifsud!
Incredibly, for a band that never put out a major label release and split in 1994, Australia’s Sun City Records reissued The Demo on CD in 2007, as No Strings Attached. A well-assembled package, it features liner notes, lyrics, and loads of photos.
This ass-kicker starts with a bang: “Slow Down”. This was the first video, and it even made a return appearance (in slightly remixed form) on the second Slash Puppet release, a self-titled EP. “Slow Down” is an infectious hard rocker, a tougher and faster Faster Pussycat with a way, way raspier singer. It has more integrity than most of the Sunset Strip of the time combined. And this was from the bad bad streets of Mississauga!
The extremely catchy ‘Squeeze It In” follows, a mid-tempo groover, and my personal favourite song. This one just drips sleaze with a knack for gritty melody. Up next is “Hard On Love”. It’s another concoction of raspy lead vocals, catchy backing gang vocals, and pure sex. It’s twice as hard as anything Hollywood was producing at the time. “Bad Girls”, which closed side one of the original cassette, is about the only misstep. While the song is another adrenaline-filled sex romp, the chorus lacks punch.
It’s here that I think the CD edition of No Strings Attached differs from The Demo. If memory serves correctly, side two began with “Overload” and closed with “Turn It On”. On the CD, the track order seems switched. Unfortunately, my original cassette copy is now lost.
Regardless, “Turn It On” is fast paced, raspy and built for sex. It’s not an upper-echelon song, it’s more similar to “Bad Girls”, the chorus is a bit thin. The band compensates with the excellent “Evil Woman”. Great chorus, great hooks, and it sounds great in the car. It also has a cool dual guitar solo by Lou Garscadden and Frank “Bart” Bartoletti, proving these guys had the chops.
The dark and slower-paced “Some Kind O’ Lady” provides some variety on an album that is otherwise very party-oriented. This killer tune was always one of my favourites. It has some killer soloing and a great riff. The verses kind of remind me of a Testament ballad like “Return To Serenity”, but before Testament even wrote that song. Maybe it’s the grit in Mif’s voice that reminds me of Chuck Billy.
“Overload” closes the CD on an upbeat note. It has a fast, playful riff, sleazy lyrics and plenty of grit. It’s totally headbang-worthy. And with that, the CD ends, listener exhausted by half an hour of pure heavy glam rock!
The production values for this album are not the greatest. Keep in mind this was originally a self-financed demo tape, never meant for wide release, and never intended for CD. The guitar solos are often buried, and the backing vocals sound a bit thin. What does come across is the grit of Mif, an underrated singer and frontman (by all contemporary accounts).
As mentioned, Slash Puppet returned with an EP later (released by indi Fringe), amped up, better sounding and more mature without losing an ounce of their street-tough sensibilities. Look for a review of that ultra-rarity in a future edition of mikeladano.com!
I’m going to take you back in time a bit. Back to a time before the record store….
I remember back to the 80’s and early 90’s when MuchMusic was king. Back when there was no Jersey Shore and they played actual music videos. There was no internet at that time, so you had to go to the store to buy your music (more often than not, on cassette). To hear new bands, you watched videos on Much and listened to the radio. There was no YouTube.
There was this frickin’ awesome show on Much back in the day — you remember it. It was originally only on once a week (Thursdays at 4 if I recall) and was hosted by one John “J.D.” Roberts. Yeah, the CNN guy. After he left, the hosting slot rotated between Michael Williams, Steve Anthony, Erica Ehm and Laurie Brown and then finally the late Dan Gallagher. Despite his long hair, Dan didn’t know a lot about metal — he didn’t know how to pronounce “Anthrax” and had never heard of Ratt. But that show was by far the best way to hear new metal back in the day.
That show was THE POWER HOUR.
It was so popular that they eventually had two a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4, which was awesome for me since by 1989 I was working every Thursday at Zehrs. I could still catch one a week, usually.
I remember tuning in, VCR at the ready to check out all the new videos and catch onto the newest bands. There was this band called Leatherwolf that I found via Hit Parader magazine and first heard on the Power Hour. I loved that band. There was another band called Sword from Montreal. Psycho Circus. Faith No More. Skid Row. Armored Saint. Testament. You could always count on the Power Hour to have Helix on. That show rocked.
They had some of the best interviews as well. Usually they’d have someone come in and co-host for an hour. They had everybody from Gene Simmons to Brian Vollmer to Lemmy. In depth stuff too, at times.
Then in 1990 something else cool happened. I discovered a magazine called M.E.A.T (the periods were for no reason at all, just to look cool like W.A.S.P. but eventually they decided it stood for “Metal Events Around Toronto”). M.E.A.T was awesome because it was monthly, free, and had in depth articles clearly written by knowledgable fans. There was no magazine with that kind of deep coverage. Even Slash loved M.E.A.T, at a time when Guns hated rock magazines! I loved M.E.A.T so much I eventually sent them $10 to subscribe to a free magazine. I did this on a yearly basis.
I discovered a whole bunch of great bands via that magazine. I Mother Earth, Slash Puppet, Russian Blue, Jesus Christ, not to mention they were way ahead of the curve on alternative. They had a Nirvana concert review back in 1989. They got behind Soundgarden way before they were cool. And you could count on them hanging onto the oldies. They’d put an indi band from Toronto on the cover one month, and put Black Sabbath on the cover the next month. Next issue they’d have an in-depth interview with Kim Mitchell. They’d talk about bands that nobody else did.
Their CD reviews were my bible! My music hunting was probably 90% based on their reviews, especially since by then the Power Hour had changed into the 5 day weekly Power 30 hosted by Teresa Roncon, and sucked. The started playing too much thrash and grunge and never gave the old bands a shot anymore.
Things have changed so much now. I never get into new bands anymore, back then I used to just eat them up. I guess new bands just don’t interest me anymore. I like my old time rock and roll. I did buy the new Sheepdogs, twice. The last new band I got totally and 100% excited about was The Darkness, and that was, what…2003?
Yet I can’t get into these new metal bands. The music sounds so sterile to my aging ears. The rock has lost its balls. The album I have been most excited about in 2012 was the new Van Halen — a band that is approaching 40 years old. But my God does it rock. Kiss and Black Sabbath both have new records coming out, and I’m excited about them, but I could two shits about the new Nickelback.
In a lot of ways, it’s a better time for music now. With eBay and Amazon I’ve managed to fill nearly every gap in my music collection. There are some bands that I now have complete sets of, and others that I am achingly close. I’m missing 4 Maiden EP’s and 1 Deep Purple import, for example. Back in the 80’s you didn’t have access to this. You didn’t even have access to an accurate and complete discography. It wasn’t until the internet that this kind of information was even available.
Aside from that, today kind of sucks for music. Sure, it’s easier to find new bands now, but we did OK in the 80’s. M.E.A.T turned me on to lots of bands, and they were always giving away sampler cassettes. Much played all the new videos by all the metal bands at least once, basically. You had to work a little harder, but we only appreciated the music more. It wasn’t disposable.
And there were a lot more new bands around that just plain rocked!