The Cassette Chronicles – Hurricane’s ‘Slave to the Thrill’

By JAY ROBERTS

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

HURRICANE – SLAVE TO THE THRILL (1990)

For those not paying close attention, this is the third Hurricane studio album that has been featured in this series. I really enjoyed Take What You Want and had serious reservations about their most successful album Over The Edge. By the time Slave To The Thrill was released, I had consigned the band to the recycle bin of my personal musical interests. It would figure of course that, having now listened to the album, I did so one album too early.

Guitarist Robert Sarzo had left the band (though he did receive one co-writing credit on the rather mediocre sounding “10,000 Years”) and been replaced by Doug Aldrich. I don’t know if it was the addition of Aldrich but the music on this album is decidedly heavier without sacrificing much in the way of melody.

Of the 12 songs on the album (11 tracks are listed but track 8 is actually an uncredited instrumental called “FX” which is a mere trifle of a thing), the band wrote four songs on their own and co-wrote six more with outside writers. The remaining two songs were done entirely by outside writers. I mention this because other than a couple of misfires, this album is such a cohesive whole that you would never think there were so many irons in the songwriting fire.

The first side of the album is rocking out from the start. The song “Reign of Love” goes full out from the first notes and stays that way throughout the song. In fact, the first four tracks are all fast paced tracks that excel at getting your motor revved up. “Dance Little Sister” has a nice little rhythmic groove to it. The only negative was the ballad “Don’t Wanna Dream.” I know every track can’t be a home run, but this was another in a long line pedestrian at best ballads from the era.

Side two had much the same kind of makeup as Side one. I mentioned the disappointing “10,000 Years” earlier in this article, but other than that the songs were all rather good. “Temptation” is an explosive track while “Let It Slide” made me think of a song you’d hear in some kind of Western movie.

The band really had something going on with this slightly altered, heavier edge to their music. Doug Aldrich kills it throughout the album and for my money, singer Kelly Hansen’s vocals have a welcome more aggressive and somehow deeper feel to them.

I know that it isn’t usually a welcome thing to find out that you have misjudged or dismissed something before you should have. However, I don’t mind admitting I was wrong when it comes to something musical. I was right in my relative disdain for Hurricane’s Over The Edge, but I should definitely have stuck around for this follow up. Slave To The Thrill live up to its title billing by providing one musical thrill after another.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The original release of the album contained the album cover with a naked woman sprawled on a machine. It must’ve caused at least some bit of controversy because later pressings of the album had the nude woman removed. The version I have includes the woman.

Frank Simes co-wrote “Reign of Love” and “Young Man,” two of the album’s stand out tracks. He’s perhaps best known having toured as the musical director for The Who, solo Roger Daltrey, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley.

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