Category Archives: Cassette Chronicles

The Cassette Chronicles – Lizzy Borden’s ‘Menace to Society’

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.

LIZZY BORDEN – MENACE TO SOCIETY (1986)

Menace To Society is the second album from Lizzy Borden and I’d venture to say that it is one of the band’s most memorable releases. This is almost certainly due to the fact that the album contains one of the group’s all-time best songs in “Notorious”. 

Even though my timeline with the group didn’t start until the Visual Lies release, I do remember hearing “Notorious” on the various hard rock and metal specialty programs I would listen to on the radio. The song is an absolute classic! It rocks you hard and fast and with singer Lizzy Borden spitfiring the lyrics and the memorable backing chorus to give me depth to the song, it was pretty much the perfect situation for this song to come alive.

The problem for me with this particular album is that while others may consider this a classic of the mid 80’s metal era, I found myself more than a little unhappy with the majority of the other tracks on the cassette. 

The album opened with “Generation Aliens” and while it had a fast paced music soundtrack and a speedy delivery of the vocals, the song just never really took off for me. That kind of balls-out metal attack was also featured on “Stiletto (Voice of Command)” but with the same result. There’s nothing overtly wrong with the songs but at the same time, it is instantly forgettable once the song ends. It doesn’t have a stick to your ribs kind of staying power.

If I’m being honest, I felt that way about “Terror On The Town” and the title track as well. Even though I wrote about the band’s Give ‘Em The Axe EP in a previous article in this series where I said that I enjoyed the raw sound of those recordings, I just didn’t with this release. 

I say this because songs like “Bloody Mary”, “Love Kills”, “Brass Tactics” and “Ursa Minor” were gawdawful. And while I didn’t care for the songs in general, I was left wondering if the material would’ve sounded better if there’d been more of a polish to them in the production.

I also wonder if the fact that I loved the way Visual Lies sounded so much, if that affects the potential enjoyment factor for any of the releases that come before it. A song here and there sure but is my overall perception filtered through my love of that album? Gives me something to ponder as I listen to albums for future articles.

I should mention that the song “Ultra Violence” stands out alongside “Notorious” as a great track from the album. But unfortunately that’s about it. I missed out on this album when it was released in 1986, so when I dug this album out of the “Big Box of Cassettes” I had some high hopes that it would affect me in the same kind of positive manner that Give ‘Em The Axe did. But those hopes were mostly dashed and instead I was left feeling kind of gypped because I should’ve really dug this album. The fact that I didn’t seems like a musical failure on my part.

NOTES OF INTEREST – The album was reissued on CD in 2002 and has four bonus tracks. It was reissued again in 2018 on vinyl.

On June 14th, 2018 the new Lizzy Borden album My Midnight Things was released after an 11 year wait between new studio albums.

The Cassette Chronicles – Europe’s ‘Prisoners in Paradise’

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.

EUROPE – PRISONERS IN PARADISE (1991)

Welcome to another edition of “How did I not pay more attention to this album when it first came out?”

After the release of Europe’s 1988 album Out Of This World, I kind of soured on the band a little. So three years later when they released Prisoners In Paradise, I didn’t really give it much of a second thought. I heard the title track and while it had all the earmarks to make it a “Europe-type” song, I just kind of said, “OK” and moved on with my life.

But as luck would have it, the album ended up in my collection TWICE. My friend Jeff found a CD edition of the album and I picked up the cassette on a shopping trip. Once I got around to listening to it, I definitely have to break out the wet noodle for 50 lashes due to a small musical mind.

Now, it has to be said first off that if you didn’t like the 80’s sound of Europe, you probably won’t think much of this album either. But for those of us who do enjoy all that encompasses being a child of the 80’s metal era, this album is an audio feast.

The album opens with “All Or Nothing” which is a rocking track with a vibrantly ripping guitar solo. The band sounds great and singer Joey Tempest is in fine voice throughout each and every song on the album.

Side one really doesn’t have much of a downside. I liked the chorus to “I’ll Cry For You” a bit more than the main portion of the lyrics, but still overall the song was a great listen. “Little Bit Of Love” gets  your blood pumping and no matter where you turn, there’s a lot of quick stepping rock and roll for you to enjoy. “Talk To Me” and “Seventh Sign” are also staggeringly great.

When you flip the cassette over, things continue on in thrilling fashion. While the title track has all the hallmarks of a ballad in terms of the lyrical content, there’s far more “power” than “ballad” to the track. 

There’s more of an edgier rocking vibe than you might be used to with “classic Europe” on the song “Bad Blood”. It’s like you are being let in on something very few know about. It might be some kind of hint of what was to come when the band reformed, but any which way you look at it, the song is a winner.

For me, the only real downside to any one song on the album was on “Homeland”. The song was pretty slow moving and featured Tempest reflecting back on life and decisions made.  But I ended up restless to get on to the next song. 

But in the spirit of all that is good in rock and roll, the last three songs on the album more than make up for the momentary disappointment on “Homeland”. 

The song “Got Your Mind In The Gutter” has a great vibe. The rocker grabs you and there’s a great vocal turn from Tempest. And while “Til My Heart Beats Down Your Door” likely will make you think it is another ballad, it actually has more going for it than that.

While I loved most of the album, I particularly enjoyed the last song “Girl From Lebanon”. There’s just something to this song that really made it so appealing to me. As I listened to it, I couldn’t help but be struck by Joey Tempest’s vocals. They seemed almost conspiratorial in nature and made me think the track would serve as a great musical theme for a spy novel or something. Of course, the lyrics don’t really lend themselves to this idea of mine, it was just the overall feeling I got from the song in total.

In short, what I’m saying is that while I definitely should’ve listened to this album back in 1991, I’ve listened to it now. And what I found was that on what was the band’s last gasp in their first go-round, they more than delivered the goods. Prisoners In Paradise is a solid gold album that should probably be re-evaluated by a lot more people than just myself.

NOTES OF INTEREST – This was Europe’s last studio album for 13 years when they released Start From The Dark in 2004 and overhauled their sound.

Prisoners In Paradise is the last album to feature guitarist Kee Marcello.

Mr. Big front man Eric Martin co-wrote the lyrics to the song “All Or Nothing”.

The Cassette Chronicles – Vinnie Vincent Invasion’s self-titled debut

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.

VINNIE VINCENT INVASION – VINNIE VINCENT INVASION (1986)

After years of being out of the public eye, ex-Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent has emerged in recent months and given a number of interviews. One of the talking points in the interviews has been Vincent totally trashing the second and final album that was recorded by his Vinnie Vincent Invasion group. The All Systems Go album featured Mark Slaughter on vocals and Vincent has nothing good to say about the album or the singer.

While I once owned that album, I’ve never owned or even heard the self-titled debut release until I picked it out of the “Big Box of Cassettes” to write this article. But after hearing it, I can understand why Vincent goes out of his way to dump all over the second album.

On All Systems Go, there seemed to be much more of a focus on writing full and actual songs. Whereas on this album, it seemed the songs were given, if they were lucky, secondary importance to serving as a way for Vincent to musically masturbate with his guitar and get people to pay for it.

I know this likely means I won’t be receiving a Christmas card from Vincent anytime soon but the fact is that there really isn’t much in the way of a decent track on this entire album. There’s ten songs and none of them really stuck with me or even got much of a rise out of me at all.

While the attempt to give listeners a jolt to the heart by making pretty much every song a fast charging rock and roll romp might’ve been a good idea, I found that the uniform lack of quality songwriting trumped all. It was all about how fast and how long Vincent could play a guitar solo. 

The band lineup featured ex-Journey singer Robert Fleischman, bassist Dana Strum and drummer Bobby Rock. Sadly, they are all thoroughly overshadowed by the endless (and pointless) soloing from Vincent. At times, Fleischman’s vocals were so low in the mix as to be swallowed up by the music.

The only song that showed any signs of slowing down was “Back On The Streets” which had a somewhat darker tone to it. It also ended up being a vocal duet with Fleischman and Vincent taking turns on vocals. And yet somehow, this version of the song still managed to not work.

A long time ago, when music magazines were pretty much the only way you got news and reviews about artists, I remember reading one particular magazine’s reviews section. I don’t remember which album was being written about but the review for it was simply “This Album Sucks!” While that might seem more than a bit unprofessional, I have to confess that I had the same feeling about the Vinnie Vincent Invasion album.

I know that there are a lot of fans of Vincent out there and my opinion is likely going to be in the extremely small minority, but there’s nothing here that makes me ever want to listen to this album again. I’ve heard some mind-numbingly bad albums while writing this series, this just might be one of the worst ones yet.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The video for “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” features Mark Slaughter lip-synching over the vocal track from Robert Fleischman, who had left the group before the video shoot over a contract dispute.

The song “Animal” was on the soundtrack for the comedy film Summer School that starred Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley. “Back On The Streets” was covered by John Norum on his Total Control solo album, which was featured in The Cassette Chronicles back in April of 2017.

Bobby Rock is currently the drummer for Lita Ford and I’ve seen him perform twice with her in the last few years.

The Cassette Chronicles – House of Lord’s ‘Sahara’

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.

HOUSE OF LORDS – SAHARA (1990)

The second album from House of Lords might’ve been slightly less successful than their first album when you look solely at sales and chart records. But after listening to this album for the first time in more than two decades, I was a bit stunned to hear how well Sahara holds up. The album is a sleek, fast and at times highly aggressive guitar oriented album. While keyboardist Greg Giuffria started the band, the pomp and grandeur associated with the band’s sound gives way to the more guitar heavy sound and it comes off better for doing so.

I saw the band on the tour for this album. It was March 15th, 1991, when I saw them at the Citi Club in Boston (for those that don’t remember the place, it was on Lansdowne Street behind Fenway Park). They were opening for Nelson if you can believe it! While I am now what you might call an obsessive set list keeper, I didn’t keep track of the songs they played on this night. Oddly, I do have the Nelson set list. I was there to see House of Lords, but I brought my sister with me that night because she was a huge fan of Nelson (as well as loving their dad Ricky Nelson). So we both got to see bands we were interested in. Even more fun was the fact that we got driven to the show by my brother’s godfather in his limo.

Anyway, the album came out via Gene Simmons own label, Simmons Records, with the accompanying distribution of RCA and BMG.  The band had lost original guitarist Lanny Cordola (even though he does get co-writing credits on two songs on Sahara) and replaced him with Michael Guy. However, I’m not quite sure how involved Guy actually was with the band. While he’s listed as a band member in the liner notes, the Wikipedia entry for the album says that Doug Aldrich was the band’s guitarist. Aldrich is credited in the album notes as providing “additional guitars”. So there’s a mystery for you.

Like I said, I haven’t really listened to this album since 1991. The band’s cover of the Blind Faith song “Can’t Find My Way Home” still gets airplay on classic rock stations, so I’ve heard that song many times, but none of the other nine songs really stuck in my memory. After listening to Sahara for this article, I’m kind of saddened that they didn’t. 

The album opens with the song “Shoot” and though the term “crushing” isn’t one you might expect to read in association with House of Lords, that is exactly what this fast paced track made me think. There’s a nice gritty vibe to the song as well. I think part of that is because of the way singer James Christian’s vocals manage to get both down and dirty and soar high at the same time.

With “Can’t Find My Home” and the song “Remember My Name”, you get the required for the times power ballad tracks. Otherwise, rocking out madly is the name of the game here. There is really no track here I didn’t like hearing for the first time all over again.

The song “Heart On The Line” was written by Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilsen. He played the lead on the song as well. Probably unsurprisingly, this really did sound like a Cheap Trick with both Neilsen and singer Robin Zander performing backing vocals on the song as well.

The album’s title track might be the best example of the band’s ability to go for the more grandiose thematic openings to some of their songs. The extended opening here is still pretty rocking though. You might think that with a title like “It Ain’t Love” that you are in for another ballad, but despite opening up that way, the song soon vaults past that particular designation and becomes this big huge rocker. 

The album’s closing track “Kiss Of Fire” is just a pure ballsy rocker that really lets drummer Ken Mary shine in the intro as he slams away on the kit to fuel the adrenaline charged song. 

Given that a lot of the albums I listen to for this series are ones that I’ve either overlooked or skipped entirely when they were first released, I do enjoy finding what to me is an undiscovered gem. And with all ten songs on the album really appealing to me, I have to say that Sahara is one of my favorite albums to have written about for The Cassette Chronicles. It’s got a heavy power chord driven guitar sound, James Christian’s super vocals and it just rocks your socks off!

NOTES OF INTEREST – Despite numerous lineup changes over the years, House of Lords is still active today. The band will be playing in The Vault at the Greasy Luck in New Bedford, MA, on Sunday October 14th, 2018. And I was lucky enough to have already met current drummer BJ Zampa at that very venue when he played there on August 31st, 2018, in a couple of tribute bands (Black Knight’s Castle and Without Warning).

The Rick Nielsen written song “Heart On The Line” did end up being recorded by Cheap Trick themselves for their 2016 album Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello!

There’s a who’s who list of guests on this album. Others credited for playing guitar on the album included House of Lords singer James Christian, Krokus guitarist Mandy Meyer (mis-spelled Myer in the liner notes) and Chris Impellitteri. The backing vocals list included 20 people including White Lion’s Mike Tramp, Giuffria’s David Glen Eisley, Ron Keel and Autograph’s Steve Plunkett.

The Cassette Chronicles – Krokus’ ‘Headhunter’

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.

KROKUS – HEADHUNTER (1983)

You would think that a band that has released twenty albums over more than a forty year career would have made a pretty deep impression on me. But in the case of the Swiss rockers Krokus, that would be a false assumption.

If you’d asked me to name one of their albums, I likely wouldn’t have been able to do it. For whatever reason I never found my way into attaching my fandom to the band beyond the song “Screaming In The Night”. Beyond that, I have to own up to being essentially ignorant.

So when I dug Headhunter out of the “Big Box of Cassettes”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the band had kind of an AC/DC thing going for it with singer Marc Storace sounding an awful lot like he was auditioning for that particular band.

After listening to the album, I’m still not quite sure what to make of Krokus. The album opens up with two highly energetic and fast paced rock tracks. The title track has a particularly quick stepping feel to it. Both “Eat The Rich” and “Ready To Burn” are also charged rockers.

Headhunter features that classic “Screaming In The Night”, so it was pretty fun to hear that again. The song still gets airplay on classic rock radio stations and specialty programming shows, but it isn’t overplayed. Thus, when I have heard it on the radio, the power ballad still does have a specialness to it.

As for the second side of the album, things started out well with the opening “Night Wolf”. The song’s slow rolling intro gives way to a rocket fuel ride of a track. I thought Storace’s vocals were particularly enjoyable on this song. There was an added edgy snarl to his vocal delivery which made sense given the song’s lyrical content.

But then the band decided to include a cover of the Bachman-Turner Overdrive song “Stayed Awake All Night”. I’ve never really thought much of the original version of the song and Krokus didn’t accomplish anything that would be considered improving upon that original. It laid there flat and empty, a soulless attempt to curry favor with a song that admittedly many others have loved but I find a trying slog.

“Stand And Be Counted” was a decent enough rocker. I’d love to give you my first impressions on “White Din” and “Russian Winter”, but in all honesty, I fell asleep before the songs played. But when I woke up, I went back and listened to them both. I thought “White Din” was a bit of a futile waste of time. However, “Russian Winter” is actually a killer track. Even though the song is just over three and a half minutes, Krokus manages to give the song an epic feel to it. It feels like a longer song and I mean that in a good way. Fast paced and heavy, with a soundtrack that runs through your brain and a really great vocal turn from Storace, this is a great song!

Now, I know I said I don’t know what to make of the band. The album has some great highlights and not that many lows. But, while as a singular experienc I enjoyed the album, I can’t rightly decide if it makes me want to seek out more material from Krokus or not. Headhunter is good, but is it good enough to convert me into a long delayed fandom for the band? I just don’t know. I do have another Krokus album that will be featured in this series down the line, perhaps that will go a long ways towards answering my question.

Until that time, Headhunter does have a pretty solid pedigree and it was nice to finally get to experience a full album’s worth of material from Krokus.

NOTES OF INTEREST – The album was produced by Tom Allom, who is best known for producing a number of albums by Judas Priest. The song “Ready To Burn” features backing vocals from Judas Priest singer Rob Halford.

Jimi Jamison, who would go on to find his biggest fame with Survivor, also provided backing vocals for the album.

The band will embark on a career-ending farewell tour in 2019.

The Cassette Chronicles – Cinderella’s ‘Long Cold Winter’

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.

CINDERELLA – LONG COLD WINTER (1988)

As I wrote in my write up on the first Cinderella album Night Songs, I really wasn’t all that into the first two albums from the band. However, much like the case with that first album, I’ve had to do a major rethink about Long Cold Winter after listening to it again thirty years after the fact. I suppose better late than never would apply here, but I really need to go back in time and have a long musical discussion with my 18 year old self about the music I ignored.

While Long Cold Winter did have four songs that were released as singles, I can’t remember really being blown away by the rest of the tracks on the album. I loved the hits, but given what at the time I perceived to be just a bunch of filler material to round out the album, the album was doomed to eventually find its way out of my music collection.

Jump forward from 1988 to 2018, and it looks like I owe a large mea culpa to the band…AGAIN! The band started moving even more away from most of the glam sound on this album, even moreso than album #1. This shift was immediately on display with the opening song “Bad Seamstress Blues / Fallin’ Apart At The Seams”. The first part of the song was this really cool dead on bluesy intro. Mostly guitar with a little one verse lyrical passage, it really resonated with me and left me with the sinking feeling that I was going to be giving myself a mental head slap when all was said and done. The second part of the song is a rocking stomp that had me writing a note saying “This is a GREAT song!”

I mentioned that there were four songs that got released as singles. The album was front loaded with three of those songs. You had “Gypsy Road,” which despite being the song that charted the lowest out of the four, might just be my favorite song on the entire album. Listening to the album while reading the lyric sheet really gave me that new appreciation for Tom Keifer’s writing ability all over again. Other than one co-writing credit for bassist Eric Brittingham, Keifer wrote all the songs on this album.

When the band initially released “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” I kind of found myself annoyed by it. However, as I listened to it now, I got the chance to go deeper into the lyrics and found myself suddenly being really digging the song. It was like I was hearing it with new ears or something. Maybe because the lyrics resonated with me due to my pathetically sad social life at this current point in life, but whatever the reason. I actually enjoyed the song a lot. 

And you can’t leave out “The Last Mile”, another rocking run through for the band. I do have to say that I was kind of disappointed by the closing song on the first side of the album. It’s called “Second Wind” but it actually did more to take the wind out of the sails of the album for a bit. It’s got a cool guitar solo and a long musical outro, but otherwise there was something missing with this number and I found myself feeling adrift while listening to the song.

The title track of the album opens up side two and while it had some really ballsy guitar work, I thought it failed to establish what seemed to be a moody atmospheric feel to the song. It left me cold (no pun intended) and I instantly hoped things would not be headed in the wrong direction with the rest of Side Two.

Thankfully, my fears were unfounded as “If You Don’t Like It” roared out of the speakers, with its butt-kicking ferociousness giving an instant jolt of energy. I really liked how the lyrics were so defiant and in your face. 

“Coming Home” was a mid tempo power ballad and the album’s third single. I enjoyed the song then and now. “Fire and Ice” was a bit of a surprise for me because it definitely fell under the banner of filler for me when I first listened to this album back in the day. But whether it was the song or myself that matured over the last three decades, the track has grown on me.

Cinderella closed out Long Cold Winter with a bang on the track “Take Me Back”. It’s a lyrical nostalgia trip down memory lane set to a rocking soundtrack. It’s a flat out great song but what really got me excited was how Keifer’s vocals/lyrics really flowed throughout the track, particularly on the chorus. 

It seems that once again, I’ve unearthed evidence that I failed to appreciate what was right in front of me all these years. While the notion of filler material isn’t completely dispelled for me because of the two songs I still really could do without, Long Cold Winter is actually far better than I ever gave it credit for upon its original release.  

NOTES OF INTEREST: The album initially went double platinum and was eventually certified triple platinum.

While Fred Coury was the drummer for Cinderella, like the first album, he did not play a single note on Long Cold Winter. Instead, the drums were recorded by Denny Carmassi (Heart) and Cozy Powell (Rainbow, amongst a host of other notable bands).

The Cassette Chronicles – Accept’s self-titled debut

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.

ACCEPT – ACCEPT  (1979)

While the stated time span of this series is the 80’s and ’90s, you’ll note that this article on the self-titled debut album from Accept dates to 1979. So it falls just outside of the parameters, but since the cassette edition I have appears to be a bargain basement reissue from 1986 (there’s even a “special bargain price” stamped onto the cover art), I’m fine with this slight exception. 

Now, it should be noted from the top that I’m a huge fan of the band. Three of their last four albums have ended up as my top album of the year they were released, and the fourth one came in at #2.

But in the interest of full disclosure, my Accept fandom didn’t start until the first time I heard the “Balls To The Wall” song. Given that came off the album of the same name, the band was on their fifth release before I was even aware of their existence.

Unlike a lot of bands that I “discover”, I have never really gone back to Accept’s earliest days to explore where they came from musically to where they are now. Until now that is.

The band’s first album has been less than charitably described by both singer Udo Dirkschneider and Wolf Hoffman. The common refrain seems to be that while it gave the band the ability to further their career, the songs weren’t really all that focused in one direction and the production was less than ideal.

I can see what they mean but at the same time, there are some rather interesting songs on the album. The first thing you notice at the start of the release is that the band has more of a straight up rock and roll sound as opposed to the more metallic nature fans have come to know in the last three plus decades. 

The first two songs, “Lady Lou” and “Tired Of Me”, are both quickly paced numbers. Both songs are good enough in their own right I suppose but truthfully they don’t really seem to have much staying power. It was actually track three, “Seawinds”, that struck me as the first strong track on the album. It’s a ballad but I found it rather a cool sounding track. It’s not like Accept has never done a ballad before and they do tend to have some good ones. For me, I’d add “Seawinds” to that list.

But never fear metal fans, because the rock and roll sound soon starts to give way to a heavier, more metal sound with “Take Him In My Heart”. The vocal performance on the song might strike you a bit odd at first because it seems totally out of character with what you might know of Udo’s vocal style but in the end this is just a very interesting song. And the scream from Udo at the end is a prime metal howl. As for the last song on the first side of the album, “Sounds Of War” really kicks in with a more metallic overtone as it races from start to finish.

Side two really has something going for it as the songwriting gets faster, heavier and far more aggressive. “Free Me Now” and “That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll” are straight up metal songs and if I could still headbang like a madman, that’s what I would’ve been doing.

I wasn’t crazy about the song “Glad To Be Alone”. It’s a plodding slog of a track at the start and while it does get faster as the song progresses, if I was to pick one song that best defines the band’s dissatisfaction with the album, it would be this one. It’s just a momentum killer for me.

Thankfully, the last two songs are once again fast paced and give an electrical charge to the ears and hearts of metal fans. “Helldriver” and “Street Fighter” are simple straight forward rockers with attitude to spare.

It’s funny to think that I liked this album better than the people who created it. But if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then music must be in the ears of the listener. For me, Accept is where the nascent band first started showing signs of the future that was to come for them. The production may be raw and the songwriting may be less focused than what the band would’ve liked as they look back on it. However, for me this was one heck of an entertaining look at the very earliest days of one of my favorite bands.

NOTES OF INTEREST: Frank Friedrich played drums on Accept but according to Wikipedia, he decided against a career as a professional musician. Stefan Kaufmann was hired as his replacement before the album was released.

Bassist Peter Baltes sang lead on “Seawinds” and “Sounds Of War”.