Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Black Angels - Hellmachine (1982)

Country: Switzerland
Year: 1982
Line-up: Clive Murray (vocals), Mark Egg (guitars), Andy McKay (guitars), Walt Lion (bass), Brian Irving (drums), Harry Stone (keyboards)

Track Listing:
Side A
1. Hellmachine 04:43  
2. Midnight Rider 03:19  
3. Seamer Station 04:25  
4. Amsterdam 03:00  
5. Rock It 03:50  
Side B
6. Over the Limit 03:53  
7. Juvenile Delinquent 03:35  
8. Tell Me Why 04:04  
9. Problem Child 03:52  
10. Don't Look Back 03:54   

Fletchanator's comment: This one is a bit of a departure from the usual stuff that I post on this blog, but I ripped it from vinyl for my own purposes and figured I would share it anyway. It's not glammy, it's not sleazy, but it is hard rock. Black Angels are a Swiss band that play a brand of 1970s-ish keyboard-laden hard rock reminiscent of Deep Purple, with some NWOBHM thrown into the mix. This album, their first, was recorded in the studio owned by their Swiss compatriots Krokus.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Kik Tracee - No Rules (1991)

Country: USA
Year: 1991
Line-up: Stephen Shareaux (vocals), Michael Marquis (lead guitar), Gregory Hex (rhythm guitar), Rob Grad (bass), Johnny Douglas (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  Don't Need Rules  3:18
2.  Mrs. Robinson  4:33  
3.  You're So Strange  4:36
4.  Trash City  4:46
5.  Hard Time  4:24
6.  Big Western Sky  4:53
7.  Generation Express  5:21
8.  Soul Shaker  4:31
9.  Tangerine Man  4:46
10.  Lost  4:58
11.  Velvet Crush  3:44
12.  Rattlesnake Eyes (Strawberry Jam)  4:06
13.  Romeo Blues  4:46
14.  Fade Dunaway   0:41

Fletchanator's comment: Now here is a fantastic band that came along too late in the day to have any lasting impact on the scene. This, their debut album, was released in 1991 and we know how the music landscape was shaping up by that stage (*cough*grungepocalypse*cough*). They did release an EP a year after this, but the writing was on the wall by that stage.
This album is produced by Slaughter bassist Dana Strum, so you get highly-polished production, reminiscent of Strum's own band. In terms of sound, Kik Tracee are a little difficult to peg down. The closest I could get would be to say they sound like Guns n Roses mixed with Slaughter mixed with Saigon Kick. But whatever the recipe, the end result is excellent and is worth hearing just for Stephen Shareaux's distinctive vocals.
The stand out tracks are You're So Strange and Trash City, but you also get a pretty-good Simon & Garfunkel cover (Mrs Robinson) and a string of other great tunes. It's a shame Kik Tracee hit the scene in 1991 and not 1986/87, because I could have seen them having a great career. Kik Tracee rocks!


Vyper - Prepared to Strike (1984)

Country: USA
Year: 1984
Line-up: Christy Black (vocals), Robbie Saint (guitars), Jacky Foxx (guitars), Rik Brock (bass), Michael Scott (drums).

Track Listing:
1.  I'm Not Waiting  
2.  Cold As A Stone  
3.  Diamonds  
4.  Nighttime Is Wild  
5.  Runnin' With The Pack  
6.  Can't Stop Dreamin'  
7.  Dealer  
8.  Climbing Up The Walls  
9.  Drivin' Me Insane  
10.  She's Nasty  

Fletchanator's comment: The only full-length album by Kansas City, Missouri band Vyper, who also released a four-track EP a year later in 1985. Originally put out in 1984 by Greenworld/Kondor Records, this was re-released by Retrospect Records in 2005 (with the four EP tracks tacked on the end). Even the rerelease goes for some hefty money - last time I looked it was going for $50+ on eBay.
Apparently Vyper suffered from the familiar situation of their record label going tits-up and later in the band's life there was two versions of Vyper touring, ala LA Guns, Ratt and so many other hard rock bands in recent years.
In terms of sound, this one bounces between AOR-edged hard rock and NWOBHM-influenced melodic metal. You can definitely hear a Judas Priest influence on the song Dealer, and for the most part the guitar sound is heavier than you would usually hear on AOR/hard rock.
Other songs have a definite Ratt or WASP sound to them, although singer Christy Black doesn't attempt anything close to Stephen Pearcy's or Blackie Lawless's rasp, sticking to straight-forward singing. Some of the lyrics are a bit too simple ("Nighttime is wild so don’t bring your child to the park" as a chorus for example), but this is good, rare stuff - if you like your Sunset Strip glam rock to have a heavier edge to it you'll enjoy this.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Jetboy - Feel the Shake (1988)

Country: USA
Year: 1988
Line-up: Mickey Finn (vocals), Fernie Rod (guitars), Billy Rowe (guitars), Sam Yaffa (bass), Ron Tostenson (drums)

Track Listing:

1.  Feel The Shake  4:28
2.  Make Some Noise  3:45
3.  Bad Disease  4:09
4.  Fire In My Heart  3:34
5.  Hometown Blues  5:15
6.  Locked In A Cage  3:04
7.  Talkin'  4:05
8.  Hard Climb  4:13
9.  Bloodstone  3:48
10.  Snakebite  3:40

Fletchanator's comment: This is the debut effort from late-80s Sunset Strip regulars Jetboy, another band who were big in the Cali scene but never really broke out on the national or international stage. With ex-Hanoi Rocks bassist Sam Yaffa twanging the strings, this release has a similar mix of glam rock, punk asthetics and blues riffs to that legendary Finnish band. Throw Hanoi Rocks, LA Guns, The Cult and Cinderella into a pot and you've got Jetboy (just don't expect the raspy vocals that were popular on the Strip back in those days, Mickey Finn's vocals are cleaner than that). Great stuff, especially the opening track, which kicks butt!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Axatak - Axatak EP (1985)

Country: Australia
Year: 1985
Line-up: John McCulloch (vocals, guitars), Pete Denero (vocals, guitars), Andy Zouman (vocals, bass), Don Hailes (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Shock Rock 3:37
2.  You  3:44
3.  Let the Beast Run Wild 3:43
4.  Live Out Your Dreams  4:38
5.  Night Fighter  4:26

Fletchanator's comment: Axatak were formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1983, out of one of that city's first Kiss cover bands, Kiss Klones. Hearing this five-track EP it's easy to see that connection, as they do sound a lot like Kiss in places, mixed with early Motley Crue. So essentially you get straight-forward song-writing ala Kiss and a smidgen of the sleaze and underground sound of Too Fast For Love/Shout At the Devil-era Crue. The result isn't anything that's going to blow your socks off, but it's solid stuff and this album is damn near impossible to get hold of (not released on CD as far as I know, and vinyl copies go for $100+ on eBay).


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fair Warning - Fair Warning (1992)

Country: Germany
Year: 1992
Line-up: Tommy Heart (vocals), Helge Engelke (guitars, keyboards), Andy Malecek (guitars), Ule W Rigten (bass), CC Behrens (drums)

Track Listing:
1.  Longing for Love  3:49
2.  When Love Fails  3:41
3.  The Call of the Heart  4:13
4.  Crazy  3:50
5.  One Step Closer  3:59
6.  Hang On  4:03
7.  Out On the Run  3:53
8.  Long Gone  4:39
9.  The Eyes of the Rock  3:47
10.  Take a Look at the Future  3:55
11.  The Heat of Emotion  3:03
12.  Take Me Up  4:25

Fletchanator's comment: This album is a must-have for all fans of hard rock music. To date Fair Warning have released 8 studio albums (the most recent in 2013) and this is where it all started for the German rockers. From start to finish this is a near-faultless album - great songwriting, fantastic guitar-work and the stellar voice of Tommy Heart. There are no weak songs, just song after song of top-notch AOR-edged hard rock.
Because of their nationality and the way that Heart pronounces words, it's easy to compare Fair Warning to fellow countrymen like Scorpions and Bonfire. They definitely sound like those bands (with a bit more of an AOR flavour due to the keyboards), but are also comparable to the likes of Bad English, Firehouse and Victory.
If you have never heard Fair Warning, you're in for a treat!


Sittin' Pretty - Sittin' Pretty (1988)

Country: USA
Year: 1988
Line-up: Tommy Lee (vocals), Joey Herr (guitar), Naz (bass), Andrew (drums)

Track Listing:

1.  Lola's Place
2.   Down in the Big Time
3.  Sweet Sweet Love
4.  China Died
5.  Rock n Roll Boys
6.  All the Pretty Lies
7.  Stay With Me (Faces cover)
8.  Why Do You Love Me
9.  She's Just a Kid
10.  Small Town Girl

Fletchanator's comment: Sittin' Pretty were a New Jersey/NYC four-piece who recorded just the one album and were poised for big things (getting major airplay in their home area and making the pages of Hit Parader) when sadly singer Tommy Lee was killed in a car accident.
This is a rip of the first-ever CD issue of the album, released in 2014 by Demon Doll Records, which goes for pretty big money on eBay.
Sound-wise, Sittin' Pretty remind me of Great White, with some Poison thrown into the mix. They play typical late 80s glam hard rock - the best songs are Lola's Place, the ballad China Died and the kickass cover of The Faces' hit Stay With Me.