Tag: Hard Rock

1974, Music

Sheer Heart Attack (1974) by Queen

This is, by all accounts, the record where Queen really becomes Queen, taking their bizarre (insane, really) hybrid style and finally pairing it with enough quality songs that it no longer seems gimmicky. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but I get why people feel this way.

1984, Music

Stay Hungry (1984) by Twisted Sister

My image of Twisted Sister was pretty much busted by their debut record. So much of what I thought was true about them seemed to not actually be true about them, at least on that first record. However, listening to this, I feel like the initial impression was maybe a little more correct than I …

1974, Music

Second Helping (1974) by Lynyrd Skynyrd

This record is notable for containing Skynyrd’s most famous song (apologies to “Freebird”), perhaps the definitive Southern Rock song, their biggest hit and such a cultural touchstone that Kid Rock managed to have a hit sampling it decades later. (The less said about that last one, the better.) But the presence of “Sweet Home Alabama” …

1984, Music

Love at First Sting (1984) by Scorpions

I have been avoiding listening to a Scorpions my requisite three times for a long time, every time an anniversary of theirs has come up, because every experience of them I’ve had has told me I do not like them. From their biggest hit (heard here) to any of their records I’ve begun to listen …

1979, Music

Overkill (1979) by Motörhead

I have never listened to Motörhead’s debut in part because I have been warned off it by bad reviews. It came out a year and a half before this record but, in the meantime, the much more polished but still fast and relatively rough (for ’70s metal) Stained Class came out. What I’m trying to …

1974, Music

Queen II (1974)

I think it’s safe to say that there’s no other band that sounds like Queen: hard rock plus operatic vocals plus other weird arty or proggy ideas, in a really accessible package, with occasional diversions into other genres that shouldn’t fit – pick a Queen record and there’s usually at least one of these. I …

1974, Music

Kansas

When I was curating albums for the latest episode of my podcast, I glanced and the Wikipedia entry for this album and saw a 5 star review. I sighed and figured “Fine, Kansas it is.” I looked again later and realized that the ranking came from a site I didn’t put much credence in. But, …

1984, Music

1984 by Van Halen

I know when I listened to Van Halen’s debut album – I think the only album of theirs I’ve actually listened to all the way through before this one – I was thinking it lacked one thing: synthesizers. The decision to add a cheesy ’80s synth to a sound that was already pretty fucking dumb …

1973, Music

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) by Black Sabbath

Is a band that does one particular thing very well, like Black Sabbath, allowed to evolve? It’s one of those tricky questions. On the one hand, we expect many if not most artists to evolve in some way. (Thank the Beatles for that, if you hate that.) On the other hand, some bands (AC/DC, Ramones, …

1978, Music

Killing Machine (1978) by Judas Priest [aka Hell Bent for Leather]

Judas Priest are not my favourite metal band by a long shot, but I had to admire how significant Stained Class was, with some tracks feeling like they were NWOBHM before such a thing even existed. I can’t decide now whether that was due to my very low expectations or the sound of that record, …

1993, Music

Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell (1993) by Meat Loaf

Full disclosure: I don’t like the original Bat Out of Hell. I know most of the words to the songs and probably even most of the words in the spoken word parts. But I hate what that record represents – nostalgia meets the Broadway musical meets arena rock – and the whole thing is so …

1988, Music

No Rest for the Wicked (1988) by Ozzy Osbourne

I was really tempted to think of Ozzy as an anachronism by 1988, as metal had changed one hell of a lot in the last 20 years. But the opening intensity of the guitar gave me hope that maybe he wasn’t! Then that talk box kicked in, and I wasn’t so sure.

1983, Music

Shout at the Devil (1983) by Mötley Crüe

I have managed to avoid Mötley Crüe for most of my life, beyond their biggest songs, and I can’t say I was looking forward to this. But I find myself…. not pleasantly surprised but at least not horrified. For all their reputation as a “hair metal” band, on this record at least they still sound …

1998, Music

Devil Without a Cause (1998) by Kid Rock

Full disclosure: I don’t like Kid Rock. I don’t like his urban hick persona. I don’t like his public support of The Donald. I don’t like that he owns a craft brewery that makes watery lagers because he didn’t think there were enough watery lagers available in the United States. If I never heard another …

1973, Music

Vagabonds of the Western World (1973) by Thin Lizzy

I’ve been meaning to listen to Thin Lizzy since I listened to classic rock almost exclusively (i.e. for 20 years). For some reason that has never happened. And now I find myself listening to a different album that their reputed best. I worried that was a recipe for disaster. Good thing Thin Lizzy are pretty …

1973, Music

pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd (1973)

With their debut album, Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t invent southern rock, as it had already existed for at least 4 years. But you might say they invented the populist form of southern rock, a louder, more blue collar version that relies more on hard rock and country than on soul or jazz. There are eight songs …

1968, Music

Outsideinside (1968) by Blue Cheer

I don’t know what it is exactly, whether it’s the lack of novelty or something more concrete like weaker songs, but this record does not feel like it is the equal to Vincebus Eruptum. Making the comparison is not fair to begin with, simply because the debut is arguably one of the most important records …

1973, Music

We’re An American Band (1973) by Grand Funk Railroad

I don’t know much about Grand Funk Railroad. I’ve heard the title track and a few other hits, but most of what I know of them consists of jokes about them from The Simpsons and other places, so I have kind of always dismissed them without giving it a second thought. And, since it’s been …

1973, Music

Never Turn Your Back on a Friend (1973) by Budgie

My memory of Budgie’s self-titled debut album is that it is fast; Budgie play faster than just about any of the original metal bands (with the exception of Deep Purple on occasion). And so, putting everything else aside, that record is important as it points towards the New Wave of British Heavy Metal well over …

1978, Music

Van Halen (1978)

The first time I ever heard “Eruption” my mind was blown. I had never heard anyone play guitar like that (though that was because I hadn’t heard so many guitarists). It was my gold standard in virtuoso (masturbatory?) guitar showmanship until I heard “Spanish Fly,” which seemed so much more impressive for being played on …

1973, Music

Tyranny and Mutation (1973) by Blue Oyster Cult

I didn’t quite grow up with early British metal but when I started listening to music other than oldies in my late teens, Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath played a pretty big part of my listening. On my second Blue Oyster Cult record I find myself thinking that it was all those years of worshiping those …

1983, Music

Pyromania (1983) by Def Leppard

I struggled with just giving Hysteria my usual three listens and so I was not looking forward to this record. The good news is that it is better than Hysteria. The bad news is that claiming anything is better than Hysteria is damning with faint praise.