By Scott Hefflon
This is just a sampler of the four-CD box set, but man, it’s plenty, thanks. This is actually a cool idea, but when executed, it blows. So here’s the scoop: A lot of your favorite ’80s metal, both cool and embarrassing, and a lot of the bands you hated then and now. But they’re demo versions of the songs. So while, in theory, you can hear what Poison’s “Look What the Cat Dragged In” sounded like before they’d fully polished it. Or, uh, you can realize that the idea sounds a lot better than this CD sounds. A lot of these bands – like current pop, like a lot of music – rely heavily on slick production. Otherwise, you notice your favorite big ’80s rock bands are actually only a little better than the loser cover bands down the street, and the ironic covers you can hear from trendy rockers now, until you throw rocks at them when they decide to “let their hair down.”
It’s bad enough to relive those glory daze and realize that all the blow and blowjobs must’ve really killed some brain cells, cuz why the fuck did I ever buy three Keel records? But worse than that is to relive those glory days, drinking lite beer cuz you have to watch your weight, and headbanging isn’t quite the same since you chopped off all your hair to get a real job, only to get downsided, and your kids wanna jump around with you, because Daddy’s being silly, isn’t he? Add to that that these demo versions of your youthful faves don’t sound as good as the final versions, much less the “classics” you’ve sung in your head ever since. So drink harder. Repress it. That’s how you survived the ’80s the first time, right?
Anyway, this box set is split into four CDs: The early ’80s (1980-1985), the mid/late ’80s (1985-1988), the late ’80s, and the early ’90s. Keep in mind the demo theme here, so a lot of good bands aren’t here: Some bands probably didn’t return phone calls, couldn’t be tracked down, or otherwise wouldn’t grant permission for use. Ok, so I’ll just rattle off the names, and you can say “cool!” or “who?” as you see fit.
Disc 1: Hollywood Rose, Hellion, Mickey Ratt, Plain Jane, Candy, Steeler, Dokken, W.A.S.P., Black N’ Blue, The Joneses, The Zeros, Quiet Riot, Armored Saint, Rat (the second T was removed for legal reasons), Bitch, Kerry Doll, Warrant, Sin, Xciter.
Disc 2: Poison, Lizzy Borden, L.A. Guns, Stryper, Great White, Demolition Galore, Harlow, Slut, Decry, Nitro, Faster Pussycat, Rough Cutt, Tuff, Odin, Salty Dog, Sound Barrier, WWIII, Rock City Angels, The Sea Hags.
Disc 3: Keel, Jailhouse, London, Cherry Street, Junkyard, China, Bang Tango, Black Cherry, King Kobra, Motorcycle Boy, Tommi Gunn, Stars From Mars, Cats in Boots, Lions & Ghosts, Angora, Virgin, Hangmen, XYZ, Kills For Thrills, D’Molls.
Disc 4: Electric Angels, Burning Tree, Jetboy, Big Bang Babies, Lypswitch, Syanide Kick, Darling Cruel, Saigon Saloon, Rebel Rebel, Spiders & Snakes, Hardly Dangerous, Skull, Yesterday’s Tear, Pretty Boy Floyd, Blackboard Jungle, Love/Hate, Mondo Kane, Fizzy Bangers, Alleycat Scratch.