Posts Tagged ‘Black Sabbath’

ImageFrom memory, I purchased this around 85 and it rules. Double LP, gate-fold sleeve, pressed locally via Concept Records. Around this time period, heavy metal was all I knew. Money earnt from my menial factory job was spent on metal records….and I’ve never regretted it. Actually this compilation really is a sneak peek at the barren musical landscape that was Australia in the mid-80’s. Hard rock and heavy metal was indeed – underground. Mr Rockbrat laughs when, nowadays, you run into people – straights, who tell you they went and saw Slayer on the weekend, or they have the new Sabbath CD ! Alas, metal maniacs, it was not always like this. Anyway, I found this gem whilst rummaging through my wax recently and as I cast my eyes over it, it got me thinking how much I learnt from it. Who needed school text books when the ‘istory of ‘eavy metal had to be learned, right ?!  The collection is pretty much a snap-shot of 83-84 heavy metal releases. WASP, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Scorps, Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Ozzy, Motorhead, Dio, Motley, Priest, Kiss – big guns of the genre at that time, who all have tracks on here. But it was the inclusion of bands like Warlock, Y & T, Titan and Coney Hatch which had me in a spin. Often, the first place you would hear new bands was on compilations, and such was the case with Metal Madness. The Rock Goddess tune ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – tuned me on to this kick-ass chick three-piece and I still listen to them today. Girlschool got a start – as did Lita Ford ! A rickapoodie and a fandooglie !  The Sabbath tune ‘Trashed’ was with Gillan up front – it confirms what I said before that the comp in fact pieced together some of the most recent releases from this time period (never could stomach Ian Gillan’s shrilling vocals). Points to the compiler – Grand Wizard Glenn A Baker – for doing that. The inclusion of local acts Titan, Boss and Melbourne’s Bengal Tigers showed Baker – or an assistant, had their ear to the ground, but the inclusion of Spinal Tap was not funny – or was it ? Is this a joke ? Is this a joke ? How the hell did Canned Heat get a look in ? Including the Kiss plodder ‘Get All You Can Take’ from their then-released Animalize opus, was a masterstroke in absurdity. ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ or ‘Thrills In The Night’ woulda been my Kiss cuts from that rekkid – but it mattered not. Adelaide’s Titan, as you may or may not know, released ‘Head Scare’ on Raven Records. I think some of those members ended up in Almost Human, did they not ? This release was followed-up by the equally rockin’ ‘Headbanger’s Heaven’ double LP a short while later. Again, the record introduced me to some great HM bands, many of which still get spun on the rockbrat turntable. As the wacky Baker states in the liner notes ‘ if you can’t get off on this brain-bending compilation, you’re beyond all hope’. Comments from the Super Coach.


surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

better than any sleeping tablet

Y’know I was driving along the highway recently and Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ came over the radio. Classic it may be, but it has not stood the test of time. I nearly clenched my teeth and floored it out of frustration, willing the song to be over and done with. It sounds terribly dated but alas my friends, it is not alone. You see along with say Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, these two culprits are just a couple of what Mr Rockbrat will refer to as ‘tired old rock dogs’ – err hang on, that could me and the Cowboy. Ahem.

These are the tunes you know backwards – and sideways and upside down. Radio stations around the globe (is there a need for radio stations nowadays ?) should take a note of these and ensure they NEVER get aired again. But let’s move on…
You can bet back in the early 70’s ‘Smoke On The Water’ sounded raw and fresh – and would’ve no doubt angered parents around Britain, as their kids cranked it loudly whilst they sipped tea and tried to watch Coronation Street or whatever. Whilst on Purple, ‘Black Night’ is another of theirs which makes the grade. It could replace bran muffins. Whilst I’m at it, I’ve never been a fan of Gillan’s vocals, and I think that is a chief contributor to why these two plodders should be in a museum. Whilst on the subject of dusty museums, Eric Crapton and his ‘supergroup’ Cream are another contender.  Their ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ is another teeth grinder and I instantly kill the radio when I hear it. Horrible. Sure Crapton is a genius, but he’s about as interesting as a plain biscuit. I’m sure Koresh and his band of zany followers would’ve been screaming for mercy had the authorities at Waco simply played this old tune over the PA (no God/Clapton pun intended here either !). At the risk of offending some of the narrow-sighted Kiss zombies, I am including ‘Rock n Roll All Nite’. The Catman does not even get to finish his drum intro on this song before I change it. Looking back, Rock n Roll All Nite had started to sound dated by the early 80’s – and I should know, as I was there….oh and just for the record – when it came to partying (ie boozing) everyday it was Space Ace and Criss and not the tune’s contributors, who were no doubt double checking their bank balances. Though as history has shown, Frehley did enough partying for the whole band back in the day. Moving on to our next old age popsioner is Suzi Q’s Devil Gate Drive. I hope to near hear that ‘a one a two a one two three’ intro whilst I’m alive. Plod plod plod. Next up is Don McLean’s American Pie. Haven’t we heard this enough already. It’s not only in February when this one makes me shiver – it’s all year round. The might Led Zep are not immune either. Their classic Black Dog is now a battered old hound and should be put down. Whilst on the subject of Animals (geddit) another tune which sounds like it was recorded in 1805 is the legendary House Of The Rising Sun. Zzzzzzzz. Sorry I was drifting off just thinking of the melody. The King (and I don’t mean Wally Lewis) makes the cut with Don’t Be Cruel. Wake me when it’s over.

Before you write and say what about Syknyrd or Golden Earring or the Stones etc etc stop and re-listen to the tunes. ‘Satisfaction’ still sounds great, so too ‘Radar Love’ or any Skynyrd tune. Skynyrd by the way do not rely on their back catalogue and continue to write and release killer tunage. Overall – these songs might be fine for one of those compilation ‘driving albums’ you can find at a road stop – but if that was the only choice, I think I’d rather roll the window down and listen to the engine.

Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple
Black Night – Deep Purple
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
Rock n Roll All Nite – Kiss
Devil gate Drive – Suzi Quatro
Black Dog – Led Zeppelin
American Pie – Don McLean
House Of The Rising Sun – Animals
Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley

The great Iommi ! pic by Dean Fardell

Mr Tony Iommi is a true pioneer when it comes to the ‘heavy riff’. His amazing guitar sound influenced millions and in fact he (and Page) really were the innovators of the heavy metal and hard rock sound we all take for granted nowadays. But I often wonder what is my favorite solo which he’s laid down ? I’ll probably cop some flak for this but Mr Rockbrat maintains his best ever guitar work was done during what are now called ‘The Dio Years’. Yes I agree that songs like  The Wizard, NIB, Symptom of the Universe, Rat Salad, Fairies Wear Boots etc are all classic Sabbath tunes – no doubt about that. It’s just that his talented fret work was still being developed during those first couple of Sabs albums. Whilst we’re at it, I actually have trouble listening to a song like Paranoid or War Pigs nowadays. They have not aged terribly well with the very basic Paranoid sounding tired and tedious. If  I never hear that song (and Purple’s Black Night’) again I’ll die a happy man. Come to think of it, I very rarely listen to Sabbath with Ozzy at all these days – and if I want to play some Ozzy it’s only the Daisley/Rhoads period from his solo career anyway. Fast forward to 79/80/81 and Iommi’s guitar work is alive, innovative and very loud. Not gonna do a list here – as all of his solo’s and riffing on both Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules are very very classy – but it’s his solo in ‘Mob Rules’ which is possibly my all time favourite. Every time I hear it I shudder like I’ve been punched in the gut. It’s pure, stripped down heavy metal at its absolute best. If you missed the recent Heaven and Hell shows you missed something legendary. An evening where rock legends walked the stage and showed all and sundry how it was done. They were kicking off that tour with ‘Mob Rules’ and man, what a buzz to see Iommi saunter out from behind the curtains – draped in a black leather jacket whilst cranking out that opening riff on his Signature SG. It does not get any better. What’s your favorite Iommi solo ?

Campbell and Dio tear it up

Make no mistake kids – back in 83/84 Belfast boy Vivian Campbell was a genuine, bonafide guitar shredding rock star ! Countless hours were spent in the mid-80’s watching Dio’s ‘Special From The Spectrum’ live VHS cassette, and I STILL get a thrill when I view it. The band are on fire and kick major ass. But the one thing which hits you immediately is just how cool guitarist Viv Campbell both looked and played. Man he could play. His solo on this tour is one of my favourite ever guitar solo’s. If you went to the bar during  it, well shame on you. After he was fired from Dio, Campbell stated something in the press like ‘I got tired of the rubber dragons” (stage props) and some years down the track would reportedly spray other unkind comments about the great Ronnie.  Like ot or not Viv, RJD made you a star ! Dio himself would also make a similar comment to this effect and observed that Vivian was playing ‘second banana’…ie behind other guitarists. Sure he wound up in the MTV version of Whitesnake – playing Sykes riffs down pat – but as Ronnie had aso accurately alluded to, remained in fellow guiatrist Adrian Vandenberg’s shadow. When he joined Def Leppard it seemed a good match. Though Steve Clarke’s shoes can never be filled. If you think Eddie Van Halen and Malmsteen were the kings of 80’s rock guitarists – think again. Go view this Dio 1984 live DVD and you’ll see just how cool Vivian Campbell really was – his sound was so unique, solo’s innovative and he actually added something vital and new to the Sabbath and Rainbow tunes. What a truly great live band that version of Dio were – maybe the best ever backing band Ronnie ever had ?