Music Review: SCARLET RED – Don’t Dance With Danger

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scarlet red - don't dance with dangerSCARLET RED
Don’t Dance With Danger
Pure Metal Records
1989

The band Scarlet Red is one of those obscure glam metal bands that, after doing a bit of digging, revels that they had a rather interesting history. It seems they began life as a band named Lust, until their drummer became a Christian and left, effectively breaking up the band. Then, one by one, the other members became Christians, and they all reformed under their new name Scarlet Red. After contributing the song “You Live Fast” on a compilation on Pure Metal Records, they then recorded and released their only full-length album, Don’t Dance With Danger, also on Pure Metal in 1989.

The album begins with the aforementioned “You Live Fast”, kicking things into gear with a nice driving hard rocker with a heavy guitar riff and a hook that will stick right into you and won’t let go. I don’t know if the album version of this song is any different than the one on The Axemen compilation, as I haven’t had that one in my collection for a while. Anyway, “Cry Out” is another hard rocking cut, a bit darker with a nice heavy riff. “Never” is more commercial sounding rock tune, while “Knock Down The Walls” ventures right into !POWER BALLAD ALERT! territory, though it does avoid too much sap with a good crunchy riff and solo. “Fight Fire” brings things back with a really good, driving riff, which continues through the title track “Don’t Dance With Danger” and “Lost And Found”. “Hold On To Love” is another commercial rock tune, whereas “Why” is straight up !CCM RADIO BALLAD ALERT!, just keyboard and vocals. Fortunately, the album ends on a heavier note with “Break The Chain”.

Overall, Don’t Dance With Danger was far better an album than what I was expecting. This strikes me more like Dokken with a singer that sounds much like Lisa Faxon from Ransom. I don’t know if this has been given the re-release treatment yet, but the seems a good candidate for just such a thing. If you find this, however, pick it up and give it a spin.

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Uncle NecRo Listens To: LOOK WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN (Poison)

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So, here’s the first in what should be a new series of articles that will be called, for lack of a better one, “Uncle NecRo Listens To…” This has been percolating in my brain matter for quite some time; where I go through the albums I once owned and listened to back in the day, and see if they still hold up.

There are some basic rules I’ve made for this series: 1) they must be albums that I’ve actually owned, and 2) the years involved would be between when I was in grade school and began listening and collecting albums, through to the end of High School. Also, these won’t be in order of when I owned them, just as they come to mind. As such, let’s get started with this first one, shall we?

poison look what the cat dragged in

The Band: POISON
The Album: Look What The Cat Dragged In
My History: This debut release from the band Poison came out in my Seventh Grade year, in 1986. I remember coming across the album at department stores, and thinking, “wow, those chicks are hot.” Which was immediately followed by a bit of confusion while reading the band member roster, because I was 12 and living in rural Eastern Nebraska in the mid-1980s. I’ve never heard of the term “glam metal” before, let alone come across anything like this before. Anyway, while several in my class had this album, it wasn’t until the summer of 1988 when I finally acquired my own copy.

It’s been literally decades since I’ve listened to this one front-to-back. Let’s see how this holds up, shall we?

Track One: “Cry Tough”
Nice opening rhythm, seems to build up to something awesome…then the power chord…seems to miss something to really push this over the edge as a lead-in song, though. Not a bad introduction, though…

Track Two: “I Want Action”
Now, this is more like it, heavy crunchy guitar and a fun rhythm. Typical “skin” song…the part where Bret sings “If I can’t have her, I’ll take her and make her” seems rather disturbing, there. And that bridge, yeesh.

Track Three: “I Won’t Forget You”
In the mid-1990s, I had a roommate who was a pretty accomplished guitar player in his spare time. He was obsessed with getting this song right, and was demonstrating how the lead was played. That was impressive, yes. That said, this is your typical unremarkable power ballad that only is marginally better than the other power ballad that Poison is known for (you know the one) if only for the fact that it isn’t as overplayed and over-saturated on rock radio stations everywhere. PASS.

Track Four: “Play Dirty”
Good riff, nice n’ heavy. “Act tough”…huh. Got’cha, Bret. Anyway, good basic hard rock tune. You get the sense, though, that the lyrics were written by someone who has never been in a bar altercation, but imagines this is what it would be like. Like they watched Roadhouse and wrote a song about it. Wait, checking to see when Roadhouse came out…never mind, it was released three years after this album.

Track Five: “Look What The Cat Dragged In”
Title track. Rather good guitar riff hook, there. Bit grittier, going for less sparkly and more sleaze. Nifty ode to 1980s Sunset Strip hedonism. Yawn. And did Bret just purr in the microphone? I believe he did. Gads. Right after boasting of his sexual prowess. Stay classy, there.

Track Six: “Talk Dirty To Me”
Full disclosure: I owned the 45 single of this song. It’s a great rock guitar riff, one of the first actual riffs I learned to play on the guitar. Surprisingly easy, once you see how it’s done. Anyway, groan-worthy juvenile lyrics aside, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Track Seven: “Want Some, Need Some”
Yeah, okay, great opening hook and riff, here. Good crunch, I have to admit. Again, with the whole longing for a lover of nondescript. Still, way more substance than your average Limp Bizquick song. Interesting chime ending.

Track Eight: “Blame It On You”
Again, a pretty good boogie rock tune…immediately given the eeew factor with lyrics that seemed to have been written by a horny middle school boy. Though, your average rock song normally doesn’t use the words “pizazz” and “razzmatazz”…

Track Nine: “#1 Bad Boy”
Look, the 80s were a weird time. It was a time when heterosexual men put on makeup, hairspray and adorned themselves with the finest Cosmo looks, and still were considered the pinnacle of masculinity by women. That’s why Poison could get away with writing a song about being “bad boys” without batting a heavily mascaraed eyelash. Also, this song is, musically, rather heavy and rocks my face off.

Track Ten: “Let Me Go To The Show”
Nice up-beat rocker where Bret begs his parental units to allow him to go to a rock show of nondescript to end the album off. Dig them “bad boys” playin’ that rock n’ roll, indeed.

Does It Hold Up: Musically, yeah, this is a pretty good, near-solid hard rock release from a band that would later be known as the poster boys for why Grunge took over in the 1990s. Compared to their other releases, this one is the more raw sounding, leaning more towards rocking rather than the pop formula they grew into later. Lyric-wise, you can’t get much more juvenile than this. The songs are either about sex, being rock n’ roll bad boys, or…well, more sex. Which may have appealed to my hormone-addled young teenage self back in the day. Now, though, I found myself face-palming more than once.

Overall: I give Look What The Cat Dragged In a 6.5 out of 10. The guitar-driven heaviness still retained its kick, but the lyrics killed off a goodly amount of enjoyment.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Series 3, Session 6

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It’s another week, and thus another Session of Brutal Music Therapy! This one features selections from:

azorrague - die with us Boarders - R-Existence Demon Hunter - The World Is A Thorn Necromanicider - Revelations Of The Third Millennium Scarlet Red - Don't Dance With Danger worldview - the chosen few Sculpture - Spiritual Matrix - 1998

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