Music Review: SCARLET – Scarlet

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scarletSCARLET
Scarlet
FnA Records
2010

Hey, look. Just what we need. More obscure hair metal from the 1980s getting re-released in the second decade of the 21st Century. In this case, it’s the band Scarlet, a band that hailed from Florida in the mid-1980s, and recorded nine demo songs before calling it quits in 1988. The band and their demos remained obscure until FnA Records released all nine songs on CD in 2010. And since I’m a sucker for things like this, let’s review this thing, shall we?

The very first cut on this collection, “Right Reason”, more or less gives you an overall scope of what to expect, with a really good, driving hook and riff that’s on the upbeat hard rocking metal side of things, with vocals that go for melodic but are really in need of some vocal lessons to tune things up, with the lyrics going for the standard generic “rock for the Rock” cheese that seemed to be the standard for underground Christian hair metal bands from the 80s. Ah, memories. “Lisa” is one of those not-quite-power-ballad type songs that is mid-paced and heavy, with a melodic chorus and featuring a decent shredding guitar solo. “Stop Runnin'” has a decent mid-paced riff and a good solo, but doesn’t really go much of anywhere beyond that. Kind of a forgettable track. “We’re Gonna Rock” is another upbeat, anthemic rocker with the cheesy “rock for the Rock” lyrics going.

It was about this time, as I was settling down and bracing for five more cuts of the same, when “Armor” began with an acoustic opening, but then I was surprisingly caught off guard when some blistering, high-octane NWOBHM style HEAVY METAL ripped my face off with something actually good in this collection. Wow. Nicely done, album. Nicely done. The problem was, this actually raised my hopes that the band was merely getting warmed up, with some better cuts following. Alas, this wasn’t the case, as “I Declare War” is decent, with a driving heavy riff, but with the sound quality not being the best, like the source got a bit damaged between then and when it was transferred to CD. “Treasure” is more of a bluesy metal style, and it’s noticeable that they changed vocalists with this one. Still rather sub-par in the vocals department. “Beginning” decides to shed the whole “metal” thing and goes with a radio-friendly janglepop style that couldn’t end fast enough. But then, the CD ends with “Friends”, which thankfully isn’t a cover of the Michael W. Smith tune, but unfortunately is a !POWER BALLAD ALERT! that’s song by another vocalist entirely, this one more of the female persuasion, that’s just grating on my nerves, and features lyrics that sounds like an angsty 12-year-old wrote them attempting a free-form association thing.

Overall, Scarlet is really more of a curiosity than a must-have in terms of obscure 80s metal. The bright spots to this is definitely the guitar work, which shows some raw talent that I hope the guitarist kept up with after the demise of the group. Otherwise, the production is sub-par, and the vocalist(s) are just annoying. One and done with this one. Pass.

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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.

Music Review: LOVE LIFE – Goodbye Lady Jane

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1-15 - Music Review: LOVE LIFE - Good Bye Lady Jane

LOVE LIFE
Goodbye Lady Jane
Blonde Vinyl
1991

In my years of collecting metal and hard rock, once in a while I come across a band that makes me wonder, “how did they get signed to that particular label?” In the case of the band Love Life, this is a case of a straight-up commercial hair metal band being signed to a label that, for all intents and purposes, was known for alternative artists, and was founded by the guy who brought us L. S. Underground. This is like if Bon Jovi was signed to the Alternative Tentacles label, or whatever flavor-of-the-month pop artist being signed to Metal Blade. You get the idea, I hope. Concerning the “why”, however, this is found on the Blonde Vinyl Memorial site: “…it should be noted that Blonde Vinyl tried to be a diverse label, and not just an alternative label. When seen from that angle, bands like Love Life and Sass O’Frass Tunic fit in just fine.”(source)

Anywhoo, Love Life, as mentioned above, was a late-80s, early-90s style hard rock and melodic metal band that, while the typical knee-jerk reaction is to paint with a broad Hair Metal brush, Love Life’s music is less Poison/Warrant/Bon Jovi and more Great White/Whitesnake/Cinderella in style. In other words, it’s more bluesy than sparkly.

The music on Goodbye Lady Jane is chock full of hook-laden hard rock goodness with some very decent riffs and big melodies. Songs like “Real Love”, “Do You Love Me”, “Girl Gone Bad”, the title track “Goodbye Lady Jane” and the boogie rocker “Do You Believe In Love” fill out the album, along side mid-paced anthem songs “Hearts On Fire” and “In Blue Again” and a couple of POWER BALLAD ALERTS “When Loneliness Comes Knockin'” and “1000 Reasons”. “Fill ‘Er Up” is a 13-second guitar riff, and there’s a cover of The Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night” that is fairly straightforward, like when Aerosmith covered “I’m Down” on Permanent Vacation.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at how decent this album was. Since Love Life was basically Fear Not with a different guitarist, I was expecting the same kind of slickly produced commercial hard rock that was on that self-titled album. But, somehow-probably due to a little more raw production-Goodbye Lady Jane seemed a bit more solid, with a couple of instances where the skip button would come in handy. It’s not easy to find, and if you do happen across it, be sure to pick it up and check it out.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.11

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It’s time again for some more Brutal Music Therapy! And this time out, Uncle NecRo is feeling a bit nostalgic for some of the stuff he used to listen to back when he was but a young man himself. And he’s now sharing the pain with you all!

Featuring cuts from these albums:

barren cross - atomic arena bloodgood - detonation one bad pig - smash shout in your face stryper - to hell with the devil whitecross - triumphant return x-sinner - get it

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – Session 3.8

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SESSION 3.8

Featuring cuts from:

applehead - meaning armageddon holocaust - nekrofonik ballydowse - the land, the bread, and the people flesh incineration - nescient atrophy scarlet - scarlet tourniquet - stop the bleeding ultimatum - into the pit white lighter - white lighter

TOP TEN: Guilty Pleasures (Hair Metal Edition)

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…and now, to lighten up the mood, I present to you something that was inspired a few days ago by a friend’s post on Facebook. Here is:

 Uncle NecRo’s TOP TEN GUILTY PLEASURES: Hair Metal Edition 

10) “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)” (Quiet Riot)


…and at Number 10, we start off with what is arguably the song that helped usher in the so-called “Hair Metal Movement”. Yeah, it’s big, it’s beefy, and it tends to get cranked whenever it comes on the radio, or the MP3 player, and the fist gets pumping along with the chorus.


9) “Hey Stoopid” (Alice Cooper)


…okay, technically Alice Cooper is “shock rock”, but back in the late ’80s and the first part of the ’90s, he was firmly ensconsed in the commercial hair metal style. And the video to the title track from 1991 has all the trappings. Great song.

 8) “Round And Round” (Ratt)


…pure L. A. sleeze, with a fantastic hook and dripping machismo. Almost makes you overlook the late, great Milton Berle in drag. And I do believe that butler is much more METAL than this video deserves.

 7) “Here I Go Again” (Whitesnake)


…another band that never started out as a hair metal act, per se, David Coverdale regardless tried to bring his flagship band Whitesnake into that trend with the self-titled 1986 album, and this reworking of their song “Here I Go Again”. Yeah, it was all over the place in junior high.

 6) “Up All Night” (Slaughter)


…this is a song that just begs to be cranked, while cruising around at night in your car with the windows rolled down. Never mind that it’s the dead of winter, and the only two people out at that time are you and maybe the county Deputy.

5) “Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room” (Motley Crue)


…sure, there are more in the Crue’s song list that I could have chosen from, but it’s this cover song off of their third studio album that is the true, hands-down hair metal guilty pleasure here. And the video is just as cheese-a-riffic fun as the song, too. And yes, that’s the guy from the original The Hills Have Eyes movie.

 4) “Pour Some Sugar On Me” (Def Leppard)


…it’s a shame that all that’s played nowadays is this “Video Remix” version of the song; the album version is what I prefer. Ah, well. Whatever version, the intro always gets me scrambling to crank the volume. Never mind that the lyrics make no logical sense. Actually, that would be the perfect metaphor for the 80s all together, come to think of it.

3) “You Give Love A Bad Name” (Bon Jovi)


…the first few months of my seventh grade year, and Top 40 radio ushered in Bon Jovi’s finest hour with this first of many singles off of Slippery When Wet. I dare you to try and not sing along with this.

2) “Nothin’ But A Good Time” (Poison)


…and in the end, isn’t what these songs are all about? *ahem* You know, for a band that was mostly gimmick and barely talent, this tune from probably their only actual somewhat decent album pretty much nailed the near-perfect party anthem. And who doesn’t want to have Poison rocking outside your place of employment, whenever you kick the back door open in frustration…or for a smoke break.

1) “The Final Countdown” (Europe)


…admit it. Every time this song comes on, you immediately begin singing along. Or at least lip syncing to it. Once that opening synth riff kicks in, this audio herpes will be stuck in your head for DAYS, leaving you a whimpering mess. You’re singing along to the video clip right now, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?!? I know I am…

::END TRANSMISSION::