Never Gonna Lose It
by Alun Thomas

Just the other week I found myself in the rare situation of having money to spend on music. I look forward to this, the prospect of new CDs keeping my stale collection fresh. I couldn't drive to the shops quick enough, who knows what I might findŠ Alpha Centauri's 1977 self-titled, Paris' debut from '75, maybe even some Stackwaddy! A bit far fetched? Definitely. How about some Maiden? Accept? Priest? Sabbath? No thanks. I went home empty handed.

The frustration at not been able to buy any music at all is not the fault of these bands, rather there is nothing out there worth getting. Everywhere I look it's the same stale metal legends or an overabundance of death or black metal which bores me shitless. I got so desperate I contemplated buying the new Six Feet Under CD 'Total Carnage'. I stood there for a while reading the song titles: 'Impulse To Disembowel', 'The Murderers', 'Knife, Gun, Axe', 'Cadaver Mutilator', 'Necrosociety'Šwas this the new Cannibal Corpse album? Obviously the supreme death metal ham himself, Chris Barnes, is trying to 'rediscover' his roots.

Whatever the case I left it there to rot. Recently Quiet Riot's 'Metal Health' was remastered with an unreleased track 'Danger Zone'. Having not owned a copy of this for a while, I thought about buying it solely for the bonus cut. I actually started walking to the counter with it. But I came to the assumption that I would be able to hear it on the internet somewhere. After all there had to be a reason Kevin DuBrow never wanted this song made available. Even if it is called 'Danger Zone'. Other (desperate) choices were a 2-CD Ian Gillan collection and a compilation of early eighties John Waite. But then I realized I owned two Gillan best of sets and that John Waite sucks. And if those are the best selections on offer, I must be getting too selective or there is bugger all out there worth buying.

What I did end up getting was a one dollar tape called 'Night Rider' by a band called The Automatix. Prime 80's AOR, it was yet another band who got left behind in the goldmine that was the AOR scene at the time. So I salvaged something.

But I still wanted to know what 'Total Carnage' and 'Danger Zone' sounded like. Certainly one of the great aspects of the internet is that it allows you to sample music in the privacy of your home, instead of being rushed previewing it at a record store. With 'Total Carnage' I got to hear an atrocity I would never have bought anyway. I managed to access the CD through my Windows Media Player which comes in handy for such purposes. Right away I was disgusted. Barnes has indeed hit rock bottom and reverted back to the sound which gained he and the Corpse so much notoriety back in the early 90s. The songs are characteristically impossible to distinguish on first listening. It's Barnes' old style grunting and growls that inspired a million rip offs. The rest of the band are (presumably) forced to imitate his old cohorts but with little power or interest. What Barnes fails to realize is that he has done this before and better. I could go back to 1990's 'Eaten Back To Life' and get more out of that than this. This is the sign of a desperate, back to the wall man who is in the same creative rut as Slayer. Doomed to repeat themselves forever.

As for Quiet Riot? Not much better. The chorus of 'Danger Zone' is quite sickly, sung in an annoying key that obviously the band didn't think much of either. It certainly was not worth any amount of money. John Waite? You must be joking. I did not even bother looking his album up. Instead I sniffed my own farts. Far more enjoyable. Then I got drunk and smashed my house up, wondering what happened to guys like Pete Way and Marc Storace and how they have never been replaced. And before I knew it I was lying in the fetal position on my carpet, sobbing, wondering if songs like Great White's 'Stick It' or Battleaxe's 'Chopper Attack' can ever be matched by today's hams.

But anger set in as I remembered it has been six years since Manowar's last album. But I figured it out at the same time. Imagine entering your fifties and being obliged to write every second song with the word 'metal' in it. And playing three hour shows at 130 decibels, speaking of being 'true' and pretending to love it. Even the mighty wear out. I know it's going to happen. I'll have money. Go to the record store, see the new Manowar album with a song called 'Disciples Of Metal' and walk straight out. Empty handed.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online November 28, 2001

Back to The Zephyr