Monday, August 29, 2011

Album of the Moment - Slaughter's "Stick It To Ya"

In the late 1980's, record companies were quick to try and cash-in on the growing trend of "glam metal" bands.  This crop of hard rock and lite-metal bands copied the sleezy 1980's Sunset Strip scene as much as possible, resulting in a somewhat massive glut of bands playing this style of music.  From 1988 until sometime in 1991, MTV was flooded with groups trying to carve out their own small piece of the pie.  Thankfully, with all the bands copping this style during this period, there are plenty of bands worth your time and money.  One such band was Slaughter.

Despite the oversaturation of the market with everything from White Lion and Warrant to Femme Fetale, there are plenty of talented groups who could not only play their instruments sufficiently well, but also write good songs that would stay with you.  Slaughter was one of those bands, at least initially.  While over the years their ability to write a catchy, memorable song faded somewhat, their first couple albums showed a band with great promise, talent, and enough attitude to make up for what they lacked in sheer musical chops.  Slaughter's debut, "Stick It To Ya" is a prime example of why record companies were hopping on this bandwagon left and right.

SITY is blessed with an abundant sense of melody, solid performances, inspired vocal wailing by Mark, and songwriting that has enough panache to do more than just get stuck in your head for a couple days.  Some of these songs ring in my ears for weeks after listening to them, and when I haven't pulled the album out in months I can still hear choruses or get parts of songs stuck in my head.  So while Slaughter might not be at the top of the glam metal heap, they certainly held their own with this album.  Add to that Tim Kelly's fretboard fireworks and you have a recipe for success.

Unfortunately for Slaughter, future albums would suffer from too many songs (The Wild Life), "sameyness" (Fear No Evil), and somewhat stilted direction changes (Revolution), but this album is nearly all magic.  Aside from a couple tracks that get way too corny in the lyrics department ("She Wants More" and "Loaded Gun" come to mind), most of the songs on this release are top-notch.  From the radio-ready ballads "Fly to the Angels" or "You Are the One" to the rocking of album cuts like "Eye to Eye" or "Burnin' Bridges", this set of songs is quite strong and showcases the band's talents on all fronts.  Mark has never sounded better (with the possible exception of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion track "Love Kills"), and the band is tight and vital.  So while I still think other 1990 bands/releases are stronger or have more staying power (see Firehouse's eponymous debut), this remains a highlight of the pre-grunge 1990's rock scene.  Recommended.

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