I picked up this album after seeing that I knew and liked three of the tracks, which are on albums I've previously reviewed. On the whole I'm really glad I did. While this album isn't the perfect album, it's a great representation of a band that I have developed a huge respect for.
The album opens with the title track, which has one of the best opening lyrics I have ever heard. "Death comes sweeping through the hallway, like a lady's dress". Really conjures up Death as a figure perfectly. This song comes very close to that fine line between decent track and sad cliche done well. It all depends on how you want to hear the music.
I remember diggin' Burnin' For You as a kid, but it took my daughter performing it on Guitar Hero for me to fall in love with it. Now everytime this song comes on she can't help but sing along. It's one of those moments when as a parent I know I raised my kid right with music. It's the perfect kind of Metal/Hard Rock for a girl to really enjoy. If you want to read a little more about what I think of this song, check out my review for their best of album.
I have loved Veteran Of The Psychic Wars since the first time I heard it in Heavy Metal, the animated film. It's classic BOC doing that wild Sci-Fi Metal I really have discovered I love. And the lyrical imagery is amazing, even without the sweet, sweet music. "You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars / I've been living on the edge so long / Where the winds of limbo roar / And I'm young enough to look at / And far too old to see / All the scars are on the inside / I'm not sure if there's anything left of me / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / It's time we had some leave / We've been living in the flames / We've been eating up our brains / Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on / You ask me why I'm weary, why I can't speak to you / You blame me for my silence / Say it's time I changed and grew / But the war's still going on dear / And there's no end that I know / And I can't say if we're ever... / I can't say if we're ever gonna to be free / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / It's time we had some leave / We've been living in the flames / We've been eating out our brains / Oh, please don't let theses shakes go on / You see me now a veteran of a thousand psychic wars / My energy's spent at last / And my armor is destroyed / I have used up all my weapons and I'm helpless and bereaved / Wounds are all I'm made of / Did I hear you say that this is victory? / Don't let these shakes go on / It's time we had a break from it / Send me to the rear / Where the tides of madness swell / And been sliding into hell / Oh, please don't let shakes go on / Don't let these shakes go on / Don't let these shakes go on".
The only song on this album I flat out don't care for is Soul Survivor. This sounds like a bad early eighties soundtrack filler. Maybe even a cheesy opening credits track that's supposed to set the mood. Basic problem, way too heavy on campy sounding synths.
Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver is next up. This is a really decent track. Pretty much can be considered a bit stock, and cliche, but the better kind, and only by people that are mildly casual listeners.
Vengeance (The Pact) is Blue Oyster Cult kicking it with some Iron Maiden gallop. This is a huge cinematic like piece.
If it wasn't for how far forward in the mix the keyboards have been pushed, I would enjoy After Dark a lot more. I find it really cheeses up the mix. However, it's still a fun track to sing along with.
Next up is a song I only recently discovered and have really come to love. I've reviewed it before and that review covers what I have to say so I'm just going to repost it here.
I can't even begin to describe how crazy, ahead of it's time, and wild Joan Crawford is. For starters, this song was so ahead of it's time that it would have been considered complete cheese instead of the genius Proto Goth piece that it really is. I mean there is a part of me that's surprised Type O Negative never covered this one just for the fun of it. Then I listen to the complex musical pieces and remember why they couldn't, especially with the speed the piano moves at. I mean this is some serious musicianship mixed with some dark lyrics. "Junkies down in Brooklyn are going crazy / They're laughing just like hungry dogs in the street / Policemen are hiding behind the skirts of little girls / Their eyes have turned the color of frozen meat / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Catholic school girls have thrown away their mascara / They chain themselves to the axles of big Mac trucks / The sky is filled with herds of shivering angels / The fat lady laughs, "Gentlemen, start your trucks" / Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Christina / Mother's home / Christina / Come to mother / Christina / No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen from the grave / Joan Crawford has risen".
The album finishes with Don't Turn You Back, which is kind of Bluesy in a dark thick West Side Story kind of way. I would have used the last track as the closer, and moved this one up in the mix. It's more of a really solid filler, and less of a closer.
I know there are points where I take a few cheap shots at the songs on this album, but it's really a good album, exspecially for one that came out in 1981. When most bands were getting lost, this one had found parts of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal that worked for them and then exploited it very well, just by doing what they always did.
I don't want to say that it's the best five dollars I've ever spent on a used album, but track for track and dollar for dollar I got more than what I paid for. So much so that when the day comes, I'll most likely give this copy to my daughter, and then pick up the digitally remastered version for myself.
7/10 - content
8/10 - production
7/10 - personal bias