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Quiet Riot | Metal Health | review | rock | Lollipop

Quiet Riot

Metal Health (Portrait/Legacy)
by Scott Hefflon

Yeah, you know this one... This is one of the early batch, the kinda goofy pop metal stuff that led the way for more and more glammy rock until finally the bottom fell out. The title track and cover of Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize" (my and many others introduction to Slade, as sad as that sounds to old-timers) hit huge and are rebel metal standards like "We're Not Going to Take It." Gloriously naive moments when pumping your studded-wristbanded fist against your parent's authority was the thing, maaan. And video games. And Gummy Bears.

This was '83, the same year as the self-titled Bon Jovi record, and this sucker's equally spotty. Funny cuz ya don't really think much of it now, but this stuff, as dated and silly as it now seems, really kinda took "classic rock" and put a party spin on it, making it less angry-guy hard rock. So Van Halen's "Eruption" got redone in a bitty geetar ditty called "Battle Axe," and yeah, I practiced this sucker like crazy, cuz I was a guitar dork. Ooooh, pick slides!

There are some real mid-tempo dogs here, but if ya remember that bad, bloated, dreary '70s rock was still in its dying moments, the fact that almost half of these songs don't suck is a minor miracle. I've always kinda liked the screaming intro to "Love's a Bitch," but it's basically one of those songs that the band probably rewrote later and called something else, and it worked, ya know? And honestly, "Slick Black Cadillac," in all its cheesy glory, I've always considered one of the early shining moments. Huge harmonies, nyah-nyah guitaring, key-changes simply to wag their tongues playfully for another verse, and if there's not a backwards drum fist-bang breakdown or two, there might as well be. Poison got it from these clowns, they just did it showier and on bigger stages.

Interesting trivia for those who weren't there (or punks now wearing metal patches like they know shit): Quiet Riot's first two records were released only in Japan cuz they sucked and no one'd sign them. So Randy Rhoads and bassist Rudy Sarzo quit to join Ozzy when he first went solo. When Randy died, Sarzo rejoined Quiet Riot and they released this, their debut record. Vocalist Kevin DuBrow quickly became one of the most hated, mouthy little jerk-offs of '80s pop metal (worse than Fred Durst cuz he was just as much of an imbecile, but he was spazzy and bug-eyed and kinda hard to connect with, whereas every baggy-pants gas-pumping wanna-be homie can connect with Duh-Durst), and the band nose-dived faster than you can say "See ya!" A couple songs on following records were actually quite good, but the band never regained any momentum and staggered and wandered cluelessly around, absolutely refusing to stop. They probably still play now, check the marquee of your town's VFW hall.


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