Quiet Riot - Metal Health review
|Release date:||February 1983|
01. Metal Health
02. Cum On Feel The Noize [Slade cover]
03. Don't Wanna Let You Go
04. Slick Black Cadillac
05. Love's A Bitch
07. Run For Cover
08. Battle Axe
09. Let's Get Crazy
11. Danger Zone [Epic Records reissue bonus]
12. Slick Black Cadillac [live]
13. Metal Health [live] [Rock Candy Records reissue bonus]
14. Let's Get Crazy [live]
15. Love's a Bitch [live]
Quiet Riot's Metal Health bears the significant distinction of being the very first heavy metal album to reach the coveted #1 spot on the U.S. Billboard Top 200. This is no small feat, especially given that 1983 also saw the release of Iron Maiden's Piece Of Mind, Dio's Holy Diver, Metallica's Kill 'Em All, Accept's Balls To The Wall, and so many other classic albums that have held up infinitely better over the years; it is a rather puzzling circumstance. Certainly any of the aforementioned albums are deserving of this honor. Metal Health sounds perfectly average. That is all Quiet Riot ever really was; an everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill 1980s glam band with more hair than heaviness.
This album is remarkable essentially for two songs: the title track, which is one of the most outstanding heavy metal anthems of the 1980s, and the multi-platinum mega-hit cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize." According to the band, they resented being pressured by the record company to cover that song, so they recorded it in one take and tried to play it as terribly as they could. Mission accomplished. Honestly, it doesn't sound awful enough for that story to be believable, but it is vastly inferior to Slade's original version in every way.
Every musician in this band is quite talented, and several would go on to achieve greatness with other projects (Frankie Banali's work with W.A.S.P. is particularly excellent). Yet none of that talent seems to truly gel on this album. After the opening song (which, again, somehow manages to be fantastic), everything falls apart fairly immediately. It is standard 1980s glam metal; the hair, the harmonies, the ballads, the inane lyrics - it's all here. If you have heard anything from Mötley Crüe, Dokken, or Poison, you have no need to investigate Quiet Riot. Randy Rhoads sure was fortunate he jumped ship and joined up with Ozzy Osbourne before Quiet Riot really kicked into gear, because this album is painfully dated and awfully pedestrian.
"Slick Black Cadillac" is halfway decent; it is simple and brainless, but in a fun, catchy way that has not quite gotten old by that point in the album. "Love's A Bitch" starts out promisingly, as does "Breathless," as does "Run For Cover," but after about a minute or so they degenerate into formulaic love songs and cease to be interesting. This is metal-by-numbers; it is Kiss ten years too late to be innovative, a pop parody of Accept, a shoddy rip-off of Def Leppard. Quiet Riot should have simply released "Metal Health" as a single and then quietly disbanded.
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