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Quiet Riot - Condition Critical review

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Band: Quiet Riot
Album: Condition Critical
Release date: October 1984

01. Sign Of The Times
02. Mama Weer All Crazee Now [Slade cover]
03. Party All Night
04. Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet
05. Winners Take All
06. Condition Critical
07. Scream And Shout
08. Red Alert
09. Bad Boy
10. (We Were) Born To Rock

Condition terminal? The vital signs are there but the life is starting to fade.

Following on from the unexpected dizzying heights Metal Health had taken the band to came Condition Critical; while the saying goes 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', I think the band took it too close to heart and created Metal Heath 2 but with diminishing returns. Quiet Riot push their luck but not their creativity; if you really liked its predecessor, then this album will be good for you, but if you only liked that album then this one will be a pale imitation to you.

Formulaic is something this album epitomises, with much of the material sounding like the album was written to mimic Metal Health all the way down to the band covering a second Slade song; I wouldn't call it uninspired as such, I'd say it was a cynical move, taking the gamble that lightning would strike twice in the same place. While it isn't a bad song, it is nothing more than that, and given that the band are following up a cover with another cover, it rubs me up the wrong way and makes me take a less charitable view elsewhere.

It is ironic that an album with a song called "Sign Of The Times" was so side wide of the mark in knowing what the audience was looking for. Quiet Riot dwell in the party/'we're metallers' schtick that was popular at the time, but the band pull this off sounding too cartoony even by glam standards. Tracks like "Stomp Your Hands And Clap Your Feet" (which takes its name from a Slade album, honestly it's like they're a tribute act) and "Red Alert" sound like they're written for the Saturday morning cartoon audience. At this point the scene had moved on; Shout At The Devil had brought faux satanism to the fore and in the process made Quiet Riot sound dated, doubly so given they were writing to a template formed over a year prior.

The album does have its moments and is ok for much of its running time; the band aren't putting down any classics but they're producing good music that can sit in the background without much complaint. "Party All Night" is the first song to stand out for good reason; it may be simple and straightforward but once in a while that can hit the spot? a big shame then that this process is repeated for much of the rest of the album. "Bad Boy" and "(We Were) Born To Rock" (which shares a lot in common with "We Will Rock You (Fast)" on Live Killers by Queen) are fairly standard tracks with some good guitar work thrown in that elevates the tracks beyond mere album features. "Scream And Shout" is okay but is a step down from the aforementioned three tracks, sounding like something I've heard before but I'm not quite able to put my finger on it.

The band themselves do have a lot of talent between them, the soon to be Ozzy Osbourne-bound Rudy Sarzo holds down the bass work and shows that it can be more than a glorified rhythm section. Dubrow is much his usual self, his manic energy coming through loud and clear through each song. Cavazo makes a good case for being one of the more underrated guitarists in the genre, peppering songs like "Bad Boy" with decent licks and lines while at the same time giving tracks like "Red Alert" a rock feel that doesn't feel out of place.

Banali and Dubrow would claim media hostility was what brought the band down, and to a degree I'd say they are onto something; while the band do have themselves to blame for bringing a rather average and unoriginal album to the table, it isn't as bad as some would have you believe. At best, this album would have brought the band back down to Earth with a rough but controlled landing rather than the loud thud that they experienced (though when you listen to "Winners Take All", the thud appears a hell of a lot more justified).

In the band's attempt at turning back the hands of time to relive their fifteen minutes of fame, they end up shooting themselves in the foot; rather than moving forward Condition Critical hopes that time will stand still with them and they will remain at the front of the pack. Quiet Riot learnt the hard way, time waits for no man.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 4
Production: 7

Written on 25.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 10 users
25.10.2020 - 11:37
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
What is whit this band and slade
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
25.10.2020 - 11:42
JoHn DoE

I haven't listened to this one in quite some time, don't remember it being this bad (6), Quiet Riot has sadly done worse music than this...
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.

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