SINCE it's launch in june 1981, Kerrang! has grown from a monthly Heavey Metal supplement into a quality bi-weekly mag championing the cause of rock music on an international level.Development has been both strong and steady, and stretching the scope of the editorial base to include Bands and artistes not strictly aligned with the HM cause yet strident enough in attitude and intent to warrent coverage nonetheless.
Big country,U2 and the Alarm,for example - energetic, occasionally downright stirring in attack - as well as those casting seed at what might be termed the more "progressive"end of the field,the likes of Marillion,Genesis and Pallas.Anyone who's successfully carved a niche within the wide world of rock, though the roots of the magazine will continue to rest squarely on the heavey side of the fence ... now and forever.
With mainstream media outlets in the uk having little or no understanding of HM or its audience and with US TV and radio stations suddenly reducing airplay time for music of this ilk, it's clearly important that Kerrang holds its ground;a knowledgeable,sympathetic supporter of both the established and the up 'n' coming, the stars of body and the twinkling lights of tomorrow... which is pretty much the logic behind this double LP and the Komplementary Kerrang video cassette.
The trouble with a lot of compilation albums (and that includes compilation albums highlighting the work of one artiste only) is that individual numbers tend not to stand up too well when taken out of context - unless of course the tracks are all singles anyway, and even then ...But here the strength of material, on a production and content level, and the vigorous outlawing of anything even vaguely resembling a 'filler' successfully overcomes the problem.
If it's not good you can rest assured that it's not featured, and although this particular offering excludes the more extreme ends of the Kerrang! editorial stance, it does encompass bands of ranging nationality and style (not to mention waist and hairlines), clearly undermining the oft aired notion that all heavy rock sounds the same.
It doesn't. There's no more repetition here than in any other musical form - in act probably less, due to the greater skill and versatility of the people involved
Alongside those at the center of the Jazz and classical arenas heavy rock musicians are undoubtedly the most accomplished, and theres plenty to prop up tht belief on this release, traditional British steal rubbing well armored shell with its altogether flashier American cousin, heavy on image as well as beat...
From the UK there is Iron Maiden(Voted Kerrange! readers top band of 84), Whitesnake, Gary Moore and Marillion, tried and trusted artistes of genuine quality, as well as newer names such as burgeoning heart-throb Robin George, already building a pedestal for himself in the States, Irish brothers Pat,John and Tommy McManus, collectively known as Mamas Boys and the melodically muscular Tobruk, a battling six piece currently based in Brum.
All get something good off their chests here, while upholding the cause of Maple leaf Mayhem are Helix and Triumph, natives of Kitchener and Toronto respectively, hard hitting, hard touring outfits who know how to hold a crowd ... then squeeze a little tighter.
From Europe come the Scorpions, Germany's no 1 rock act, and Krokus, original Swiss based but now looking more US setup than anything else; both, in fat, have spent a lot of time across the water of late so it's interesting to compare them with bona fide Stateside artistes featured on this package, a whole plethora of names veering madly in predilection and pace.
Meatloaf and Manowar, for example, effectively mixing decibels and Drama in two quite different ways, the former with 'Sailor to A Siren, raised several notches by a quite superb Bob Kulick guitr break, and the latter with 'All Men Play On 10', an uncompromising statement of animal intent that could well serve as an anthem for the whole HM movement.
Of similar disposition are Los Angeles outfits Warrior and Armoured saint, loosely militaristic in image and mind-numbing in musical precision, with Seattle-seated Queensryche a brisk hike to the left, combining azure-eyed Teutonic aggression with a warm melodic flare that seems to glow brightest in the realm of the epic,'Take Hold Of The Flame', a number from the band's first album, 'The Warning', is just that, admirably representing what could b described as the 'European' end of the US rock spectrum, with Kiss, Bon Jovi and Keel flying the stadia sized colours altogether more typical of American metal
The 'Big in Japan' looks and the sassy swagger, the sliced up T-shirts and the ever present pout, these three know exactly how to turn a gig into a party (or is it the other way round?);particularly Kiss, out of make-up but never out of mind,who along with a selection of other rock staples including the fan club and the highly powered merchandising system virtually defined this sort of presentation.Not surprisingly, therefore, they still do it better than anyone else, though since their Phoenix-like rising out of costumes and 'mask' others have been slipping on similar shoes down the theatrical end of the store
W.A.S.P. and Madam X to name two, both LA- based and both with an ear for the Metal/pop anthem, though if the OTT approach isn't quite to your taste you can always grab a slice of Stone Fury and Alcatrazz - the latter fronted by ex Rainbow/MSG vocalist Graham Bonnet, of course - who live up to the rocklist implications of their names with considerable aplomb, mind less on image than mainstream power
And what of Billy Idol, the expatriate Englishman in a way, he might be considered the odd man out - in his home country at least.
Through a past association with Generation X and the infernal UK habit of sticking music - all music- with a label' he's constantly been thought of as a 'punk' and as such of zero interest to those more inclined towards long hair and denim than a spiky top and bandaged up bottom.
Well, he's still got short hair, he still curls his lip (a lot) and he still seems to hover on the darker side of the tracks. But in America - where he's now very much a major artist - he's perceived purely and simply as a Rock performer backed to the hilt by the diminutive Steve Stevens, a sensational guitar ace with a calling cad style.
'Rebel Yell certainly needs no help to stand straight and tall, particularly if played at the appropriate volume.
I mean, there's no point being half-hearted about this; rock is clearly meant to be listened to LOUD and is actually structured to sound more dynamic than other types of music, so reinforce the stereo and crank it up! With 24 tracks (almost 100 minutes) of prime rock roast to carve from- cover versions and originals alike - this 'Kerrang! Kompilation' should help make a good party or clear a bad one , and with an artful touch of craft and the assistance of a willing adult the colourful gate-fold sleeve can easily be converted into two equally colourful hats!
What more can i say? play hard, play often, and if you never buy another record this year.. you must be in the music business
DANTI BONUTTO (Deputy Editor , Kerrang!1985)
Written By - Steve Harris
02 Kiss - Heaven's On Fire 3:18
Written By - Desmond Child , Paul Stanley
03 Whitesnake - Slow An' Easy 6:08
Written By - David Coverdale , Micky Moody
04 Manowar - All Men Play On 10 3:54
Written By - Joey DeMaio
05 Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane 4:18
Written By - Herman Rarebell , Klaus Meine , Rudolf Schenker
06 Helix - Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' 3:22
Written By - Joey Levine , Ritchie Cordell
07 W.A.S.P. - L.O.V.E. Machine 3:54
Written-By - Blackie Lawless
08 Stone Fury - Break Down The Walls 4:09
Written By - A. Call, Bruce Gowdy , Lenny Wolf
09 Gary Moore - Victims Of The Future 6:11
Written By - Gary Moore , Ian Paice , Neil Carter , Neil Murray
10 Bon Jovi - Runaway 3:54
Written By - George Karak , Jon Bon Jovi
11 Alcatrazz - God Blessed Video 3:28
Written By - Graham Bonnet , Steve Vai
12 Meat Loaf - Sailor To A Siren 4:41
Written By - Paul Jacobs , Sarah Durkee
13 Keel - The Right To Rock 3:22
Written By - Bryan Jay , Kenny Chaisson , Marc Ferrari , Ron Keel
14 Triumph - Follow Your Heart 3:32
Written By - Triumph
15 Tobruk - Wild On The Run 4:25
Written By - Woodward,Mick Newman
16 Marillion - Assassing (Seven Inch Single Version) 3:25
Written-By - Marillion
17 Warrior - Fighting For The Earth 5:29
Written-By - Joe Floyd
18 Robin George - Heartline (12" Dangerous Mix Version) 5:33
Written By - Robin George
19 Billy Idol - Rebel Yell 4:45
Written By - Billy Idol , Steve Stevens
20 Mama's Boys - Don't Tell Mama 4:21
Written By - Pat McManus
21 Queensrÿche - Take Hold Of The Flame 4:54
Written By - Chris DeGarmo , Geoff Tate
22 Armored Saint - Can U Deliver 3:34
Written By - G. Sandova,Dave Prichard , Joey Vera , John Bush , Phil Sandoval
23 Krokus - Ballroom Blitz 4:01
Written By - Chinn And Chapman
24 Madam X - High In High School 3:36
Written By - Bret Kaiser , Christopher Doliber