Far Beyond the Sun

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Yngwie Malmsteen

”Yngwie Malmsteen was phenomenal.  He came out of obscurity from Stockholm after he sent a tape to Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records who was releasing all these incredible shred guitarists.  Guys such as Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Paul Gilbert, Jason Bekker and Mary Friedman.  Malmsteen, however, was different and was totally original compared to these other guys.  He had his classical roots in stuff like Paganini and his rock roots in Richie Blackmore”.

The best way to appreciate Yngwie is to watch him live.  He is truly amazing.  His style certainly isn’t for everyone and it gets a bit much sometimes but in small doses there is just no-one better.  My biggest wish with really good guitarists like Yngwie and Mike Schenker is that they would get better vocalists and songwriters into their bands to balance out the brilliance of their playing.

James Daubeney

Powerslave

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Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden were on a roll by 1984, Bruce Dickenson was firmly entrenched in the band and they had completed the mammoth World Slavery Tour which was one of the largest and most complex tours undertaken by any band ever.  By 1984 Iron Maiden were pretty much a household name.

Aces High was very typical of the type of video Maiden would release.  They were getting bigger budgets for video now and with MTV at its peak they were getting airplay on television that a band like Maiden wouldn’t normally expect to get.  The guys knew that at the end of the day ‘Time is fleeting, touring takes its toll’ MTV may have been hot in 1984 but the way Metal bands would have to do it wasn’t going to change:  Album, Tour, Short break, Repeat.  

James Daubeney

Defenders of the faith

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Judas Priest

Defenders of the Faith was an incredible album.  It raised the bar for all metal bands.  It was amazing then that after such a strong album they took a huge hit from fans with the release of the next album Turbo. Metal heads were clearly not keen on the Priest fiddling with synthesisers.  Although Turbo was still heavy it was widely seen as Priest going soft.  In the passage of time Turbo is great but Defenders of the Faith set the record straight, very fucking straight.

The best track on Defenders of the Faith is in my opinion ‘The Sentinel’.  I couldn’t find a clip of it at  the time of setting up the site.  There was a studio version of Heavy Duty that over time was changed into someones arty-farty seance track which is a far from what Priest are about as beer is from cheese.  You Tube seems to be in a constant state of change and I have now found it.  It’s a live clip for The Sentinel, there wouldn’t have been an official release for the album, Priest was never really an MTV type band.  Check out the 7 solos in the middle, Tipton and Downing, masters of their art.  

James Daubeney

Animalize

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Kiss

By the end of the ’70’s and into the 80’s Kiss had lost the plot.  They were still making an album a year which is amazing to think of now in a world where bands can take 5 to 10 years between albums.  Dynasty, Unmasked and Music from the Elder were to me all pretty crap.  In 1983 they did the unthinkable and removed the make-up.  At the same time they released Lick It Up which was a really good album and probably saved their careers.

With the release of Animalize Kiss were firmly in control of phase II of their career, they had ditched Peter and Ace and the next line up would be stable for a good few albums.  Paul and Gene saw the way things were going with all the young bands coming out of L.A. and as elder statesmen they just jumped right in and went with the flow of the times.  This video clip shows just how in control of everything they were. 

James Daubeney

1984

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Van Halen

When Van Halen put out 1984 ‘Jump’ was a huge hit, to be honest I wasn’t impressed, I didn’t like the keyboards and it seemed to have swung too much Dave’s way where the showmanship was out of balance against the songs.

‘Panama’ was the best track on 1984 in my humble opinion and it was most like the Van Halen I really loved. 

James Daubeney

Perfect Strangers

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Deep Purple

Deep Purple are one of the Classic UK Rock bands of all time.  They had it all, huge musical talent with Lord and Blackmore and a drummer who was up there with John Bonham and Keith Moon.  Ian Gillan helped set the standard by which metal vocalist would be measured for a long time.  With all the infighting and the various version of Purple, Mk I, Mk II, Mk III etc. it was great for what was widely considered to be the best line-up, the Mk II Machine Head / In Rock line up, to record again.  Perfect Strangers was a fantastic album.

This Video is really a ‘Big Chill’ moment for me, it’s what these videos are really for.  The filming of these 5 rock icons getting back together again after so many years, the English countryside and the way it all just clicks together again was a really fantastic moment.  The album was great, the video was great and I knew it couldn’t last but for a short period of time there was magic again. 

James Daubeney

The Price

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Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister had to go to the UK to get discovered, for some reason although they were huge on the live circuit the record companies were not interested.  They looked more like the New York Dolls than anything else and while all the other bands at the time looked like pretty girls front man Dee Snider was a huge ugly mother fucker.  I reckon that Dee was the reason they were both loved and hated.  There was no middle ground with Dee Snider.

This is such a great video, I loved it because for the first time they were just in denim and weren’t wearing all the ugly sister make-up and the pink feathers, it was just so cool to see them dressed like this.  The Price is an amazing song, if you don’t get a ‘Big Chill’ from this one it would be very sad 🙁

James Daubeney

Round and Round

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Ratt

All preening and poncy, Ratt epitomised the vanity and pomp of hair metal.  Bands like Ratt and Poison had so much make-up and spandex that the lines became blurred between the sexes.  Hair metal pulled chicks into metal like nothing before or since.  Bands like Bon Jovi became mega stars.  It had to all come crashing down.

Never my favourite band, I wasn’t a big fan of Stephen Pearcy’s vocals.  Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby (RIP) were great guitarists.  To me the band was over hyped and not as good as some of the others around.  What is undeniable is their success and their influence on the scene in L.A. as a catalyst for making Hair Metal huge.  MTV had a big role to play in it all but 1984 was a seriously good year for rock any way you slice it. 

James Daubeney

Life goes on

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Poison

On the other side of things Venom were coming.  They released their debut album Welcome to Hell in 1981 and they really played the whole Satanic thing and took it to a new level.  Like the Ramones their influence on other bands compared to their own success is hugely disproportionate.  Everyone from Slayer to Metallica and then the whole Black Metal movement in Norway had some roots in Venom.

This vid is taken from the Open Up and Say Ahh album and the reason I put this clip up is because it contains my favourite solo of all time.  C.C. pulled this one off perfectly it is a textbook showcase of everything that I love about guitar, soaring bends, slow emotional notes, melody and then blinding speed all phrased and contrasted to magnificent effect.

James Daubeney

Live 1995!

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Venom

On the other side of things Venom were coming.  They released their debut album Welcome to Hell in 1981 and they really played the whole Satanic thing and took it to a new level.  Like the Ramones their influence on other bands compared to their own success is hugely disproportionate.  Everyone from Slayer to Metallica and then the whole Black Metal movement in Norway had some roots in Venom.

It’s hard to get decent video of Venom, there is quite a lot recent footage of old balding Cronos with his new far tighter more musically proficient band but not a lot of the early stuff.  This clip from 1985 is surprisingly high quality.  It is the full concert so I don’t advise watching it all unless you are a big fan but it serves to give you a taste of what was brewing while chicks were grooving to Poison, Motley Crue and Ratt and they were all going Top 20 in the US. 

James Daubeney