The evolution of metal really helped bands like Scorpions. I think this evolution helped them find their sound, and while they were still not quite at their zenith, this album is heavier than is predecessors. Quite frankly, most of this album is not so great and many of the albums mentioned in the earlier posts had more quality songs, but can one song save an album?
The Zoo is one of the best songs of the year and it clearly the best song on this record. The rest of the album is OK, with only a couple of more stand out tracks (Don’t Make No Promises and Twentieth Century Man come to mind).
The first time I heard this, it was side 1 song 1 – Angel Witch. It was so bad; I never listened to it again. Years later, after seeing such high praise for this record, I decided I better give it another try. Well, it is certainly not an elite release of 1980, but it is not bad either.
I still stand by my original premise that the song Angel Witch is unlistenable, but despite this dreadful track, there are a number of good metal songs here. Angel of Death and White Witch stand out, but other than the aforementioned title track and Free Man this is a really good metal album.
I have a personal distaste for Def Leppard, but I must admit they were ahead of most of the pack in 1980. They had some savvy beyond their years and the procured a top producer for this initial release and he got the most out of these guys. This album does have a good sound and Joe Elliott is a strong “metal” vocalist.
This album does lack in the music though. Some of the riffs and licks are good, but Savage and Allen contribute nothing and Willis and Clark are only slightly better. As a result, well written songs like Rock Brigade, Wasted and the overlong Overture never really take off. Def Leppard had no choice other than to take the glam path, because musically, they just couldn’t compete with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.
22. Picture – Picture
Some list this as released in 1980, some 1981 – I choose 1980. This is another debut, this time from The Netherlands. Unfortunately, it does suffer from bad production – I wish they would have got Tom Allom instead of Def Leppard. I think a good producer could have got more out of these guys and these songs.
Rockin’ in Your Brains is another one of my favorite songs of the year. I also like Dirty Street Fighter, No More and One Way Street, but with the exception of the closer, Fear (a 7 plus minute ballad that goes nowhere) all of the songs here are very good. The guitar sound is nice and heavy. I don’t think Jan Bechum is the best player in the world, but he had a great sound here. The bass and drums move thinks along nicely and van Prooijen is a competent vocalist.
21. Killer – Ready for Hell
Here is another debut album (4th in a row), but this time, from Belgium. Killer is a three piece that has been called a poor man’s Motörhead, but I really do not care for that moniker, as I think Killer has a different sound. Killer is straight forward metal – heavy and fast, especially considering the time period. They have a real crunchy guitar sound that I like.
Of course they do falter every now and then here, but their transgressions are minor and the album does maintain a good flow with no song completely intolerable. The standout tracks are Ready for Hell, I Know and Backshooter.