MÖTLEY CRÜE – SHOUT AT THE DEVIL – ELEKTRA
Shout At The Devil was the band’s first proper major album and release for Elektra Records. The band’s debut, Too Fast For Love, was issued through Elektra, but only after its initial independent release by Leathur Records. Perhaps not surprisingly, Shout At The Devil is the band’s earliest album that is still liked by singer Vince Neil who famously slagged his own debut. Conceivably it was the production or the punky music of Too Fast, but for whatever reason the band isn’t too impressed despite the debut being good enough for Elektra Records to latch on to. The major label liked it enough to not only sign these Los Angeles glamsters, but also to give them a big push, decent budget as depicted by the producer, artwork, photography and videos that were shot for the album. Obviously, someone knew something. The investment paid off. Of course, as with many bands, the 1983 early album remains the year of Mötley’s best release. It all came together with this seminal record.
After a short intro, Shout At The Devil begins the album and is a gliding guitar anthem with lots of rhythm. It is a fist-pumper for sure. The songs here are good and when more than ten years later the band rerecorded a couple of them the newer version were sad and blatantly inferior. Looks That Kill is faster, punchy and has the hooks to go with its irreplaceable solo and rhythm section. It is a wagon on a metallic roll. Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid is dedicated to the Los Angeles Police Department. That sort of rebellious attitude is a theme running through the album. The song is simple and loud. Ten Seconds ‘Till Love is possibly Mötley’s answer to Led Zeppelin’s The Lemon Song. Same idea, different music, two decades later. Helter Skelter is where it falls apart. Covering The Beatles: how rebellious! It is not a coincidence that the song is out of place, weak and downright stupid. While fans were in awe of the image, brashness and attitude, the band was apparently preparing for its next move, which comprised of marketing plans, dedicated stylists and tailors, old southern ditties and mainstream sell-out. Too bad, but in the meanwhile there is more to Shout At The Devil. Danger is not one of the album’s stronger songs and again features short lines and lyrics. It is a sombre and ominous take on Hollywood of the ‘80s. Red Hot is self-referential - no one said these guys were modest – with the band being “out for blood.” A typical Mötley riff comes at you simply and loudly accompanied by those pounding drums of Tommy Lee. The band reuses the “shout at the devil” line for emphasis or continuity and ends the songs with a high scream courtesy of singer Vince Neil showing off his range. He could sing higher apparently even though the band had to consistently tune lower to suit his voice. The album’s true red-hot song Too Young To Fall In Love is muted compared to Red Hot, but lines like “your love is like a guillotine” are immortal. Great solo and an even better drum break fly off the record. Who is the song about?
It wasn’t just that the PMRC/Parental Music Resource Committee (the Washington D.C. Republicrat answer to the entitled, bored, stuck-up and self-righteous wives of O.C.) hated Mötley Crüe; it was the chops and the approach . These guys looked like Mad Max with a budget/without a dog and pumped on adrenalin. Never mind that the guy weren’t the best instrumentalists; they routinely won magazine ‘best of’ polls. It was rather funny seeing Mick Mars dominate the guitar category in polls with his limited ability over other metal guitarists, but that was as hypocritical as calling a band that implores its audience to “shout at the devil” Satanic. In the end, though, everyone got what he or she wanted. The right-wing politico wives got their moment under the sun, the label and the band sold mega numbers, MTV gave the band’s fantastic videos a good push and above all the fans had a fantastic record. Speaking of record, this album is unbeatable on vinyl. The gatefold, which opened to pictures of the band in warrior garb was enclosed in a transparent pentagram (check out that pentagram in the band’s video) on a black cover that exuded both magic and attitude. Mötley Crüe went on to sell out as fast as possible and followed this one up with a stinker for the ages that made Aerosmith sound uncompromisingly heavy metal, yet Shout At The Devil was already out of the bag. – Ali “The Metallian”
MØTLEY CRÜE - GREATE$T HIT$ - MØTLEY/BMG
Here is the new greatest hits package from L.A.'s newly-independent crew and the first thing that comes fore is the new band name typography. One can only imagine the millions of dollars corporate lawyers siphoned off following the band's involuntary departure from its former label and in the process taking the 'Ö' with them. Now most readers are familiar with the band's music, or its escapades, and have formed an opinion either way. Personally, the band is remembered as being a staple on the record player circa 1984-1985 when songs like Live Wire (not on the sampler) and Too Fast For Love (a new version is) were as heart stomping as anything out there. Naturally, the band went on to bigger and worse things, but what remained intact was the support shown the band by hard rock and heavy metal fans worldwide. It is therefore disappointing to see the band refer to itself as everything from punk to rock 'n roll. to rock. Heavy metal might be a dirty phrase in 1998, but let the band not forget its roots on a greatest hits package and also point out that were it not for heavy metal this band would not even exist today. This CD features 17 tracks two of which, namely Bitter Pill and Enslaved, are new. - Ali "The Metallian"