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Among all the cases that I always claim as "could have been...", this is probably the worst of them all. London was an LA based glam/heavy metal band that was around as far back as 1978. During their early years their line-up featured future rock stars as Nikki Sixx, Blackie Lawless, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, or Fred Coury and last, but not least, they were a really good band. What happened to these guys is something beyond my comprehension.
They were at the correct time, in the correct place, they had the songs, the attitude, the image, and a charismatic singer, but somehow they failed to attract the attention of major record labels. But what we have to judge here are concrete facts and the case is that "Don't Cry Wolf is a hell of an album!
Have you ever imagined how would be the missing link between W.A.S.P. and Mötley Crüe? Well, stop searching, you've found it here. In fact, Lizzie Grey was around 1976-1977 together with Blackie Lawless and Nikki Sixx in Sister and I'm sure that their common musical background would have a lot of weight here.
The album starts with the quite slow, but pounding and catchy "Drop the Bomb" and carries on with the slightly heavier "Set Me Free". A good start, but things become even better with "Hit and Run Lover", and its infectious chorus, and the incredibly cheesy "Under the Gun". Ok, this one sounds so 80's that it can be even too much for some and the keyboards are cheesy as hell, but I can't help to love its LA glam metal vibe (think in "Hard Ride" from Pantera's "Power Metal").
Side A ends a bit disappointing with a cover of The Beatles' "Oh Darling", but you'll forget this bitter taste as soon as you turn the LP to side B and feel the power of "Fast as Light" and "Put Out the Fire", two incredible speed metal monsters that raise the level of intensity and show how a glam metal band can create great heavy fucking metal. "Killing Time" slows down things a bit, just to increase the level of speed again with the fantastic "We Want Everything".
The closer, "For Whom the Bell Tolls", will sound very familiar to the W.A.S.P. fans as a slightly different version of the same song was included in a re-release of "The Headless Children" and later remade as "The Gypsy Meets the Boy" in "The Crimson Idol".
"Don't Cry Wolf" is far from a perfect album, as you'll find some filler as "Oh Darling" or "Killing Time" and a better production would be more than desirable, but if you like good 80's heavy/glam metal you wouldn't find many things better than this.
Originally written for Ample Desruction 'zine.
Why the fuck are people so down on traditional/glam metal? If you ask me, they’re a bunch of tryhardist, 16 year old teenagers thinking they know everything about metal because they think it takes some kind of extreme intelligence/willpower to give up listening to Green Day and A.F.I. and start listening to Darkthrone (even though they keep said .mp3’s in a hidden folder so their ‘cool’ friends don’t find out) – and then embarking on that all-too-trodden journey to be the ‘the most kvlt’ – or however you fucking spell it. I mean, I just know that most people – especially around this site, who try and badmouth traditional metal or 80’s glam – are retarded, and most likely fat American teenagers whose dedication to metal goes back as far back as their swollen pores from their horrible acne (yeah, that’s right – about 1/5 of a millimeter). Fact of the matter is, metal came from the late 70’s/80’s explosion of traditional>speed>thrash>extreme bands (after the initial Black Sabbath of course) and that there’s tons of great shit to be found from this era – yes; even from the L.A. Glam/traditional scene; enter London.
Yeah, everyone my age or older ( I was born in ’84) knows that the explosion of the glam metal scene in the early/mid 80’s led to a downward spiral of metal/hard rock’ that culminated in pretty shitty bands like Poison and all their imitators in the late 80’s/early 90’s – fucking lame, watered down shit with no balls, that saturated MTV and the airwaves; increasingly pussified and drifting further and further away from ‘heavy metal’ as a genre. Yet if you know anything about metal, you should know that this shit has really fuck all in common with the sleazy, aggressive, and thumping traditional glam of early 80’s Motley Crue, Mid 80’s ‘Sister, or contemporary London. Just because a few (thousand) bad apples misappropriated the genre for their own means, pissing all over it, and causing the untimely demise of metal as a whole circa 1991, doesn’t mean that early glam metal doesn’t kick ass – and London’s early albums are living proof of this.
This album, though hitting the streets as late as ‘86, possesses all the energy and excitement of LA glam metal circa 1983, when riffs were crunchy, fast and songs were lightning fast anthems, kicking anyone and everyone in the pants. The first two cuts on this offering are testament to this fact. ‘Drop the Bomb’ and set me free quite frankly equal anything Motley Crue or Seduce done - hell - they even beat it. After that, ‘Hit and Run Lover’ offers a slight more of a KISS vibe (check the riffs) but with that classic early mid 80’s LA guitar tone like Crue or Leatherwolf had. Another strong number - and keeping the 100% catchy anthem feel going strong. The heavy synth overtones, couple with another brilliantly vocalled and ultra catchy chorus in ‘Under the Gun!’ continue along the melodic slaughter fest that is ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’ - ultra-badass catchy heavy metal. This one, despite keyboards, has a distinctively metal feel; a ballsy solo, cool lyrics, and some of the most attitude laden vocals by the always impressive Nadir. Evident in the sound of the album is some sort of a mish-mash of all the related bands that members were involved in; it’s a great blend of glam metal, hard rock, heavy metal, and LA style - really quite unique and interesting.
In any case, this is killer 80’s LA metal. It’s glam, yes, but only slightly really; the melodic-ness is there, but the moronic oversexed lyrics of Faster Pussycat, or the lame musicianship of contemporary Poison (they got better in the early 90’s) aren’t to be found. Songs are melodic, yet fist-pumping pounders, rather than the lame AOR ballads of the late 90’s that people often associate with “80’s glam”. This is killer stuff with plenty of balls, and some great guitar tones and riffage. The first half of the album is somewhat stronger, failing to relent until, the lame Beatles cover ‘Oh Darling’ - in at around track five or so. Fuck the Beatles - plus that song doesn’t really sit well amongst the fast paced - melodic slaughter fest that is this album. Either way - it get’s absolutely shat on by the Keel-esque and appropriately speedy (and slightly W.A.S.P. esque) ‘Fast as Light’. Yes, that’s right, while these guys sound quite a bit like early glam in the vein of Maxx Warrior and Crue, there are touches of W.A.S.P. and Armored Saint to be found here and there. Of course the Crue comparison was bound to happen considering the London guys themselves consider the band somewhat of a “training ground” for LA bigtime rockstars (including Crue members, but also those who would go on to play in G‘N‘R, W.A.S.P, and the slightly more successful Cinderella). Do yourself a favour - stop towing the trend-metal line, go out and get ‘Don’t Cry Wolf’, a bottle of Whiskey, and let the good times fucking roll. This is the only London album you need and some 120 proof LA heavy metal!