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I clearly remember this as being another one of the first albums I bought with my own money years ago back in the Dark Ages! And it made a pretty hefty impression at the time that still lasts even now. Here is where it came together for the Crue musically *and* imagewise--I remember seeing photos of Nikki Sixx in his studded/spiked leather stage gear with his hair piled up to HERE in those massive platform boots with a B.C. Rich Warlock bass slung down 'round his knees and thinking it was the coolest thing I'd seen this side of vintage Gene Simmons! Made me want to play bass, in fact, and made me covet a Warlock bass like his (still working on that bit). I digress, because the music is the focus here, and the music on this album is definitely the heaviest and darkest the Crue pumped out at this time in their career.
Let's get one thing out of the way right off: Mick Mars is without a doubt one of the crappier guitarists out there. His rude, squalling style works for them about half the time as long he stays to the simpler Angus Young-type leads. As soon as he tries playing fast it just falls apart into a heap of shite. But his riffing is stellar on this album, and his thick, gutsy tone makes those riffs this side of armor plated for the time and genre. Tom Werman's production is excellent (again, for the time), with Nikki's dark, pounding basslines underpinning the riffage like a torrent of negativity. Tommy Lee's furious drumming was at its apex on this album, too, uncorking some pretty good double bass at times, and his simple, hard-hitting style worked just right. But like Mick Mars in the lead dept, Vince Neil's nasal whine really irk-itates me to no end most of the time. He has attitude, but that's about it--I was really pissed when they kicked out John Corabi in favor of this joker's return, because Corabi wailed like Paul Stanley on steroids!
Song wise, I keep returning to "Red Hot" for its proto-speed metal feel (rather "Overkill"-era Motorhead-sounding, actually, on the verses!) , "Danger" for its sinister-yet-melodic chorus, and "Knock 'Em Dead, Kid!" because it's a good headbanger alongside "Red Hot". We all know "Looks That Kill", of course, and it's not even one of the better tunes here--though I dig Nikki's cool little bass riffs in the middle of the chorus. "Too Young To Fall In Love", ehh, it's OK. Catchy but kind of silly, especially in the chorus department. Vince's yelps of "Well I'm too young!" drag it down some. "Ten Seconds To Love", the breakdown in the middle with bass and drums is appropriately sleazy-sounding given the subject matter! I can hear a lot of AC/DC influence all over this album, and songs like this one really emphasize that influence with their catchy riffs and grooving rhythms. The title track starts things off with a pounding salvo on the chorus and a nice heavy rideout where Tommy unleashes the slow double kick that makes this ending really drag you further into the rest of this album.
This was metal back in the day, long before the underground came into power and extremity began rearing its ugly little head, and we loved it. It even got a little radio airplay, and we were OK with that too. And now and again I still bust out this album and remember when, grinning and bobbing my head along with those nice thundering choruses..."SHOUT!!! SHOUT!!! SHOUT!!! Shout at the de-vuhll!!!"