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In 1983 Quiet Riot probably became heavy metal's most successful band in the world when both their cover of Slade's "Cum on Feel the Noize" and the "Metal Health" album reached Billboard #1 (the first heavy metal band to do it ever!). One year later, they tried to gain the same amount of success with an almost identical album, "Condition Critical", but unfortunately for them it was a commercial disappointment "only" selling 3 million copies ("Metal Health" sold over 6 million).
Apparently is quite difficult to mimic a huge success as it ended being, probably by surprise, "Metal Health" but, although they tried to repeat the formula of easy listening sing along party metal anthems, the album failed to be so addictive as its predecessor. In fact, even when "Metal Health" is much more interesting than "Condition Critical" and sounds really fresh and catchy, I can't help but considering it one of the most overrated big albums of the 80's. Ok, it's undeniably an album worthy of owning and the title track is an absolute hymn, but the album fails to be brilliant in its entirety.
Well, with that said, now think in a watered down "Metal Health" and you'll be quite close to what "Condition Critical" is. The catchy hooks are still there, the band plays really well, the production is very good, but something's not working. I don't know exactly what, but the album ends up being quite boring and you'll sometimes find that you've forgotten what you were listening to and just paying attention to other things.
What I also think is that nobody can understand metalheads. We always criticize bands when they evolve and change their music style, but sometimes, as with Quiet Riot, we also complain about the fact that an album sounds exactly as the previous one. But that's probably the main problem. They were so focused in recreating a past success, that they lost all freshness and sense of spontaneity, and that's maybe what made "Metal Health" a good album. Fuck! They even placed another Slade cover as the second song! Isn't it sad?
Well, if you're a big fan of "Metal Health", you'll still enjoy "Condition Critical", specially the B side of the LP, which sounds slightly more interesting to my ears with songs as the title track, "Scream and Shout" or the closing "(We Were) Born to Rock". But if you're one of those who think that the aforementioned album didn't deserve the big response that it got, stay away from this album as it's another dose of the same medicine, but with a worse taste.
Originally written for Ample Destruction 'zine.