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Definitely one of many albums that really gets something going in the beginning but fades as it goes on.
This album carries a large amount of historical importance, as it was the first metal album ever to reach #1 on the billboard chart and therefore definitely held a hand in putting the LA hard rock scene on the map. Well, yeah, I guess you can hate this album all you want, then - but it's not nearly as cheesy/ghey/whatever as several others of the scene and most of the songs on here sound like straight up 80's metal with little glam to be found.
Of course - if glam IS your thing then you likely have a lot to thank this one for. Ok, it's no Shout at the Devil, but mercifully no Look What the Cat Dragged In either. This album is actually a bit comparable to W.A.S.P.'s first album (very much so vocally) - more straight up metal than glam, but still with definite LA "party" feel. Not quite as screaming or intense as that album, but nonetheless a respectable release. A not quite as strong Skid Row debut, six years earlier, is another possible comparison.
BANG YOUR HEEEEEAAAAAAD!!!!!!!! FUCK YES, I just couldn't wait to make that clear, so I wrote it in the title: the title track of this album is absolutely fantastic. A bit simplistic on the riff side of things, but still oh-so-heavy, oh-so-well written and especially oh-so-FUCKEN EXCELLENT!!! I mean, there's the AC/DC-like but heavier opening riff, the nasty verse which builds from semi acoustic to heavy crunch and the ridiculously catchy and anthemic CHORUS!!!! This basically sums up the whole metal spirit of the 80's - scientific studies show that Metal Health WILL drive you mad! Oh yeah, and the solo is pretty fucking good too, as is the slow down section at 2.29 (Metal Health will turn you crazyyyy, Metal Health will turn you Mad) and the "crowd interaction" (well, the crowd is sort of replaced with lead guitar) section that starts at 3.30. An absolute grade A+ number right here, and probably the best anthemic number ever written.
The title song was the first single of this album, but it was single number two, song number two on this album, "Cum on Feel the Noise" that turned 'Metal Health' into a commercial success. This is a Slade cover and DEFINITELY more on the party-hearty, glammish side, but certainly is no slouch. It's a great, catchy sing-along number and also very anthemic just like the first song, but of course it's not quite as excellent - you cannot possibly expect it to be, really, so no bitching from my side. Furthermore, the solo is quite amazing and well worth hearing. One complaint is that the song is a bit too repetitive for anyone's good - if you listen to it, you'll notice that the verse and chorus sound almost exactly the same. In any case, a great song and the second best song on here.
So this is where the album fades... unfortunately, none of the other songs stand out nearly as much as the first two. "Slick Black Cadillac" is, you guessed it, a total 80's party rock number (it's actually a re-recorded number, originally on one of the two Randy Rhoads albums) - decent fun and catchiness here, but the songwriting is all but impressive and not nearly as strong as the other total party cut on the album (the second track).
"Breathless" has a fairly decent gallop to it, Run for Cover is good speed metal similar to Accept circa '81/'82 and possibly the highlight of the remainder of songs, but again - it does little to really go for the throat and stand out. Battle Axe is a short guitar-only instrumental, and therefore a little too minimal for my taste. Actually, no insane fret skills to be found here - just some cool general guitar "ideas". Let's Get Crazy isn't bad, but very formulatic and also the chorus sounds like a weaker version of the opening song.
The three remaining songs arguably check in as ballads (no, they're not tacked together at the end, this is just the first time I don't review the songs in order;)) and while they are ballads and written by an LA-based band, none of them really check in as "LA-ballads" (The Crue would actually start this trend in 1985, with "Home Sweet Home"). "Don't Wanna Let You Go" sounds like soft 70's rock more than anything else and the more power ballad-ish "Love's a Bitch" builds from soft acoustics to crunch, much like the typical Tesla formula. "Thunderbird" is just terrible. Very much so; be sure to "Run for Cover" after "Let's Get Crazy" (*shoots himself in the head*).
The 2001 remaster of this album features the pretty average "Danger Zone" (hilariously stupid-sounding chorus, BTW) and a live version of "Slick Black Cadillac" that is better than the studio version.
This album is worth the price for the title track alone, especially if you're a fan of 80's metal, overall. This is really no more glam than W.A.S.P.; there is indeed an 80's, LA party feel to the whole thing, but only two songs are total and unabashed glam. There are likely hundreds of better LA hard rock/metal albums out there, but only a handful of songs that are better than the title song. "Get your ssssstraight jackets oooonnnn tonite!!!!!!!!"