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After the release of the abysmal "Condition Critical" album, Quiet Riot was at a crisis. It seemed as though they were no longer able to gain more fans after they were turned off by the "Metal Health" clone. Only then did they realize that Slade covers weren't cool anymore. To make matters worse, bassist Rudy Sarzo had quit the band cos he was fed up with Kevin DuBrow's harsh behavior towards not only his bandmates, but also members of other bands as well as the press. Desperate to try and get Quiet Riot back to the top, the band hired Guiffria bassist Chuck Wright and decided to record one more album. But try as they might to make the album sound less like another "Metal Health", that album "QRIII" only sold half a million copies, a far cry from the band's goal. "QRIII" is not really the best album I've ever heard, but it's far easier to swallow than the album that came before it.
In a vain attempt to try and reclaim their fame, Quiet Riot felt that they had to make their music more accessible to the public, and that meant inserting synthesizers into their songs. Now, this album is kind of cheesy, but there is a teeny-tiny bit of good in it. On the one hand, you have the goofy "Main Attraction", which is heavily laced with a glossy synthesizer riff that make the song so cheesy, you'd expect to hear in an 80's action flick. On the other hand, you've got "Twilight Hotel", a song in which, in my opinion, synthesizers are used right. Instead of creating a sugary-sweet 80's pop song, they give the song an eerie and sinister atmosphere, as if you were standing right in front of the titular hotel. In my opinion, the synthesizers should be used to create a sort of vibe or a background for the music rather than trying to get the song to be played on the radio. That's why Dio used them in his solo career. The only downside to the song is that there are very few guitars in it, and that's what Quiet Riot was best known for, right? "Twilight Hotel" is kind of a good song, but it would have been made even better if there was more guitar bite to it. That would've made it more of an actual Quiet Riot song. Still, it's better than "Main Attraction", which is clearly meant make the album sell, which unfortunately, it did not.
As a manner of fact, "Twilight Hotel" might be the only good song on the album that utilizes synthesizers. The rest of those songs are really a bunch of dated junk. The best example of this besides "Main Attraction" is "Down and Dirty". I'm surprised as to why they didn't make this into a single, for I have a feeling that the public would've eaten this song right up! It's got every trademark of an 80's "hair band", so much synthesizers, song lyrics relating to love and sex, and over-glossy production. Wouldn't it sound like something you'd hear when watching your dad's old video tapes? It totally does, doesn't it? It's a song so goofy and stupid, you would think that Kip Winger could've come up with such a song easily. "The Wild and the Young" is another song that has the synthesizers drown out the music. Not only that, but instead of a legitimate guitar solo from the actually wickedly-talented Carlos Cavazo, we get pre-recorded loops of the title sung by Kevin DuBrow and the backing vocals being repeated over and over, like so; "The wild and the... young y-y-young young!" In short, they've taken the chorus and remixed it into the part where there should be a guitar solo, making it sound as though it's dance music rather than rock or metal. The experience would be quite painful if you listened to the song instead of watching the unintentionally hilarious music video that was made in response to the PMRC hearings that went on at the time.
Despite all the slick synthesizer production and all the songs that utilize it, there is still a song or two that still evokes the spirit of Quiet Riot. One of them is "Put up or Shut up", which contains the kind of hard rock/heavy metal riff that Quiet Riot would use on "Metal Health" (although it's kind of played in the same key as "Main Attraction", making it sound more radio-friendly). "Put up or Shut up" is a breath of fresh air from all that over-glossy music that makes up much of the album. Then again, the horrendous "Stomp Your Hands Clap Your Feet" didn't need synthesizers to sound absolutely horrible. It just needed a dumb title with a dumb chorus. "Put up or Shut up" is more of a song I'd expect Quiet Riot to come up with, for it's goofy and fun without being really outrageous, like the aforementioned "Stomp Your Hands". The rest of the songs on this album are so glossed over with synthesizers that it's really hard to tell if it's actually Quiet Riot. The only indicators we get of an actual Quiet Riot album is Kevin DuBrow's vocals and the backing vocals we heard on the last two albums. We hear "Put up or Shut Up" and we kind of hear Quiet Riot, but when we listen to , say, "Main Attraction" we hear a whole different band. Maybe that's another reason why this album failed to sell as well as "Metal Health" did.
With "QRIII", it's safe to say that Quiet Riot tried way too hard to try and get their fans back. They sacrificed much of their original style that they were known for in favor of trying to sound trendy. It seems that they have made another error in their career, thinking that the only way to please people was to make their album as slick as possible, which obviously didn't work. Even with that being said, there is still the fact that it doesn't even compare to how painful "Condition Critical" was to listen to, since a Slade cover is nowhere to be found on the album. It's a desperate attempt to get people to appreciate the band more, but it's nowhere near as bad as its predecessor.
Quiet Riot's fifteen minutes of fame were coming to an end following Condition Critical. That album didn't make quite the same impact as Metal Health did. There was a rift between Kevin DuBrow and his bandmates due to the former attacking fellow glam rock bands, affecting friendships that the latter were involved in. Rudy Sarzo had already left the band due to those particular conflicts. However, the remaining members decided to carry on with replacement bassist Chuck Wright, and try their hand at another album to keep the QR ship sailing. However, the result, QR III, was even less successful than Condition Critical, and thus began Quiet Riot's plunge into obscurity, which they would never recover from.
However, QR III was different to the previous two albums, basically in that it actually makes an attempt to be different. Condition Critical was essentially a carbon copy of Metal Health (complete with a Slade cover) and had the exact same musical style. This album, on the other hand, incorporated a much more significant use of keyboards, and included only original material, which makes the album feel more authentic than Condition Critical. Band members have since gone on to criticise the use of keyboards on this release. However, I personally feel that it enhanced the band's music at a time a change of pace was needed were the band to survive, even if it didn't end up doing all that well.
QR III is a good album that deserved to be more successful than it was. It had all the trademark Quiet Riot elements still in place, such as the heavy emphasis on anthem rock songs. The opener, "Main Attraction" is quite possibly the best song on the album, and one of the band's greatest ever songs. It's very uplifting and has a memorable pop-like keyboard melody and very decent riffs to accompany it, with lyrics about the importance of rock n' roll, and it's actually pretty hard to believe that it wasn't a hit, because it damn well should have been. "The Wild and the Young", a song about the changing of the times, fared a little better commercially, but the chorus reminds me a little too much of "Cum on Feel the Noize" or "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" and perhaps it wasn't the best choice for a single, given the success of those two songs. Another great, catchy song is "Twilight Hotel" although it's a little darker in tone and less party-rock oriented. It shows the band trying to prove to people that they were not just a Slade-covering party rock gimmick, although it probably unfortunately fell on deaf ears anyway.
Kevin DuBrow's voice is as strong and passionate here as it was on Quiet Riot's preceding albums, and I feel that it carries the songs mentioned above very well. Perhaps he had a bad reputation in the 80s, but his talent can not be denied. DuBrow was a great rock frontman who made a lot of bad decisions concerning the things he said in the press, and messed it up for himself as a result. The album does drop off in quality quite a bit after the first three tracks. The later songs are less memorable and don't really hold up to much else that the band had done. One other standout on the album is "Bass Case", a one minute bass solo that basically lets Chuck Wright show off what he can do. It's similar in that respect to Cavazo's "Battle-Axe" from Metal Health. And whilst QR III perhaps doesn't carry as many standout tracks as Metal Health did, it's probably a better attempt than Condition Critical was.
QR III is consistent in its sound, and adds keyboards into the mix to put a fresh take on the band's classic sound. However, some parts of the album would suggest that their writing chemistry had partially disintegrated by this point, as some of it was forgettable, and it gave fans less to be excited about upon its release, which means it flopped as a result. I do stand by my opinion that it should have been more successful, but its failure was perhaps not helped too much by the choice of single: My thinking is that if "Main Attraction" was the main single, it would have drawn more people to the album and kept the band relevant for just a little longer. Sadly, the band would go on to fire DuBrow and make a mediocre album with Paul Shortino. QR III is worth checking out despite its shortcomings.
This album is a major improvement over Condontion Critical. This album is no Metal Health, but it's actually better than Metal Health, in my opinion. The songs have increased drastically in quality, and they for the most part have gotten rid of the silliness of their last two albums, and it's more consistent, because of it. That does not nessecarily mean that this is a mature album. It still has the fun and cathciness that they've always had.
On this album, they've added keyboards to their sound which gives the song more of poppy and commercial (for 80s anyway) sound. The keyboards actually make some of the songs better than what they normally would've sounded like. They also sacrifice metal riffs for more of a hard rock sound that's actually similar to Europe. No, you won't hear any (IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!! *du du du du*) hooks on this album. It's just similar in sound to that band, and the keyboard hooks are quite good as well. Though, most metalhead elitists would be turned off by the keyboard hooks.
The best songs would have to be Main Attraction, The Wild and the Young, and quite possibly one of their best songs ever, Slave to Love. All three of these songs have nice hooks, and are catchy as fuck without being silly. The keyboard hooks, especially make these songs very memorable. The ballad, Still of the Night is pretty good as well. They finally know how to do a ballad properly, as this one doesn't get raped by bad vocals unlike Thunderbird, nor is it overly silly unlike Winners Take All. Bass Case is a pretty nice instrumental, which is similar to Battle Axe, only they show off the bassist's talent instead. Helping Hands is decent as well, though it suffers a bit from a cheesy chorus.
For the most part, this album is fully consistent. There aren't a lot of classics on this album, but at least there's no Thunderbird or Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet, or anything that sucks as much as those two songs. Strangely, the worst songs on this album are about as good as the best songs on their last album, and that's saying something. This is better than Metal Health, and way better than Condition Critical. It's ashamed that this album went out of print, and that it isn't really remembered that much, because it's actually their best album, and all because it isn't another Metal Health clone. This album is underrated, so if you are lucky enough to find this album cheap, get it! Otherwise, just download it like I did. However, you probably won't like it if you either really loved Metal Health, or if you hate keyboards in your rock/metal.