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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.