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First, there's something I need to clear up. This is NOT Quiet Riot's self titled album, because that was released in 1977 with the actual band name written out like "Quiet Riot" and not just "QR". It's mistaken for that quite often, but few seem to know about this band's really early work. This is not the same album. It was just laziness as far as coming up with the album name. Secondly, Kevin DuBrow is not the lead vocalist for this record, which makes it sound as if it's a whole new band.
Instead, we get Paul Shortino. I'm not gonna sit here and say that he's a bad vocalist, because he's really not. He is a fairly good vocalist that was dropped in the wrong band and somewhat brought them all down with him. The biggest factor, we lose just about all signs of heaviness and there's no longer any force behind the vocals. He sounds very friendly, as if he should be the singer for one of the post - High 'N Dry Def Leppard albums. So they are also rather pop driven, rather metal driven. DuBrow on the other hand, sounded rather ferocious, and this record would come as quite the disappointment to the fans of classic Quiet Riot. Regardless, he still has a good voice and good tone, I just don't at all care for it, and while others may really enjoy this, I can't and this is one of the biggest reasons for the low rating.
The vocals cause a bit of a ripple effect, because the instrumentation is pretty much the same way. While the solos are still good and display a fair amount of talent, they just sound weaker overall. Instead of the tapping, fast, and musical solos of the earlier work, we get a lot of notes that are just held and screeched for a while with some occasional shreds. The riffs, much like the vocals, lost most of their energy and now sound like they belong on a classic rock album. There's no more emphasis on the guitar, the bass is completely inaudible, and you can't even tell that it's there. The drums are more of a background noise now, and nothing more than a beat keeper. They used to be a strong, pounding element to this band, but they're nothing more than mediocre on here.
With music that isn't terrible, but being a huge fan of earlier Quiet Riot, I don't like this, with nothing more than a few tracks that I will listen to here and there. I would recommend this to anyone who likes '80s rock that isn't too energetic nor very high on the scale of complexity. Perhaps for fans of White Lion, or later Def Leppard.
The idea of a Quiet Riot without Kevin Dubrow at the helm was fairly alien to me when I came across this album a while back. Questions of whether or not the attitude that was on full display on “Metal Health” could be maintained with a different voice or if the general direction of the band would now change are no doubt on the minds of anyone who sees this, Quiet Riot’s self-titled album, with the guy from Rough Cutt in Dubrow’s stead.
In short, although this is by no means the worst brand of glam rock I’ve heard, is also not in anyway close to the same league as the Quiet Riot everyone knows. Paul Shortino can be best described as a mix of Joe Lynn Turner and David Coverdale; his voice is deeper and lacks any of the sleaze that Dubrow oozed from his vocal chords so gracefully. When Shortino is on, he’s on in a “Here I Go Again” way, not in a “Cum on Feel the Noise” way.
The lead guitar work on here is the typical mishmash of Brian May and Eddie Van Halen worship with the occasional Matthias Jabs references, probably best exemplified in the brief lead guitar dominated instrumental “Lunar Obsession”, which is probably the most metal thing on this album. Riff work is pretty basic Deep Purple and Led Zepplin fare, especially when you add in the rock organ doubling the guitar in about half of the songs on here.
As to stand out tracks, aside from the melancholy and somewhat outer spacey interlude “Lunar Obsession”, “In a Rush” is a solid speed metal song in the early NWOBHM style. Shortino’s vocals are at their best, and almost remind me a little bit of Joe Lynn Turner’s work on Malmsteen’s Odyssey, although the song itself is not a neo-classical sounding. “I’m Falling” is also pretty solid for a late 80s radio song, definitely no shortage of hooks and classic clichés.
My prognosis on this is somewhat lukewarm, mostly because a lot of this is merely passable 80s cock rock with a few exceptional standouts. “Metal Health” is essential buying for metal fans, while this is an optional addition if you don’t mind hearing a more Dokken-like version of the same band that featured a metal ski-masked madman on their breakthrough album. I paid $6 for it and I could see myself maybe paying $8 for it tops.