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Every band suffers a change in direction, correct? Well, that is, almost every band, suffers a change in direction. Metallica with their 1991 self-titled dung pile, Megadeth with their 1999 atrocity “Risk”, Iron Maiden with the less than up to par “Virtual XI”, and Celtic Frosts 1988 record “Cold Lake”, just to name a few. Out of those records, only Cold Lake (My personal introduction to CF) and Virtual XI are in my collection to this day. Risk and the black album have all been sold off for a dime a dozen. But, there is one album in the history of botched failures that has caught my eye and pulled me in. As a Detroiter, I found local metal band Seduce at an early age. After previewing their first, self-titled effort, I decided to move on to their second, not so well known recording, 1988’s “Too Much Ain’t Enough”. Let me tell you, it sure as hell does not sound like it came from Detroit.
“Too Much” exhibits a sort of grittier glam/sleaze metal sound that came out of Los Angles at the time (circa 1988-1992). Sort of the dying moans of the wounded glam metal scene. Metal heads can go and strip me of my man card, but I enjoy the occasional glam/sleaze metal listen. But here is the catch. None of that Poison/Ratt pretty boy bull for me. I like the abrasive, bluesy stuff like Cinderella, Gangway (From Detroit) or Tesla. That is just the thing that this album satisfies. It is gritty, with a good balance of glam rock and ball kicking, full out metal. The contrast is like black and white on some songs. “Crash Landing” is full out speed metal, whereas the second track “Watching” is more of a blues rock piece, with fluid guitar fills and a moody, well, bluesy solo. The metalness varies from track to track. The opener, “Anytime Or Place” is more of a “glam-ish” number, with a dash of metalness thrown in for good measures. Another prime example is the final track “The Slider”, which is a downright sleazy blues number that was originally done by T-Rex. Coming off of tracks like “Empty Arms”, a slower metal number, or “Accusations”, a more speedier song, but not up to Seduce’s full speed, “The Slider” is a far cry from songs lie “Headbangers” or “Vipers Bite” off of their 1986 self-titled record. The title track is a dark, yet bluesy number, filled with fluid guitar solos which is guaranteed not to disappoint its listeners, even if they are beginning to lose all hope in this once fine band.
Other tracks exhibit a sort of tired and worn out Seduce. Remember, at this time, David was suffering from a terrible heroin addiction that nearly tore the band apart. Internal tensions between Black and drummer Chuck Burns began to split, culminating in Burn's ousting in early 1989. Tracks like the dark social commentary "Watchin'" or "Been So Long" show a weakness in the band. A sort of lagging in the enthusiasm department make the tracks sounds worn and tired, showing the tensions in the band at this time. The 1988 film “The Decline Of Western Civilization Pt. II: The Metal Years” helped to put the final nail in the metaphorical coffin for Seduce. The whole metal scene was killed off with the swipe of a hand, and the help of a simple feature film. Seduce did not really survive. The entity was around, but I consider it “The David Black Show”, and not traditional Seduce.
Seduce broke up in 1992, after many lineup changes, including the firing of drummer Chuck Burns and the addition of former Katmandu and The Meanies drummer Mike Alonzo, and former Paris and Gangway vocalist Angelo Ganos. This record went out of print in the early 1990’s, and most likely will never be rereleased, due to its poor sales upon original release in 1988. The critics have also bashed this album a hell of a lot in the 20-some years after its release. One reviewer on here even gave it an astounding 40 percent. I will have to give this album a full 100, due to its incredible musicianship and remarkably crystal clear production, which has its pros and cons. The pros mean that the drums, guitars and basses are all present and accounted for. The con is that Mark Andrews’ nasally, shrill voice pokes through a bit too much, giving me an often headache. I have always maintained the standing that Mark’s voice is similar to that of a caveman’s in some places. “Oof…ermm…ughh!!!” is what I expect to hear sometimes, then I forget that this is Seduce, not the damn Caveman power hour. That is nothing to knock off points for, though. After a few minutes, you become accustomed to the grunts and groans of Mr. Andrews’ voice. Overall, if you are a fan of a blues/metal mix, this is highly recommended for anyone.
Seduce’s second full-length comes an almost unacceptable three years after their strong pounding Vyperesque debut got them a little attention, and brought on a round of touring which took its toll on the band. Lineup changes included the departure of competent John Roxx, and addition of his replacement in bassist/vocalist Mark Andrews. The key point here is that Seduce’s direction changes immensely – from the snarling aggressive early glam tinged heavy metal of the early ‘80s, to the bluesy, slow hard rock that was commonplace in the late ‘80s. With the new lineup, Seduce changes direction with the trends, and ends up with something, while not horrible is rather boring, bland, and lacking in balls cf. their earlier material. From their aggressive Armored Saint-like sound on the debut, the band has somewhat 180’d with this one, to a Firehouse/Sweet Savageish variety of hard rock which gets a wee bit boring.
For the most part, the album just sounds a bit unenthused. High points like the pounder ‘Been So Long’, with its simple, though chugging riffs and well executed backup vocal chants are brief positives, while the majority of the album seems to be rather boring, dreary numbers like ‘Any time or Place’ - a semi catchy, but murky, and somewhat bland number. ‘Watchin’ is much the same – a slightly bluesy feeling number – boring unenthused vocals, weird whining tone, though the simplistic riffs hit pretty hard. ‘Crash Landing’ is another decent track which harks back to their first album sound, being similar to Vyper, and featuring cool riffs and solos, but is dwarfed by slower, bland material. The musical direction taken is in my estimation, the wrong one – sure this was the direction music was heading in, and Seduce were a band with commercial ambitions, but going along with the crowd (even though they best a few competitors (Faster Pussycat, Sweet Savage, Castle Blak spring to mind) isn’t the best way to get noticed.
I preferred the energetic, raucous and metallic feel of the debut album to this. They had a good sound going, but abandoned it in favour of what was in style. As well as an unwelcome change in musical direction, the overall sound is murky – an odd production job here, mixed with boring tracks like ‘Watchin’ makes for an almost grungy Pearl Jam (shudder) kinda feel. Mark Andrews’ horrible whiny tone doesn’t help much either. There are some cool guitar solos in here, but they’re lost in a sea of murky mediocrity. This isn’t as horrible and cheesy as Faster Pussycat, but it is a prime example of a bad change in direction and lineup replacements. While this one is rather shit, don’t let that make you avoid the debut.