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Whereas I consider their previous effort “Stay Hungry” a milestone in eighties history. This time they took a few things too far and sound tired at times. On “Stay Hungry” the sleazy rock elements for some reason perfectly fell into place within the concept and diversity of the album. This time the album falls flat on its face a few times and picks itself up again and again.
Three mighty metal songs here uphold the standard. Opening title track “Come Out and Play” is even faster and more brutal than the opener to their pervious album. After a creepy intro the song erupts into up tempo metal becoming almost speed metal. Really powerful vocals and a world dominating chorus. “The Fire Still Burns” is a fascinating waltzing heavy metal song on which the drums play an important part and Dee Snider gives one of his most beautiful performances. Closing song “Kill or Be Killed” is a catchy up tempo song with a very strong chorus.
Where the album fails to deliver is on the cover “Leader of the Pack” which is funny in a ‘Holy Smoke’ kind of way, but feels out of place on a full length album. “Be Crool to Your Skool” suffers from the same problem. It’s a funny song, cool to hear Alice Cooper singing along and there are some nice details on piano but the song as a whole is not really good enough. Both these songs would have fitted better on an EP or in-between single.
The rest of the songs have some great ideas (“Out on the Streets”, ”Lookin' Out For #1”) but on songs like “You Want What We Got” and “I Believe in Rock 'n' Roll” the band fails at writing sing-a-longs equally good to earlier classics like “We’re not gonna take it” or “The Kids are Back”. Twisted Sister sounded like they were getting tired and only put an effort into a small amount of the songs (especially the earlier mentioned three classics) and should have taken more time writing material for this album and putting the finishing touches to some of the songs.
Many times underrated album Come out and play is not a bad record, thought bands image was still glam (unlike Poison), these fellas make good music. Too many hailed as a hair metal band, the band is much heavier on this "pop-album" than many other hair bands. Unlike it's heavier predecessors, this album is more poppier, but nonetheless heavy. There are both radio ("Be chrool to your scuel") and heavy metal ("Kill or be killed") songs on the album.
My first opinion about Twisted Sister was that those five goofballs who looked like ragdolls couldn't ever make good music. One reason I bought this (on vinyl format) was it's special cover. There's that opening manhole revealing grotesque singer and frontman Dee Snider. I had heard some Sister material earlier from some various artist compilations, but this was my real first touch to this band. After the torture at the dentist, I played this record, and as my big surprise, this was the result.
Inner sleeve had a text "Play it loud, mutha!" and I completely obeyd it. There are some quiet parts and energy burst in the start of the starting and title song, "Come out and play". Snider's scream (what scared the crap out of me) starts the fast and heavy song, the first highlight. Chorus is cathchy as glue. My next personal highlight is the next track, The Shirelles cover "Leader of the pack". Sisters make a good version of it, and it is a complete opposite to "Come out and play". The song is peaceful and sensitive love song. Sniff.
If "Come out and play" was heavy, and "Leader of the pack" peaceful, the "You want what we got" is something from the between. It is more happier than the aforementioned tracks. Someone may say that is album is a fucking pop album with weepy ballads cause of the two previous tracks, that guy will be surprised. "I believe in rock 'n' roll" is way more heavier with it's ballcrushing riffs than those two songs. "The fire stills burns" isn't poppy either, actually it's even more heavier than "I believe in rock 'n' roll". It's chorus reminds me a lot of W.A.S.P. and it wouldn't be surprise if Blackie Lawless had composed something like this, mainly by it's vocal melodies.
This album tried to aim at MTV pop audiences, so it's ironic that the humorous video song "Be chrool to your scuel" was banned by MTV. The name actually means (if you didn't figured it out) "Be cruel to your school". Song is easy radio rock with saxophones, pianos and trumpets combided with impressive guest list, including Billy Joel, Brian Setzer and Alice Cooper. "I believe in you" makes return to sad pop metal songs in the beginning of the album. It has again a good chorus. "I believe in you. Aa-aaa"-line and a sad solo included. "Out on the streets" is a basic pop metal song and nothing else, and it even shouldn't be.
"Looking out for #1"'s name refers to love ballad, what this song isn't. It follows the same pop metal pattern laid by the previous song. Ending of the album isn't sad, thought someone can think of it. "Kill or be killed" represents the heavier edge of the album, and it does it well. Song ends pretty suddenly, and then you think, was that it?
All songs have been written by Snider (expect the "Leader of the pack"), and it seems that his songwriting skills are still high. He has an ability to make many memorable and catchy songs, which many songwriter lacks. This album isn't always so heavy as it's predecessors, but should it be?
Twisted Sisters fourth full length, Come Out and Play, is definetly not a bad album, just not the greatest. Some parts in this album are heavy metal, while other parts lead to more of a straight out, rock and roll sound. So the greatest controversy over this album: Is it heavy metal or rock! I have come to the conclusion that it is heavy metal starting to turn to a more modern rock sound. Then there are times when this album has the ever familiar sound of "glam metal"!
So what is the heavy metal part of this album? The Fire Still Burns is a perfect example of heavy metal! The opening riff will make you headbang for sure. It has a fast paced drum beat and riff, and awsome vocals. Kill Or Be Killed, another great example. Awsome heavy metal drum beating and heavier riffs then some of the other songs on here. The lyrics are also definetly more darker and different from the other songs that aren't heavy metal.
Still ever present in Twisted Sister is the "glam metal" sound. This is shown in songs like Come Out and Play, the way the vocals are done, certain riffing styles. You Want What We Got, straight power chords! Definetly showing a heavier style of riffing, especially heavier vocals. I mean come on, who shouts the name of the title before playing it? I Believe in You is definetly a glam song; ballad! A pretty good straight out, ballad, that never gets to heavy. It doesn't have the greatness that The Price or You're Not Alone.
Besides these two sides, there is definetly a pull towards a modern rock (classic rock) in this album. The best way to explain this is in the song I Believe in Rock-N-Roll! It is a pretty good song, it has a cool verse riff, awsome lyrics (anthem style I want to rock, nothing else), and a heavy drum beat. The title would suggest a rock n roll type song. Towards the end of the song Snider talks:"Oh, would that my words were written down would that they were inscribed on a record that with an iron fist and Led Zeppelin they were cut in the rock forever but as for me, I know that HEAVY METAL lives and it will at last stand fourth upon the dust that I myself shall see my own ears not another's shall behold it and from my flesh I shall see it ROCK my inmost being is consumed with longing this is the word of the rocker!" You see the parallels?
Also there are two covers on this album. Leader of the Pack, originally sung by The Shirelles. It's cool and nicely done (although it is weird cause a girl is supposed to sing this song). There are a lot of good sound effects in here, like motor cycle sounds and the backing vocals is excellent. The other cover is Be Crool to Your Skool, a roughly done cover of the Beach Boys classic!
Overall this album isn't bad, although Stay Hungry and Under the Blade are ten times better. Still it is not bad if you like 80's rock/heavy metal. Great riffing, awsome soloing, great vocals, and some unforgettable songs! Recommend for Twisted Sister fans, and 80 metal fans!!!