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This is one of the best American heavy metal albums of the 80's, and of all time as well. Twister Sister have shifted their sound from straightforward heavy metal to a more commercial one, with keeping the heavy metal attributes and overall quality of their previous albums.
The cover may be misinterpreted by many, as it shows the lead singer, Dee Snyder, covered in makeup which immediately bring glam metal to mind, and glam metal has given the impression of low-quality musicianship and a ton of cheese. Although the latter is more than right, the talent here is heard in any aspect. All of the riffs here are memorable, and aren't overused or underused (a thing that is heard throughout many albums of that time) which makes them a key driving force in the album. They feature very simple chord structures that were made to be catchy and heavy in the same time that will leave you headbanging for months. The vocals are all over the album as well, with Dee Snyder doing a superior job with delivering them. They have the classic glam metal poppiness to them, but are also badass and emotional as hell- which makes them sound very natural (can you read that, Discharge?) and fitting.
The songs are very chorus driven, which doesn't damage the songs themselves, because the verses and the choruses here are some of the catchiest in the whole genre (and if you haven't sang along to We're Not Gonna Take It or I Wanna Rock you immediately lose all of your credibility, because what normal person hasn't done that before?). They are perfectly structured and give space for all of the instruments and Dee to show how badass this album is in terms of musicianship and catchiness. There's even a semi-epic in the album, Horror-Teria...., which is a really great experimental song compared to the rest of the album and features really great riff and solo sections. (And did I mention that the title track is really similar to Riot's Fire Down Under?) All of the songs here are superior in every term, with most of them being really anthemic and well-known and liked by non-metal fans (thanks a lot- Donald Trump and Spongebob Squarepants). Even the power ballad of Stay Hungry (which is a really surprising fact for the fact of having only one ballad in the album), The Price, is really great and doesn't deliver a synthetic and a forced feeling to it.
A very notable point of the album is the production. It doesn't feature the typical hair metal production which focuses on the vocals, but instead, emphasizes the guitars more which gives a more heavy metal feeling to the album. The drums and the bass aren't left behind are are equalized perfectly. The lyrics are notable too, for having some typical glammy "sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll" parts along with having really epic sections as well:
"The mob assembled, smoke filled the air
And marched in anger to do what's fair
To bring to justice this souless thing
And show the others what evil brings
Now before you shake your head, think if it was your child instead" (Street Justice)
Overall, this is a classic album in all terms and is a must-listen for every rock and metal fan ever. Mandatory.
Ah, Twisted Sister; you outrageously goofy and pompous, yet hilariously and charmingly entertaining explosion of a band. You're more than what they call "glam metal", you're one of those bands that has the trappings of a glam band, but is actually fun to listen to due to your redeeming qualities. Gruff and abrasive vocals, lyrics that relate to things other than love or sex, and a general knowledge that your appearance is not to be taken too seriously (as many glam fans have, unfortunately). Although "Stay Hungry" was the album that put Twisted Sister on the map (and rustled the feathers of some prudish politicians), it's an excellent example of the band's potential, and you don't have to take them so seriously to enjoy them.
Even though the band members' looks are utterly ridiculous to the nth degree, some of the lyrical themes can be more serious. The band's ballad, "The Price", rather than go for the go-to standard of love or breakups, has a lyrical theme of life and the hardships that come with it. It's a more serious ballad, rather than some insipid puppy love song that Bon Jovi would come up with, and that makes it one of the only (if not the only) power ballad that's actually worth listening to. The only reason why it's not as goofy as the other ones is 'cos it's a ballad, therefore it's somewhat easier to relate to some people, as it is more down-to-earth. We also get the theme of horror, like in "Horror-Teria: The Beginning (A) Captain Howdy, B) Street Justice)". There, the "Captain Howdy" part plays out like a cautionary tale about stranger danger and serial killers. There's also "The Beast", which is about, well, a beast. Or, not just any beast, but a terrifying beast ready to eat you right up. The lyrics are actually just as goofy as the band's looks, making it fun to listen to, as opposed to "The Price", ironically the most serious thing ever to be written by a band known for their singer putting at least 2 inches of makeup on his face.
What makes Twisted Sister more fun is the sheer cheesiness of some of the songs. Sure, the all-time classic hit "We're Not Gonna Take It" has the same melody in both the verse and the chorus (and even the solo), but the goofy lyrics related to rebellion are so over-the-top and hilarious, that the song is actually fun to listen to. It's like watching a movie with lousy special effects that's so bad, you can't help but laugh at it. That's kind of what we're hearing here. Don't forget the music videos in which the teacher/dad gets humiliation conga either from the band, or from his futile attempts to get rid of them, but I feel that the songs speak for themselves already. Of course they're hilarious, but the music itself is enough to put a smile on my face. It's not just the classics that fall into the camp category, either, there's also "Burn in Hell". The lyrics sound a little religious, but come on, this is Twisted Sister we're talkin' here. The lyrics are just so overdone and laughable, that it's really hard to take them seriously. How can you hear such lyrics as "There's just five words to say as you go down, down, down; you're gonna burn in hell" and keep a straight face? It's almost impossible to do!
There's actually other factors that make Twisted Sister stand out from the typical "hair metal" band, and that's mainly due to the voice of the band member that looks the most ridiculous, Dee Snider himself. If you see someone with makeup, hair and outfit that would make Nikki Sixx look like Cliff Burton, you'd imagine him to have a ridiculously annoying voice, like that of Vince Niel or Mark Slaughter (don't Google him, seriously). That's not the case here. Dee has a more gruff and growling voice that carries the swagger (and the hilariousness) of the music's subject matter. His vocal delivery in "The Beast" in particular, consists of this low and tough-sounding power, suggesting the ferocity and the toughness of the titular beast and the futility of facing it. The title track is also a bit of a surprise, since it's really fast-paced and aggressive. I'm not kidding, either. The song actually has a more rapid tempo that is not normally found on typical glam metal songs. It's got kind of a sing-along chorus, there's that, but man, do you think White Lion would use a song of that tempo, one that would normally make them dive under their beds crying with their mascara running in fear? I don't think so!
They've got some insanely dumb looks, they've got some insanely dumb lyrics, and they've got some songs which can also be categorized as insanely dumb, but that's what makes Twisted Sister awesome. Let me put it this way, listening to them is like watching Nicolas Cage's acting in a movie. It's just so over-the-top, it's just so corny and comical, you can't help but smile. In fact, I think that's the reason why they got popular in the first place. It's not 'cos of the fact that they wrote catchy music, it's 'cos of the fact that they wrote catchy music that's so overdone, it's actually good. Of course, it would be this album that would land Dee Snider against the infamous PMRC, who pick these guys whose lyrics are actually tame, while giving the more usual suspects like Slayer a free pass. It would also land the band into superstardom, and thus the Atlantic Records wanting them to release more "wholesome" material, like the much-abhorred "Love is for Suckers" album.
Twisted Sister are legends. And this is not without reason. Had it only been because of their outfits, bands like Stryper or Tigertailz would have gotten just as big but they didn’t. So besides the image there must have been something about their music as well. And indeed there is.
We’re talking here about the ultimate Twister Sister album. The album which combined all styles the band ever stood for. Up tempo metal songs, a ballad, sleazy sing-a-longs, pounders, fistbangers. Everything is here and not even Manowar have come this close to releasing an album so complete with everything eighties rock.
For the metal minded people we have the up tempo opener and title track “Stay Hungry” which has a great vocal performance by Dee Snider and a memorable catchy yet non-cheesy chorus. Another true metal highlight is the song “Burn In Hell” which combines up tempo metal with a great eerie doomy intro. The fast song “Don’t Let Me Down” is a simple song but the melodies and vocal lines make it more than memorable and the song has a certain beauty to it.
The two classic hard rocking sing-a-longs “We're Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” did not only have the most ultimate rock videos from the eighties but in fact are also two of the best rocking songs from the eighties. Once you’ve heard them, you will never forget them.
“The Beast” is a slow pounding song and once again extremely catchy (especially the massive chorus riff). “SMF” is a great tribute to their die-hard fan base and the epic “Captain Howdy/Street Justice” features some nice creepy lyrics. Furthermore I must of course mention the ballad “The Price” which I’ve always liked. Dee Snider’s performance is really outstanding here, preventing the song from getting too cheesy.
There is absolutely nothing for me to complain concerning “Stay Hungry”. It represents the best of Twister Sister and is a milestone in eighties history combining metal and rock so perfectly. Since there can never be ‘the’ perfect album and I consider this ‘a’ perfect album I will of course honour it by giving 99 points.