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Twenty years prior to this recording, Twisted Sister released their breakthrough album Stay Hungry. Full of anthemic rockers, heavy metal bravado, and the balls to back it up, the album topped the charts and among the dregs of popular 80's metal. Twenty years later, the band re-envisioned the album, re-recording it and slapping on a bunch of bonus tracks. Fans should rejoice, no? Well....no, not really. Though it is nice to hear some of these classic tunes produced under the power of modern technology, you can't buy the energy of rebellion captured on the original recording. Tack on the inessential bonus and "lost" recordings and this thing is pretty much obsolete from the get-go.
The album starts off well, as the first three tracks from the original are classic. "Stay Hungry" is a good representation of the kind of star treatment the re-recording got. No, Dee Snider doesn't sound as good as on the old album, but the guitars, bass, and drums are perfect. The pace continues with rebel anthem "We're Not Gonna Take It," one of two TS songs that everybody knows, the other of course being "I Wanna Rock" found later on this album. The real charmer is of course "Burn in Hell," a track so heavy and twisted that it's a shame it's overlooked in favor of the hits. The rest? Anyone who remembers this album won't be disappointed, as the remainder of the tracks don't lose that classic sheen (though granted, the rest of the songs weren't nearly as memorable). New-school fans would do well to pick this up; it's pretty faithful to the original and should keep a new generation of sick motherfuckers duly satisfied.
Now for the old-school fan, it's the bonus tracks that make this album intriguing. Two songs left unreleased from the original sessions, plus five new recordings. Twisted bliss? Well, not exactly. The bonus songs kind of blow. None of these are painful to listen to, but christ are they mediocre. Generic riffing typical of the band's past fillers, uninspired vocals, and nothing particularly memorable about the lyrics. I did take note of some exonerable bass work and a few nice solos, but no reasons otherwise that these tracks should have been recorded (or in the case of the old ones, dug up).
The hardcore Sister fan might disagree, but this release seems pretty superfluous to me, considering the original record is better and the bonus tracks are unremarkable. Conclusion: try it before you buy it.
Whether you’re a diehard fan or if you just like the two songs that have been overplayed on radio for the past 20 years this is definitely worth purchasing. Not only do you get to hear the incredible Stay Hungry album completely rerecorded but you also get 7 other songs that alone are worth the price of this disc.
The Original Stay Hungry songs - All of them are much heavier and sound better musically but the vocals are a mixed bag. At times Dee’s voice improves the songs (The Price, Horror Teria, Stay Hungry) but at other times he can’t recapture the magic of the original vocal tracks (I Wanna Rock, We’re Not Gonna Take It). It is especially great to hear a new version of Burn in Hell which is one of the all time great Metal songs.
After that we get treated to 7 tracks that are as good as if not better than some of the Stay Hungry songs. The first two are demos from the Stay Hungry session rerecorded by the band a few years back. After that are 4 studio versions of live songs that were part of the bands set in their early days all were featured on the Club Daze CD’s. The last song is from the Strangeland soundtrack:
Never Say Never - A fast rocker. Not bad but not a classic.
Blastin Fast & Loud - Starts similar to Never Say Never but is a little more memorable than the previous song.
Come Back - Damn this song is catchy. Why they never recorded it until now is unknown to me. This could have been a hit or at least a great addition to any of their previous albums.
Plastic Money - My personal favorite song on the record. This is another song that should’ve been on an actual album. Dee really shines on this one as well as on the other new songs.
You Know I Cry - Good song. Nothing to special but it would have been one of the better songs if it was on Love Is For Suckers.
Rock N Roll Saviors - “Till Disco is dead, you know it’s dead, You’re dead, dead, dead” those lyrics kick ass. A great metal anthem. This shows that Twisted were always good at writing metal anthems.
Heroes are Hard to Find - If you have the abysmal Strangeland soundtrack (at least the movie was good) that only had a few decent songs on it you’ve already heard this one that was by far the highlight of that album. This is another top notch Twisted Sister song. The chorus is one that gets stuck in your head after a few listens.
Overall this record is one of the best releases of 2004 and worth a listen from anyone who ever had even a minor interest in this band. The rerecorded tracks are outstanding and the other songs are just icing on the cake. Go buy it or if you want to be cheap about it go download it.