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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.