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Absolutely Essential - 84%

DawnoftheShred, July 20th, 2007

In the first half of the 80's, Twisted Sister were the undisputed kings of heroic pop metal. They rocked harder and faster than their glammier contemporaries and frontman Dee Snider became the poster boy for rebellion as well as a respected heavy metal lyricist. Under the Blade, from 1982, is the album that established them, after a decade lingering around in the club scene, and it still stands as their finest hour, even over the far more popular Stay Hungry.

Musically, this has far more in common with the Judas Priest material of the decade than glam metal. Though the Sister would eventially adopt the trend, most of this album is fucking speed metal. "Under the Blade," easily the most sinister song of '82, is arguably the best TS song ever written, with a sampling of solid riffage and an overabundance of attitude. This attitude is what has carried the band from day one: in the balls-out riffs, the defiant up-tempo, and the ferocious delivery of Dee Snider. Even when the song is a bit slower, such as in "Shoot 'Em Down" and "Bad Boys (Of Rock 'n' Roll)," there's not a hint of weakness in any member of the band. Snider screams, Jay Jay French shreds, and everybody else does a marvellous good job of keeping up. Other classics include "Run for Your Life," with that awesome intro buildup, "Sin After Sin," another wicked speed metal number, and "Destroyer," a crushing metal number that you'd never have seen from the likes of Winger or Cinderella. Admittedly, the chorus of "Bad Boys" is kind of cheesy, but Snider's point is valid and the verses are catchy, so it works out. The rest of the tunes are just as solid, if just a bit less memorable.

Not much more to say about this one except that Dee Snider is one of the best personifications of the ideal 80's metal frontman. This wouldn't be half as killer if he wasn't screaming with all his heart and soul throughout. It's his spirit that keeps this among the best albums out of the entire popular 80's metal discography, even over the band's own later material.

Recommended for fans of the scene, most of whom probably own this already.