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My eyes are bleeding - 23%

Brainded Binky, February 23rd, 2015
Written based on this version: 1988, 12" vinyl, CBS

220 Volt? Who are they? Well, all you'd need to do to find out is to look up the song "Firefall" on YouTube, and you'll find one very criminally underrated traditional heavy metal band that came out of Sweden in the 80's. However, most bands around at that time usually have a brush with commercial sound, and unfortunately for us, 220 Volt is one of them. Their monstrously horrid concoction that came straight out of the urge to be on par with Bon Jovi was the abysmal "Eye to Eye".

I guess a more appropriate title for this review would be "My ears are bleeding", but I had to elude to the album's cliched title somehow. Its preposterous title is only the beginning, however. On the surface, some of the tracks might not seem all that bad, but when you listen to them all in the whole album, you'd be wondering if you were listening to the same song more than once. That's only 'cos of the fact that a few of the songs sound the same. That's not a hyperbole - two songs are actually different, yet they sound like the exact same one. It's really hard to tell the title track apart from "Dangerous", 'cos they're basically the exact same song. Think about it, the same power chords (which are somewhat basic already), the same tempo, very similar-sounding choruses, and very cliched themes to the lyrics. It's like Warbringer's "War without End", at least they had some amount of aggression to back it up to some extent. 220 Volt, however, does not, therefore the music on "Eye to Eye" suffers from being more cliched than Motley Crue would ever dare to be.

Speaking of cliche, there's also, what else, a power ballad. This was in the 80's when every hard rock or "metal" band wanted to be the next Def Leppard, and thus they tried to imitate them as closely as possible. That said, there's "Love is All You Need". All you would really need is to read the song's title, and you'd already know that it's not worth sitting through. It really isn't, it's another generic 80's power ballad. Step one: create a song that has pretentiously syrupy lyrics of love and an equally pretentiously syrupy tone. Step two: add some synthesizers that completely overpower the music. Step three: use as little guitars as possible. Step four: profit! This was probably in the mindset of the either the band or its label when creating this. Other songs aren't much better. "The Harder they Come" is another generic 80's rocker that wouldn't sound out of place in a Bill and Ted movie. "I'm on Fire" kinda sounds like it would be better off as a Dokken song rather than one by 220 Volt. It has kind of a raunchy vibe with a chorus that totally sounds like something Dokken would pull off. Stop trying to be Dokken, okay?

Blech. That's only one word I have to say in order to describe this album. How in the name of all that is holy did 220 Volt think their future would be brighter by recording an album that would make Def Leppard sound like Iron Maiden? Was there any thought put into recording anything on here at all? Had the band had any second thoughts about signing onto that label? It reminds me of the movie "Wayne's World", where the titular TV show is gingerly placed into the hands of a head of a multi-billion dollar corporation which proceeds to ruin it. That's basically what I feel happened to 220 Volt, along with a slew of other bands at the time. Just tragic, really.

Tragedy, thy name is vasectomy! - 35%

autothrall, June 10th, 2010

Perhaps the pressure of delivering three tight metal records, which ranged from 'good' (220 Volt in 1983) to 'great' (Mind Over Muscle in 1985) and reaching very little success rubbed off on the Swedish hopefuls, because when 1988 arrived the band had seriously gimped itself into just another common hard rock band struggling for the airwaves against a thousand other faceless acts trapped into short term, major label deals which would most often result in their undoing. That's not to say Eye to Eye is the shittiest album you've ever heard, because there are certainly far worse cases of a band treading the same raunchy path, but after Mind Over Muscle, one might have hoped that the band's legacy and upwards path would continue, transforming 220 Volt into one of the most raging metal forces in all of 80s Sweden!

Instead, you've got a very commercial flop here which at best apes some unlikely hybrid of Firehouse, Europe, AC/DC and even the groovier hard rock guitars of an Extreme into a digestible, but soon forgotten fast food course that you'd partake of en route to some more important event in your life. The line-up remains the same as their excellent 1985 effort, but all ambitions to progress and power forward into immortality were castrated and the flopping, sad eunuch that remains is worth nothing more than a cheap dispense at the nearest bargain bin. It's REALLY fucking ironic that the first song on this album is called "The Harder They Come", when in fact the band does NOT come hard whatsoever. This is friendly radio fare with a cool lick or two in betwixt the rather average chords and tremolo guitar line which closely resembles Dire Straits or AC/DC.

Sad to say, this is one of the better songs on the album, and most of the record consists of Def Leppard-like hard rock ala "Beat of a Heart" or the awful "Still in Love", which I'd expect from Winger much moreso than this once mighty Swedish platoon. I'll admit, I cannot think of a Europe ballad in the 80s that is more gimped than this one...not catchy enough to make or break the band, and not heavy enough to please those poor fans who appreciated the first three albums. When you're lucky, you'll get a track like "Money Talks" which at least has a decent riff or two among the shuffle of poor predictability.

In short, 220 Volt could have been something other than a Scorpions or Europe clone, using those influences favorably and proceeding from the time they showed such immense potential, but they instead traversed the descending path to many a drunken night, wondering where it all went wrong. We all remember those crop of hard rock MTV rotated shite hair band videos of the 80s, which often would choke up the programming of Headbangers Ball. Do we remember any from 220 Volt? No. Exactly! For even if the Swedes had been better suited towards this direction, they offered too little too late to appeal to the aerosol zombies that were sucking Bon Jovi and Bret Michaels records off the record shelves faster than they'd snub their poor boyfriends' advances while dreaming of their high-haired effeminate man-gods.

Now to light some incense in here, because this stinks!