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Rock Reviews - Classic. AOR. Prog. Metal.
Album Reviews - Interviews - Live Reviews
A blog dedicated to followers of Rock music.
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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back.
Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P).
He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!
Classic Albums Revisited - No. 1 - Icon - 'Night Of The Crime'
I’ve thought about doing something like this for quite some time. Either....
classic album that needs revisiting (is it as great as it was back in the day,
or even better?)
argument for album that was never a classic, but it should be.
an ‘every home should have one’ contender.
for a classic album, is Icon’s 1985 masterpiece ‘Night Of The Crime’. It’s a
classic album to me, but to any fan outside of AOR then its one that would
unlikely appear on their radar. It complies with two out of my 3 statements
what their favourite melodic rock / AOR album is and I doubt they will pick
anything later than 1992. The obvious choices are Journey’s ‘Escape’, Foreigner
‘4’, Strangeways’ ‘Native Sons’, Def Leppards ‘Hysteria’ (my fave Lep album is
Pyromania), or something like Aviator, FM, Signal, Giant, and even Michael
Bolton. Ask 10 different AOR fans and you will probably end up with 9 different
answers. The list is always a decent one and one that you can argue down the
pub for hours.
If a band
has a song that turns up on your radio, car stereo etc and you never touch the
dial or turn it off, no matter how many times you’ve heard it, then it’s a classic.
Multiply one track by 10, and ‘Night Of The Crime’ is a perfect album for me.
There’s not a single duffer in sight. Fuck, even the gaps in the tracks are
worth listening to as they ramp up the excitement level for me.
formed in 1981 by high school buddies Dan Wexler (Guitar), Stephen Clifford
(Vocals), and Tracy Wallach (bass). By The time it came to NOTC, in came John
Aquilino (guitar) and Pat Dixon (drums). The album was released through Capitol
Records and was produced by that talented fella Eddie Kramer, and mixed by
another legend, Ron Nevison, and it features songwriting talent Bob Halligan
Jr. For whatever reason I cannot understand to this day, Clifford walked during
the mixing process for personal reasons. Fuck, and double fuck.
producer/mixer worth their salt can polish a turd. They can make poor albums
sound average, and make average albums sound good. One thing they can’t do is
to make a shit album- or an average, or
even good album, great. There has to be something ‘there’ already. Icon came to
the table with a great set of songs. Much to the point where they are that good
a set, the Produced would have to be a complete tool to fuck it up. Thankfully
everything aligned for one of THE rock albums of the 80s.
the opening bars of ‘Naked Eyes’ the Icon and Kramer set the whole tone of the
album. The guitar sound on ‘NE’ is just fantastic, and Clifford’s vocals are
crystal clear. Nothing is fighting with each instrument to be heard. Bass lines
and drums thump away at your body, particularly on Hungry For Love. More on
Full album on YouTube (above)
an AOR gem, from the opening parpy keyboards and the wailing backing vocals,
before the wonderful bridge and chorus. ‘Missing’ is one of the top songs of
this genre bar none. ‘Danger Calling’ is one of the more harder edged songs on
offer, but again the chorus is instantly memorable. ‘(Take Another) Shot At My
Heart ‘ has that Wexler guitar tone that should have made him a household name.
‘Out For Blood’ builds on the DC sound and is a twin guitar lovers wet dream of
a number, particularly the intro, and is the nucleus of 'NOTC'.
Hammer’ moves slowly along with its pounding and menacing beat, and ‘Frozen Tears’
is the obligatory 80s AOR ballad, and sounds like its straight out of an
eighties soundtrack. ‘Whites Of Their Eyes’ is as good a song as any of their
hair metal counterparts could muster. ‘Hungry For Love’ was put on a
compilation tape by my mate, this was my Icon intro and gave me the fuel to
find this album by hook or by crook. It’s a power ballad of the highest
quality. The bass note 39s in is just immense. I still play this song as loud
as any of my equipment will manage to go. The album is over all too quickly
with the powerful and anthemic ‘Rock My Radio'.
will spout Journey as the greatest AOR band, and they truly deserve their place
in rock history. ‘Night Of The Crime’ has a very high bar set for this genre. Cliffords
vocals are some of the best ever to be set in vinyl, and Wexler and Aquilino’s
guitars are to die for making ‘NOTC’ my contender for an ‘every home should
have one’ and a classic album of AOR or any other genre.
‘crime’ is how the hell Icon didn’t become a huge band, as the talent is
undeniably on show here. The fact that it went tits up before they had the
chance to finish what they had started is a crying shame. Icon are the only band from the 80s
that I would literally kill to have seen back in the day.