Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 9/28/17
Each Thursday, Hard Rock Music Time Machine takes a journey back in time to feature a variety of songs that date back as far as the ’70s.
In addition to appearing on the embedded YouTube playlist below, all songs featured on Hard Rock Music Time Machine can be listened to individually by clicking on the hyper-linked song titles above each review.
ADAM WALDMAN – (Publisher, Hard Rock Daddy)
W.A.S.P. – “Arena Of Pleasure” (1992)
By the time that 1992 started, the grunge movement was growing rapidly, but there was still great hard rock being released. One of the more underrated albums that turned 25 this year is W.A.S.P.’s fifth studio release, The Crimson Idol. This brilliant concept album was originally slated to be a Blackie Lawless solo project, but it ultimately ended up carrying the W.A.S.P. moniker.
Because the darkness of grunge hadn’t yet overtaken the hard rock scene, there was still music being made that dabbled in the debauchery of the previous decade. However, while “Arena Of Pleasure” make appear to fit into that category based on the title, the song is actually quite dark (at least lyrically).
It’s always a challenge to listen to songs from a concept album on their own because of the loss of context, but “Arena Of Pleasure” can just be enjoyed at face value. Those that want to dig deeper (and I highly recommend that you do so) will find that this song helps tell the story of the black sheep of a family (who also happens to be the only surviving child). The pleasure in the case of this song is about finding love and support from an estranged family.
The Crimson Idol is not only one of the best concept albums ever, it is one of the best hard rock albums of all-time. If you like this song, go back and listen to the album in its entirety. This would make a compelling movie if it was ever to be made.
HARDLINE – “Hot Cherie” (1992)
Unlike “Arena Of Pleasure,” whose title is a bit misleading, Hardline’s “Hot Cherie” is exactly what you expect…and it’s glorious!
The original incarnation of Hardline (which still exists today), features legendary guitarist Neal Schon and drummer Deen Castronovo (who would go on to join Journey). The band was started by the Gioeli brothers (vocalist Johnny and guitarist Joey). Johnny is the lone original member in the band.
“Hot Cherie” is everything that you loved about ‘80s hard rock…shredding guitars, soaring vocals, sweet vocal harmonies, and a vibe that makes you feel uplifted and alive. To say that songs like this were a beacon of light during the dark days of grunge is not hyperbole.
ANDY CHEUNG – HRD Music Scout
PANTERA – “Mouth For War” (1992)
Pantera was one of the best groove metal bands to ever exist. When they broke onto the metal scene with their debut album – Cowboys from Hell – in 1990, I immediately became a fan (not counting the band’s glam days). Their style of music was quickly coined “groove metal.” Fast forward to 1992, and their second album release Vulgar Display of Power. Phil Anselmo abandons the Rob Halford influenced vocal style, and changed to a growling, aggressive, hardcore style. Along with Dimebag Darrell’s blazing and progressive guitar work, and the thunderous rhythm section of Vinny Paul and Rex Brown, Pantera became the representation of what a metal band should be. This influential band is still one of my all-time favorites to this day.
HELMET – “In The Meantime” (1992)
As the metal and hardcore scene was changing in the early ‘90s, one band stood out in the mainstream. Helmet was one of the earliest bands to be coined “post-hardcore.” They had a really heavy sound, but looked more like hardcore kids than long-haired metalheads. And yet, they were embraced by the metal masses. Their riffs were simple and repetitive, and Page Hamilton screamed as aggressively as any other great metal vocalist. Any Helmet song will make listeners bang their heads in unison. Another one of the most influential bands of the ‘90s, Helmet connected the post-hardcore look and feel to a lot of metal bands nowadays…everything from nu-metal to metalcore.
ROB DELL’AQUILA – HRD Music Scout
TNT – “Lionheart” (1992)
Norwegian metal band TNT formed in 1982, but it took a couple lineup changes to perfect their sound. It was the addition of vocalist Tony Harnell a couple years later that made them a sensation in both their home country and in America. His vocal range is on full display on this ballad from their 1992 album, Realized Fantasies. He’s left the band several times since then, but he’s back with them now, touring Europe for the 30th anniversary of their 1987 album, Tell No Tales.
ASIA – “Who Will Stop The Rain” (1992)
Asia was most famous with the late John Wetton as their frontman. However, in the ‘90s, they made some amazing music with the talented John Payne on vocals. This favorite comes from their 1992 album, Aqua. Payne continues to make music, with a somewhat different lineup of musicians, as “Asia featuring John Payne.”