Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Twisted Sister-Stay Hungry 25th anniversary edition


To say that this album had a major impact on me would be a gross understatement. Back in those early days I was eagerly absorbing any hard rock or metal that I get my hands on. Twisted Sister along with the likes of Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and others were some of the first bands that I was exposed to. I don't know if it was the raw sound or the silly anti-authority lyrics, the drag queens gone wrong look or a combination of all of those, but Twisted Sister just struck a nerve with me.Their first three albums are fine examples of edgy hard rock done with a lot enthusiasm and fire. "Stay Hungry" was the one that really sucked me in. I wore out at least two cassette copies of this back in the mid-1980's. I had a Twisted Sister poster taped to my wall and of course I scribbled TS symbols all over my book covers. My love for the band tapered off on the albums after this as the band failed to deliver a good follow-up. Now twenty-five years later we get this two disc anniversary edition of "Stay Hungry" which also comes just a few years after the band re-recorded the album as "Still Hungry". The first disc is a remastered version of the classic album. Truthfully I don't hear a great deal of difference in the sound, but that's okay because the material still holds up well. "We're not going to take it" is a fantastic anthem that has never gotten old to my ears. Songs like "S.M.F' and the title track still have that powerful bite that they always possessed. Tracks like the two part "Horror-Teria" and the always fantastic "Burn in hell" have a dark side to them and they work even today. "Don't let me down" would be my choice for most underrated song on this album. "The Price" really should have been a bigger hit than it was as it's a slow song done right with feeling rather than the kind of whiny sap that made up many of the hard rock ballads of the day. Now I do have to admit that "I wanna rock" doesn't sound as good to me as it did back then. I still like it, but it's merely decent. That leaves "The Beast" and it is the one song on this album that I have never cared for. It's rather dull, but the rest of the album makes up for it. A great album, but that's not all because we still have disc two which is full of demos and previously unreleased tracks. There are demos for five of the songs on "Stay Hungry" and they vary in quality. The one for the title track is solid and not far off from the final version while "We're not going to take it" sounds very rough and the band has yet to figure out the groove that really drives the completed version. Interesting to hear these tracks in their early stages. Then there are ten older unreleased songs that recorded while the band was making "Stay Hungry" back in late 1983. For whatever reason they were not picked for that album, but at least we get to hear them now. There are some real gems like "What's love without you" and "We're coming on". Actually most of these songs are good although some sound like they could have been fleshed out a little more. In hearing these it's a shame that Twisted Sister went so far off the mark on 1985's "Come out and play" when they had some fine material like these songs already done. The first of the last two entries is a "KMET radio spot" which is brief, but slightly amusing. The other is "30" which is the band's first new track in a long time. It has a bit of an older drive to it, but definitely the kind of simple gritty sound that helped define Twisted Sister back in their prime. Surprisingly better than I was expecting. It's not like I needed an excuse to listen to "Stay Hungry" again, but this is a great album and the second disc is sure to please fans of the band as well.


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Blogger FilmFather said...

"...and of course I scribbled TS symbols all over my book covers."

What kind of a man desecrates a defenseless textbook?! (Teacher from "I Wanna Rock" video - LOL)

Yeah, Stay Hungry was one of those albums that had an impact on me, too. And yeah, "The Price" should've been a bigger hit; maybe it was too downbeat for the glammy power ballads that blanketed the airwaves back then.

I still think the title track to "Come Out and Play" is pretty awesome; too bad the rest of the album just fell to pieces.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous JB said...

I think Stay Hungry had impact that can't be measured. No one pays it the proper respect it deserves specially after what TS had been through to get it out there. It was a major break through for heavy metal, much like Mental Health. If people don't like it fine, but its time to give it the due it deserves.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

FilmFather-I like about half of Come out and play, but this band could have been really big. It was about 30 seconds into the video for "Leader of the pack" when I heard the window of opportunity slam shut on Twisted Sister's hopes.

JB-TS along with the first two Crue albums were one of the few bands that did some good glam in the 80's before bands like Poison and Warrant popped up and made glam a dirty word.

1:01 PM  
Anonymous JB said...

Mark, couldn't agree more, although I usually have to hide it on the net...lol! I"m a huge Metal fan and feel that Motley set the bar that others had to rise to.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Woody said...

I was lucky enough to see Twisted Sister a few times at L'amour in Brooklyn before they got huge and they were one of the best live bands I've ever seen. They were really heavy and put on a very energetic show.

The last time I saw them was a secret show at Lamour when they were testing these songs out live. It was awesome. The record never lived up to the live show for me. JJ needs to stop being a putz and put out more live stuff from the vaults.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I agree wholeheartedly...great anniversary edition, "30" is a very entertaining cut, "The Price" is one of the best ballads (and songs overall) of the early-mid eighties and I too was defacing my textbooks likewise,though we had those veneer wraps around our books just ripe for scrawling as many metal logos as one could, a sport of our times

3:23 AM  

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