Monday, July 23, 2012

Stutz 3 CD Box Set

Stormspell Records

Stutz are yet again more proof that Cleveland, Ohio was a goldmine when it came to music. Scratch that it still is a goldmine. Stutz (who were formed in 1978) were one of those bands that did everything right and yet fell just a hair short of achieving success. Despite never signing that one major label deal (the band was said to be on the verge of signing a major deal with Geffen records at one point) the band maintained enough of a cult following that it was only a matter of time before some label came along and repackaged their material. This 3CD box set was actually a gift for my birthday (July 11th) from my children. Of course they did have a little help with ordering this set as they are only 14 and 12 after all! Anyway, this 3CD box set gathers up all music that Stutz recorded during their career (1981-1990) and presents it in a nice package with lyrics, history, photos, etc. Each CD can also be purchased separately, but considering the fact that there are hidden gems on each album I'm personally glad to have had the chance to hear the whole set. The first CD contains their 1983 "Made in USA" LP (it is retitled "Killer" now) along with the band's rare 7" EP and bonus material. All in all this is a good album although for my money it is the band's 1986 album, "Tearing Up The Night" (retitled "Marching Into Hell") where things get interesting. The band's sound was a little too polished and pop on album number on. The second CD shows the band (who have a sound that falls along the lines of Stryper, Great White, Kiss, Messiah Prophet, Whitecross, Y&T and Motley Crue) really getting into gear. Songs like "Tearing Up The Night", "Marching Into Hell" and "Make Love" are great hard rock/melodic metal with just enough hair metal thrown in to appeal to a wider audience. At times the band flirts with a heavier sound (similar to maybe Bloodgood?), but for the most part this sounds like late eighties hard rock/hair metal. CD number 3, "Keep Runnin'" contains previously unpublished songs recorded from 1988 to 1990 and it hit and miss. Of the three CDs it is "Marching Into Hell" that I have listened to the most, but to be fair all three do have there moments. Each CD is 60 minutes and each CD comes with (per the promo) "12-page booklet crammed with archive photos, band story, liner notes, lyrics, custom artwork, etc.". All in all at $25.00 or so for the box set (limited time offer and only a few of the box sets at that price remain) this is a great pick up for melodic rock/hard rock/hair metal fans.

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