Hair Metal was alive in 1992, the only thing was that nobody noticed. For that matter, I didn’t even notice I was winding down my five year college career back in 1992. However, there were three outstanding debut albums I want to revisit from that blurry year of ’92. Wildside - Under The Influence, Bangalore Choir - On Target and Slik Toxik - Doin The Nasty are three albums I believe would have been huge hits, if only they had been released in a more rightful timeline three or four years earlier. Instead, these albums were seriously overlooked while the malcontents of Metal (aka Grunge bands) were storming their way onto the Metal scene.
Of these three albums, my personal favorite is Wildside’s Under The Influence. There is not a bad song on this album, in my opinion. Wildside’s Drew Hannah epitomizes what a Hair Metal vocalist is all about. Raw and powerful are his vocals, there are no other adjectives needed. From the opening track Hang On Lucy and onward, this album kick’s major Metal butt. So Far Away is a terrific follow up tune that keeps the Metal riffs rolling. Just Another Night is a power ballad and just a fantastic song all around. Drew Hannah’s voice just soars on Just Another Night and is a bit reminiscent of a Steelheart style of ballad. Looks Like Love is another slow tempo song, still it packs some great guitar licks.
A song that continues on the momentum of Under The Influence is one of my personal favorites on this album… Hair Of The Dog. The only blemish on Under The Influence may very well be Kiss This Love Goodbye. This is another power ballad that just misses the mark for me. Wildside ends their impressive debut album in grand Arena Rock style with Clock Strikes. Regardless if Under The Influence is out of print or not, if you can find a copy I definitely recommend getting your hands on it. Wildside Under The Influence is truly one of the most underrated Hair Metal albums of all-time.
On Target by Bangalore Choir came equipped with a familiar Metal voice in front man David Reece, who had previously fronted for German Heavy Metal legends… ACCEPT. (David was Accept’s lead vocalist for their 1989 studio album – Eat The Heat). For obvious reasons, the combination of David Reece and Accept just didn’t work out very well. While David’s work with Stream and Sircle of Silence wasn’t all that bad, his vocals in my opinion on On Target is what I consider to be his finest work. Opening with the muscle behind Reece’s vocals, the songs Angel In Black and Loaded Gun act as a Mike Tyson one-two punch that grabbed my attention immediately with some catchy grooves and chorus.
Now we enter into the power ballad segment of On Target, which is typical of all Hair Metal albums… If The Good Die Young (We’ll Live Forever). This is one doozy of a power ballad and it’s done so extremely well that I could debate it as one of the best power ballads ever recorded. After a couple of tempered down tunes, the pace picks up once again in what I consider Whitesnake fashion with one of my favorite songs on this album – All or Nothin’. On Target doesn’t finish off with the same fury as Under The Influence does, it’s not that the songs are bad, it just doesn’t conclude with that punch I was hoping for.
Doin’ The Nasty by Slik Toxik may very well be the least known of these three 1992 Hair Metal albums. Still, nothing stopped Slik Toxik from releasing an excellent Metal album that would have received some of the same praise that bands such as Firehouse and Slaughter were receiving just a couple of years earlier. Nicholas Walsh in my opinion has an excellent Metal voice and may be the best of these three vocalists I’ve discussed here. Big Fuckin’ Deal starts this album off on the right Rockin’ foot. Helluvatime follows and continues that headbanging anthem style. Sweet Asylum just Rocks the house! This is a favorite song of mine from Doin’ The Nasty and it screams with outstanding guitar licks.
It’s my belief that White Lies/Black Truth would have been a pretty big commercial hit had it been 1989 instead of 1992. This song is a personal favorite of mine, it’s catchy and very melodic, making for a perfect recipe for radio. There are a few songs on Doin’ The Nasty that aren’t standouts, yet they shouldn’t turn off any rabid Hair Metal fan either. That leads me into the power ballad on this album – By The Fireside. This is one of those songs that will surely have you flickering your lighters in a darkened concert arena, not to mention flickering your honey by the fireside! Doin’ The Nasty finishes off pretty strong, the only gripe I have is this album should have ended with Midnight Grind.
During a 90′s decade when the Metal world had changed from the big hair and big guitars to the somber sounds of Grunge, it’s great to look back upon a few Hair Metal nuggets from that era which are uplifting gems today. It’s remarkable to think, what a couple of years could have meant for these bands in terms of album releases. I guess that’s why there is truth to “timing is everything”. Twenty years later, Under The Influence, On Target and Doin’ The Nasty still do the Hair Metal alumnus such as myself proud. Lastly, I’ll make a couple of suggestions. If you haven’t listened to these beauties in a long while, then dust ‘em off and Rock out! If you’d never given them a listen at all, it’s time to check ‘em out and join the hair club for men party.