Review Summary: One of the landmarks of 80's Metal. Motley Crue at their peak, combining ambition and energy, and making a masterpiece which displays what Heavy Metal is about.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
In 1983, a time when Metal genre was growing and developing different styles, a band called Motley Crue would release their album “Shout at the Devil”. One of the major acts in the Metal Scene of the 80’s, displaying all the impact and catchiness of Glam or Hair Metal, yet combining it with elements of classic Metal, making a record which is clearly Crue’s best. This standard of musical work would never be achieved by a band which gradually faded into mediocrity, like the Hair Metal scene during the 90’s. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and all kind of abuses led them to be seen as a band which lived always near the limit, as songs lyrics reflect.
But here they were young, powerful and full of energy. Shout at the Devil is the successor of their debut “Too Fast For Love” which showed a sign of what Motley could produce if they matured a bit. Nikki Sixx, bassist and main song writer, displays all his ability throughout the album, not only with his bass guitar, but with his excellent material, which is consistent all along, despite not being particularly complex nor difficult to appreciate. Simple music is not worse than complex music, and here you’ll find something very heavy and powerful, with fresh and outstanding riffs, and well-executed and original solos. Guitar work is done by Mick Mars, and he’s a pretty damned good guitarist. He might not be the best one you will find, but he is a really nice one, and his style fits perfectly with the band, and as I mentioned before, all his plays are fresh and catchy. Tommy Lee also does a very good job with his drums, providing nice fills as well as varied. Take for example “Bastard”, with that smashing drum intro and the changes of speed along the song, it’s perhaps the track where Tommy shines the most. Then we have the vocals of Vince Neil, which actually fit the album very well. Despite all the incidents he’s been involved, and his well-known legal troubles, his singing is accurate and generally high-pitched, but this is a pro for him. Title track, for instance, shows his range and summarizes his whole performance very well.
One of the most remarkable things from this album is the lack of fillers and the consistence of every song on it. Not a single bland or dull song. It’s not easy to find a Heavy Metal album which has general high standard for every song, yet Shout at the Devil does, and songs never sound samey, you can always distinguish them. The intro “In the Beginning”, with the pessimistic and well-done narration of how evil actually rules the world, creates a perfect atmosphere for the entrance of the raw, heavy riff of the title track. An excellent riff, that is simple, but mighty as well. “Shout at the Devil” is one of the highlights definitely. “Looks that Kill” and “Bastard” are both solid tracks, with catchy choruses and nice instrumental work, particularly the latter one. Instrumental “God Bless the Children”, 1:30 long and written by Mick Mars it’s actually a nice combination of acoustic and electric guitar work, and makes a nice change of pace. “Helter Skelter” cover (originally a Beatles’ song) is obviously heavier than the original and doesn’t let down, especially that brief but excellent solo. “Red Hot” is a classic heavy metal song, driven by Lee’s drums. It’s fast, short and great.
And yet, the albums gets better and better. “Too Young to Fall in Love”, “Knock ‘em Dead Kid” and “Ten Seconds to Love” follow, and they happen to be the best songs of the whole album. The first one has a damned riff which I just can’t describe without getting excited, it’s arguably the most complex one of the album and clearly the best, and the chorus is outstanding, as well as sticky. The second one is a faster song with an aggressive and overwhelming riff, and a killer solo. “Ten Seconds to Love” is also a great song, quite heavy and interesting, and it has the best bassline of the album. It’s also the longest song on the whole record, clocking at 4:18. The last track, “Danger” is actually a ballad, and what a ballad. It shows another side of Motley Crue, and has some of Vince Neil’s best vocal work. It’s quite interesting, and my personal favorite ballad of this band. A good way of finishing what is one of the indispensable Metal albums released in the 80’s.
To conclude, I should say that nothing Motley Crue ever did is comparable to this slab of pure Heavy Metal. Not even the praised “Dr. Feelgood” can be compared to this. Motley’s discography is really overshadowed by their second album. Shout at the Devil is a masterpiece, a true example of what Metal is about. It shows the ambition the guys had when they thought about it, and when they executed it. It displays real energy successfully put into musical form. It’s raw, fast and heavy.
- Shout at the Devil
- Too Young to Fall In Love
- Knock ‘em Dead Kid
- Ten Seconds to Love