Review Summary: An enjoyable hard rock album with several gems, but ultimately too much filler.
Although they aren’t talked about very often these days, Quiet Riot were quite the phenomenon back in 1983 when they released the highly successful Metal Health
. Although they had released two albums previously, it was their first album to be released in America which gave them the exposure they needed to make it big. In fact, the band’s third effort Metal Health
is one of the best selling hard rock albums of all time, selling well over 6 million copies and spawning two successful hits. However, despite the albums massive success, it doesn’t exactly live up to the hype. There are some amazing songs, but they are sandwiched between too much filler.
When a band doesn’t have enough material to make a completely solid record, it’s never a bad idea to put the better tracks in the beginning of the album, and this is something Quiet Riot knew quite well. The first two songs are the best on the album and are also the songs that went on to be singles. The opening track ‘Bang Your Head (Metal Health)’ is the most impressive song they’ve ever written and it is an anthem of sorts to metal music. Although the guitar work is rather simple, the band lays down some of the most memorable riffs I’ve heard in hard rock which are accompanied by an enjoyable sing along chorus. It’s hard not to get into the song’s hard rock vibe as the band sings “Bang your head! Metal Health will drive you mad!”. They keep the momentum going on the second track which is an upbeat cover of Slade’s ‘Cum on Feel the Noize.’ It’s not quite as good as the first, but the catchy verses help make it another standout. Even though neither of their singles are over the top instrumentally, they are brought to life by vocalist Kevin DuBrow. His vocals are very reminiscent of Vince Neil’s work in Motley Crue, but they are definitely lower and more hoarse, giving the band their own unique sound.
Unfortunately, DuBrow’s voice cant save the rest of the album from being under whelming. There are still a few enjoyable tracks, like ‘Don’t Wanna Let You Go’ or the unexpected closer ‘Thunderbird’, but the rest of the songs are average at best and are held back by boring riffs and forgettable choruses. This is a forgivable offense however, as the band close the album with a surprisingly good ballad. ‘Thunderbird’ is the softest song on Metal Health
and DuBrow absolutely nails it. In hearing his raspy vocals on the other tracks, one wouldn’t expect him to sound this good, but his voice is nothing short of beautiful on the albums exceptional closer. It’s full of piano and some light but effective guitar work, making it another one of the albums essential tracks.
Quiet Riot may not have been able to keep the momentum going throughout the entirety of Metal Health
, but when they hit, they hit hard. ‘Bang Your Head’ lives on as one of the most important songs in hard rock and their cover of ‘Cum on feel the Noize’ is still played on radio stations to this day. Surely, it’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s an important album that has enough essential tracks to belong in any music lovers collection.