How is it that one of the best glam metal albums of all time (if not the best ever?) has yet to get a review 'round the blogosphere? A crying shame I say, but all the more reason to give it a proper spotlight here.
The story of sleazemeisters Heavy Bones is an interesting one, if not all that surprising: Warner Bros wanted to form a "supergroup" around guitar prodigy Gary Hoey (a studio favorite of some random guy named Ozzy Osbourne. Maybe you've heard of him, lol) and ended up surrounding him with a surprising cast of faces, including W.A.S.P and Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and an obscure but extremely talented singer named Joel Ellis, who kind of sounds like Axl Rose but with a lot more range and versatility. Dude had one helluva snarl to go with his unconventionally diverse range, but that's just more to the listener's benefit.
Still, 1992 was far too late in the game for a major play at the radio. No matter how great the songs might be, something this consummately 80's was bound to hit a wall in light of all the "hair" metal backlash. After lead single (and what an awesome single it was I might add) '4:AM T.M.' flopped commercially despite a brief rotation on the Headbanger's Ball, Warner dropped Heavy Bones like a sack of manure and everyone involved went their separate ways. The hard truth that stellar music doesn't always lead to success is a difficult pill to swallow, but take these guys as a prime real world example even before the advent of the digital age in the grunge era.
These facts aside, this is splendid music by any measure, a cool 40+ minutes of explosive fun with a tantalizing hint of "something more" that distinguishes this production's methodology from others in the same territory. Listen to the opening Crue-esqe 'Hand That Feeds', that breakdown in the second half of the previously mentioned 4:AM T.M. or the off-the-wall slammin' on 'Where The Livin' Is Easy'....this is an album that knows exactly what it wants to do and manages to outclass most of its more commercially successful brethren with frightening ease.
The real kicker is just how much diversity is packed in here amidst the obvious headbangers though, with the obvious elephant-in-the-room being the epic Led Zeppelin/Aerosmith throwback 'Where Eagles Fly'. For those of you familiar with the big epic sound of John Sykes' Blue Murder album from 1990 or his work with Whitesnake, this song is throttling around in that arena. Songs starts off in an acoustic frame of mind before erupting like a volcano about midway through into something compellingly fierce and awe inspiring. Probably Ellis's best performance on the whole recording too, and that's quite a feat considering how on dead-on he is on all the other songs too. Dude's a freak in the best way a frontman can be.
From my perspective, heavy metal is general is more interesting when the songs display a spark of dynamism that doesn't get them all caught in the same time signature or a uniform pacing that dominates the entire running time. We can pick and choose our favorite numbers for our streaming playlists, personal collections, IPod playlists, etc...but the album experience when it comes to metal almost always benefits when there's the perfect blend of consistency, energy and variety, with all the peaks and valleys that come with it. Heavy Bones not only has a lot of great songs, but as an album it flows better and hits harder than most could hope to, and even when they slow down they're still top notch.
If you enjoy heavy metal with some sleaze, some polish and a whole lot of personality...well, that's between you and the Gods Of Metal. I say just get it and enjoy. :)
Buy It Here!
Originally Reviewed Over On My MusicBanter Journal - Click Here To See My Original Review!