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Album Review : Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil 40 year anniversary remaster.

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Review by Rob Broom for MPM

Motley Crue – the band synonymous with sex, drugs and rock and roll – ‘Shout A The Devil’ album gets a remaster and deluxe package release as part of a ‘Year Of The Devil’ campaign.

However, the first and most important thing to bear in mind about ‘Shout At The Devil’ is that it is (in my opinion) a genuine classic album.

This – their second album – really broke Motley Crue into the big time and proved that behind the hairspray and posing there was a serious rock band that could deliver the goods. The bands mix of glam and punk rock – with a dose of Aerosmith thrown in – was already morphing into something more powerful and ear bending following their first album ‘ Too Fast For Love’.

I remember buying ‘Shout At The Devil’ when it was released and as I recall, the entire album was pretty much ‘all killer, no filler’. Forty years on and listening again, that view hasn’t changed, so let’s turn it up and start the review.

Starting with the apocalyptic background setting spoken word ‘In The Beginning’, the band then storm into the stadium sized, fists in the air anthem and album title track that is ‘Shout At The Devil’.

With a pulsating big sound, the song pounds along and then the band delivers a one two with the superb ‘Looks That Kill’. As the lyrics say this song really is ‘razor sharp’ and Tommy Lees drumming underpins both this song and indeed most of the album.

While you are still gasping for breath after these two titanic songs you then get hit straight between the eyes with ‘Bastard’. This song certainly has a vicious streak in it. Something you pick up on in a number of the songs. Vince Neil practically spits the lyrics out. Whoever was the object of the ire of chief lyricist Nikki Sixx and the rest of the band for this song probably left the country for their own safety!

There is then an instrumental break with ‘God Bless The Children Of The Beast’. This creates a brief calm moment of respite from the battering of ‘Bastard’ before you get the fury of ‘Helter Skelter’. The latter is a Beatles cover and possibly chosen for its Charles Manson connection (and therefore keeping with the violent celebration of Hollywood that’s found in several songs on the album) or perhaps simply because the band liked the tune! You decide.

Red Hot’ has a frantic urgency to it as the band defiantly claim their place in rock history as they declare they will ‘climb to the top’. Although perhaps we all didn’t realise it at the time ( and some reviews back then were not particularly positive) after all these years it’s worth reflecting on how this album set a new standard and helped shape 1980’s rock music, whilst propelling Motley Crue exactly to the place they wanted to go!

Too Young To Fall In Love’ is certainly a tale and a half of dysfunctional love. Again the violent undertones are there in the song with ‘now I’m killing you, your face turning blue’. Bassist and writer Nikki Sixx certainly wasn’t pulling any punches with any of his lyrics! The song was a minor hit and today it’s still a terrific tune with some great guitar work from Mick Mars. You just can’t help yourself but sing along!

Knock ‘Em Dead Kid’ picks up the pace by the scruff of the neck with a dirty guitar riff, great bass lines and pounds along with a catchy chorus. Its more fists in the air singalong magic!

Following that we get ‘Ten Seconds To Love’, a sultry, sleazy rocker with yet another great chanting chorus line to get you singing along. Something the band were able to continually do over the years with great success.

Album closer ‘Danger’ takes some threatening twists. It’s defiant with a sense of menace and chaos set to the scene around the dark underbelly of Hollywood. Some terrific singing from Vince Neil holds the whole piece together as it swirls up and down in tempo. The criminally underrated Mick Mars delivers an exquisite yet brief guitar solo. A tremendous original album closer.

This new release contains some bonus tracks. Demos of ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Hotter Than Hell’ are not covers of Alice Cooper or Kiss songs as I initially thought (and was hoping for!) from the song titles! The latter became ‘Louder than Hell’ on the ‘Theatre Of Pain’ album and the former has a few sounds in it that you can recognise in other Crue tunes.

The demos of ‘Shout At The Devil’, ‘Looks That Kill’ and ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’ all do exactly what they say on the tin. What I have found interesting is that I am still listening to them on repeat along with the rest of the album so their inclusion is worthwhile to get other takes on how the songs developed.

With ‘Shout At The Devil’ released, the band were finally on their way to creating all those myths, legends and truths of girls, girls, girls, booze, booze, booze and all the rest of it!

Guest slots on tours with (among others) Ozzy Osbourne led to the band really building on their depraved and notorious reputation.

In between all the partying and mayhem, the band somehow managed to record more excellent music and became headliners in their own right. Alongside the success there was tragedy, detox and Nikki Sixx had some well documented overdoses. All this and more of which is written about in the bands own book (and subsequent Netflix movie) ‘the Dirt’. Motley Crue certain personified the hedonistic rock and rock lifestyle!

Thankfully, despite the over the top ‘excess all areas’ decade of debauchery, the band managed to survive and after several ‘calling it a day’ announcements and subsequent reunions are still currently packing them into arenas on a co headline tour with Def Leppard. Nikki Sixx has been clean and sober for decades and making great music with his solo project Sixx A.M as well as writing books about his life and battles with addiction as well as his love of photography.

With only a digital download to listen to for review it is difficult to compare this ‘Shout At The Devil’ remaster with the original recording, but what I can say is this remaster sounds great through headphones and in the car. It’s clear and punchy. I have listened to it quite a few times again now and it’s still holding my attention (it’s been practically on repeat!). Make no mistake, this album contains plenty of raw power, and even after 40 years still sounds fresh and exciting!

There is a collectors edition (which I haven’t seen) to buy containing vinyl and CD with a variety of additional merchandise including tarot cards, 7″ singles and seance board. There are also seven demos. All there to tempt the hardcore fan what looks like an attractive package.

So regardless of format (and price point) choice, ‘Shout At The Devil’ is well worthy of being in your collection. Go buy it now. You can say the devil made you do it.

Album Tracklist:

  1. In The Beginning
  2. Shout At The Devil
  3. Looks That Kill
  4. Bastard
  5. God Bless The Children Of The Beast
  6. Helter Skelter
  7. Red Hot
  8. Too Young To Fall In Love
  9. Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid
  10. Ten Seconds To Love
  11. Danger

Shout At The Demos & Rarities Tracklist:

  1. Shout At The Devil (Demo)
  2. Looks That Kill (Demo)
  3. Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid (Demo)
  4. Too Young To Fall In Love (Demo)
  5. Hotter Than Hell (Demo for “Louder Than Hell”)
  6. I Will Survive (Demo)
  7. Black Widow (Demo)

Pre-order now and instantly listen to rare track “Black Widow (Demo) 

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