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Monday, May 18, 2009

Holland - Little Monsters

Name: Holland
Album: Little Monsters
Year: 1985
Style: Hard Rock-Metal
Similar Bands: Rod Stewart, Def Leppard, Heaven, Van Halen, Twisted Sister
"One-Word Review: melodic-pop-band-trick-or-treating-as-hair-metal
Based Out Of: Chicago, Il
Label: Atlantic, Warner,
Little Monsters: Cover
Little Monsters: Back & Record

Little Monsters (1985)
  1. Love in On Time 3:22
  2. High Life 3:48
  3. Middle Of A Dream 3:30
  4. Border Line 3:05
  5. Wake Up the Neighborhood 3:39/
  6. Sacrifice 3:35
  7. Gotta Run 3:25
  8. Basics of the Bullet 3:22
  9. Keep It To Yourself 3:17
  10. I Want It 3:25
Album Rating (1-10): 5.5

Members & Other Bands:
Tommy Holland - Vox (Steppenwolf, B'zz)
Michael Angelo Batio - Guitar (Nitro)
Joey Cetner - Bass
Brad Rohrssen - Drums (Kevin Lee and the Lonesome City Kings)
John Batdorf - Vox
Matt Brady - Engineer
Jimmy Burns - Creative Director
Max Carl - Vox
George Merrill - Keys
Jay Shilliday - Engineer
Robert Small - Creative Director
Tom Werman - Percussion, Producer, Vox
Paul Wertheimer - Engineer
Jai Winding - Keys
Alex Woltman - Engineer
Duane Baron - Engineer & Mix
Robert Brigham - Management
Robert Small - Creative Direction
Jim Burns - Creative Direction
Barbara Skydel -Agency

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. But just from the image that brings up the memory of my old Twisted Sister record, I have to assume that this too, will be some cool hair metal. But it looks silly. The image of a ‘gator claw coming out of a sewer drain, along with dry ice /steam is a bit laughable, and the title, Little Monsters accents that hilarity. The guys look like they are a little late to the party, sporting late 70’s, early 80’s wardrobe in 1985, but perhaps their age will bring a sense of maturity (at least the buddy-buddy image on the back might) to the jokey, tongue in cheek cover art. I can’t wait to hear "Basics of the Bullet."

Album Review: So apparently the lead singer sang for a year or so in Steppenwolf, and the lead guitarist is an ambidextrous genius who perfected the quad-guitar: a guitar with four handles, and was ranked as the #1 shredding guitarist by Guitar Magazing. This is some high cred, lets see what the album is made of. “Love in On Time” starts as a motoring, driving bass song with rolling lead guitar licks hear and there. The vocals are similar to Heaven, they are part Rod Stewart and part Def Leppard. The back up vocals harmonize “On Time” like Queen or Jellyfish. It is a very repetitive song, but it never lets up. “High Life” is a head banging metal number with driving rather than heavy progression. Man, I must really think everything sounds like Journey, because his voice does here too. The lead metal solos are short and brief and scattered throughout the song. They sound like precise liquid, rather than sloppy fast playing. “Middle Of A Dream” starts out jangely and full of bass, not like metal at all, but more like college radio pre-alternative. But the high pitch, slightly screechy vocals (not far from Big Star) and the thick, heavy guitar are the only signs of metal. It is not a great song, it feels like it was unfinished, where the sections don’t quite jive together. The song peters out of energy as it fades. “Border Line” begins heavy with vocals sung to their own unrelated melody over top. The lead guitar is like a second thought, making squeaks and squeals here and there, but never utilized. This is defiantly more melodic and les heavy than traditional metal, this is more hard rock. “Wake Up the Neighborhood” starts with a driving beat, and a voice straining “Wake Up.” The vocals are embarrassing. And are more embarrassing than, but very similar to, TS’s “Captain Howdy.” The worst part is when he inverts the melody with the line “Shake Up Your Neighbors good.” There is one really good line or two that breaks format and is even faster than the song, but it slumps back into the repetitive, shiver inducing chant & response chorus. It tries to be cute with the singer changing character, like a crotchety old neighbor yelling at those pesky loud kids, i.e. the listener.

“Sacrifice” begins side two with their driving rhythm guitar and drum coupling that they’ve displayed a great deal. The vocals roll down the music, balancing the quick rhythmic pace out to medium momentum. The lead guitar finishes out the end as it unceremoniously fades out. “Gotta Run” is a bass and drum heavy intro with echoing jangley guitar. And the vocals come across as haunting and equally echoing in parallel with the music. The hard edge comes as the rhythm guitar breaks from the repetitive chords for some power chords in exchange. The lead guitar is double layered in parts, sounding like two dueling guitarists are picking up as the other one finishes his lick. “Basics of the Bullet” begins with a side to side bouncing drum bass section. The deep guitar wails as the vocals are half heartedly sung. The chorus reminds me of VH’s “Runnin’ with the Devil,” as it is just kinds thrown in without anything supporting it. It sounds like the singer is getting drunker and slurring his words in a tiresome prattle as he sings on “Keep It To Yourself.” The melody changes up for a couple of lines, but it no more interesting than the rest of the song, which it quickly reverts back into. It fades out just as the lead guitar picks up and it sounds like it cuts out just as the song has something to say. The chorus of voices introduces “I Want It” with those exact lyrics. The verse is sung to a melody similar to “Living in America.” The song just sounds forced and slapped together. The guitar solo is pretty good, but it is not given the free range that it should have. It is edited and shortened to make these short metal songs. I usually agree with this, but the songs are so repetitive, that the lead sections would really make the album interesting.

Stand Out Track: Love In On Time

Links:Wikipedia
Batio's Website
Allmusic
Metal Archives
Batio's Myspace
Batio Metal Archives
Batio's Forum
Dean Guitars Batio page
Amazon Page
Fanpage
Mother Metal
Tommy Holland Podcasts
House of Holland Myspace
House of Holland Page

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