Music News

Heavy Metal: A Box Set Review in Three Acts

By Niki D’Andrea

Characters: Jo Momma, a 39-year-old woman who still sports raccoon eyeliner and brags about flashing her boobs at a Def Leppard concert in '84. "Diamond" Blackie Rocket, a 16-year-old glam rock kid raised on a diet of T. Rex and New York Dolls records, who would like to find some hooker red lipstick that comes with silver glitter. Pontius Arse, a 27-year-old speed metal guitarist who worships Motörhead and begrudgingly accepts the fact that no one else knows jack shit about real metal.

Act One: [Jo Momma's living room. Some empty bean bag chairs are stacked against the back wall. A tapestry for Mötley Crüe's Theatre of Pain album hangs above them. As the curtain rises, Pontius Arse comes running into the room, carrying a really cool box that's made to resemble an amplifier, with a knob that goes to 11. He is followed by "Diamond" Blackie Rocket]

ARSE: Hey Jo, come check out this 4-CD box set from Rhino Records called Heavy Metal. I just stole it from Diamond's punk ass! ROCKET: Gimme back my box set, dude! [Jo Momma comes into the room, holding her blond bangs straight up in the air and dousing the bottom half with Aqua Net hairspray] MOMMA: This better be good. I almost had my claw perfect when you busted in. ARSE: Well, some of it's good. The first disc started out with some like, hippie shit or something -- that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" song by Iron Butterfly, which Slayer did way better on the Less Than Zero soundtrack, and some band called Blue Cheer, and a Deep Purple song -- ROCKET: Dude, that CD's the best one! It's got Kiss' "Detroit Rock City" and "Demolition Boys" by Girlschool! Heavy metal had to start somewhere, so this CD begins in like, '68. ARSE: Shaddup, ya moron. Metal started way earlier than that, with Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild." Have you ever listened to the lyrics? "Heavy metal thunder"? Hello! Anyway, disc one got better, ending with Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera" and Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights." But disc two was the bomb, because it kicked off with Motörhead's "Ace of Spades" and also includes Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Metallica. MOMMA: Let me see that...[squeals obnoxiously] Aaah, it’s got Queensrÿche’s “Queen of the Reich,” too! And “Mean Streak” by Y&T! Oh, oh, oh, and Dio! Singers with big, curly hair are so sexy. ROCKET: Let’s go buy more hairspray.

Act Two: [Arse’s 1978 Chevy Super Nova. Arse and Momma are seated up front, with Rocket in the back, leaning forward between the seats. They are listening to disc three from the box set. The Scorpions‘ “Rock You Like a Hurricane” blasts from the car speakers] ARSE: This song is okay, but the next one’s better. It’s “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot. ROCKET: But they’re not rockin’ like Dokken! Flip to the next track, Dokken’s “Into the Fire.” MOMMA: [Looking at the box set’s extensive liner notes] Ohmagawd, Lonn Friend contributed to these! I think I slept with him at a house party after an E’Nuff Z’Nuff show once. ARSE: [Keeps flipping through tracks on the CD] This is all butt rock crap like Ratt and Cinderella until we get to the last two tracks, Anthrax’s “Caught in a Mosh” and Megadeth’s “Peace Sells.” ROCKET: Hey, Tom Kiefer’s a great songwriter. I like Cinderella! ARSE: That’s because your taste in music sucks bunghole and the bands you like don’t know a g-note from a g-string. I wanna hear Accept’s “Balls to the Wall.” [cues up the song; they listen and rock out until the mid-song breakdown] ROCKET: Um, did he just sing, “Let’s plant a bomb in everyone’s ass”? ARSE: Yep. Hey, you know what’s silly about CD three? It’s got a Stryper song right before a Helloween song. MOMMA: Maybe it’s meant to be silly. They do have “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap on here, too.

Act Three: [Back in Jo Momma’s living room. Momma, Arse, and Rocket are lounging on bean bag chairs, listening to disc four] MOMMA: Ah, Lita Ford’s “Kiss Me Deadly.” Brings back memories. I made out with the bassist of Sweet F.A. to this song once. ARSE: The bassist of what? MOMMA: Nevermind. [thumbing through the liner notes again] Ohmagawd, this photo of Manowar is the gayest thing I’ve ever seen! ARSE: What are you talking about? Manowar is good, manly metal music, unlike that struttin’ sissy crap you and Diamond like. ROCKET: [looking at the Manowar photo] Well, they’re certainly big, muscular men, but why are two of them wearing nothing but Speedos and cowboy boots? ARSE: What?! [grabs liner notes] Oh, that is so fucking gay! MOMMA: [looking at the stereo as King Diamond’s “Welcome Home” comes screeching out of the speakers] This song is creepy. Is he singing about screwing his grandma? ARSE: No, he’s trying to help her. Didn’t you hear the lyrics? He sang, “Grandma, let me help you out of the chair.” ROCKET: I think this song is about him locking his grandma in the attic. ARSE: Yeah, well, you got all excited that Skid Row’s “Youth Gone Wild” was on this CD, so who cares what you think? MOMMA: Hey, Skid Row’s good! I suppose you’re pissed that this CD also contains songs by Whitesnake, Poison, and Faster Pussycat? ARSE: Yeah, but the fact that it also includes Slayer’s “South of Heaven” and songs by Testament, Pantera, Prong, and Sepultura makes up for it. MOMMA: Okay, here’s a question: what’s the best track on the whole 70-song collection? I vote for either “Animal (F**k Like a Beast)” by W.A.S.P. or Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock.” ROCKET: I’d say Hanoi Rocks’ “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” ARSE: Hands down, it’s “Am I Evil?” by Diamond Head, the band that originally did the song, long before Metallica. ROCKET: So can I have my box set back now? ARSE: Only if you can manage to cram the whole thing into those tight spandex pants of yours. MOMMA: Screw that, Diamond. I’ll trade you some hooker red lipstick that comes with silver glitter for it.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea