Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Death to False Metal (Advertising)

I love Uriah Heep. I'm that annoying guy who trys to convince anyone with any interest in music, particularly rock music, that Uriah Heep is where it's at and, if they'll only give Salisbury and Innocent Victim a chance, they'll be sure to agree. That said, I can never really defend Abominog. "It's actually a great album," I say and then I stop, because they're looking at the cover, looking at me, looking back at the cover and slowly handing the album back.

Abominog has a great cover. For a wicked as sin, balls out metal band. Uriah Heep, for all my love of them, are not that band. Abominog, I am sure, has turned many would-be listeners away from the band forever. Those who may otherwise like the band are turned off by the sleeve and those who buy it seeking screaming, searing heavy metal get something that sounds more akin to, well, the harder side of Foreigner.


My lastest humilating attempt at recommending Abominog got me reviewing my own music collection. As one who frequently buys records based on their covers, which of mine may mislead the uninformed listener?  I have a few.

Lovehunter - Whitesnake - 1979

Now, Lovehunter is a fine album. And Whitesnake is a fine band. And while it's hard to wrongly judge a hard rock band named after a dude's anatomy, Whitesnake is still not metal, specifically the sword & sorcery brand of metal suggested by Chris Achilleos' infamous cover

Achilleos' art also adorned a Uriah Heep album, Fallen Angel, in 1978 though it was more appropriate for the content within - but - Achilleos is also responsible for the next entry...

Heavy Metal - Motion Picture Soundtrack - 1981

...OK, to be fair, if you see the soundtrack and read the artists contained within, this isn't as misleading. But - if you name a movie Heavy Metal and throw a scantily-clad chick with a sword on top of a pterodactyl on the artwork you are setting up certain expectations. Especially for the soundtrack. And what do you get?  Black Sabbath's "Mob Rules."  Not bad?  So the album is 1/16th unsucky. Too bad you have to wade through Stevie Nicks, Cheap Trick, Grand Funk, Journey, Donald Fagen and a bunch more who are fine, no argument, but not heavy metal. To add insult to injury you get two different songs named "Heavy Metal," by Sammy Hagar and Don Felder, and guess what?  Neither is heavy metal. Not by a long shot.

Open Up and Say...Ahh! - Poison - 1988

Remember everything I said about Abominog?  Think that through again and just replace the title "Abominog" with "Open Up and Say...Ahh!" Then replace "Uriah Heep" and any claim I made that the band was actually good with "Poison" and an understanding that the band was terrible.

Love Gun - Kiss - 1977

Kiss was forbidden by my mother. For a kid growing up in the '70s, this was the equivalent of a ban on Star Wars and Evel Knievel. Kiss records were not allowed anywhere near the house, any radio stations that played their music (i.e., every radio station) were not permitted and when we passed the LP racks at the store I was not even allowed to look at them. So, of course, I ended up the weird social experiment who had built Kiss up in my mind to be all that was evil and, therefore, incredibly desirable. When I could buy my own records (and was sly enough to hide them) I headed straight for Love Gun. Look at that make up!  Look at those women waiting and wanting! Look at Gene "Demon" Simmons!  The needle hits the record...if it weren't for "I Stole Your Love" you could have heard my dreams shattering. Thank God "Beth" was on Destroyer, the album I had decided to buy if Love Gun had been out of stock- I may have given up music for good then and there.

I have since grown to love Kiss (I think it's required to maintain your American citizenship) and have forgiven them for leading me to believe that, despite arguably being hard rock at times, they were in any way "heavy." I have never grown to love Poison. But I do love Uriah Heep. Have you heard them? Want to borrow Abominog?

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