Quiet Riot was originally founded as far back as 1975 by guitarist Randy Rhoads and singer Kevin DuBrow and the pair recorded two albums together, but while a Hollywood fan base found them popular, their fame and a US record deal was still many years away. Rhoads would leave the band to join Ozzy Osbourne's group in 1979 and tragically die in a plane crash in 1982. It was following this tragedy that DuBrow would attempt to reform the band with a returning Rudy Sarzo on bass as well as guitar wizard Carlos Cavazo and drummer extraordinaire Frankie Banali. Their album Metal Health was unleashed to the world in 1983 and with it the music scene for Heavy Metal and Hard Rock would be dramatically transformed and propel the band into the stratosphere. There were a number of factors at play here and while I think that a large part of it was in the overall talent of the band who was definitely a Hollywood staple act, I also think that the growing scene in Los Angeles was set to overflow at any moment and had to peak at some point. It was not long after QR's signing the deal that the rest of the world would be taking notice of the many bands that were on the Hollywood club circuit of the day. Quiet Riot as a band definitely delivered catchy songs with memorable guitar hooks and as result the album Metal Health was a fan favorite across the board. It might have frightened the more Doom Metal based followers of Sabbath and the like but you could not take away the fact that based on this album Heavy Metal music was considered a booming industry. The people were paying attention to it even more than they had done in the years that preceded it and the bands were getting bigger and better shows from it. Metal Health began with the title track that itself became a concert anthem as well as a song of unity among the Metal buying youth but it was the second cut that became the most associated with the band. The track was a re-do of a Slade song - "Cum On Feel The Noize", and if you had heard the original prior to this you might recall that it was rather droning compared to how it rocked after it was given the Metal treatment. The song was a blockbuster that reached #5 on Billboard charts at a time when Metal was not even coming close to doing this. The song had a continual rotation on all Popular and Rock radio stations and became a standard tune to be learned by young bands worldwide. Needless to say I think that Slade were able to retire as happy men based on the residuals they would get from these Hollywood Headbanger's and take on the tune. There were some powerful Metal rockers like "Slick Black Cadillac" which remains one of my favorites to this day along with "Run For Cover" since it had some cooking double bass and memorable riffs going on by Cavazo.
"Breathless" is a smooth Metal rocker that has a pounding beat and uses a galloping riff that would eventually become popular in some of the Power Metal that would follow in the years to come. The guys inform us that "Loves A Bitch" which was a perfect ode to romance for the scorned while "Battle Axe" would show us the skills of Carlos Cavazo, who while a really good guitar player was getting a lot of initial flack for being the one who was doing some of the music initially created by the late great Randy Rhoads. In honor of his fallen friend, DuBrow and company close out the original release of the album with the Power Ballad "Thunder Bird" – a song dedicated to the deceased axe slinger's memory. The Power Ballad was not yet commonplace and as result this one remains among the purest for the Metal genre. As an album overall, Metal Health was one of those recordings that everyone you knew had, and even those who had never really listened to Metal and Hard Rock music could be found with this record or tape in their possession. From this album we saw a regular radio and television presentation for Metal music and while bigger bands had been doing their thing on such mediums on occasion, it was this album that made media history. The remaster gives us a bonus track which is not too bad with "Danger Zone", as well as a live version of my aforementioned favorite tune "Slick Black Cadillac". The latter track shows that the band delivered well in the live sense and having seen them back in the day I can definitely attest to that. The downside about the re-issue was that no lyrics were presented and while I know my original CD didn't have them, I don't recall if the vinyl did as that particular artifact has been buried in my Parents basement for quite some time.
I enjoyed listening to this one again as its still a fresh crop of Metal and it brings the listener back to a time when the possibilities for a band like this were wide open spaces. If you don't already have a copy somewhere you should definitely get one as to date it has sold over six million copies worldwide. That many Heavy music fans can't be wrong, so bang your head once again as Metal Health continues to drive you mad with listen after listen.
1. Metal Health (Bang Your Head)
2. Cum On Feel The Noize
3. Don't Wanna Let You Go
4. Slick Black Cadillac
5. Love's A Bitch
7. Run For Cover
8. Battle Axe
9. Let's Get Crazy
11. Danger Zone (bonus track)
12. Slick Black Cadillac (bonus live track)