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Shout at the Devil

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★★★★½
(68 Reviews)

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  • Originally released in 1983, Shout at the Devil is the seminal Rock album of the 1980s. With their sophomore effort, Motley Crue continued to define both their musical and stage styles. As they honed their skills in the recording booth, countless other bands found ways to copy bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, drummer Tommy Lee and vocalist Vince Neil.

    The narration “In the Beginning” sets the tone for the entire album. Immediately, listeners realize they are about to embark on a sonic experience of Metal proportions. With the album’s title track, Motley Crue created a stadium anthem, guaranteed to get fans on their feet, fists in the air. “Shout at the Devil” as a track is simple enough: it relies on heavy guitar riffs, steady bass and chanting. The opening arrangement is both pleasing and painful to the ears. The chord changes and clashing notes transport the listener to an underworld where good and evil collide, where fantasy and reality are one in the same.

    With “Looks that Kill,” Motley Crue helped make Metal commercial. Through the new invention of MTV, the band used the strength of the track to produce a major budget music video. That video helped Motley Crue create a synergy of music, mayhem and moxie. The heavy intro to “Looks that Kill” keeps the Metal train rolling, and the hook keeps the track running through your head all day long. It’s also through “Looks that Kill” that lyrical master Nikki Sixx really lets his talents shine. A true testament of any good songwriter is the ability to transport a listener to another place and time, and Sixx accomplishes this goal with “Looks that Kill.”

    The heaviest song on the record is “Bastard,” a non-single but concert staple. The pace of the track is frenetic and the lyrics alarming. As with all things Motley, shock value is of the utmost importance and the boys achieve their goal with this head-banging classic.

    The Beatles cover “Helter Skelter” seems somewhat misplaced among the Metal majesty that is Motley, but somehow, the quartet makes it work. Perhaps it’s the enterprising guitar solos by Mick Mars or the thunderous rhythm of Tommy Lee. Whatever the reason, Motley tackles the British invasion track, transforming it into a Sunset Strip sleaze staple for cover bands in bars all across the world.

    Even though “Too Young to Fall in Love” peaked at number 90 on the Billboard chart; today the track is synonymous with all things Crue. Always the wordsmith, Nikki Sixx is able to sum up every bad relationship with two simple sentences:

    You say our love/
    Is like dynamite.
    Open your eyes/
    `Cause it’s like fire and ice.

    With blazing guitars, screeching vocals and lyrics that succinct, it’s hard to argue the importance of “Too Young to Fall in Love” in Metal history.

    The tracks “Red Hot,” “Knock `Em Dead Kid,” “Ten Seconds to Love” and “Danger” all play their role in rounding out the classic Metal masterpiece. Always eager to spawn controversy in favor of gaining street credibility, the boys in Motley Crue dedicated “Knock `Em Dead Kid” to the LAPD. Ready for a “star spangled fight and back in black,” the Crue threatens other bands that come too close to their Metal empire, built and glorified on the strength of Shout at the Devil.

    The special 2003 re-master of Shout at the Devil contains extra goodies like demo versions of the title track, “Looks that Kill,” “Hotter than Hell” and “Too Young to Fall in Love.” The 2003 release also includes the previously unreleased track “I Will Survive.” The enhanced CD also includes the video of “Looks that Kill.” Original artwork, complete liner notes and updated band interviews are also included in the re-mastered package.

    Posted on November 16, 2009