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The Nature Of The Beast

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(23 Reviews)

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  • …for only one song. The power ballad “Just Between You & Me” was by far the most-played song by April Wine on American radio in the early 1980’s. Played mainly on the hard rock stations, the single went up to about #60 or so on the Billboard charts. The album, THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (1981)—not to be confused with British metallers Iron Maiden’s 1982 release THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST—briefly broke the American Top 40. Considering how good it is, it should have done even better!This album starts out with a clear modern-sounding ’80’s tinge with “All Over Town,” a brief (3-minute), medium-paced, surprising hybrid of Hard Rock/New Wave that sounds jarringly different for April Wine. Not great, but somewhat catchy. The next track, “Tellin’ Me Lies,” follows pretty much in the same vein: Again, it is a 3-minute medium-paced HR/NW song; however, it is very repetitive and not one of April Wine’s better songs. At this point, you’re thinking the rest of the album’s gonna be quite lame, but—ah!—things immediately get better with the more Wine-like, evocative “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen.” At nearly 4:30, it is the longest track on this rather short album, and it is wonderful: Beginning with a brisk-paced Hard Rock/Heay Metal instrumental intro theme, Myles Goodwin gives a melodic and emotional performance as he sings about a town that was predicted for doom & destruction by a local Gypsy Queen. The song features a slow, two-minute instrumental mid-section in which Myles plays bluesy guitar notes, before returning to the final verse/chorus that speeds back up again. The song really paints a picture; indeed, you can see a desert town somewhere out West, under darkening skies, with people trying to escape a coming storm on horseback. The song never fails to give me chills to this day, and is still one of AW’s all-time greatest! Then comes the equally-good “Just Between You & Me”: The album’s lone hit, it is a beautiful melodic power ballad that features early-’70’s-type fuzzbox guitar from Myles Goodwyn, who is every bit as talented a guitarist as he is a singer. I love the French lyrics in the final chorus repitition! The bass-playing by Gary Moffet is slow, pronounced and deep—evocative of the sadness associated with lost love. The drums by bald, bearded Jerry Mercer are slow but contain a certain upbeatness on the verses. Again, one of this band’s greatest songs ever!”Wanna Rock” is a fast, very short (2:06) electronic-sounding combo of bluesy Hard Rock with a New Wave beat. As cheesy as it has been described as being by a previous reviewer, it is actually kind of catchy. When I play songs from this album, I usually play it. “Caught In The Crossfire” is like a great Sci-Fi story set to music, and is extremely well-done. “Future Tense” keeps up the Sci-Fi bent, and is not as good as the previous track but still okay. But then, AW hit gold on THE NATURE OF THE BEAST’s final four songs, beginning with “Big City Girls,” their ode to “ladies in the night” which has a crunching guitar riff that sounds vaguely similar to the Scorpions’ “Big City Nights” (which, by the way, was not recorded until 1984, so April Wine had the idea first). Then comes the speed-Metal (yes, you read that right) of “Crash And Burn,” a two-and-a-half-minute explosion of fuzz-guitar riffs and one incredible solo by Myles himself (as good of a guitarist as Brian Greenway was, Myles’ guitar is what dominates throughout most of this set). “Bad Boys” has a Bad Company-ish hard guitar riff and some good lyrics about a guy trying to leave a life of gangs for the girl he loves. Lastly, Song #11 is the very hard, upbeat & positive anthem “One More Time” which ends this great album on a multi-layered note, consisting of great work by all three guitarists in this incredible band. What else can I say? April Wine is one of the greatest unsung veteran Hard Rock/Heavy Metal bands in history, and THE NATURE OF THE BEAST is probably their all-time greatest album.MOST RECOMMENDED

    Posted on November 14, 2009