When the Vinnie Vincent Invasion ran into some legal problems, Dana Strum and Mark Slaughter left to form Slaughter with guitarist Tim Kelly and drummer Blas Elias. They decided to go even deeper into the pop metal direction than VVI and in doing so sold millions of cds up until grunge and alternative became the flavor of the day. Guitarist Tim Kelly died in an auto accident in 1998 and Jeff Blando took over the empty guitar slot.

Stick It To Ya

Slaughter - Stick It To Ya (Chrysalis) 1990

1.   "Eye to Eye" (3:57)
2.   "Burnin' Bridges" (4:07)
3.   "Up All Night" (4:16)
4.   "Spend My Life" (3:21)
5.   "Thinking of June" [instrumental] (1:05)
6.   "She Wants More" (3:55)
7.   "Fly to the Angels" (5:06)
8.   "Mad About You" (4:05)
9.   "That's Not Enough" (3:25)
10.  "You Are the One" (3:55)
11.  "Gave Me Your Heart" (3:51)
12.  "Desperately" (3:34)
13.  "Loaded Gun" (4:18)
14. "Fly to the Angels" [acoustic version] (3:22)
15. "Wingin' It" (1:11)

Dana Strum
Dana Strum

For me, Slaughter is an odd story. I was a huge fan of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion. However, for some reason, I didn't get into Slaughter until many years after their initial popularity in 1990. I had assumed that they were the poser rockers that all my metalhead friends said they were. Of course, with the radio overplaying "Fly to the Angels", this only helped reinforce this opinion. However, upon seeing them live my mind was changed. (See the "Stick It Live" review for more.) My first taste of Slaughter after that live performance was "Wild Life", which was a hard rocking disc with a raw energy. It was soon after that I picked up "Stick It Live" and "Revolution", another raw slab of American rock and roll. I finally picked up "Stick It To Ya", having only been familiar with the two hits, "Fly to the Angels" and "Up All Night". I was fairly sure I wouldn't like this album as much as "Wild Life" and "Revolution". Those two songs just seemed so slick, radio friendly and pop for my liking. The live versions of these songs on "Stick It Live" are heavier and a bit more raw so I guess I just got use to hearing them like that. With that in mind, I didn't really like "Stick It To Ya" as much on the first couple listens. However, over time and after seeing Slaughter live a few more times, I have really grown to like and appreciate this album much more than I had originally. The production is slick, but the songs aren't bad at all. "Burnin' Bridges", a song I am sure is about former band mate Vinnie Vincent, is a great song and one of my favorites by Slaughter. Other standout cuts are the album opener "Eye to Eye", rocker "Mad About You" and the melodic, catchy "Spend My Life". I even like the party rocker "Sleep All Night" and the sappy ballad "Fly to the Angels". The entire album is actually quite good. I still actually prefer the "Wild Life" and "Revolution" to this platter, but "Stick It To Ya" has also seen plenty of spin time since I purchased it in 1999. Go figure. Maybe I'm getting mellow in my old age. One thing good about Slaughter is that they get better with each album, rather than degressing further into trends.

Stick It Live Slaughter - Stick It Live (Chrysalis) 1990

1. "Burnin' Bridges" (4:29)
2. "Eye to Eye" (6:25)
3. "Fly to the Angels" (6:07)
4. "Up All Night" (6:38)
5. "Loaded Gun" (5:44)

Mark Slaughter
Mark Slaughter

I can't say that I was much into Slaughter when I bought this disc, as a matter of fact I alway kind of hated Slaughter assuming they were a cheesy Nelson pop-rock band with a metal look. I was curious more than anything else, being a Vinnie Vincent Invasion fan. What changed my mind was when I saw Slaughter open up for Ted Nugent and they were really good. Actually they blew me away. Bassist Dana Strum was quite the showman and a great bass player. Marc Slaughter had a great vocal range and a very cool falseto voice. So, I decided to keep an eye out for a cheap used copy of a Slaughter album. I found this live EP for $3.99 and decided to give it a whirl. Must have liked it because only a few weeks later I picked up:

The Wild Life Slaughter - Wild Life (Chrysalis) 1992

1. "Reach for the Sky" (5:30)
2. "Out for Love" (3:32)
3. "Wild Life" (3:24)
4. "Days Gone By" (4:35)
5. "Dance for Me Baby" (3:20)
6. "Times They Change" (7:08)
7. "Move to the Music" (4:30)
8. "Real Love" (3:40)
9. "Shake This Place" (3:37)
10. "Streets of Broken Hearts" (4:39)
11. "Hold On" (3:56)
12. "Do Ya Know" (6:25)
13. "Old Man" (5:26)
14. "Days Gone By" [acoustic version] (3:25)

I read on another web page that this cd was out of print. This particular copy had been sitting at a local store for years, literally. Since it was only $5.99 I decided I might as well pick it up before it becomes hard to find. To my surprise this is actually a very good melodic metal disc. "Wild Life" is overflowing with American pomp delivered with a raw energy and a whole lot of attitude. The axe solos are flying all over the place, many times on top of just the bass, giving the whole thing a "live" feel. Not really as pop oriented as I thought, rather it's more of an 80's throw-back to the L.A. metal scene, reminding me slightly of bands like Ratt and Stryper. Who woulda guessed it. Slaughter ain't bad at all; they are just straight-ahead, melodic, meat-and-potatoes hard rock! Oh and this disc, I read, was a disappointment selling only one million copies, so their label dropped them. (ONLY one million?????)

Fear No Evil Slaughter - Fear No Evil (CMC International) 1995

1.   "Like There's No Tomorrow" (5:46)
2.   "Get Used to It" (3:35)
3.   "Searchin'" (4:28)
4.   "It'll Be Alright" (5:15)
5.   "Let the Good Times Roll" (3:31)
6.   "Breakdown N' Cry" (6:07)
7.   "Hard Times" (5:57)
8.   "Divine Order" [instrumental] (1:11)
9.   "Yesterday's Gone" (5:13)
10. "Prelude" [instrumental] (1:55)
11. "Outta My Head" (3:52)
12. "Unknown Destination" (5:29)

After the release of "Wild Life" Slaughter hit a time of struggle. The band had been going through a lot of personal issues during the time before the recording of the album. Basisst Dana Strum was rehabilitating from a motorcycle accident that injured his hand while vocalist Mark Slaughter came from a nodule surgery on his vocal cords. As well, guitarist guitarist Tim Kelly was arrested on drug charges. However, with all this behind them the band began recording their third full length album for Chrysalis Records in early 1994. However, by the time the album was finished they ended up on CMC International Records. Slaughter were one of the first bands to sign with CMC, a new label that helped preserve heavy metal in the 90's when the big labels were force-feeding us alternative crap. "Fear No Evil" was finally released in 1995.

Slaughter's first independent label release is as good, if not better than their first two discs. The entire album is packed with hooky hard rock. Songs like "Hard Times", "Live Like There's No Tomorrow" and "Get Used to It" easily could have been hits for the band had they been released in 1987-90, rather than in the mid-1990's when everyone was to busy cutting the sleeves off their flannel shirts to notice good time rock and roll like this. The album sports a heavier sound and is a little less pop oriented than their two Chrysalis albums. The guitar tone is a bit beefier and the overall sound is less polished. Personally, I prefer the heavier, rawer sound to the over-polished 80's sheen. The albums was produced and engineered by Strum and Slaughter.

The obligatory ballads are included as well. "It'll Be Alright" is the first ballad and is a good song with of a big John Lennon/Beatles vibe. "Breakdown and Cry" is another ballad, though this song has more of a melancholy blues vibe. "Yesterday's Gone" is the final ballad and is an acoustic number. There's also two short instrumentals mixed in to give the album some variety, the first titled "Divine Order" and sounding like something Jimmy Page might have written. "Prelude" is the other and has a bit of a Kiss/Ace Frehley vibe. Overall, "Fear No Evil" may very well be Slaughter's finest record, even though no one got to hear it.

What? Don't like Slaughter? Think they are wimpy posers? Ah, go listen to your alternative mallcore crap. As for me, I'll stick to real rock-n-roll!!!

Hard Times Slaughter - Hard Times EP (Victor) 1995

1. Hard Times (5:57)
2. Searchin' (4:28)
3. Saturday Night (4:17)
4. She Knows How To Rumble (3:19)
5. Rain On (6:44)

The "Hard Times" EP is a Japan only release that was a promotional item for the "Fear No Evil" tour. The album includes two tracks from "Fear No Evil". Both "Hard Times" and "Searchin'" are hard rockin' and ultra-hooky tracks. Every time I hear this album I am amazed that it wasn't more popular, but unfortunately by 1995 Slaughter's brand of good times rock and roll had been replaced by the crap that was grunge. "Saturday Night" is a remake of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting". The remaining two songs are exclusive to this EP and are most likely b-side tracks from the "Fear No Evil" sessions. "Rain On" is an unusual track in that it is much darker and doomier than anything else Slaughter has recorded. The song is sort of bluesy, but in an early Black Sabbath way, and has a very buzzy guitar tone. It's definitely an interesting song and along with the Elton John cover, makes this disc worth picking up if you are a Slaughter die-hard and if you can find it for a decent price.

Revolution Slaughter - Revolution (CMC International) 1997

1.   "American Pie" (3:54)
2.   "Heaven It Cries" (6:18)
3.   "Tongue 'N' Groove" (3:05)
4.   "Can We Find a Way" (4:27)
5.   "Stuck on You" (4:36)
6.   "Hard to Say Good-Bye" (4:50)
7.   "Revolution" (3:22)
8.   "Guck" [instrumental] (1:40)
9.   "Heat of the Moment" (5:06)
10. "Rocky Mountain Way" (5:24)
11. "You're My Everything" (5:01)
12. " I'm Gone" (2:31)
13. "Ad-Majorem-Vei-Gloriam" [instrumental] (2:14)

"Revolution" is the forgotten Slaughter disc. It's not really a fan favorite and doesn't contain any hits. However, it is my favorite Slaughter album. When I first heard the song "American Pie" I would have swore that it was a T. Rex cover song. That song pays serious homage to the fat grooves and distorted guitars of Marc Bolen and Co. The enire disc actually reminds me of glam rock bands like T. Rex and Sweet, but there are also hints of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith as well. This is very different from the pop metal Slaughter is known for. However Slaughter also knows what their fans want and haven't completely abandoned their roots. The music is heavier, bluesier, but still your basic American hard rock/heavy metal. "Rocky Mountain Way" is a Joe Walsh tune."Ad-Majorem-Vei-Gloriam" is a trippy psychadelic instumental. I'm not sure why so many heavy metal fans, including myself, despised Slaughter. Perhaps it was due to the made-for-radio, tear-jerker, ballad "Fly to the Angels". However, Slaughter are acutally a very good band and "Revolution" is a very good CD.

This disc is also enhanced and includes photos, videos, bios, discography and the whole bit. There is a short video clip of Slaughter performing a cover of The Beatles "Revolution"live, a couple videos of Mark recording vocals, and the video clip of "Searchin'". Nice package, especially for $5.99!

Eternal Live Slaughter - Eternal Live (SPV) 1998

1. "Rock the World" (3:52)
2. "Get Used to It" (3:26)
3. "Shout It Out" (3:29)
4. "Mad About You" (4:40)
5. "Spend My Life" (2:19)
6. "Fly to the Angels" (5:22)
7. "Real Love" (3:41)
8. "Dance for Me" (3:19)
9. "Searchin'" (4:05)
10. "Wild Life" (3:06)
11. "Move to the Music" (4:00)
12. "Up All Night" (6:12)

Seeing Slaughter live is what convinced me that these guys were not the "posers" everyone said they were. They put on a spectacular show and play great rock 'n roll. On this (somewhat) live album, the band sticks primarily to material from their two major label albums, "Stick It To Ya" and "Wild Life" and only throw in a couple from "Fear No Evil" and "Revolution." This disc is far better than the short "Stick It Live" as the band is more seasoned on this disc and "Eternal Live" obviously includes more material. The other reason this disc is better is because apparently it has so many overdubs it can barely be considered live, at least that is the rumor. From what I have read, the song "Mad About You" is actually the studio version of the song, remixed with crowd noise added in. Either way, I don't care. It sounds great! Some of the best live albums of all time have had similar studio reworking done. The tracks were initially recorded from a show in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA and one in Mexico. The disc is dedicated to guitarist Timothy Patrick Kelly who died in a car crash while this CD was being put together.

Back to Reality Slaughter - Back to Reality (CMC International) 1999

1. "Killin' Time" (3:59)
2. "All Fired Up" (4:32)
3. "Take Me Away" (4:05)
4. "Dangerous" (3:49)
5. "Trailer Park Boogie" (3:16)
6. "Love Is Forever" (6:00)
7. "Bad Groove" (3:32)
8. "On My Own" (5:02)
9. "Silence of Ba" (2:36)
10. "Headin' for a Dream" (4:56)
11. "Nothin' Left to Lose" (3:42)
12. "untitled song" (2:20)

I swear I must have bid on this disc on eBay no less than 20 times. It always sells for around $5 or so, but someone always outbids me in the last minutes. I FINALLY won a copy on eBay for $1.99. Anyhow, "Back to Reality," introduces new guitarist Jeff Blando, who is a competent replacement for Timothy Patrick Kelly as the band doesn't lose any momentum. Slaughter knows their audience and doesn't disappoint to give us what we want--good '80s-style hard rock and metal! Actually I think this disc may be a bit heavier than all the bands past efforts. A tad more groove as well. It wasn't actually until this tour that I started to get into Slaughter. Saw them twice, once opening for Ted Nugent and once with Cinderella.

Related Collections:
Vinnie Vincent Invasion | Kik Tracee

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