wHAT cOMES aROUND Tuff - What Comes Around Goes Around (Atlantic) 1991

1. "Ruck a Pitt Bridge" (3:44)
2. "The All New Generation" (3:38)
3. "I Hate Kissing You Good-Bye" (4:20)
4. "Lonely Lucy" (3:05)
5. "Ain't Worth a Dime" (3:10)
6. "So Many Seasons" (4:12)
7. "Forever Yours" (3:03)
8. "Wake Me Up" (4:18)
9. "Spit Like This" (3:37)
10. "Good Guys Wear Black" (4:17)

Got an email from someone suggesting I check out this disc. According to him "What Comes Around" is "In my top10 late 80's AMERICAN HAIR BAND! This album is full of juvenile ENERGY and contagious melodies, a bottle of pink HAPPINESS you can open each time you feel grey! A CLASSIC!" Well, this is certainly hair metal. It reminds me of a cross between Skid Row and Poison. Certainly on this disc, Tuff are Poison look alikes. However, I find the music to be a bit "tuffer" than anything Poison did. Despite this, Bret Michaels actually wrote track 8 on this CD, "Wake Me Up." OK, so the lyrics are typical, sappy glam rock. So what! It takes me back to a time when metal was about having fun, not about being angry and depressed as it is now. Favorite track on the very first listen was "The All New Generation." On this song, it was the lyrics that had me interested. The stroll down hard rock history with the references to other band's lyrics was a pretty cool idea. Steve Rachelle's does a great job of mimicking Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) when he screams "Walk this Way." Kudos! "Ain't Worth A Dime" is another standout track. I'm actually surprised being that this disc was released in '91 and is on Atlantic that this song didn't become a huge single for the band. Go figure!

Fist First Tuff - Fist First (R.L.S. Records) 1994

1. "Tied to the Bells" (4:41)
2. "In Dogs We Trust" (2:24)
3. "Better Off Dead" (4:32)
4. "I Like What I See" (4:05)
5. "Electric Church" (3:18)
6. "Simon Says" (2:52)
7. "God Bless This Mess" (4:01)
8. "Rattle My Bones" (2:46)
9. "Sixteen Tons" (3:38)

An early independent version of what would eventually be known as "Religious Fix". As far as I can tell, these versions are nearly identical to "Religious Fix". The music is 100%, good time, glitter and glam hard rock. "Fist First" has a decidedly tougher, dare I say heavier sound than "What Comes Around". The album starts off with two hard rocking sleeze rockers. "Better Off Dead" is a power ballad with a definite 1980's vibe. "I Like What I See" is another hard rockin' number that reminds me a bit of Cheap Trick. "Sixteen Tons" is a amusing cover song with a rockabilly strut. "Electric Church", "Simon Says" and the rest of the album has that sleazy, Hollywood, sound that one would expect from Tuff. As I stated in my review of "Religious Fix", Stevie Rachelle's voice reminds me of Alice Cooper. Likewise, the music reminds me of some of Alice's late 80's releases; catchy, pop metal with gritty vocals and crunchy guitars. Had this album come out just a few years earliers, it probably would have been a big seller.

Celestial Messenger Tuff - Religious Fix (Mausoleum) 1995

1. "Tied To The Bells" (4:44)
2. "Daddy's Money" (4:35)
3. "Better Off Dead" (4:33)
4. "I Like What I See" (4:08)
5. "Sixteen Tons" (3:38)
6. "Follow The Loser" (3:21)
7. "Rattle My Bones" (2:46)
8. "In Dogs We Trust" (2:25)
9. "Electric Church" (3:18)
10. "God Bless This Mess" (4:03)
11. "Simon Says" (2:54)
12. "Makes Me Sick" [hidden track] (4:55)

This is Alice Cooper worship of the highest order, mixed with a bit of that Hollywood Strip shimmy and shake made famous by bands like Faster Pussycat, Hanoi Rocks, and Guns 'N Roses. Songs like "Better Off Dead" and "Rattle My Bones" reminded me of late 80's Alice Cooper while "Sixteen Tons" in like manner reminds me of some of Alice's 'School's Out' material. The hidden track had me wondering if it WAS Alice Cooper. Everything from the music, to the lyrics, to the vocals has that Alice vibe. "I Like What I See" on the other hand, reminded me of Cheap Trick. Despite all the comparisons, however, I still really enjoy this disc. (Of course I am also a huge Alice Cooper fan). One thing this band knows how to do is write a hooky hard rock song. They also have the chops, as the guitar work throughout is quite impressive. Gotta love a band putting out this calibur of melodic hard rock in the mid-90's, when good time rock 'n roll was so depressed and utterly despised. Kudos!

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