Metal Skull: Twisted Sister And Three Death Metal Records: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

Twisted Sister/Stay Hungry 25th Anniversary Edition/Rhino

At this point there isn’t much Twisted Sister have left they can really do with their classic 1984 album, Stay Hungry. They already re-recorded it in the form of 2004’s Still Hungry, and it’s been reissued, but now with this two-CD set, perhaps the absolute final word has been said for it. Until the band decides to do the Eastern European version, Stay Hungary, anyway.

I’m a fan of this album if not the band in general. As much as it’s gained a reputation over the years for its over-the-top antics and circus-like atmosphere, I think that’s exactly why it works. It’s certainly not timeless—definitely of its era—but as someone who doesn’t think of it sentimentally and long for my own glory days of denim vest toughguy cross-dressing (never happened), I still think Stay Hungry is a quality pop record. Structurally and in terms of the straightforward songwriting approach Twisted Sister took, it works.

You can’t really beat “Stay Hungry,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “Captain Howdy/Street Justice” and “Burn In Hell” for good time metal. It’s probably as close as I get to party rock. The second disc here features a whopping 17 tracks including early demos, unreleased tracks, a radio spot and a new recording. Needless to say, if you have a hankering for some Twisted Sister, they’ve got you covered. And if you don’t already own the record, the 25th anniversary of it should be a suitable enough occasion to warrant a purchase.

Suffocation/Blood Oath/Nuclear Blast

If you know Suffocation by now, then you know what they do. The band has been around since 1990 and have always been at the forefront of the NYDM scene. Along with bands like Incantation and Immolation, Suffocation helped pave the way for the extreme metal movement in the ‘90s and haven’t ever looked back. They’ll probably never put out a record to match 1995’s Pierced From Within, but at least with Blood Oath they give a more than respectable showing of themselves and offer all the brutality you can take and then some.

Mixing hack and slash with horror imagery and inner devastation, Blood Oath runs a pummeling gamut of U.S. death metal focusing on technical prowess (bassist Derek Boyer particularly impresses) and pure blast more than melody, but the songcraft is still strong. Suffocation wouldn’t have survived as long as they have if they couldn’t write a memorable song, and Blood Oath has its fair share of them, from the title track to “Pray For Forgiveness” and the almost catchy “Come Hell Or High Priest.” There are some passable tracks, but by and large, the album does everything it needs to and sounds at least relatively fresh if not groundbreaking.

If you’ve been patiently waiting all these years for Suffocation to break out the acoustic guitar and bongos and get down with some free-flowing jams, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re a fan already and know what to expect (and don’t expect more than that), then you’re good to roll with Blood Oath.