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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ted Nugent

Penetrator

Review by Gary Hill

This disc seems to find Ted Nugent in the middle of identity crisis. Originally released in the 1980’s, it’s one of a series of newly reissued albums. For my money when it works best is when Ted Nugent is trying to be Ted Nugent. A lot of the album seems to reach towards the Foreigner type music that was so popular at the time. While it’s quite good in that regard, it’s also not Ted Nugent. Overall, then, I’d consider this a strong album. As a Ted Nugent album, though – it’s all right. It’s got a few songs that are very strong, but nothing that will go down as a classic. It’s got a lot of other music that doesn’t necessarily feel like Ted Nugent, but still manages to rock out.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Tied Up In Love
Nugent’s guitar screams this one and then they power it out to a hard-edged stomper that’s got a solid classic Nuge sound, but tempered with more 1980’s rock – think Whitesnake. The instrumental section mid-track might not be the most trademark Nugent thing you’ve heard, but it really rocks out. The outro, though, feels like Foreigner to me.
(Where Do You) Draw The Line
If the last song ended like Foreigner, this one’s a dead ringer. As it comes in I can’t help but think of the Foreigner 4 album, but when the keys enter it’s just plain uncanny. You know, I like Foreigner and that disc, but it ain’t Nugent. The keys are really far too high in the mix on this and this thing just doesn’t work very well as a Nuge song. That said it’s still a decent 1980’s rocker, but it isn’t Ted Nugent.
Knockin' At Your Door
Here’s another pretty standard Foreigner song. Yep, that’s right. This is a good tune and quite catchy, but it doesn’t seem like Nugent except for some moments of serious guitar work. The keys really dominate a lot of this one, too.
Don't You Want My Love
This is rather generic, too, but it’s also closer to what we’re familiar with from Nugent. I’m not overly crazy about the vocals here – or some of the backing tracks, but the guitar and song structure make this one well worth having. 
Go Down Fighting
They start this almost progressive rock oriented and then fire out into a cool jam. This is another that’s not typical Nuge, but it’s also a killer cut. The vocals do make me think of Foreigner, but this is sort of its own sound. 
Thunder Thighs
Now, this is Ted Nugent! We get a more standard Nuge rocker with Mr. Nugent himself taking the vocals. I wouldn’t consider this his strongest cut, but it’s instantly recognizable and a killer rocker. It’s refreshing that we get some of the real Ted Nugent showing up here. I have to say that there are probably some people out there who will have some issues with the lyrics on this. 
No Man's Land
It may be “No Man’s Land,” but it’s still decidedly Ted the Sledge land. I like this one even better than the previous piece. It’s got a bit more stripped down, mean and bluesy element to it, but this one really rocks. 
Blame It On The Night
Here we get another Foreigner song, with some Bon Jovi thrown in for good measure. This is a cool tune, and actually one of my favorites on show here. It just doesn’t seem like Ted Nugent to me. 
Lean Mean R & R Machine
The stripped down rock and toll texture of this is perhaps more like Montrose or even Sammy Hagar, but when you put Ted Nugent’s guitar and voice to this it’s definitely Ted the Sledge. It’s a strong tune and probably my favorite on show here. The lyrics seem to be autobiographical.
Take Me Home
Nugent closes the disc with a rambling ballad. It’s closer to a sound we’d consider Ted Nugent, but the overall arrangement is a bit too trendy. The backing vocals leave a lot to be desired, but we get some screaming guitar soloing from Mr. Nugent to make it worthwhile.
 
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