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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Twisted Sister

You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll

Review by Mike Korn

I'm really glad to see this ‘80s classic getting the deluxe re-release treatment. It was the first real album from Twisted Sister and in terms of actual material, their best, along with Stay Hungry. The original release suffered from a poor mix and the record never got the recognition it deserved.

That has now been corrected and the disc has been remastered and remixed by Scott Hull, who strangely enough is a member of far more extreme bands such as Agoraphobic Nosebleed and Pig Destroyer. The sound is much fuller and lets the power in the songs come out much more - and what great songs, too. Twisted Sister was not afraid to put pop catchiness into their tunes, but they also kept the heavy in, unlike many other "hair" bands. They were kind of the midway point between Kiss and Motorhead, with a touch of the Ramones thrown in for good measure.

There are also three previously unreleased cuts included and it's great to see these old chestnuts dug out of the vaults. If you're looking to relive the best of 80's metal, you can't go wrong with You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Kids Are Back

Instead of starting with a bang, this gets things kicked off in a more subtle way, with a marching tempo that leads into one of the many, many great choruses on the album. Dee Snider's rough but tuneful vocals are the perfect fit for this band.

Like A Knife In the Back
This is an awesome rocker that rides on the back of killer riffs and vocal hooks. It has a great "bouncy" tempo mixed with an almost epic feel and the lyrics are stinging. "Ain't it sad that he's dead/Was it something we said?/Such a drag, what could we do?"
Ride To Live, Live To Ride
In my opinion, this is one of the greatest biker anthems of all time, right behind "Born To Be Wild.” It's the equivalent of a Harley Hog blasting full tilt down the highway and that wind in the hair feeling comes across in the music. I dare anybody to get the chorus of this track out of their head. This is one of the best Twisted songs ever!
I Am (I'm Me)
This track definitely shows the poppier side of Sister and sounds like a warm-up for the later "We're Not Gonna Take It.” It's not that heavy or aggressive, but Snider's singsong vocals are infectious and the chorus creates something very much like "bubblegum metal.”
The Power and the Glory
Building from a slow bass riff, this evolves into quite an epic with plenty of crashing power chords. The pace picks up briskly in the last half and the song resembles the earlier "Ride To Live, Live to Ride.” It's a very uplifting and inspirational cut.
We're Gonna Make It
This is another catchy rocker with a real street-wise feel to it. Again, the lyrics drive home the idea that you can achieve anything if you stick with it: "We're gonna make it/We'll reach the top/We're gonna make it/And then, we're never gonna stop.”
I've Had Enough
This is a song that's simple but effective. Twisted Sister was a band that could take basic hard rock and tweak it into something memorable. Again, we get great vocal hooks that stick deep in your brain. The lyrics about a guy fed up with his girl are also basic but universal.
I'll Take You Alive
This has got a meaner, more metal feel with more aggression to it. It never loses its basic catchiness and that means we've got another full-bodied and chest-beating rocker. Check that power packed drumming from A.J. Pero! "I'm your lover, your obsession/Modern romance, true confession/Guardian angel, phantom stranger/Infantry and your Lone Ranger."
You're Not Alone (Suzette's Song)
While not exactly a ballad, this song is definitely the most melodic on the record and is definitely a "hoist the lighter" tune. Because it's the only one on the disc, it's not annoying and it shows Dee Snider can sing without a snarl in his voice. The lyrics are sugary enough to give you diabetes, though.
You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
It's fitting that the album proper ends with not only the title track, but one of the most energized, fist-pumping metal cuts in the band's discography. This is a real driving, surging tune that will get you banging your head for sure. It features great guitar work from the under-rated duo of Jay Jay French and Eddie Ojeda.
One Man Woman
Here's the first of the rare tunes added to the album. This has a kind of slinky, bluesy feel to it. It's not a bad track, but I can see why it was left off the final record.
Four Barrel Heart of Love
Much in the vein of the former cut, this is pure Twisted Sister. The shouted chorus kind of reminds me of the Ramones.
Feel the Power

It’s hard to figure out why this scorcher never made it to vinyl. The fastest and most intense song here by far, this is pure adrenaline and one of the most metal songs the band ever did. It's a welcome addition.

 
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