HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

HEAVY METAL KIDS
Hit The Right Button Plus (Angel Air)

Kind of a hard-hitting glam band in the mid-'70s, the Heavy Metal Kids re-jigged in the early '00s, putting together Hit The Right Button, now remastered and re-launched with four bonus live tracks. Vocalist is crack-shot Danny Peyronel, who, you may recall, originally left the band to join UFO, and is now in place as ring leader, given that original wild man vocalist Gary Holt is now deceased. So glad this record is back for another look, because what you get is a smart, energetic hard rocker, occasionally metal, occasionally hard critic's darling post-punk new wave, always explosive yet mature, in the spirit of that magic '60s definition of rock 'n' roll you hear electrocuted by New York bands like the Dolls, the Dictators and The Ramones. In fact, when those key washes stick the reminder, one hears the UFO connection, which is one straight to the kind of music Pete Way would write and the Springsteen-ish street reminiscences Phil would place yearningly on top (see 'I Walk Alone'). Fortunately, the retro-Kids live tracks sound very much as muscular as the studio recordings (suspiciously so), which simply extents the spirited wise rockers dynamite party package to a robust 17 tracks of a record you can take inside your heart.
Rating 8.5

MOLLY HATCHET
Justice (SPV)

Damn, I don't know who's trying harder, but Molly Hatchet's writing more kick-ass that Skynyrd. In fact, creatively, it's a step up as well, and a mite less jingoistic. Fact is, Molly Hatchet is the goddamn greatest biker rock band on the planet, with tracks like 'Been To Heaven, Been To Hell', 'Safe In My Skin' and the unbelievable snake-bit 'Vengeance' tearing a strip off of barroom rock with bold barbecued production and playing on fire. Interesting the synth tones as well, but have no fear, this is all Bobby and Phil cranking it, their skeletons in the closet rattling like bones on loan, each with stories to tell and burning through the time to tell them. For sure, there's wistfulness late in the sequence, but grinding grooves built for heat-stroked outdoor party crowds is never far behind. A band to grow old with, 'Tomorrows And Forevers' driving that point home with both melody and might, Phil's fragile relationship with being in tune be damned!
Rating 8

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