Released: 2005, Deadline/Cleopatra Records
Reviewer: Keith McDonald
By now most hard rock fans have some type of 80’s rock compilation CD - be it ‘Monster of Rock’ or ‘Heart of Metal’. Record company executives are doing the same thing they did to these bands of this era – taking a great era of music and milking it dry. What a surprise.
When the CD sampler from Cleopatra Records landed in my mailbox I figured it was just another hard rock compilation. A single or double disc set of music licensed out from various record labels. The thing is if you have two or three of these compilations already you don’t need anymore. Every hit song is already represented on some sort of compilation and many songs, i.e. Poison’s ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’ are found on several of these packages. Add in the fact that most die hard rock fans already have the original records that these great songs first appeared on.
Now I already had received the ‘Hollywood Rocks!’ book, which was a great collection of flyers and ads from the bands that made Sunset Strip what it was, chuck full of some cool things from some cool bands. This book is now followed up by a 4 CD boxed set full of the greatest collection of the greatest era of hard rock. No Soundgarden, Pearl Jam or Nirvana songs here. Thank God. What makes this compilation so special is the tracks that were chosen for this unique compilation. Yes they do have a few songs licensed out – Poison ‘Look What the Cat Dragged In’ and Black N Blue’s ‘Hold On To 18’, but the rest of the set – 78 songs in all are rare tracks that were demos, b-sides or unreleased tracks by bands that include Dokken, Jetboy and Ratt. There’s Hollywood Rose, the Rose in Guns N Roses with Axl Rose singing ‘Killing Time’, a rough sounding though solid song. Mickey Ratt, Stephen Pearcy’s band before Ratt took hold of the hard rock world. Plain Jane, Jani Lane’s band with Steven Sweet before they headed to LA to join forces with Erik Turner in Warrant. Xciter, George Lynch's band before joining Dokken along with Dokken’s demo version of ‘It’s Not Love’. There are some unknown bands that only the die-hard fans know of – Nitro, Cherry Street, Candy, London and Salty Dog amongst others.
I also have to add that there are some bands here that either got little or no recognition or very little airplay – Skull, Slut, Bitch Lypswitch and Darling Cruel. Their songs are not very strong but it is something that gives a little extra to the compilation. There are also a few songs that aren’t very good – albeit very few here. LA Guns’ ‘Roll The Dice’ with Paul Black on vocals is weak as is Odin’s ’12 O’clock High’. But the overall selection of material is great and well planned by the production team.
The last piece of this gigantic hard rock puzzle is the in-depth full color booklet that gives you an insight to the bands on this boxed set as well as what they were all about and who was in the band at the time. This is worth the price of the collection by itself. I gotta give the guys at Cleopatra Records a hand at their effort in putting this collection together. Pick it up.