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Vinnie Vincent Invasion
Released: 1986, Chrysalis
CLASSIC PICK OF THE MONTH!
OK, I know that by doing this review I’m giving others an opening to mock and taunt me mercilessly, but I’m going to be bold and unwavering on this one. Vinnie Vincent’s debut solo album may be pure, unadulterated cheese-glam, but the guitar work is so completely insane that it makes the various shortcomings of the album bearable ... even likeable. Hell, who am I kidding? I love this album and always will. And hey, anyone who was a metalhead in the 80s would be lying if they said they never liked any of the glam stuff. We were all victims to one degree or another.
Vinnie Vincent, for those who don’t sleep and eat KISS, is the man who replaced Ace Frehley. KISS never really used Vinnie the way they could have, but then again, KISS isn't exactly into guitar solos or metal, so it wasn't a good fit anyway.
Let's get down to the music though. More specifically, let’s address the completely INSANE guitar play of THE man. There is not a single song on this album that doesn’t showcase the speed and range of Vinnie's nimble fingers. Even the two slower tunes on the album, No Substitute and Back on the Streets, have their shredding moments. The opening track starts with some guitar feedback that sounds a lot like the intro to Hendrix's Foxy Lady, but then kicks in with a bang. No Substitute is a slower song with good harmonies and a catchy chorus. Songs like Animal, Twisted and Invasion allow Vinnie to cut loose with unbridled fury as he puts on a speed clinic, showcasing a variety of experimental guitar sounds rivaling even the creativity of one Edward Van Halen. Finally, the last track clocks in at more than 7 minutes and finishes the album in grand fashion. It's one of the few songs where you actually notice Dana Strum is playing bass. Vocalist Robert Fleischman, who was a member of Journey in the 70s, has a high-pitched whine that borders on annoying at times, making it easy to see why he was replaced by Mark Slaughter on the follow-up album.
Why Chrysalis didn't push this band more is beyond me. When Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum left after the second album to form Slaughter they sold millions of CDs. Quite honestly, Vinnie Vincent Invasion was the better band and the music here is catchier and better played than much of what was offered up during the golden age of glam. A great pickup of you can find it. A couple years ago the going rate for a used copy on eBay was $60.00 a pop, though I’ve heard that it was re-mastered and re-released on some crappy label in England last year.
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