A couple of overlooked gems, a song that shouldn't be in my shuffle and Dee Snider on Broadway ...
Aerosmith, “Hangman Jury.” From the album Permanent Vacation (1987). Permanent Vacation was really the record that started Aerosmith down the sordid pop rock path that led, ultimately, to atrocities like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” That said, the album had its moments, and this is certainly one of them. It’s one of the few songs on the record where you really hear the blues rock influence.
Infectious Grooves, “Violent and Funky.” From the album Groove Family Cyco (1994). I thought Infectious Grooves lost the, well, groove, just a little bit on their second album, but this third record got it right again. This song blends the funky stuff with some heavy thrash riffing, which is exactly what I wanted from the band.
Slayer, “Cleanse the Soul.” From the album South of Heaven (1988). At times, I think that I like South of Heaven even more than the venerable Reign in Blood because of its more melodic bent. This tune begins more in line with the speedy approach of Reign, but develops into a more melodic piece. Not my favorite track on the album, though.
Van Halen, “Dreams.” From the album 5150 (1986). There are only a handful of Van Hagar songs that I still listen to regularly. This isn’t one of them. In fact, it pretty much typifies what I hated about that era of the band – heavy on synth, heavy on pop, light on rock.
Dee Snider, “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” From the album Dee Does Broadway (2012). This collection of Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider performing showtunes was great fun when it was released, but not many of them have stayed with me. This one has. It’s perfectly suited to the metal treatment, and the only thing it’s missing is a guest shot from Alice Cooper.