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Tormé Demolition Ball / Die Pretty, Die Young

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, June 1, 2004 @ 11:59 AM


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Bernie Tormé is a damn fine guitarist. Let's get that straight up front. Virtually unknown in the US, Tormé has a sizable European following based on his work with Ian Gillan, Atomic Rooster and brief stints with Ozzy (he was Randy's first replacement before Brad Gillis) and Dee Snider. He's an ace fret-runner from the school of Eddie Van Halen and the aforementioned Mr. Rhoads, full of hammer-ons, screaming harmonic bends and speedy runs, yet has always had trouble finding the material to backup his guitar skills and maintaining a band long enough to capitalize on his buzz. Demolition Ball and Die Pretty Die Young are two lost albums that do much to prove what an monster shredder this gent is, but little to prove why he should be more popular than he already is.

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The obscure late-'80s album Demolition Ball finds Tormé armed with powerhouse vocalist Gary Owens (no, not the announcer!) and an arsenal of surprisingly strong songs. Tunes like "Fallen Angel," "Black Sheep" and "Action," stand up against much of the music America's heavy metal bands were pumping out during this era, proving that timing a good record deal are everything. "Ball & Chain" and "Spinnin' Your Wheels" are equally as strong and showcase Tormé's blazing axe work. Good stuff. How come I never knew about this album before?

Die Pretty Die Young is a collection of demos and unreleased nuggets from the Phil Lewis-era of the band, when the former Girl singer and soon-to-be LA Guns savior was fronting the band in the mid-‘80s. The sound quality varies, as does the song quality, but there are certainly some good cuts to be found here. "Memphis" and "Louise" are solid, glammy rockers, while "Let It Rock" and "Mystery Train" have a harder edge. There's even a tune here called "Sex Action," which Lewis obviously swiped for his tenure with the Gunners. Things get a little silly though on "Ways of the East," "Killer," and "All Around The World," where Lewis sounds like he's trying a little to hard. Again, terrific fret work.

Both CDs feature bonus tracks and extensive photos and liner notes.

Demolition Ball: * * *

Die Pretty Die Young: * * ˝


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