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VARIOUS ARTISTS Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Wednesday, November 9, 2022 @ 8:07 AM

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Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip

The Numero Group

Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip is a deep and raw dive into the eyeliner and hairspray heyday of the Hollywood, California music scene. The 2LP collection features 21 songs by some of the, let's call them mid-card attractions and opening attractions, that flooded the area. Some of the bands went on to release albums that are still lauded today, some are still touring and recording, members of some went on to other notable acts, and others never got to sign on the dotted line.

STORMER kicks things off with the very 70’s Rock track “Going To The City”. The band delivers some great harmonies and tight grooves, and their bassist Tim Gaines went on to become a member of STRYPER. “Cocaine” by L.A. ROCKS starts off with a bluesy riff that switches into high gear, much as a line of the white stuff would do to you (or so I am told).

Picture MOLLY HATCHET on steroids and you may just come up with MAX HAVOC. “Bound For Hell” has all the grit of the Sunset Strip with a little Southern Rock flavor on the side. The all-female led JADED LADY were certainly a rare find in a male dominated scene at the time. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Pretty” is a bit rough around the edges, but is certainly full of attitude. Unfortunately their contemporaries were a bit more polished.

STEELER may be known more for who was in the band than the music they produced. That’s not to say they didn’t have some killer songs. “Ready To Explode” gives a glimpse into what was to come for vocalist Ron Keel (KEEL) and their fresh-faced Swedish guitarist YNGWIE J. MALMSTEEN.

Heavy Metal horror maven LIZZY BORDEN makes an appearance with “No Time To Lose”, a track that would be a part of Borden’s debut EP for Metal Blade Records, Give ‘Em The Axe. While we’re talking Metal Blade debut EPs, the ARMORED SAINT track “Lessons Well Learned” is also included, and reminds you how solid of a band they were even in the very beginning.

Bassist Rik Fox, who is noted for playing in STEELER and an early version of W.A.S.P. (then called SISTER) formed his own band called SIN. Oddly enough, “On The Run” sounds like a mixture of both of his previous bands. In true Rock ‘n’ Roll fashion Fox went on to quit his own band.

An early BLACK ‘N BLUE track entitled “Give Em the Old 1,2,3” has more in common with the NWOBHM than it does with the American Heavy Metal of the time. Guitarist Tommy Thayer went on to become the guitarist for KISS, and vocalist Jamie St. James still fronts the band after making a brief appearance in WARRANT in 2006.

Frontwoman Betsy Weiss (aka Betsy Bitch) had to have known or been told that the band name BITCH was only going to get her so far in the industry. Her stage show was just as shocking as her name (both shocking by early ‘80s standards of course). “Damnation Alley” is catchy and heavy, with just the right amount of sheen. The song also appears on her debut Metal Blade EP of the same name.

ROMEO didn’t have the best Heavy Metal name, but they certainly had the chops to be on the scene after listening to “Feeling To Rock”. This compilation is the first I am hearing of V.V.S.I., and I’m sure a lot of you can say the same. “Savage Kind of Girl” has all the makings of a great radio song on say KNAC back in the day (wink, wink) with its smooth melodies and spirit.

I’ve always liked HELLION. The Anne Boleyn fronted act never reached MOTLEY CRUE type notoriety, but it certainly wasn’t because they lacked the proficiency. “Up From The Depths” stands out among the other female-fronted acts on this collection with its driving riffs and dark story.

“Blade of Steel” by ANGELES is everything you’d expect from the scene at the time. Heavy guitar emphasis, cocksure vocals, and a thunderous ride. They may not be a name on the tip of your tongue, but ANGELES is still out there playing live and releasing new music (albeit with one original member). A little trivia for you, Kevin Dubrow (QUIET RIOT) named their first album.

“Cold Reception” by KNIGHTMARE II (was there a 1st one?) is just okay. The vocals could be better with more emotion. This song plays out more like a band just trying to get through to the end so they can go home. I actually thought I was listening to an early TWISTED SISTER song when “Cinderella (In Black Leather)” came on. It’s a fun and enjoyable track just the same.

For a power-trio, REDDI KILLOWATT has quite the full sound on “Liquid Lady”. Guitarist Terry Kilgore has been touted in the past as being better than some of your guitar heroes from the ‘70s & ‘80s. Kilgore has appeared on several DAVID LEE ROTH releases. Now you can connect the dots on who he’s allegedly better than.

It’s really not hard to see (or hear) why LEATHER ANGEL never got that big record deal. “We Came To Kill” doesn’t really move the listener's emotions in any way. It’s tolerable, but not memorable. They morphed into the earlier mentioned JADED LADY. “Take It Or Leave It” is a rough cut by, err, ROUGH CUTT. I’ve always been a fan of Paul Shortino’s vocals. Even with a track this basic, it still highlight’s the band’s strong points.

One of the more impressive tracks appearing on this compilation is “Fool of Lies” by LISA BAKER. Baker isn’t as Heavy Metal sounding as the rest. She brings a more refined rock radio sound to the table. It’s what some would call AOR or Melodic Rock today. Baker also had a stint in the pre-GREAT WHITE act DANTE FOX while vocalist JACK RUSSELL was in jail.

ODIN, the band everyone thought was just about to become the next big Heavy Metal band after appearing in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, closes out the collection with “Judgement Day”. The song certainly has all the markers people were looking for in the genre back then. In the end guitarist Jeff Duncan joined ARMORED SAINT, and singer Randy O went on to drive trucks for the film industry.

If you are still reading, the 2 LP ‘Poser Proof Die Hard Edition’ comes with a mesmerizing 78 page book that features classic album/single artwork, vintage concert flyers, line-up and live performance photos, and detailed stories about each band’s journey through the music scene.

Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip delivers the most bang for your buck when it comes to chronicling the good, the very good, and the ‘almost’ bands of the ‘80s Hollywood nightclub scene. The included book only enhances the enjoyment of the compilation music. Feast your ears on the early music of those bands you went on to enjoy throughout your life, and discover some bands that simply ‘could have been’.

4.8 Out Of 5.0

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