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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Reckless - 1984 Heart Of Steel
Reckless - 1984 Heart Of Steel

ARTIST: Reckless
ALBUM: Heart Of Steel
LABEL: Heavy Metal America
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2001, Unidisc (Canada), UBK-4015


LINEUP: Douglas Lang Adams - lead vocals, guitar * Steve Madden - guitars, vocals * Steven Wayne Lederman - drums * Todd Pilon - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hot 'n' Ready * 02 Heart Of Steel * 03 Drivin' You Mad * 04 Feel The Fire * 05 Need You To Be Next To Me * 06 In The Night * 07 Only After Dark * 08 Shadows Of You * 09 Don't Walk Away

Pink Cream 69, Guardian and even Whiteheart to some extent.. so what do these three have in common with Reckless? Well over the years all three have released albums that have seen a major shift in styles which had the ultimate reaction of consternation amongst their followers. Well add Reckless to that list. Of course in 1981 the debut album was released, check out the related articles (below) for a full review of that one, an album that was based on the vocals of Jan Melanson and an overall more AOR texture. Three years later and up popped this one, long gone are the flared trousers and flowers and hello to backcombed hair styles. We have found ourselves in the hair metal of the 80's. Both albums are quite different in styles, notwithstanding that Jan Melanson had been shown the door. I have no idea the thinking of continuing with the name, let's face it, the name Reckless was never the most original moniker. We have had the Sweden based group use it, plus there was the US version, who released an album in 1987 titled 'No Frills'. Then we had the most popular album by Bryan Adams. Without the having the benefit of the recently re-issued Rock Candy debut which may had some sort of explanation, I am somewhat in the dark, maybe it was just Madden's baby. Originally released on Trilogy Records, it finally made its way across to the UK courtesy of Heavy Metal America, from the metropolis known as Penn, Wolverhampton, who managed to distribute a number of classics, amongst them being Money, Santers and Jim Dandy.. quite an achievement really. Didn't they morph into 'FM Records' that also saw the release of Tradia and White Sister? (yes, and the mere mention of Paul Birch's name is enough to get my blood boiling.. him and Mark Alger.. Ed). I am conscious of the feeling towards this album that always seem to follow when the debut is mentioned, basically nothing much but disdain. Well I may definitely be in the minority but I have always enjoyed this album. I hopefully can put its good points across and really consider it for what it is - and put any feelings that you may have due to the debut to one side even it means undergoing some hypnotism so...' look into my eyes'.......'you have never heard the debut'..

The Songs
'Hot N Ready', I'm sure you can guess what this sounds like from that rather corny title. A hair metal stomper with gang chorus vocals, although it is quite meaty, touch of Roxx Gang. With more snarls than you would find in Jack London's 'White Fang' novel, vocal wise may not instantly be that appealing. Actually a video was made for this track, which contained lots of white teeth, fists and hair brushing the ceiling and as well as an unnamed fifth member appearing with also have the token blond female, I wonder if it's Jan Melanson helping out, maybe not!

'Heart Of Steel' is a step in the right direction and a track I have always enjoyed. More epic feel to the vocals and a great motoring beat to it. While it is very catchy it's never going to make the likes of Jonathan Cain or Steve Perry quaking in their boots but compared too much 80's metal there is more thought in the song writing then many bands from the time. Like many times during this album I feel that the vocals are shared between Douglas and Steve, because the feeling and quality does alter during many of the songs, I would be interested if anyone knew. The named vocalist D.L.Adams together with Todd Pilon arrived to this project both previously involved in a traditional metal band under the name of Witchkiller who released an EP also in 1984, titled 'Day Of The Saxons' (dangerzone has reviewed this EP in the 1984 section.. Ed).

'Drivin You Mad' is a good melodic tune. The verses are quality but are let down by a somewhat ordinary and dated chorus, it's a shame because parts of the song are very appealing.

'Feel The Fire' on the other hand is excellent, especially with that classic AOR song title. It starts off with a Red 7, even The Producers influence, quite 80's hi-tech beginning, very noteworthy melodic verses with a pulsating chorus. Is this album improving, well at least we see some green shoots of recovery.

Granted, Side 2 is never as good as the first, but the opening 'Need You Next To Me' is a pleasing melodic rock song with its driving beat and nice guitar touches and with chord changes that would appeal to players of 'Guitar Hero' on the play station. Pumping riffs to end with and a solo that signifies that Madden is a talented musician. Essentially it's a pretty simple song but quite memorable.

'In The Night' presents not for the first time on this album a feeling of UFO, sitting in the background with its Schenker riffs being placed at various strategic times. The tune itself is nothing special but is no different to anything produced by Q5 and Fifth Angel at the time, even a touch of Icon. It does tend to get bogged down and appear a bit directionless.

'Only After Dark' does have some positive attributes being the chorus which has the 80's stamped all over it but again like its predecessor plods along and a quality like variety is beginning to be missing. My argument seems to be on the wane.

What I need are a couple of gems to finish on but alas this isn't the case. The next track 'Shadows Of You' seems to continue the cross of hi-tech and 80's hair metal which is an odd combination and fails to succeed. Even with a good vocal display plus some keyboards provided by Ross Munro, it's not enough to save it and I am starting to get irritated.

To finish, we have 'Don't Walk Away', while initially it just sounds like a filler track that appears on numerous Ratt albums. However it then changes to a fairly good AOR chorus and is definitely provides some positive signs to finish on.

In Summary
Well not much has been heard of Madden and Reckless since and as I am minus the 'Rock Candy' re-issue of the debut I am unable to confirm what Madden got up to next although they seem to have got together and some live dates are planned. This album itself was subsequently issued on cd by 'Unidisc' with a slightly different cover but no extra tracks. I would venture that if this hadn't seen the light of day it would have been released on 'Retrospect' with a fanfare and as it's not a lot difference to much of the previously unreleased material that they seem to throw up every now and then. Songs like the title track and 'Feel The Fire' does mean this album warrants some attention. It may be easy to knock it; although I don't feel it deserves the constant hammering it receives. If this was recorded under a different name it may have received some commendations. Ok it may not be essential listening for all, but treat it on its own merits not its history. Remember, why compare this to the debut when you're measuring against criteria it was never meant to be measured against.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 26 2011 05:48:19
Not a fan of this album at all. And I know Doug Adams knows how who I felt about it, judging from some of his comments on his old website.. lol!
#2 | sabace on July 26 2012 14:39:29
there seems to be a problem with bands who are raw and not keyboard dominated - the majority of the songs here are by Madden and are in similar vein to debut, albeit the debut was more explosive .The criticism of the vocals make no sense as jan melonson's vocals on the debut were not brilliant! Anyway sufficed to say I like it this lp
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