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Shark Island - 1989 Law Of The Order

ARTIST: Shark Island
ALBUM: Law Of The Order
SERIAL: EK 45043
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: 2008, Bad Reputation (France), 309 706 2


LINEUP: Richard Black - lead vocals * Spencer Sercombe - guitars, backing vocals * Chris Heilman - bass, backing vocals * Greg Ellis - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Paris Calling * 02 Shake For Me * 03 Somebodys Falling * 04 Bad For Each Other * 05 Passion To Ashes * 06 Spellbound * 07 Get Some Strange * 08 Why Should I Believe * 09 Ready Or Not * 10 The Chain

This L.A band were the favourites of most of the rock press back in the late 80's. I saw many articles, and their output during that time was quite productive. Fronted by the charismatic Richard Black, I think it became clear to everyone how Axl Rose stole all of Richard's stage moves (the snaky hip thing.. lol!), but still, the original ca't be bettered, Axl all but a mere imitation. Prior to signing on with Epic Records, Shark Island released material on their own Shark Records, when they were known simply as Sharks, but their history goes back before that. Formed in 1979, the duo of Black (real name Rick Czerny) and Sercombe combined with bassist Jimmy Volpicelli (also of Warrior) and drummer Dave Bishop to release 1982's 'Altar Ego'. By the mid 80's, Sharks had a new rhythm section plus a second guitarist in Michael Guy (Fire, House Of Lords), and were the house band at local L.A club Gazzari's. A few personnel changes saw Black and Sercombe joined by Briton Chris Heilman and drummer Greg Ellis. This quartet would be the line-up for their Sept 1989 release of 'Law Of The Order', the band's first big-name label release on Epic; the album produced by Randy Nicklaus (Vixen, Contraband).

The Songs
Many of these songs are made to order in 1989, and is (to me at least) another fine example of the quality of melodic rock music released that year. 'Paris Burning' is simply killer stuff. I do't need to say anymore, check the video below. Incidentally, it was a co-write between Black and Mark Radice. Chugging in from second on the grid is the smokie' 'Shake Me' with that classic lyric 'shake for me, Angeline..' is propelled by some extraordinary guitar riffs from Sercombe, who really knows his six-string stuff. 'Somebody's Falling' drops into groove mode, with an easy to remember chorus. 'Bad For Each Other' was the second video taken from the album (see below), it's a power ballad for the most part, with the band showing they can operate equally at speed or in cruise control. On 'Passion To Ashes', you can get an appreciation of Shark Island's blistering approach as evidenced by Sercombe's massive guitar assault at the end. 'Spellbound' (co-written with Jack Ponti, who also co-writes a couple of other tunes here..) keeps the intensity going.. 'she's got you spellbound, tied up and held down..'. 'Get Some Strange' is a real groovy rocker, followed by the pure ballad 'Why Should I Believe', a gorgeous piece and a welcome addition on the CD. 'Ready Or Not' is pure hair metal in the vein of all those who went before and those who came after. The surprising entry on this album is a cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain' (from their 1977 'Rumours' LP). It keeps true to its regimented delivery, until Spencer Sercombe destroys all with a massive guitar solo which sends this one into OTT territory. Great stuff!

In Summary
Unfortunately, the album tanked big time, with little to show for at the box office. It's been said that the failure of 'Law Of The Order' was due to the album's smooth production, which was in contrast to how most of the L.A metal fraternity remembered the band from a few years before. From a melodic rock perspective I've always appreciated the album for what it was, and it certainly sits comfortably in that sub-genre. Having heard the 'S Cool Bus' album and 'Altar Ego' EP, the band can claim bragging rights as a hard rock identity on the L.A circuit, but times and sounds change, as ten years in the biz would testify, says Richard Black. The band hung around for another year or so before jacking it in. Black moved onto the disastrous supergroup Contraband, which looked like a Randy Nicklaus get together party, but the Shark Island story was't completely written off to the sands of time, as a 2005 reunion saw the band release 'Gathering Of The Faithful' a year later on Frontiers, though the sound was't quite a return to their 80's form, but still a reasonable (but jangly) listen nearly fifteen years on.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 17 2013 06:21:54
Shark Island - 1989 Paris Burning
YouTube Video:

[url=]Direct to YouTube[/youtube]
#2 | gdazegod on November 17 2013 06:22:40
Shark Island - 1989 Bad For Each Other
YouTube Video:

[url=]Direct to YouTube[/youtube]
#3 | sabace on November 17 2013 19:59:49
great lp
#4 | spawn71 on November 18 2013 12:54:00
For me, one of the best records from the golden age! I personally love the sound of this one, and the quality of the songs is remarkable: "Why Should I Believe" is one of the best rock ballads of that era, while "Paris Calling" and "Shake For Me" are killer tracks! A CLASSIC! goodone
#5 | swazi on November 21 2013 23:01:27
Why this one was a commercial failure is beyond me. It's hard to understand the logics behind success and failure. As far as I am concerned this is a great release.
#6 | reyno-roxx on November 22 2013 18:03:57
I remember this album getting a great deal of play on the death deck in Shades at the time of release. In actual fact the demos of 'Paris Calling' etc were given a lot of time in there (thanks to Kelv) way before the album was released. The independently released, self-titled album (not mentioned in the review) was just as good as this album. The only think it was lacking in was in the production department. Would love to see that issued on CD someday.
Incidentally, the live album promo (available on vinyl and CD) was released shortly before 'Law Of The Order'. If I'm not mistaken the Bad Reputation CD reissue included the live stuff.

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