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Motley Crue - 1985 Theater Of Pain

ARTIST: Motley Crue
ALBUM: Theatre Of Pain
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 60418-1-E (LP),
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1990, Elektra, 60418-2 * 2000, Motley, ESM 954 * 2003, Hip-O, 440 067 630-2


LINEUP: Vince Neil - vocals * Nikki Sixx - bass * Mick Mars - guitars * Tommy Lee - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 City Boy Blues * 02 Smokin' In The Boys Room * 03 Louder Than Hell * 04 Keep Your Eye On The Money * 05 Home Sweet Home * 06 Tonight (We Need A Lover) * 07 Use It Or Lose It * 08 Save Our Souls * 09 Raise Your Hands To Rock * 10 Fight For Your Rights


This album was recorded under difficult circumstances for the Crue. Vince Neil had recently been sentenced to 30 days imprisionment and fined 2.6 million dollars for his drunk driving car smash which killed his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer 'Razzle', and permanently injuring the two occupants of the other car. Coupled with Nikki Sixx's drug addiction, the albums lack of killer instinct, just two years following the definitive 'Shout At The Devil', was worrying. The bands troubles are heard in the music, very formularized hard rock, with little of the aggression of the first two albums. That the album went multi platinum proved how little the Crue could do wrong at the time.

The Songs
One of 'Theater's main problems is the production. It has little meat to it, and the bands usual dynamic sound was replaced by a thin and weak one instead. Sixx later admitted there was little attention paid to it, as the band couldn't wait to get out of the studio. The album's hits, the Brownsville Station cover 'Smokin In The Boys Room' and 'Home Sweet Home', are the only remembered tracks, the latter supposedly because it was one of the first metal ballads. Of the other eight selections, 'City Boy Blues' has a swagger in the chorus, aided by Lee's cowbell touches, while 'Louder Than Hell' is the only throwback to the metal sound of previous years. With titles such as 'Fight For Your Rights', 'Raise Your Hands To Rock' and 'Save Our Souls', you might have thought it was a Manowar album, but the promise is not fulfilled as the melodies are forgettable, the music tame. There's a token burn up with 'Use It Or Lose It', but it hardly compares with 'Red Hot'(1983) or 'Livewire'(1981), which made use of Mars' savage riffs, absent here.

In Summary
1987's 'Girls, Girls, Girls' was a virtual copy, two hits, the title track and 'Wild Side', with seven faceless accompanying cuts. It was only when Motley got the drugs and alcohol out of their systems that the music spread itself out evenly in quality, 1989's 'Dr Feelgood' a more rounded release. Clearly 'Theatre Of Pain' was classic Crue's poorest album, with none of the traits that made them an 80's legend. There has hardly been a bigger reversal in attitude and heaviness in the space of an album, all in the wrong direction.

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#1 | super80boy on January 09 2016 23:19:11
You can really hear the lack of production values in the original vinyl pressing, which I just spun. It seemed to have been their image and reputation that got this album so much commercial success, definitely not the quality of music. With exception of a few tracks, it's really formulaic…wash, rinse and repeat.

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