The best albums you’ve never heard

Slade might be the best band you’ve heard of. The English rockers had one hell of a career that spanned the 60s to a peak in the 70s and then another peak in the 80s, and continued accolades throughout. They’ve got hits like “Cum On Feel the Noize” and “Mama Week All Crazee Now,” but they have an extensive catalog of albums that show a broader musical breadth than the glam rock imagery they put out.

They rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the 70s, but arguably achieved their greatest success after taking over Ozzy Osbournein 1980 at the Reading Rock Festival. The band hadn’t had a hit for a few years, but overnight they roared back into the popular eye. The arrival of heavy metal and its influence on many bands of this genre has only contributed to their appeal to a new generation of rock/metal enthusiasts. There’s a lot here that’s a precursor to the era of glam metal that was to come.

The band reached that heavy metal/hard rock tonality and produced two albums in 1981, Tear down the house and Until the deaf do us part. The band had many interviews around the sound of the album with the guitarist David Hill describing the album like this:

This album is a thumper and we want it hard. That’s the direction we’re headed in, like having a live show in the studio almost. He has courage and melody. It’s really us.

Dave Hill at Sounds Magazine

What distinguishes this album from other Slade records?

The album is just louder and rockier than many of Slade’s other studio recordings. It was a singular moment when heavy metal was about to explode in the United States and around the world. Slade didn’t go all out, but what they create here is a mix of genres that should satisfy fans of Slade, hard rock and metal. Singer Yes-Yes Holder described the album like this:

It’s because everyone always talks about how loud we are. We based the album on volume, all the tracks are rock and it’s a strong album. The track Till Deaf Do Us Part is about bending your ears and being deafened. We used a lot of organ on the album. That’s basically the only difference. We think it’s a much better sound than we’ve ever had before. It’s a solid rock album from start to finish, except for the instrumental part – which is a bit of a slow theme, but all the others are solid fast rock. There’s no acoustic rock on the album like songs like “Don’t Waste Your Time” and “Sign of the Times,” which we’ve had on previous LPs.

This is Slade at his toughest tipping. If all you know is Slade’s ’70s glam rock, you might be surprised at how kicking this album is. It has the stomping of classic Slade mixed with a heavy metal flavor that is very reminiscent of Rainbow. Some of the album’s highlights include the opening track “Rock and Roll Preacher (Hallelujah I’m on Fire)”, “Lock Up Your Daughters”, and “Knuckle Sandwich Nancy”.

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