|All Artists: Blue Murder|
Title: Blue Murder
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 1
Label: Geffen Records
Original Release Date: 4/25/1989
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Genres: Pop, Rock, Metal
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The Best Heavy Metal Album Of The 80's That No One Heard
YJM | Somewhere In The South | 11/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get something straight right away, John Sykes is simply one of the best 80's heavy metal guitar player, period. This man has everything: beautiful vibrato, expressive blues playing, incredible legato technique, and one of the fastest picking hand in the world. The other 80's metal guitar players who inspired me are (and continue to inspire me): George Lynch, Jake E Lee, Warren Demartini, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Tony Macalpine, Greg Howe, Eddie Van Halen (of course!), and Steve Vai. Again, that is only the list of "heavy metal" guitar players who have inspired me, but far from all of the guitar players in different styles who have inspired/influenced me. The list would be way too long for this review. Speaking of which, on to the review.
John Sykes first dropped my jaw with the release of the Whitesnake album. When Still of the Night would play at college frat parties (yes, I was in college when this album was released, and yes, they used to play heavy metal at frat parties) me and a good friend at the time would air guitar the whole song. obviously we were always pretty inebriated, but what a song! And the video with Tawny Kitaen was icing on the cake. I've seen some pictures of her recently and time has not been kind to her, but man in the 80's she was the hottest thing going. I became obsessed with Sykes at that point and was so pissed off he wasn't going to be touring for the album. To this day I DESPISE David Coverdale for firing the entire band once the album was recorded. What a cheap, low thing to do. He shot himself in the foot too, because that was the last great Whitesnake album to his name. The album that followed was awful. No offense to Steve Vai, who's playing I love, but he was a terrible fit for Whitesnake. Who knows what would have become of that band had Coverdale not pulled that deceitful move. I imagine the songs on the Blue Murder album probably would have been Whitesnake songs with Dave singing them. Wow, as great as the album is, and as much as I can't stand David Coverdale the person, he has an amazing set of pipes and would have been incredible singing the Blue Murder tunes I'm sure.
But it was not to be, and so two years after the Whitesnake split out comes John's solo masterpiece Blue Murder. I had anxiously been awaiting the release of the album, and I picked it up the day it was released to music stores. I went home, popped the cassette in the cassette player (yep, CD's were still very new and expensive at the time and I didn't own a CD player) and sat in stunned silence as I heard some of the best guitar playing of my life. Song after song filled with incredible songwriting, blazing guitar solos, fantastic singing from Mr. Sykes (a real nice surpirse, I never knew he had such a great voice), and wonderful playing from Tony Franklin and Carmine Appice. The album was an instant masterpiece. It featured mature songwriting, and ventured into that style of music known as progressive, with such pieces as Valley of the Kings and Ptolemy. Most metal at the time was about chicks, getting laid, and partying. There is very little of that on the album, with the exception being Sex Child, a song filled with innuendo, and sleazy groove to go with it. The two ballads are Jelly Roll and Out of Love, with impassioned singing about having your heart broken by someone you love. Black-Hearted Woman is also about getting screwed over by a woman, but is far from a ballad, the song is a fast rocker and a great way to close out the album. While I love every song on the album, the standouts for me are Riot, Valley of the Kings, Blue Murder (the song), and Ptolemy. Ripping guitar solos on each of those tracks as well. Plus John's guitar sound was huge, it enveloped you in sound. What is amazing is the man uses very few effects, he is mostly a straight plug into amp kind of player. But man the sounds that guy would coax out of his Les Paul were just stunning. Phenomenal tone with all of it coming from his hands rather than an effects rack. That is one of the reasons Vai was a terrible match for Whitesnake, as he is very effects driven and is the farthest thing from a straight to amp guitarist you will find. Currently Doug Aldrich has been a much better fit for Whitesnake and his recent playing with them does the John Sykes material proud. Listening to Vai playing the Sykes material and completely destroying the solo's live was cringe inducing.
Sadly the album was not promoted at all by the record label and was given very little airplay both on MTV and the radio. So short of the other Sykes fans out there, the album slipped into obscurity, something I consider to be a crime. The album should have been huge, it should have sold as many copies as the Whitesnake album, and I think had it been the next Whitesnake album it would have. But there was no love for this power trio, and record sales were dismal. John continued to record under the Blue Murder name, as well as solo albums under his own name, but not a one of them is as good as the first Blue Murder album. It was magic, with the stars all aligning at the same time. Sometimes that magic can only be captured once, and in the case of Blue Murder that's how it went. If you missed this album in the 80's and you're a fan of 80's metal, buy it, now. If you were too young in the 80's and are now just getting into that style of music, buy it, now. I am surprised it took me this long to throw up a review on Amazon, but it was one of those V8 moments where I was listening to the album and realized, "hey, I've not written a review of my favorite metal album of all time, let's correct that, now!" I recently purchased a new copy of the CD on Amazon, as I lost my previous copy somehow, and my CD collection is not complete without that album in it.
Hope you enjoyed this review, it is a little lengthy but as you can tell this album means a lot to me, and I wanted to make sure I did it justice in my review."