Hughes - Thrall (1982)
Mr. S. St Thomas | UK | 02/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reason this album gets 5 stars, is because most of the people that have reviewed it know their 'Hard Rock' history, and what else was coming out of the Eighties, especially during the time of this album. In 1982, you had Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath (w/Dio), Van Halen, Rainbow, Motorhead, The Scorpions, a whole ton of Metal, and Psuedo-Metal bands proliferating the airwaves. This was before of course, the Poison's, Warrant's, Motley Crue's, Skid Row's, Bon Jovi's, Ratt's, Slaughter's, Cinderella's and such. There's a gap between these two styles of Jeans and No Shower Metal, and Hairspray and Glitter Metal.
And in-between these two you had this album.
This album is literally one of a kind for its time, and quite literally bridges that 'unknown' gap between fringe-metal, enjoyed by guys with no girlfriends but a keg of beer at the ready, and pop-metal, where all those guys could go and check out the girls who thought the lead singer had better hair than any other girl they knew. This is why this album is important, one of a kind, and so celebrated. It is quite frankly, the Holy Grail of Hard Rock albums.
And it possessed two very talented people, for one time only, captured on wax/plastic. To have Pat Thrall, who is a very diverse and skilled guitarist, who's tenure with Automatic Man and the Pat Travers Band got him nominated Best Guitarist of 1980, would be enough for something. But to have Glenn Hughes is another matter altogether. In Glenn Hughes, you have one of the best vocalists to come out of Britain. A man who could sound as 'Negro' as Stevie Wonder, but satisfy every 'Caucasian' requirement to 'Rock'. His voice is quite literally, a reason to purchase this album and give it half a chance.
When I say this album is one of a kind, I mean that it sounds nothing like any other album in the genre. It is unto itself, and that is why it takes some patience, an open mind, and understanding that not all music is going to hit you straight away. Especially when Hughes and Thrall were creating something people weren't quite ready for yet, that gap between what is Motorhead, and what is Def Leppard circa 1987. There is nothing as completely heavy as Motorhead on this album, nor is there anything completely Pop as Def Leppard at their height. But you do find something in-between these two on this album, which is why it may only have a few reviews, but it receives 5 stars almost every time.
The people that vote for this album, know how important this one is, and that nothing sounds quite like it in all of that genre. And that is why it's still celebrated as much as it is. I have friends who react to me owning Hughes/Thrall like it's a great missing piece to a puzzle, because for a long time it was a very hard album to find. You actually had to travel to get it in some circumstances. Like I said, it is almost like the Holy Grail of Metal albums.
If you already a fan of Glenn Hughes, then this album shouldn't be too hard to digest, because this is one of his best vocal albums, no matter his state of affairs at the time. Every track is Hughes singing his *** off, especially First Step Of Love, and Muscle & Blood. But what's behind all of these songs is music that is never quite metal, but never quite commercial or formulaic pop. It has touches of both, but never enough to be one or the other, nor is each song 'targeted' for somewhere or someone. It sounds more like Hughes and Thrall were just writing to see what came out, and that sound came across so strongly on this album, that that shines through more than whether one can ask 'Is This Metal, or Is this Pop?'
It wasn't market research or an image that made this album, it was two people working together with others, and making something that, as I'll restate again, is one of a kind in Music / Rock History. It's the benchmark of a hundred albums that came after it, one just has to be familiar with how much in it's sound did it pre-date all of those Pop Metal bands that were effectively put to rest by Alternative and Rap/Hip Hop.
I recommend this album simply because of this one of a kind status it has. I can think of a number of one of a kind albums that I own, that can be counted on one hand. There's Talk Talk's ''Laughing Stock'', Kate Bush's ''The Dreaming'', and the Hughes/Thrall album. Strange company to put it in, but I've owned this album for years and years, and I still haven't heard anything like it yet. It's either one or the other, someone does what you expect, and if it sells, they keep doing it. But not quite like this.
A hidden treasure of Rock and Roll
matthew b | Brookline, MA United States | 08/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first found this record back when it came out around 1982 as i was a huge fan of Pat Thrall in the Pat Travers Band and a huge fan of Glen Hughes from Ted Nugent's band. When they got together it seemed like the natural makings of a fresh sound, and it was. Whether they were railroaded by bad hair cuts of bad management this record never caught on, but it was a hit with me the moment i heard it. generous guitar solos from Thrall displaying his range, from his trademark picking technique to blazing blues ballad solos. This is a front to back sonic tour de force, with Hughes' voice soaring, smart lyrics, a mix of pop sense and Heavy Metal impact, one of the harder fusions to pull off. Funny thing is to me every one of these songs still holds up as a great song. The song Coast to Coast is one of my all time favorite ballads and the most soothing driving track you ever rolled to. Find this album and find a treasure trove of funky metal pop gems.