Hit and miss, but still a good arena rock album
Justin Gaines | Northern Virginia | 12/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up a used copy of Ted Nugent's 1984 album Penetrator based solely on the fact that it featured Brian Howe on vocals. Howe had a lot to do with Bad Company's revival in the late 80's, so I was interested in hearing his earlier work. I've never been much of a Ted Nugent fan, but I know better than to underestimate the guy's talent or songwriting ability. As he did in his Damn Yankees days, Nugent plays to the strength of his vocalist, creating a made-for-radio serving of arena rock perfectly suited to Howe's Lou Gramm-inspired vocal style.
Penetrator is a completely accessible, commercial rock album along the same lines as Bad Company, Aldo Nova, and Foreigner. Howe hadn't quite developed his own style yet, so there are times when you have to do a double-take to make sure you didn't put in a Foreigner disc by mistake. It's a solid album, but it's also a bit uneven. Classy rock anthems like Tied Up in Love are offset by more juvenile Nugent material like Thunder Thighs, and the contrast between the songs Howe sings versus the ones where Ted takes over is pretty big. The Howe track Blame it on the Night seems especially out of place between Nugent's No Man's Land and Lean Mean R&R Machine. Still, there are enough good moments to make this a worthwhile arena rock album.
This is very much a commercial album, so I could see it turning off some hardcore Nugent fans. For Brian Howe fans, or those who still love 80's AOR and melodic rock, this is definitely an album worth checking out.
Should've been Called "Nugent/Gramm"
Bill | Hoboken, NJ | 10/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The singer Ted uses on this album sounds like the lead singer of a Foreigner Cover band. Yes, it sounds as if Lou Gramm took over the studio and told Ted this is how rock and roll should be played!"