Twisted Sister – Rock’n’Roll Saviours – The Early Years (Cleopatra) // Metal Meltdown Live At The Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas DVD (Loud And Proud Records)

Twisted Sister – Rock’n’Roll Saviours – The Early Years (Cleopatra) // Metal Meltdown Live At The Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas DVD (Loud And Proud Records)

New York based rock band Twisted Sister released some classic hits in the early to mid 80s, mixing glam rock, rock’n’roll and heavy metal. Fronted by the charismatic Dee Snider, hit singles included ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’, ‘Under The Blade’ and ‘I Am I’m Me’, alongside albums We Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll and Stay Hungry, the band made waves and acquired a lot of fans. Singer Snider has since become a personality, with TV work, solo work and a well documented testifying against the PMRC.

Formed in New Jersey in the early 70s, the band rotated line-ups and worked hard around the New York clubs, playing covers and original material. While new material post reformation has been thin on the ground (there has been some excellent live material, always well worth checking out), the early days (early daze) has been well documented. And these packages augment the Twisted History well. This make-up wearing twin guitar 5 piece made a difference, and have an important place in metal history and in any rock record collection.

The Rock’n’Roll Saviours 3CD box is luxurious to say the least, although the recording quality is variable. The first disc is a 1979 radio broadcast, recorded live in Detroit. Opening with the set’s title track, it’s classic rock’n’roll. Although the sound is a little muddled, Dee Sniider’s vocals are clear.

There’s many an early Twisted Sister classic here, showing that many well known tracks were fully fledged and in the set years before they were recorded. ‘Under The Blade’ stands out. The thumping-guitar solo gets the crowd going (as if they weren’t ravenous already). There’s a real thrash in the cover of ‘Johnny B Goode’; metal thrashing mad indeed. Similarly the 1980 show is a classic radio performance, some distortion in the music but Dee leads proceedings like a trooper and kicks off many tracks that were in the previous year’s show. While there is a live bootleg feel, it’s still a great performance and fantastic to have the show here. Closer ‘Born To Be Wild’ another rocking rendition.

The star show however is the 1983 Donington performance, by which time both band and recording were tighter. ‘What You Don’t Know’ kicks off with aplomb, and ‘You Can’t Stop Rock’n’Roll’ is a real blast. The highlight is ‘I Am I’m Me’, a track whose success took the band to a much wider appeal.

Seriously, the whole box is worth forking out for this Donington set alone. Really.

The DVD, recorded in 2015, was recorded in honour of drummer A.J.Pero who had then just passed. And the band played a storming 90 minute that is recorded and presented as well and as rocking as it was performed. The make-up may have gone, but the power and Dee’s fronting is just as storming as ever.

While the documentary We Are Twisted Fucking Sister (excellent, by the way) was a little dry, this is all about the music; ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ stands out, and lesser known tracks like ‘The Price’ stand too also. With renowned drummer Mike Portnoy at the stool, it is a fitting tribute, and an appropriate dig at the abomination that is Grunge (“What the fuck happened?” says Dee).

Personal fave is ‘Come Out And Play’, title track to (in my opinion) their best and most underrated album. The guitars are blistering throughout and, fronted by Snider, a wonderful show.

Rock’n’Roll Saviors – The Early Years 8/10

Metal Meltdown Live At The Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas 8.8/10

Joe Geesin

Rock’n’Roll Saviours track list.

Disc: 1 (Detroit Club, 1979)

1. Rock 'N' Roll Saviors

2. Pay The Price

3. Follow Me

4. Under The Blade

5. Guitar Solo

6. Can't Stand Still

7. Lady's Boy

8. Workin' On You Baby

9. Come Back

10. Without You

11. Chinese Hustle

12. I'll Never Grow Up Now

13. Plastic Money

14. Johnny B Goode

15. Rock 'N' Roll Saviors

Disc: 2 (Hammerheads, 1980)

1. What You Don't Know (Sure Can Hurt You)

2. Come Back

3. Bad Boys

4. Destroyer

5. Pay The Price

6. Without You

7. Under The Blade

8. Rock 'N' Roll Saviors

9. Plastic Money

10. You Know I Cry

11. I'll Never Grow Up Now!

12. Born To Be Wild

Disc: 3 (Donnington 1980)

1. What You Don't Know(Sure Can Hurt You)

2. The Kids Are Back

3. Shoot 'Em Down

4. Destroyer

5. Like a Knife In The Back

6. Ride To Live, Live To Ride

7. We're Gonna Make It

8. You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll

9. I Am Me (I'm Me)

10. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll

Metal Meltdown tracklist

1. What You Don't Know

2. The Kids Are Back

3. Stay Hungry

4. The Beast

5. Shoot ‘Em Down

6. You Can’t Stop Rock ‘N’ Roll

7. I Believe In Rock ‘N’ Roll

8. Under The Blade

9. I Am (I’m Me)

10. We’re Not Gonna Take It

11. The Fire Still Burns

12. The Price

13.  Burn In Hell

14.  A.J. Pero Tribute

15. I Wanna Rock

16. Come Out and Play

17.  S.M.F.

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Twisted Sister – Rock’n’Roll Saviours – The Early Years (Cleopatra) // Metal Meltdown Live At The Hard Rock Casino Las Vegas DVD (Loud And Proud Records)