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Twisted Sister - Under The Blade

Label: Armoury Remaster Series
Format: CD + DVD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 9/ 10

Always felt the debut was slightly inferior to the sophomore effort, never fully capturing the vicious onstage vibe (nor sarcastic wit), despite a handful of classics that are still part of the live set. The final Sister platter to get an augmented re-release by Armoury, "Under The Blade" has been backed with the entire quartet of pre-release "Ruff Cutts" tracks, although only ‘Leader Of The Pack’ (50s doo-wop tune later turned into a video for "Come Out And Play") is not reprised on the original vinyl full-length. So why pick up this latest CD? The priceless, old-school, punk-fuelled intensity of their Reading (UK) festival appearance, alongside Fast Eddie Clarke, Pete Way and Lemmy (origins of the short-lived, Fastway incarnation were formed that day). True, it was only 7 Twisted songs, but the closing (extended) version of ‘It’s Only Rock N Roll’ and Dee Snider’s gibes to the somewhat unappreciative crowd (insulting them and challenging all dissenters to a fight, after the set) make this a must. Unleashed from tiny clubs to this massive outdoor venue, the band is like mercury, make spaghetti of the still tethered guitars and microphone cables onstage.


Some of these audio tracks showed up on compilations and B-sides for the band’s singles/Eps, but I’ve never seen any visuals from August 29, 1982. Straight-on and side-of-stage cameras are both intercut. Actually, Snider’s infamous profanity laced rants are here intact, later expunged in the post-MTV. This is the guy we East coasters recall (and love) in all his uncensored bravado! My brother, a non-metal fan, remembers this Reading rant (verbatim) 30 years later, just from hearing me play the audio over and over again. In addition to the short set (Twisted were near the bottom of the bill that day), there’s 40 minutes of interviews with the entire band, talking about said performance, as well as recalling England and the times around the recording. Missiles fly almost as soon as the band is introduced! Snider shoots back (literally, from a toy Uzi) during ‘Shoot Em Down’ and the Stones classic sees Lem and Eddie reunited for the first time since the Motorhead split: triple guitar-triple bass mayhem. That cover is almost as long as half the seven preceding tunes. As they said back in the day, buy or die.

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