Rating: Re-issue CD/DVD
Label: Eagle/Armoury 2011
Review by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Good evening! Welcome to our show!!! It's late 1981 and Twisted Sister has been playing for years at the U.S. east coast selling out venues and had over 15,000 members in their fan base. They did however not have a recording contract until a mad English bloke (Martin Hooker/Secret Records) went over the pond to see the band at Christmas-81 and was so impressed that he signed them immediately. Appearantly too 'Twisted' for America the lads escaped to foreign shore. The land of 'fish and chips' and 'black pudding' greeted them with open arms and Pete Way of UFO produced this very debut, now re-released by Eagle/Armoury Records as a special edition: CD and DVD.
"Under The Blade", uncompromising heavy metal steeped in anger, frustration, and raw aggression 'ala 1982. I've learned to love this record over the years even though it's a far from perfect album. It's a more direct and blunt approach to metal than the successful MTV years. You can pick up influences such as The Dictators, Judas Priest and obviously Dee Snider's all-time fave, Alice Cooper. I love the ultra heavy and slightly twisted, disturbing, melodies of "Run For Your Life", "Under The Blade" and "Destroyer". The latter sounding like KISS' "God Of Thunder" if it had originally been recorded by Ozzy's Black Sabbath. The AC/DC rock of "Shoot 'Em Down" goes down smooth like a shot of whiskey and "Tear It Loose" comes with a flashy solo by Fast Eddie Clark. The re-mastering has largely dealt with any flaws displayed on the original recording and it's rough gem/diamond in their back catalogue. You'll also get the "Rough Cutts" EP and "Shoot 'Em Down" live as bonustracks.
The rather superb special edition of "Under The Blade" comes with a DVD of the Sisters' live performance at Reading Festival in 1982. They played on the third day (29th of August, 82) and the concert was never supposed to have been filmed or recorded in its entirely. The two cameras (one from each side of the stage) were there only for broadcasting the performance into a VIP tent. Thus why the stage left/right "side-view" as there aren't any cameras in or behind the audience. It's nontheless a rather smashing DVD and performance as it reeks of the enegry and attitude of a hungry band. Is that Bette Midler upfront??? They performed their eight (8) songs like true professionals even though not everybody in the audience liked or knew them ("Under The Blade" were still a couple of weeks away from its release date in the U.K.).
Strangely enough, they had to stop the show merely 'once' due to all the stuff being thrown at them. Reading, 1982, a bunch of U.S. cross-dressers with attitude on stage (Bette Midler on acid), hell, they should consider themselves lucky to be able to walk out of there alive. Dee Snider confronting the "wimps and pussies" to stop throwing things after their performance of "Bad Boys" (especially as they kept hitting the paying costumers in the audience upfront with all sorts of garbage) and wouldn't mind a face to face meeting later after the show (kikk-azz!). They band played on and dedicates the next track, "Destroyer", to all the real rockers in the audience. They ended the Reading gig with a cover of Rolling Stones, "It's Only Rock N Roll", and to be completely honest, it's a rather crappy version and definitely the worst song on this otherwise fine DVD. Essential stuff to any mad SMF! Just play it loud, mutha!!!