Tuesday, February 18, 2020
HEAVY PETTIN: the reissues "Lettin' Loose", "Rock Ain't Dead", "The Big Bang"
Label: Cherry Red Records
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Heavy Pettin released these three albums originally back in the eighties, 1983, 1985 and 1989 respectively. The band took their first steps when the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement was shaking the foundations of rock music. From the other side of the Atlantic, bands like Mötley Crüe and Quiet Riot were rising up the charts. Being soundwise somewhere in between, they soon found themselves signed to a major label (Polydor) and in the studio with Brian May and Mack, recording their first album.
"Lettin' Loose" is an energetic hard rock album that reminds me of strongly of early Def Leppard with touches of Saxon, mixed with some glam metal influences. My favourite track is "In And Out Of Love", which was the biggest hit of the album I believe. "Devil In Her Eyes" is another highlight, as is "Shadows Of The Night", one of the two bonus tracks. The production by May and long-time Queen producer Mack isn't quite as polished as one could assume considering their resume.
"Rock Ain't Dead" was a more polished effort indeed. The million-selling acts like Crüe, Dokken and Ratt had an influence to the bands' sound, as did producers John Jansen and Mark Dearnley. And Def Leppard's mega-successful Pyromania.
The title track is an anthem, a hit single that never was, and one of my favourites from the band. A glossy MTV video was made for it and "Sole Survivor", but neither of them became the hits Polydor hoped for.
Most of the other songs are rather good too, except for the ballad "Dreamtime" which might put you to sleep (pun intended).
In 1987 the band were working on their third album, but took a break from the recordings to provide UK a "Song For Europe". "Romeo" was their attempt at winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Well, they ended up sixth in the UK competition and managed to alienate a lot of their fans with the keyboard-driven semi-ballad "Romeo". Eventually they broke up in 1988, and their last album "The Big Bang" was released posthumously the next year.
The band's final eighties' album sees the band abandoning their Heavy Metal roots and embracing the sound of REO Speedwagon, Journey and their UK competitors FM and Shy. Only they didn't have the songs to match. Don't get me wrong, there are a few perfectly enjoyable AOR tracks on "The Big Bang" like "Born To Burn" and "Looking For Love", but then again, most of the album is very bland. "Don't Call It Love" is probably the most "Heavy Pettin"-like song, but it sounds like a leftover from the previous albums. "The Big Bang"? Hardly.
The band has reformed lately, and they've released some new material recently. I haven't heard it but I guess it's safe to assume the it sounds more like the first two albums.