VERSUS: Shout at The Devil vs. Stay Hungry
Welcome to Versus. The series where we look at two albums in metal history, compare them, and see which one was the better record.
In this edition of Versus, we're going retro with some classic 80's heavy metal. Bands that were icons at the time by their sound, their look and their attitudes. A band that rose to huge heights on the album charts, selling out huge venues all across the world, while also self-destructing itself with addiction and excess. The other band had a trademark stage attire and makeup, along with a front man who wrote some of the most anthemic songs in heavy metal history. Even represented heavy metal during the P.M.R.C. U.S. senate hearings against music censorship in the 1980's. Tease your hair, put on your eyeliner & makeup, and put this matchup on your cassette tape (Side A specifically), as we start this battle I'm calling "The Anthems of The 80's".
In this corner, we have Mötley Crüe with their second album, 1983's Shout at The Devil. The band's breakthrough album, and one of the top selling heavy metal albums of the 1980's. The follow up to the band's 1981 debut Too Fast For Love, the band's sound and production was more fine-tuned and focused, creating a heavy metal classic that launched the band's infamous legacy of sleaze, debauchery, and excess that would be the band's trademark reputation throughout the 1980's. How does this album stack up against their opponents?
After the album's introduction track "In The Beginning", the album kicks off with the album's title track. The song opens with that epic guitar strum and drummer Tommy Lee's thundering kick drums as the band begins the chanting of the song's title. With the swagger and high voice of Vince Neil, channeling an almost Brian Johnson of AC/DC delivery in certain parts, the chorus is catchy and one of those recognizable riffs you can see the crowd pumping their fists, along with the chanting. The closing of the song with just the drums and chanting "Shout" was a nice musical choice before the main riff rises back up to the song's conclusion with Lee's drums speeding up.
Following that song is "Looks That Kill". I LOVE the guitar tone guitarist Mick Mars has on the track and the driving drums matching the drive and intensity of the song. I love Neil's delivery on the chorus, along with the accompaniment of the band singing the song's title on the chorus. The song has that sleazy, 80's attitude and swagger that this band and Van Halen would make popular at this time. Coining that "Sunset Strip Sound" a lot of the bands of that time lived up to. Mars has an amazing guitar solo, with fretboard hopping and wailing all over his guitar part. The song's energy and machismo attitude makes it such a banger of a track. "Bastard" has a great pedal-to-the-metal opening riff by Mars. With a sing-along chorus and a catchy as hell guitar riff with some nice double-bass behind it, its a good track and definitely an underrated track in the band's discography. The somber instrumental piece "God Bless The Children of The Beast" showcases Mars' guitar playing on acoustic guitar with little flurries of electric guitar throughout the short interlude.
The band's take on The Beatles classic "Helter Skelter" has some great guitar riffs and wails from Mars again, showing how influential he was on the band's sound. Neil's vocals are good, and the song speeds up the energy of the original. A decent song, but overall not one of my favorites off the album. "Red Hot" has a great opening drum section with bassist Nikki Sixx's bass groove into Mars' building guitar. I like the song's cliché ringing guitars on the verse section, with Neil's wailing, almost falsetto highs. The energy of the track is fast and upbeat, imagining the crowd chanting along the song's title during the chorus.
I LOVE the opening riff of the other single from this album "Too Young To Fall in Love". The guitar tone is classic 80's hair metal, but somehow grittier which adds an almost sinister sound to the song. Neil's vocals are on point during the chorus. The song drips of that bravado and excess the band delivered live. Mars' solo has peak and valleys. Sections of intricate fast paced hammer on's and pull offs before wailing guitar movements into the main riff. This is probably my second favorite track of the album behind "Looks That Kill". On "Knock 'Em Dead, Kid", the thundering and building drums of Lee, picked up by Mars' palm muted and driving guitar riff, mixed with Neil's shrieking highs, the song has a great demanding presence. Sixx's bass playing starts to peak through during the chorus, but it seems like his playing is almost out of the mix, similar to Newsted's bass on ...And Justice For All. "Ten Seconds To Love" opens with Neil delivering a Bon Scott-esque machismo like energy in the moaning and opening vocals. Lee's kick drumming punches through the mix, accented by guitars and the sing along chorus. The album's closer "Danger" has an almost power ballad, sorrowful like guitar opening piece. With drum fills poking throughout the verse section, Neil strains and shrieks with his highs. The drumming picks the song and intensity back up as the song begins to transform into a more aggressive, brooding track with Neil and company's vocals being more lower in delivery and a somber like delivery. With another great solo from Mars, the song builds to an epic crescendo before ending this classic 80's album from one of the most notorious bands of the genre.
Their opponents, in the opposite corner, is Twisted Sister, with their third album, 1984's Stay Hungry. The album skyrocketed the band's popularity, along with two legendary music videos for two of their singles off of this album. Putting an iconic face to the aggression, and fury in the band's name and performance. With some classic heavy metal hooks, vocalist Dee Snider's gravelly yet somewhat clean vocals, and driving guitars, this became a staple in many metalhead's record collections. What does Twisted Sister bring to the table against the legendary Crüe?
The album opens with the driving drums and ringing guitars of the album's title track. Snider's vocals are strong and prominent, showing how demanding and powerful his voice was. I love the chorus with the backing vocals behind Snider. The drumming of A. J. Pero adds so much force and drive to the song, accenting Snider's commanding voice. I love the short lead guitar solo by Jay Jay French. A strong opening track for the album, showing the band wants to hit you hard and fast from the get-go.
Next is "We're Not Gonna Take It". A battle cry of rebellion to everyone from teenagers, to workers, to politicians, the song still stands the test of time with its message and it's commanding presence and memorable chorus. Snider's vocals are so anthemic, with the section of the pre-chorus with the crowd chanting along, you really can't help but sing along with it. Pero's drums hit SO HARD in the mix, with so much punch on the snare. I love the almost patriotic sounding guitar solo into the dueling guitars by French and Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda. With the building of just the drums and vocals, soaked in reverb, you just picture the crowd rioting and singing along as they go crazy in the pit during it. On "Burn in Hell", the dark and ominous guitars, with a dirging bass by Mark "The Animal" Mendoza behind it, the song just takes a dark and evil sounding tone. The song builds to a faster pace when Snider says the song's title and driving drums and guitar, the song channels the New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, which the band delivers in that style in the performance. Another great guitar solo section by French, with accompanied double bass by Pero.
The bands goes into the darker depths even more on the track "Horror-Teria (The Beginning)". The song has that dark atmosphere and feel, akin to the Mercyful Fate/King Diamond sound and story telling in the lyrics and vocal delivery by Snider. At over seven minutes, the song dabbles in the progressive and evil and dark aura throughout the song, while still keeping the demanding vocals by Snider and the classic and demanding presence of the band's behind him. The creepiness and unease in the song, and it's subject matter, would be the inspiration to the 1998 horror movie Strangeland, where Snider himself would play the Captain Howdy role. The song shifts at the halfway mark, to a more driving, straight forward rock and roll feel, while still continuing the ominous and foreboding lyrical content. The second part of the song returns to the more traditional heavy metal sound the band would be known for with another nice guitar solo near the end and a driving riff behind it.
Following that epic song is another call-to-arms song with "I Wanna Rock". The power in Snider's performance is unmatched and that great and memorable opening riff. With the chant along No! shows the band knows how to write a catchy and memorable hook. With another memorable video that perfectly matched the energy and drive of the song, the song blew up in popularity on MTV. I love Mendoza's bass peaking through on the verse section in between the guitar strikes. With another great solo at the end as it fades, it is one of the best songs on the album. "The Price" slows the pace down, into an almost power-ballad, southern rock sounding riff. With vocals drenched in chorus and reverb, a nice sounding clean guitar sound, before pounding drums kick in, the song gives us a reprieve from the heaviness of the album so far. A nice song, showcasing Snider's clean vocals, with little drum flurries by Pero during the chorus.
"Don't Let Me Down" has a great classic heavy metal sounding opening. With an almost galloping like double bass sound, dueling harmonizing guitars and Snider with his wailing vocal delivery. I can picture the crowd clapping and pumping their fist along to Pero's snare hits on the verse section. The addition of backing, harmonizing vocals on the chorus is a nice touch, accenting the lead vocals but not overshadowing. On "The Beast", the energy continues with an almost military like drum section during the chorus, with Snider's commanding performance on vocals and the simple but heavy performance from the band. The album's closer "S.M.F.", standing for Sick Mother Fucker, is a callout to their fans and showing a loyalty and recognition to the fans and the metal community. A great album closer with it's energy, strong riff and catchy chorus, closing out what most fans say is the band at their best.
After listening to these classic albums from two of the biggest bands of the glam metal sound of the 80's, who won this matchup? In my opinion, I would choose Twister Sister's Stay Hungry as the winner. To me, all around, it is a stronger record. The songs are more memorable and have stood the test of time since the 80's. Snider is a stronger vocalist, the songs are more catchy and aggressive at the same time compared to Crüe. I do like some of the guitar solos on Shout at The Devil a little more than Stay Hungry, but overall, if I had to reach for one of these metal classics, I'm gonna grab Twisted Sister every time. Both bands have had longevity since their 1980's heyday and are worth checking out if you like these records and wanna deep dive into their discography more.
Mötley Crüe would follow this album with a string of classic 80's glam/heavy metal albums. 1985's Theatre of Pain, 1987 Girls, Girls, Girls, and 1989's Dr. Feelgood, before Neil would be fired from the band in 1992, replaced by John Corabi. He would rejoin the band in 1997 for their divisive album Generation Swine and would remain with the band. Mick Mars would sue the band in 2023 and would leave the band, over legal disputes as well as due to his health. He would be replaced by guitarist John 5, when the band went on a world tour with Def Leppard.
Twisted Sister would continue to release records, the follow up's being 1985's Come Out and Play and 1987's Love is For Suckers. Tragically, drummer A.J. Pero would pass away from a heart attack in 2015. The band would embark on it's final tour, dubbed Forty and Fuck It in 2016 with Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy filling in for the late Pero.
Snider would start a solo career in 2000 with the release of Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down. In 2016, Snider would team up with Hatebreed front man Jamey Jasta and help produce two albums for Snider. For The Love of Metal in 2018, and Leave a Scar in 2021. Both records receiving positive reviews, showcasing Snider's return to classic heavy metal and the nostalgia of his Twisted Sister days.
Do you agree with my decision? Who do YOU think should have won this massive matchup of 80's metal? Cast your vote on the poll below, leave your comments on our social media pages, and your suggestions who you think should step in the ring next. I’m Justin, your friendly neighborhood metalhead, for This Day in Metal and this has been Versus.