Mass Slaughter: The Best of Slaughter

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Slaughter: Too Little, Too Late?

Feb 11, 2005 (Updated Feb 11, 2005)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some great songs--some of the best of the hair metal era...

Cons:Inconsistent, lacks depth, strange timing...

The Bottom Line: Slaughter sounded good, but began making music a bit too late in the game to be really relevant.

Rock n’ roll ruled MTV and the radio in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Of course, you had to look beyond the big hair, tight pants, and video-ready good looks to appreciate the music which was likely a certainly a challenge for more serious-minded listeners. Fortunately, I had no such problems as a teenage girl. Affixed to my disgustingly pink walls were images of Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Sebastian Bach, Jani Lane, and so many other pretty boys. I really wasn’t picky.

One band that never really made the cut was Slaughter. They seemed like a dirtier version of Skid Row to me. In retrospect, their music was on par with that of my favorite bands (and better than my second-tier favorites White Lion and Nelson) and songs Up All Night and Fly to the Angels are outstanding selections from the era. I’m also positive it was Mark Slaughter’s distinctly vast vocal range highlighted by a nasally upper register that really ate at me—think Robert Plant on helium and you’re in the ballpark. I can deal with it better now when taken out of the subgenre’s superficial context.

No bands of the era are genius. Not one did much of anything innovative. However, each managed to make both fast-paced “metal” which was broken up by introspective “power ballads.” Slaughter was no exception to the rule. Formed to appeal to pop audiences in 1988 by vocalist Slaughter, bassist Dana Strum, guitarist Tim Kelly (who died in a vehicular accident in 1998), and drummer Blas Elias, Slaughter as a band found popularity with the release of their first two albums.

Both 1990’s Stick it to Ya and 1992’s The Wild Life charted well. Singles Fly to the Angels, Spend My Life, Up All Night, Mad About You, Shout it Out, and Real Love all found radio success. Their star didn’t last long—as with all things pop-metal they fell out of favor with the popularization of grunge in 1992 and 1993. Slaughter’s 1995 album Fear No Evil barely cracked the Billboard 200 and to date the band has found no other mainstream successes.

As much as people want to rip on hair-metal (or pop-metal as the case may be) it is not unlike any other trend be it teeny-bopper pop, emo, grunge, or punk-pop. Each type of music produces a few good acts and a gob of cookie-cutter laughable acts, a few memorable songs and a whole bunch of dull songs. Despite their unfortunate timing and sometimes unforgettable tunes, Slaughter is one of a select few acts that still resonates with me today.

As with many of their contemporaries, Slaughter is best experienced by sort-of fans in the form of a Greatest Hits collection. The best choice of collection is easily 1995’s Mass Slaughter. It collects sixteen of the band’s “best songs” including two versions predictically of each Fly to the Angels and Up All Night. It collects the songs from the band’s most popular and earliest two albums and coincided with the release of their third LP. Mass Slaughter was probably intended to review the band for folks who’d missed them the first time around. Whatever the intent it is a weird collection—nine selections from Stick it To Ya, six from The Wild Life, and two live versions from EP Stick it Live. Despite the inherent oddity of this album’s existence, there are some songs well worth checking out especially considering that after the first two albums the band did very little. The best tracks are clustered at the start and end of Mass Slaughter—most of what’s in the middle is filler. Because of the inconsistent quality of the songs this is an average release. When Slaughter is good they are great and when they are boring they are nauseating.

If you are a regular old fashioned Slaughter sometimes fan, then the songs you want are here. If you are a crazed stalker-like fan there is most certainly something missing. As it stands I’m just pleased to have the hits—songs including Up All Night, Fly to The Angels, Spend My Life, Burnin’ Bridges, The Wild Life, and She Wants More are my personal favorites.

Like rock music? Slaughter can definitely please with the heavy-hitting swagger of Up All Night, Eye to Eye, Burnin' Bridges, and The Wild Life for some relief. More into the "I'm so emotional, love me" power ballad variety of music? Look toward Fly to the Angels, Days Gone By, Real Love, Streets of Broken Hearts, and You Are the One. One word of caution--the extended intros, samples, etc... at the start of most of the songs are annoying. I just wish the band would get down to the music rather than trying to inject a little false personality.

Mass Slaughter is a fine enough collection from a band that was somewhat hit and miss but still to my mind had some of the most potential. With a voice like that of Mark Slaughter there was little room for any profession outside of rock n’ rolling. If you fondly remember Slaughter, get this album. If you’re looking to complete your hair metal “Greatest Hits” collection then make this addition. If you’re looking for consistency, intelligence, and individuality…well…let the (S)laughter ensue.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Track Listing:
01. Up All Night [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
02. Fly to the Angels [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
03. Spend My Life [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
04. Days Gone By [The Wild Life, 1992]
05. Eye to Eye [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
06. Real Love [The Wild Life, 1992]
07. Loaded Gun [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
08. Burnin’ Bridges [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
09. Reach for the Sky [The Wild Life, 1992]
10. Streets of Broken Hearts [The Wild Life, 1992]
11. You Are the One [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
12. Shake This Place [The Wild Life, 1992]
13. She Wants More [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
14. Mad About You [Stick it To Ya, 1990]
15. The Wild Life [The Wild Life, 1992]
16. Hold On [The Wild Life, 1992]
17. Fly to the Angels [Stick it Live, 1990]
18. Up All Night [Stick it Live, 1990]
Other Hair-Metal and Pop-Metal Collections:

Bon Jovi – Cross Road

Cinderella – Once Upon a…

Def Leppard – Vault

Great White - Greatest Hits

Guns n’ Roses – Greatest Hits

Motley Crue – Red, White & Crue

Poison – Greatest Hits

Skid Row – Forty Seasons

Recommend this product? Yes

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