Twisted Sister “Still Hungry” Spitfire Records 2004 reviewed by: Ken Pierce
|Track Listing1. Stay Hungry|
2. We’re Not Gonna Take It
3. Burn In Hell
4. Horror Teria – Captain Howdy/Street Justice
5. I Wanna Rock
6. The Price
7. Don’t Let Me Down
8. The Beast
10. Never Say Never
11. Blastin’ Fast & Loud
12. Come Back
13. Plastic Money
14. You Know I Cry
15. Rock & Roll Savior
16. Heroes Are Hard To Find
As a long time Twisted Sister fan I had very high hopes when I heard that a re-issue of the classic “Stay Hungry” album would be hitting the stands. However, it soon became official word that instead of this edition the CD would be re-recording of every single track from the classic we all know and love. Vocalist Dee Snider explained that this was done to capture the “original vision” of the band and this release. I had some reservations with this for it made me think of when George Lucas added all the footage to Star Wars some 20 years later and told us that this is the way he had meant for us to see it when it was originally released. The criticism that Dee Snider seemed to have was that the album did not receive the proper production level. Honestly I thought it sounded fine. It was heavy and it was enjoyable to see a heavy record receive some acclaim on radio stations of the time. Whether you loved them or hates them, you could ignore the catchy riffs and vocal lines of those songs. This release is entitled “Still Hungry” and it begins as you expect with the thundering opener. However, once the CD begins you can immediately notice a difference. The clearest fact is the feeling that it is not produced enough and come off more as rough mixes rather than finished and edited songs. I felt I was listening to rough demos of some of my favorite songs rather than a new and more exciting view of them. I have to admit that I expected a lot more from this portion of the CD, as with todays technology and the fact that the players are ever more seasoned it gave me that expectation. I enjoyed it enough, but not feeling that these should have been tampered with.
The main tracks that I felt suffered the most in the redo, was ones that most Sister fans have so embedded in their minds that it is hard to swallow a new version. In particular “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (with an extended guitar solo) and “Burn In Hell” (just lacking the anger and motivation that I felt made the original so special in the first place). When “Stay Hungry” was released, the band was still a hungry entity fighting its way in the music industry, you can’t simply go in and re-record these songs and expect them to be the same. It just cannot happen. Maybe Rush could pull it off, or Dream Theater, but not so much Twisted Sister.
The real highlight for me was the inclusion of some of the really old classic Twisted Sister numbers that were never placed on an official release before now. Many of the fans have had bootlegs of these tunes or live tapes that were taken from radio shows that were done very early in the bands career. Rough versions of these tracks are featured on the “Club Daze” V1 and V2, but this rendition holds them cleaner and with better production (well, they were just done so that makes sense). The placement of these songs on the redo just shine through the whole piece, especially “Come Back” and “You Know I Cry” (my favorites for almost XX years). These are killer tunes that fans of the group in the later years should certainly be exposed to. I know they have been featured in the touring set once again, and it’s nice to have a professionally recorded version of them to enjoy.
There is not much in the way of photographs on the piece, just the front and back cover. The front pic shows the band in makeup and without which is pretty cool. The booklet also includes lyrics to every song on the piece. This is similar to the original however it also includes the new bonus tracks. As my opinion was skewed on this release, I can only offer the following suggestion. If you purchase it (and you should based on the unreleased tracks) don’t discard your original “Stay Hungry” and instead use this as a measure against it. You decide if this way sounds better or not, and if you think not, as least you have some excellent bonus tracks that you would not hear anywhere else.
Twisted Sister Homepage: www.twistedsister.com
Dee Snider Homepage: www.deesnider.com
--Ken Pierce 1.20.05