|Review: Nitro - Volatile Activity|
Label: Blood and Iron Records
Year released: 2014
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: May 11, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)
Not to be confused with the band that featured Jim Gillette and Michael Angelo Batio, Pennsylvania's Nitro have been around, in various states of activity, since 1979. They self-released an EP, Lethal, which was later re-released with two extra tracks by Mausoleum Records in Europe. Their first full-length album, Volatile Activity, was apparently recorded somewhere around 1987, but got no love from the industry and has sat unreleased since then. A 2013 compilation and a signing to Blood and Iron Records paved the way for this now 27-year-old album to see the light of day.
As you might expect from a vintage 80s US band, the music is somewhere between Hard Rock and Heavy Metal and is, in no way, modern sounding. The vocals remind me of a cross between the guy from The Hollies ("Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress") and Lizzy Borden and the songs range from quite heavy to rather commercial. It is mostly upbeat and the lyrics deal with typical 80s topics like the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and women. Songs like "Take Me Higher" and "Do It" bring to mind the heavier output of other contemporary US bands like Great White and Keel. On the other hand, you have overly cheesy songs like "Tuff Life" and the horrible, Poison-like "Boys Will Be Boys." Why the hell did US bands think that 12-measure, country-style songs were cool?
If you judge Volatile Activity solely against today's music it sounds dated and out of step with the current state of Heavy Metal. What you have to do is listen to this album as a time capsule, one that reminds us of when whether you got decent Hard Rock/Heavy Metal or commercial junk was a real crap shoot. Viewed in that light, Volatile Activity has some fun, foot-tapping songs and only a few moments that would have been cringe-worthy even back in the day. Don't buy this if you are looking for fresh, new Heavy Metal, but if you are into older Hard Rock/Heavy Metal of the US variety, it is worth a look.
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