Theatre of Pain - Motley Crue (album review)
year - 1985
genre - Glam rock/metal
Theatre of pain is the third studio album by glam rock band Motley Crue, this album marks a slightly more polished sound to the Crue's music, especially when compared to debut "too fast for love", the album was a commercial and critical success launching the band into new levels of superstardom.
Theatre of Pain is dedicated to Hanoi rocks former member Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley, who was killed in the car crash that resulted in Vince Neil's arrest.
Motley Crue's albums are usually divided into their first 5 albums as classic Crue....and then everything else after as...well subpar to questionable. Theatre of pain in my opinion is easily the weakest of Crue's classic albums(which I will go into more detail on shortly), however given this, it is still a great album to listen to and of the best albums released in a genre that sadly became saturated and ended up killing itself/being killed by the music industry.
I will start with the negatives, then end on the positives, my first gripe with this album is Vince Neil's vocals that feel weaker and at times annoying, this is a shame because Neil clearly showed his ability and range on phenomenal tracks such as "shout at the devil" and "on with the show", but of course Neil sounds great on a lot of the tracks of this album, just compared to previous efforts it feels weaker and less passionate. A common complaint for all Motley Crue records is the somewhat shoddy bass playing from bassist/lyricist Nikki Sixx, while on this album it is stepped up a little compared to their first two albums, it is still boring and unoriginal (on later releases Sixx's playing would improve highly). my third and final complaint is the fact some tracks feel like filler, and with the common knowledge that the band were on many drugs at the time of recording (explained best in "motley crue: the dirt, a book written by the band) it is not surprising; "raise your hands to rock" and save our souls" being the best examples of, what I consider, filler tracks.
And now the positives, as on all Crue albums Mick Mars's guitar work is once again awe inspiring, being heavy but also catchy enough to give the pop-tinge that was part of the Glam metal sound.
Tommy Lee once again does a fine job with the drums, not being over complicated but never too simple that it bores the listener to death. Nikki Sixx may not be the best bassist, but he sure as hell can write great lyrics, "fight for your rights" and "home sweet home" being great examples of Sixx writing catchy and memorable lyrics. The band's cover of "smokin' in the boys room"(originally by Brownsville Station) is a huge highlight on the album, being slightly silly but also so memorable that its hard to dislike it. lead single "home sweet home" is also something that saves the album somewhat, being emotional and showing a new side to the sound of Motley Crue, definitely the albums best track in my opinion.
as a whole this album does has its faults, and as a Motley Crue fan I find that hard to admit but it is true, however this album as a whole is enjoyable and fun even if its a little forgetful, not their best, certainly not their worst, Theatre of Pain lands somewhere in the middle, if you're a fan of 80's rock, check out this album.
Rating - 6-5/10
Best tracks - "home sweet home, "smokin' in the boys room", "fight for your rights".
for fans of - Guns n Roses, Cinderella, RATT, Hanoi Rocks, Steel Panther.
By D.A Clarke