Quiet Riot

Quiet Riot

Sony Japan, 1978


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Fun fact: Metal Health was not the debut album from the hard rock band Quiet Riot. Oh, it was the first album from Kevin DuBrow and company to be released in the United States, but Quiet Riot was better known as the band in which Randy Rhoads first cut his teeth, releasing two albums in Japan.

Listening to Quiet Riot, the debut effort from 1978, one quickly understands why this disc never was released in the States (apparently at the request of the Rhoads family). While every band needs the time to develop their style, this disc has absolutely none.

Musically speaking, it’s hard to call Quiet Riot a hard rock band at this stage in their career. If anything, they have a bit of a New York Dolls feel to the music, though one couldn’t really call them glam rock either. This uncertainty of just who they were at this stage in their career is the first sign of trouble.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Fairly quickly into the disc, one learns that DuBrow and Rhoads were not much of songwriters—at least at this stage of the band’s history. Tracks like “Mama’s Little Angel,” “Ravers” and “Get Your Kicks”—well, there’s just nothing good to say about any of them, other than that they eventually end. The constant repetition of the song title in “Get Your Kicks” is nearly enough to drive the listener to murder. (As for “Riot Reunion”… well, the less said, the better.)

Even the choice of covers is questionable. Their take on the Small Faces’s “Tin Soldier” is passable, but Quiet Riot absolutely massacres The Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over.” In truth, these deserved to be left on the cutting room floor.

Look, I understand that artists need the time to grow into their craft. Anyone picking Quiet Riot up expecting to hear Rhoads ripping out solos like he did in his all-too-brief time with Ozzy Osbourne, or DuBrow’s trademark vocal sneer, are going to be extremely disappointed. One cannot, however, say that listening to this disc gives the listener any suggestion that either Rhoads or DuBrow were destined for bigger and better things.

If there is any saving grace to this disc, it’s the bass work of Kelly Garni. It’s by no means enough to save the album, but he does provide a fairly solid anchor for the carnage that unfolded around him. (Drew Forsyth was a capable drummer, but his contributions don’t really stand out in the same way.)

This particular lineup would last for one more album (with Garni performing, but not getting credited, on Quiet Riot II) before Rhoads moved on to immortality. But one listen to Quiet Riot, and you can understand why this era of the band has been glossed over. Diehard fans will undoubtedly want to spend blood money to get copies of this disc from overseas… but they do so at the risk of their own eardrums. This is one that, regrettably, deserves to be relegated to the dustbins of music history.

Rating: D-

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