CMC International Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/17/1998
Released as a tribute to the recently deceased guitarist Tim Kelly, Eternal Live serves as the end of a chapter in what will surely be a long career. Hey, if they didn't break up when their contemporary hair metal friends, like Winger and Faster Pussycat, bought the bullet, there most likely is still a market niche for this style of metal.
And Slaughter do it better than anyone. Kicking off with a previously unreleased track called "Rock The World." What a groove! Following that track is "Get Used To It," another rocker. Mark Slaughter's voice has always been a love it or hate it style. In either case, he is a charismatic front man and his voice cuts through the guitar, drums and bass to be its own important voice.
No matter how good the rockers are, Slaughter is surprisingly potent when they rearrange a rocker from the Stick It To Ya release, "Spend My Life." They transformed this into a soft piano ballad that is more a tribute to the fans than to any one specific person. Smoothly, the song transitions into a haunting rendition of their mega-hit, "Fly To The Angels." Tracks like "Wild Life" and their trademark radio hit "Up All Night" are executed perfectly here. Blas Elias begins "Up All Night" with an effects-thick drum solo.
While all of that is fine and dandy, this doesn't feel like a live album. It's more of a collection of songs, recorded live and tossed together. There are crowd fade ins and outs between almost every song so the continuity is lost. And really, unless they've changed that much since I saw them tucked between Don Dokken and Poison, this disc sounds very thin. And finally, if this really is a tribute to their deceased guitarist Tim Kelly (which I whole-heartedly believe is true), I find it curious they didn't find a memorable guitar solo to include.
And I'm not some anti-Slaughter fan. I have fond memories of Tim Kelly playing a guitar solo, running to the edge of the stage, slipping into the bouncer pit, all the while not missing a note of his solo. He disappeared behind the stage and reappeared, moments later, on the stage, his smile lighting up the arena.
That kind of experience does not translate onto a CD, and I'm not implying it should. But there really isn't anything to define what Tim Kelly was about. There's no shining moment on this disc that I can point to and say, "Tim Kelly was a great guitarist. Here, listen to this song." All I can offer are some live versions of songs Slaughter fans enjoy, but nothing more substantial, more fulfilling for the casual listener.
For you techies, this is an enhanced CD so there's a "FREE enhanced multimedia portion" to this disc, containing pictures and the guitar riff of "Rock the World" as a theme.
All in all, though, this disc doesn't do much to eulogize Tim Kelly. It's sure to sound like gold to many Slaughter fans world-wide, but it's closer to silver for this one.