Thirty-five years ago, 1980s glam rock and heavy metal leaders Mötley Crüe released their excellent second album Shout At The Devil (Elektra). Following up from their solid debut Too Fast For Love, this album has gone on to legend status over the years for breaking the band through to bigger audiences. It was definitely a commercial breakthrough and fan-favorite, although it was critically drubbed by some at the time. The next step in band mastermind Nikki Sixx’s plan for world domination (and to be the next KISS), it’s full of classic Crüe songs, memorable choruses, and some killer musical performances from the band.
Looking to put a little more distance between them and their Hollywood glam rock peers, Shout At The Devil was intentionally a little more gritty compared to their debut. So they upped the imagery in homage for Satan, and it worked! There are lots of nods to evil and deviltry and most of them are corny, and not scary. What they did was scare the shit out of middle America, which was great. The band immediately was much more notable now than just perverting “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Shout at the Devil” was literally meant to scare mom’s and dad’s! Musically the band borrowed heavily off the success of Back In Black by AC/DC with a little more four on the floor tempos, and pedaling riffs. “Shout..” is still one of the best songs by the band to this day. ‘Looks That Kill” has a sweet shout-along chorus, descending riff, killer solo and that heavy beat. Another killer. ‘Bastard’ is actually one of the more underrated and heavy songs in their history, almost a Van Halen homage and a Mick Mars standout. Tommy Lee’s drumming on the entire album is great and propels each track. Their other big hit, ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’, is a heavier take on their first album material. It’s proof that the band could write more memorable material. You can’t undersell the power of ear candy, and it’s one of the tracks that work best for Vince Neil’s meager vocal range. ‘Ten Seconds To Love’ is another strip club anthem: just L.A. through and through rock’n’roll, funky dirty Hollyweird all the time. Sure, lyrically its weaker than the rest of the album, but like the house rule for this band, when it works, it works.
The album is not without misses for an outright classic. Their cover of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ is pretty bad by any standard for a famous cover, yet was a fan-favorite and staple live for years. I get they were trying to be as evil as possible, but just no. The final track ‘Danger’ seemed to be them trying to progress and write an epic in the style of Music From The Elder, but it doesn’t hold up that well listening back later.
Shout At The Devil stands up as actually a top three Mötley Crüe album in their career. So get out your hairspray, turn up your speakers, put on your black leather, and bow down to the dark lords.