Sister

Hated

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Upon hearing Sister's Hated described as an '80s-obsessed throwback to the days of glam metal and hair bands, some headbangers might wonder if perhaps Blackie Lawless and Nikki Sixx's old band reunited and finally got around to recording an album. Back in 1977 -- before Lawless was in W.A.S.P. and Sixx was in Mötley Crüe -- the two of them played together in an obscure, short-lived Los Angeles-based band called Sister. But no, this is a different Sister; this Sister is from Sweden rather than Southern California, although Hated certainly sounds like the work of a Sunset Strip band from the '80s and has a strong Mötley Crüe influence. This 2011 release is an unapologetic exercise in '80s worship, recalling not only Mötley Crüe but also L.A. Guns, Ratt, and Guns N' Roses (with elements of Alice Cooper, who recorded his most essential albums in the '70s but was a major influence on many of the metal and hard rock bands that emerged in the '80s). But the thing that separates Hated from most of the Reagan-era glam metal and hair metal is the strong punk influence one hears on melodic yet forceful tracks such as "Drag Me to the Grave," "Bullshit & Backstabbing," "Motherfuckers (Like You)," and "The Unlucky Minority." It isn't as though ‘'80s hair metal and glam metal were unaffected by punk; Mötley Crüe, in fact, recorded a cover of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." in 1991. But the difference between Hated and so many of the Sunset Strip glam metal and hair band recordings of the ‘'80s is the fact that Hated is so overtly mindful of punk. The influence of punk is not a mere afterthought on this album; it is an integral part of what Sister do. Even on the power ballad "Would You Love a Creature" (which is a departure from the aggressive uptempo rockers that dominate the album), Sister maintain a punky outlook. Hated falls short of exceptional, but it's a fun, likable outing and will easily appeal to die-hard fans of '80s glam metal.

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