Various Artists

Hollywood Rocks!

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2003 saw the release of the book Hollywood Rocks -- a 208-pager that documents the wild and crazy days of the west coast glam metal movement circa the 1980s. Two years later, the folks at Cleopatra/Deadline Records have compiled a four-disc follow-up to the book, Hollywood Rocks: Audio Companion. If you're looking to relive the days or yore or are simply a newcomer to the genre, this 78-track set is quite a mammoth find. But be forewarned -- if you're expecting tracks from such leaders of the pack as Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe, you're out of luck (although there is a track from the pre-G N' R, Axl Rose-led Hollywood Rose). Also, for the most part, Hollywood Rocks focuses on demos and uncommon versions -- hence, the sound quality isn't always the best. Regardless, the box remains highly recommended for those who were part of the Aqua Net set. Kicking things off with a track from the aforementioned Hollywood Rose ("Killing Time"), the first disc, which covers the early '80s, proves to be the best of the bunch. After all, it includes tracks by such recognizable names as Ratt ("In Your Direction"), Dokken ("It's Not Love"), W.A.S.P. ("Animal"), and Quiet Riot ("Let's Get Crazy"). But if you were a reader of such esteemed metal publications as Hit Parader back in the '80s, there was a multitude of bands you read about, but in the pre-Internet/download days, probably never actually heard. The problem is now corrected once and for all, as evidenced by the inclusion of tracks by Steeler (which included singer Ron Keel), Odin, Sound Barrier (an all-black metal band that predated Living Colour by several years), and London. Expectedly, the last disc -- which documents the early '90s -- is the weakest of the bunch (the era was littered with copycat bands). And if the music on this comp isn't enough, also included is an extensive booklet that gives the history on each and every band included.

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