Rhino's three-volume set Youth Gone Wild: Heavy Metal Hits of the '80s nearly chronicles the excesses of '80s metal accurately, but the set falls just short of being definitive. None of the three discs (available separately) has a logical or chronological sequencing, seemingly throwing all of the songs together in random order. Also, several big stars and definitive songs are missing in favor of negligible cult favorites. Even with these two significant flaws, the series is terrific and captures the essence of the era. Vol. 1 concentrates on early-'80s hits like the Scorpions' "Rock You Like a Hurricane," Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," Accept's "Balls to the Wall," Motörhead's "Ace of Spades," Judas Priest's "Parental Guidance," Ratt's "Lay It Down," and Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize," throwing in cuts like Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me" for good measure. It might not make for coherent listening, and several cuts (including Krokus' "Screaming in the Night" and Dio's "The Last in Line") have dated poorly, but the set nevertheless has many metal classics. And if you want to know what mainstream '80s metal and hard rock sounded like, Youth Gone Wild can't be beat.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine