Various Artists

Youth Gone Wild: Heavy Metal Hits of the '80s, Vol. 4

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Even though Rhino established on the first three volumes of its Youth Gone Wild: Heavy Metal Hits of the '80s series that there would be no power ballads and no material from pop superstars like Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, and Bon Jovi, there were still a few key items indispensable to a definitive hair metal retrospective that went missing. Vol. Four begins to remedy that, including Slaughter's "Up All Night," and Warrant's "Down Boys," and Autograph's AOR hit "Turn Up the Radio," but those tracks seem to be the only licensing coups the producers could pull off, as Vol. Four proves the weakest outing in the series to date. Hardcore viewers of late-'80s MTV programs like Dial MTV and Headbanger's Ball might find faint flickerings of memories stirred by tracks from Danger Danger ("Naughty Naughty"), Tora Tora ("Walkin' Shoes"), Junkyard ("Hollywood"), Stryper ("To Hell With the Devil"), Shotgun Messiah ("Heartbreak Blvd."), and Enuff Z'Nuff ("New Thing"), but aside from the latter item, an overlooked classic of the genre, most of what's here is a generic, manufactured blend of slickly produced AOR and L.A. sleaze-rock. One could argue that Metal Church, a serious, progressive thrash outfit influenced by Metallica, doesn't really belong here, either; however, listeners who own the remainder of this series and don't mind sorting through the chaff, or who take pleasure in locating items by these more obscure bands, will find it enjoyable enough to add it to their collections.

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