BB STEAL – On The Edge [Japan HR-HM 1000 Vol.5 series Limited Release] (2022) HQ
Universal Music Japan did it again, a new campaign of their ‘HR/HM 1000‘ series – the Limited Release reissue of long time out of print albums from their Hard Rock / Heavy Metal catalog at the price of 1000 Yen = about 9 USD.
Now it’s time for the second 2022 batch, ”HR-HM 1000 Vol.5” and among titled we find this lovely album from BB STEAL, “On The Edge“, the first full-length from the Australian melodic rockers.
BB STEAL are heavily Def Leppard-influenced from songwriting to sound & style, and it’s not surprising that Phil Collen co-produced “On The Edge”, with the band opening for Def Leppard during the Adrenalize Tour.
Formed in 1987, BB STEAL released the 4 song EP “Heartbeat Away” in 1988. The title track of this EP set the tone for the sound and feel the band would pursue. The Def Leppard “Hysteria” album sound.
After some line-up changes and with a full set of new songs, BB Steal then began recording “On The Edge”, laying down tracks in L.A. and Montreal under the guidance of Collen who also added some rhythm guitar parts.
While the band’s drummer at the time recorded some songs, others drum tracks were provided by Eagles drummer Scott Crago, while Andy Cichon (Billy Joel & Madonna) played bass.
“On The Edge (Lizzy Town)” has this “Led Zeppelin III” acoustic vibe before it moves into a Def Leppard like groove and vocal. “Big On Love” is probably the best song not written by Def Leppard that sounds like it belonged on “Hysteria”. At one stage I thought it was “Animal”.
Then “Hysteria” starts. Wait, it’s called “Ride On”. They are similar but derivative enough to stand on its own. “Suffer In Silence” is another track which is very Def Leppard like. “Live It Up” has a guitar intro that could have come from a Van Halen album, before it goes into an AC/DC like groove.
The vocals of Craig Csongrady on this album are just too much like Joe Elliot, in the same way that Marc Storace from Krokus was too much like Bon Scott.
“Shot Full Of Love” feels like a cut from Babylon AD. “Precious Love” has that “Stand Up” vibe. “Don’t You Love Me and Leave Me” is an AC/DC song musically, with a bit of The Cult added in vocally and musically.
The AOR tune “Heartbeat Away” is from the Phil Collen produced EP released in 1988 re-done with a bigger production, and “Troubled Child” closes the album, with a Journey like feel musically and a Joe Elliot like vocal.
”On The Edge” was moderately successful overseas but failed to ignite local attention even in spite of BB Steal supporting Def Leppard on a national tour at the height of their popularity.
It’s one of those ‘should have and would have and could have’ stories. It should have done better commercially, and it would have if Grunge didn’t come, and it could have done great numbers if it came out a few years earlier.
If you love Def Leppard then you will love BB Steal. Critics praised ’em and also drilled em, calling the band a poor version of Def Lepp. But BB Steal was a lot more than that. ”On The Edge” is melodic, catchy… and so ’80s!
ＵＮＩＶＥＲＳＡＬ ＭＵＳＩＣ ＪＡＰＡＮ 【UICY～UICY-79901】
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01 – On the Edge
02 – Big Love
03 – Ride On
04 – Suffer in Silence
05 – Live It Up
06 – Shot Full of Love
07 – Precious Love
08 – (Don’t You) Love Me and Leave Me
09 – Heartbeat Away
10 – Troubled Child
Craig Csongrady – vocals, producer
Kevin Pratt – guitars, backing vocals
Warren Mason – guitars, backing vocals
James Young – drums, backing vocals
Andy Cichon (Billy Joel & Madonna) – bass
Scott Crago (Eagles) – drums
Phil Collen – guitar, producer, arranger, backing vocals
I have had this cd for about 20 years. Much better than what Def Leppard was doing at the time. Fair enough comparison, but I don’t get the other bands that you name check.