In February of 1990 I was a 16-year old kid working part-time at the local supermarket King Kullen. With the winter break coming up my boss John asked me if I’d like to do a 40 hour week working 1-10 from Monday to Friday while I was off school. My response was a resounding, “Hell Yes!!” Think about it…I didn’t have to get up early, and I was working like an adult. So, at the start of the week I biked up to Busy Bee Flea Market looking for new music, and lo and behold there it was: HURRICANE and their new album Slave to the Thrill on cassette.
I already knew that Doug Aldrich was the new guitarist in the band, but when I heard his riffs and licks combined with Kelly Hansen’s vocals, Jay Schellen’s drums, and Tony Cavazo’s bass, it was obvious this was an off-the-charts outing. Opener “Reign of Love” solidifies that within seconds, it’s a hell of a way to kick things off. “Next To You” has this riff that melts all defenses, and Hansen sings his ass off. I actually used to sit in my room and try to mimic him…it didn’t end well. Later on, at work, I used to listen to this album in my Walkman every chance I got. That is, when we weren’t playing hockey in the store and/or drinking wine coolers out of deli containers, and/or doing Whip-Its!!
“Young Man” is Aldrich’s show from start to finish, and an anthem for rebellion. The sexy groove of “Dance Little Sister” is no accident; the band knew exactly what they were doing.and it shows. This brings us to one of my all-time favorite ballads in the world, “Don’t Wanna Deam” will always be one of my favorite love songs on Earth, because the chorus is absolutely beautiful with the “Now I lay me down to sleep,” and the lyrics have been the narrative so many times in my life. Truth be told I had my heart broken so many times as a young lad and this was the tune that got me through some pretty bad break-ups.
Side Two opens up with “Temptation”, and I used to love hearing that click-click of the tape changing over in my Walkman, ‘cause I knew this was coming up. Life was also imitating art at the time because I had a girlfriend yeah, but some fine young thing was showing interest, and to say I was weak would be an understatement. Let us also say that it didn’t end well…with either of them! Moving on, we have “10,000 Years”, one that always got me going when I was lying in bed at night after work. Hansen’s delivery on the chorus is still the stuff of legend to me, and Aldrich once again comes up with some killer guitar sounds.
After a brief interlude comes “In the Fire” with a bluesy riff and tight work from Schellen and Cavazo. This tune is wound up like a snake, ready to strike. Up next is one of my ABSOLUTE best HURRICANE tracks in “Let It Slide”. Y’all have heard me bandy about the term “swamp boogie” before to describe a song. Well, this is the reason those words ever came to mind. I used to blast this bitch on REPEAT while I was out rounding up shopping carts in the KK parking lot, despite management’s “No headphones while in the lot” policy. Damn the man!! Couldn’t keep this long-haired rebel down! Listen to this tune and let your cares just melt away.
A slick bass groove permeates “Lock me Up” and is only accented further by Aldrich’s six-string magic once again. But sadly, all good things must come to an end, and this record concludes with hellraiser and barnburner “Smiles Like a Child”. Starting in fifth gear and not letting up for a second, if I had my license at the time I would have been royally screwed anytime this song came on, and probably would have been able to wallpaper my room with tickets.
Overall though, Slave to the Thrill from HURRICANE still stands to me as one of the best albums from the ‘86-’91 period of metal. I lived, laughed, and loved a lot to this tape, but I will always cherish that first week I had it, and the memories that came from working full-time with those crazy fuckers at King Kullen, as well as the love triangle I found myself embroiled in. Thanks for the memories, boys…and girls! ~dc