Starz - Violation

Starz – Violation

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Long regarded as one of the biggest influences on North American hard rock are Starz, who recorded four albums in the late 70’s, the second of which was ‘Violation’.

Written by: Dangerzone

ARTIST: Starz
ALBUM: Violation
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-11617
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

LINEUP: Michael Lee Smith – vocals * Richie Ranno – guitars * Brendan Harkin – guitars * Peter Sweval – bass * Joe X Dube – drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sing It Shout It * 02 All Night Long * 03 Rock Six Times * 04 Subway Terror * 05 Violation * 06 Cherry Baby * 07 Is That The Street Light Or The Moon? * 08 Cool One * 09 S.T.E.A.D.Y

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Long regarded as one of the biggest influences on North American hard rock are Starz, who recorded four albums in the late 70’s, the second of which was ‘Violation’. The pundits have lauded this for decades now as influencing a generation of 80’s rockers like Poison, Tesla, Ratt etc.

Starz were formed by Harkin, Dube and Sweval in 1975 and enlisted Ranno and Smith, recording their ‘monumental’ debut a year later. It remains an average set of rock at best, paling to the energy of the Montrose1973 debut, the real start of the American genre. One year later they were at it again, with better results, far heavier, but still not entirely convincing.

The Songs

Compared to what Kiss were doing at the time with ‘Love Gun’, Starz’ ‘Violation’ seems dated by comparison, a by-product of its era. Stock 1970’s production at fault. Starz have been described as the bridge between hard rock and metal, although I would opt for the former.

‘Cherry Baby’ sounds like something Kiss would have recorded in 1974, not 1977. The guitar sound had not been updated and fits uncomfortably into an early to mid 70’s groove. The chorus is pop orientated which Starz themselves have admitted to preferring. ‘Rock Six Times’ raises the staunch riffing a notch or two, more convincing.

The title cut is closer to 70’s metal, an almost Black Sabbath type riff being the offender. ‘Subway Terror’ is a serial killer ode, later replicated by Thin Lizzy with ‘Killer On The Loose’ and Iron Maiden‘s ‘Killer’. The music and lyrics have the disturbing vibe of such a theme. Good freaky riff.

The latter half of ‘Violation’ never catches steam, subdued almost. Where a rocker like ‘All Night Long’ or ‘S.T.E.A.D.Y.’ have the riffs, they fail to deliver the X factor. It sounds acceptable but leaves one feeling cold. Good music should elicit a reaction. This doesn’t.

In Summary

I concede a great many people have been conned. Or maybe myself. Opposed to Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, even Aerosmith, this is vaguely amateurish. Harsh words. Perhaps. But Starz never made it like many thought, so there was a problem. Whether it was that final touch, the vocals or melody, ‘Violation’ earns a tag as an overrated rock classic.

Video

Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Cherry Baby


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