Twisted Sister - Still Hungry
Spitfire Records
Heavy Metal 80's style
17 songs (71:17)
Release year: 2004
Twisted Sister, Spitfire Records
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

Where such bands like Testament, Saxon and Exciter have re-recorded songs from a number of albums within their catalog, Twisted Sister has decided to go all out and re-record an entire album!

When I first heard that Twisted Sister was re-recording "Stay Hungry", I had mixed feelings both of anticipation and doubt. I was excited to hear what "Stay Hungry" would sound like with an updated sound and production yet worried that tampering with such a classic could be disastrous.

I feel some classics should never be tampered and left as is. Sometimes artists might do these things because they weren't able to achieve what they wanted to originally due to limitations in technology, budgets, or even legal reasons. Take Ozzy Osbourne for example. He decided to have drum and bass tracks re-recorded on albums like "Blizzard of Oz" and "Diary of a Madman" because the musicians that claimed to have played on those tracks were never credited properly and were looking to get a share of the royalties.

A few years back, Spitfire Records remastered all of Twisted Sister's Atlantic releases except for "Stay Hungry". From what I understand, Atlantic held onto the rights to "Stay Hungry", so it was never remastered.. I don't know if this pissed the band off, but Twisted Sister claims the original release of "Stay Hungry" came out the way they originally wanted it to. According to Twisted Sister, "Still Hungry" is "Stay Hungry", "the way it ought to be". It has an ultra-heavy sound, which is the way they wanted "Stay Hungry" in the first place. Back in the 80's, rock records had a thin, very midrange kind of sound and so "Stay Hungry" was recorded very lightly. Twisted Sister battled Atlantic Records and producer Tom Werman about it, but in the end lost. The band strongly feels these re-recordings are faithful to the original arrangements but they sound much heavier. I noticed some slight variations in the arrangements and the vocal delivery. For example, the original "Stay Hungry" version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" fades out and is around 3:38 were the "Still Hungry" version is stretched out more, clocking in at 4:37 and ends cold. On a song like "The Price", Dee has changed his vocal approach, opting to play it safe where he was once able to soar in the higher ranges with ease. This song ends cold as well, where the original faded out. Also, the cover has been redone. It shows the five members of Twisted Sister as starving musicians in street clothes in a tenement sitting at a table. This is supposed to represent where Twisted Sister came from. Added to the cover is a ghostly looking image of them in their stage clothes, which represents what they imagined they could achieve.

The core lineup of vocalist Dee Snider, lead guitarist Jay Jay French, lead guitarist Eddie Ojeda, bass guitarist Mark "The Animal" Mendoza and drummer A.J. Pero all appear on this release. "Still Hungry" is not only rerecorded but is also an expanded version of the classic 1984 album "Stay Hungry". Seven new tracks are added to the original "Stay Hungry". The rerecorded "Stay Hungry" tracks are "Stay Hungry", "We're Not Gonna Take It", "Burn in Hell", "Horror-Teria: A) Captain Howdy B) Street Justice", "I Wanna Rock", "The Price", "Don't Let Me Down", "The Beast" and "S.M.F." The seven bonus tracks, which really make this disc worth the purchase are "Never Say Never", "Blastin' Fast & Loud", "Come Back", "Plastic Money", "You Know I Cry", "Rock N Roll Saviors" and "Heroes Are Hard to Find". "Come Back" and "Rock N Roll Saviors" were newly recorded in 2004 yet appeared both as studio recordings from 1978 on "Club Daze Vol. I - The Studio Sessions" and as live versions from the same era on "Club Daze Vol. II - Live In The Bars". "Plastic Money" and "You Know I Cry" also first appeared as live versions from "Club Daze Vol. II - Live In The Bars" and were rerecorded in 2004. These songs sound pretty good in their newly recorded format and Dee sounds almost as good on these versions than he did on the originals. "Heroes Are Hard to Find" was originally recorded in 1998 and first appeared on Dee Snider's "Strangeland" soundtrack. The only difference I can hear on "Heroes Are Hard to Find" on the "Still Hungry" release is that the mix seems different. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that the guitar harmony fills have been brought out more in the mix this time. "Never Say Never" and "Blastin' Fast & Loud" were originally released on "Club Daze Vol. II - Live In The Bars". The original drum tracks Pero laid down for these two songs were leftover from the 1984 "Stay Hungry" sessions and were intended to be used on that album but the songs were never finished. Back in 2000, guitars, bass and vocals were added to complete the songs. Being that Twisted Sister opted to rerecord "Stay Hungry", I wish they would have done it back when they first reunited in 1998 to do "Heroes Are Hard to Find" or in 2000 when they decided to finish "Never Say Never" and "Blastin' Fast & Loud", as both recording sessions sound closer to the original "Stay Hungry" sessions and seem to capture the energy of the 1984 era, but with updated production and recording techniques.

The end result on the rerecorded "Stay Hungry" tracks is mixed for me. The music is better recorded and produced, which makes the sound quality so much better on this remake. The bass is meatier, the drums more bashing drums and the guitars are sharper than the poppy 1984 version that was aimed at MTV and commercial radio. Although Dee can still sing, he just doesn't sound like he's recaptured the same magic as the originals. The music seems like it's in a different key and I feel half an octave might have been sacrificed in order for him to get through most of the tracks, as he seems flat on parts when compared to the way he originally sang on these songs. Some of his throttle seems to have diminished with time and age and there are areas where he seems to struggle a bit with strain to achieve the notes he was once able to hit. But over all he does a good job. So the album just isn't as exciting for me at this point. Also, I'm very used to the original version. Still, this one will grow on me with time and I am one for quality when it comes to production.

If Twisted Sister wasn't happy with the original recording of "Stay Hungry", I think they should have remixed the original music with re-recorded guitars, bass, and drums, and left Dee's vocals the way they were originally recorded. Maybe they wanted to do this but couldn't because of Atlantic. I guess they felt it was better to go all out and redo everything. Back in 1985, they also remixed the original version of "Under The Blade", which sounds one hundred times better than the import version released in England.

"Stay Hungry" has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide to date. I'm not sure if "Still Hungry" will come close. Still, I think most Twisted Sister fans will be somewhat pleased with this effort.



Killing Songs :
Burn in Hell, Horror-Teria:A) Captain Howdy B) Street Justice, S.M.F., Stay Hungry, Heroes Are Hard to Find, Never Say Never
Jeff quoted 73 / 100
Other albums by Twisted Sister that we have reviewed:
Twisted Sister - Live at Wacken - The Reunion (DVD/CD) reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
Twisted Sister - A Twisted Christmas reviewed by Mike and quoted no quote
5 readers voted
Your quote was: 80.
Change your vote

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Oct 28, 2004 6:58 am
View and Post comments