Retro Review: Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil (Elektra Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

I was around thirteen years old at the time when my older sister’s boyfriend, Ed (who has since become my brother-in-law) gave me my first true taste of Motley Crue ever when he passed down two of their albums on cassette down to me at the same time; 1985’s Theatre of Pain, and, the one that really made an impression on me, 1983’s Shout at the Devil (thanks again, Ed!).

I didn’t know what to expect when I first popped that white tape in my boombox at the time, but my interest was instantly piqued via the eerie intro that was “In the Beginning.” The brief piece, which was spoken by British engineer Geoff Workman under the pseudonym Allister Fiend, set the tone for the album when it ended with the words, “Be strong, and Shout at the Devil!,” which quickly launches into one of the most memorable one-two intro punches in rock history with the fist-pumping title track and its relentless chants quickly following.

“Looks That Kill” (hands-down the biggest “hit” from the album, complete with its iconic dystopian music video featuring scantly-clad vixens) and “Bastard” keep the momentum going full speed ahead. The somber instrumental “God Bless the Children of the Beast” takes things down a notch with Mick Mars’ guitar lead sounding like something straight out of a Nintendo game, before the band dives into their blistering cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.”

The record’s second side was my personal favorite, with the numbers “Red Hot,” “Too Young to Fall in Love,” “Knock ‘Em Dead, Kid,” “Ten Seconds to Love,” and “Danger” all containing their each unique moments of greatness. There was simply something about the way these tracks sounded that felt so dark and forbidden to my young mind at the time (very similar to how I felt the first time I heard the first couple of Iron Maiden albums, too).

It was almost as though all of these songs were meant to be the soundtrack to the night lives of the depraved, or the entrance to some sort of exclusive club that I wanted in on (it’s rumored that bassist and main songwriter Nikki Sixx had been dabbling in the occult and Satanism while working on the songs that would ultimately become the album, causing him to change the name from Shout With the Devil to its eventual title after some strange moments in the studio during recording).

Since first acquiring Shout at the Devil all those years ago, I’ve seen the band live in concert multiple times, the most memorable being on their 2005 tour where they included not only the usual “hits” from Shout…, but even notable deep cuts such as “Ten Seconds to Love” (that will always remain one of my personal favorite concert memories, and a moment I had always known was destined to come sooner or later). Happy fortieth birthday to a true classic American metal masterpiece!

Original copy of Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil on cassette from the author’s personal collection.

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