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Nasty Tendency - Wild and nasty 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-12-09


1. Better mad than dead
2. Into the fire
3. Sweet baby runnin' wild
4. Hunter of vampires
5. Devils on the streets
6. Spiders
7. Fight to survive
8. Like a nightmare
9. I don't care
10. Sleazin' in the city
11. When heaven comes down
12. Desire

In the last few months, my ears have been assaulted by a spate of bands combining 80s commercial metal (style of heavier W.A.S.P., Keel, Twisted Sister, Lizzy Borden, Skid Row, Dokken, Warlock, Grim Reaper) with a gritty, kick-your-ass-around-the-block Motorhead mentality and modern production values. I enjoy this style quite a bit, and have been enthusiastic about the likes of Sister Sin 'Switchblade serenades', Animal 'Virus' and Crucified Barbara 'Til death do us party'. To be precise, these bands aren't out-n-out sleaze rockers in the vein of Hardcore Superstar, Fatal Smile, Crashdiet and their mostly Swedish ilk. No, this family of bands would definitely fall under the heading of 80s-inspired traditional heavy metal, but with a party attitude, a straightforward (dare I say simplistic) approach, a dollop of punk energy, and just a touch of glam (again, think Lizzy Borden). So these acts are heavy enough to satisfy most crusty narrow-minded old-school metalheads without summoning the poseur patrol, while simultaneously being commercial enough to have the potential for a broader fanbase.

Nasty Tendency are a quartet from Italy whose debut CD, 'Wild and nasty', fits neatly within this paradigm. It appears that Nasty Tendency are a fairly new entity, having formed in 2007. 'Wild and nasty' was recorded early in 2008, but did not see the light of day until the prolific My Graveyard Productions released it a few months ago. The CD immediately put me in mind of Sweden's Sister Sin, both in terms of the overall style and the similarity between the vocals of Nasty Tendency's Nikky Nails and Sister Sin's Liv. Both Nikky and Liv can carry a tune a la Doro Pesch, but convey a toughness a la Federica (ex-White Skull) or Marta Gabriel (Crystal Viper) that strongly suggests they can take care of themselves in biker bars and street brawls. Call me a wussy, but I know I wouldn't cross either one of them. Musically, perhaps Sister Sin are a bit more punk and Nasty Tendency are a bit more classic metal, but the overlap between these acts is considerable nonetheless. So if you dig Sister Sin, stop reading this review and go buy 'Wild and nasty' without delay.

Talking about specific songs on this CD is difficult, because the 12 tracks are all of similar quality and are meant to be digested as a whole. There are no overwrought ballads, no pretentious epics, and no instrumental self-indulgent ego-stroking pieces here, just 45 minutes of balls-to-the-wall heavy rockers. Some are fast, some are slow, but all rock with conviction. I suppose the easiest track to highlight is the Grim Reaper cover song, the often-overlooked "When heaven comes down" off 'Rock you to hell'. It's a rollicking version with a bit more pep and verve than the original, although of course Nikky's vocal performance is not on par with the great Steve Grimmett. Still, hearing this song made me want to dust off my Grim Reaper discography ASAP, so that's a sure sign of an effective cover. Other highlights would include the pounding "Hunter of vampires" and the awesome "Into the fire". Lyrics get a little silly sometimes ("Sweet baby running wild" and "Desire", I'm looking at you), but I'm willing to cut them some slack, given the language barrier and all.

All of that said, I worry about the long-term stability and viability of Nasty Tendency. From what I can piece together, they've been plagued by line-up instability. Drummer Johnny Curly (nice stage name) is now playing rhythm guitar, and some guy called Klaus Drinkhard (nice stage name) is the new drummer, so now they're a 5-piece. What hurts, though, is that Nikky is no longer in the band. Metal-Archives currently lists the band's new singer as KcDoll, but their MySpace page currently references a singer named Sidney Blade, and pastes photos of her all over the site. Hopefully they can get the line-up nailed down, and get cracking on their all-important sophomore CD in the next few months. Also, I have some concern as to whether My Graveyard is a good label fit for them. Don't get me wrong: My Graveyard does a fine job, but Nasty Tendency are kind of an oddball band on their roster. These Italian blokes and maiden have clearly got their work cut out for them, but for now, they deserve congratulations and horns up for 'Wild and nasty'.




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