Aerosmith - Rocks review



Reviewer:
9.5

129 users:
8.53
Band: Aerosmith
Album: Rocks
Release date: May 1976


01. Back In The Saddle
02. Last Child
03. Rats In The Cellar
04. Combination
05. Sick As A Dog
06. Nobody's Fault
07. Get The Lead Out
08. Lick And A Promise
09. Home Tonight


Does as it says on the tin.

When you consider the quantity and quality of musicians who line up to praise this album, you know even before hitting play you are going to listen to something very special. Rocks is the highlight of the first era of the band, living up to its name and then some; while Toys In The Attic broke down the door, Rocks tore down the building just to walk through the door.

Not only did the band refine the blueprints that were laid out for them by the many blues bands of old and built upon by the bands of the British invasion, they did so with such attitude that you can't help but watch as the band redrew the rules that had existed to this point. Kicking off with what has to be one of the best opening tracks ever in "Back In The Saddle", the band lead you through blues-infused hard rock that has gone on to be the cornerstone of much of the music that followed in its wake, in the same way Cream and The Rolling Stones had been to them.

This blues-on-steroids is epitomised by tracks like "Last Child" and "Rats In The Cellar", which would in turn inspire later bands to do similar to their influences (Metallica to NWOBHM for example), while also creating some of the most infectious and heavy songs to have come out of the '70's. While this was nothing new for the band as they had done so on their prior work, here, like the diamonds on the front cover, it is crystalized in such a pure form that no scuffs or dents can be seen.

Speaking of steroids, the band must have been given a double dose shot to the arm when coming up with "Nobody's Fault", a track that could rival Black Sabbath in the heaviness stakes, a leviathan of a track that highlighted that the band could work from scratch when they wanted to, rather than by a recipe. While the band reach the apex of quality, they continue to experiment somewhat sonically, mixing quality with new elements to great effect. From the inclusion of cowboy motifs like whips and spurs in "Back In The Saddle" to upping the intensity on "Nobody's Fault" and giving Perry the microphone on "Combination", the band didn't play it safe; the gambles paid off handsomely, enhancing what were otherwise very strong songs.

Jack Douglas provides his best production work to date with an album that is airtight, and no ounce of oxygen is unutilized to breathe life into every square inch of this record. From the soft beginnings of a track like "Sick As A Dog" to the apocalyptic blood red skies of "Nobody's Fault", Douglas gives each track its own personality that fits well when combined to create a smooth flowing album, with the fade out and in of both aforementioned tracks highlighting this seamless transition.

If I had to nit-pick and find flaw, it is done only under a microscope and under an extreme level of scrutiny, but if I have to find weakness in what is an otherwise unstoppable behemoth, then I guess you could say at times Tyler's voice does show its chemical composition shall we say. While to damn this would necessitate basically discarding nearly every album in existence, it is the only element that does show any sign of the slightest imperfection.

Each track is a solid classic and picking your favourite is like picking which shade of gold catches your eye the most; for my money I would pick "Last Child", "Sick As A Dog" and "Lick And A Promise" but I could fully understand why you would pick a completely different set of songs, such is the quality running through this album.

If you want a reason to show the generational divide in the band, why older fans decry their latter-day albums as a far cry from their previous works and evidence that outside songwriters were not required, then Rocks is the central plank of their arguments, and one that is strong enough to support such an argument. Anyone interested in diving into the band would be wise to listen to Rocks first after a compilation record (for a rounded view of their career) as it will likely make anyone a fan of the band in quick order.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


 



Written on 14.09.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments

Comments: 7   Visited by: 25 users
14.09.2020 - 21:13
musclassia
"Anyone interested in diving into the band would be wise to listen to Rocks first after a compilation record (for a rounded view of their career) as it will likely make anyone a fan of the band in quick order." - this is pretty much exactly how I tried to get into Aerosmith; downloaded Rocks because of Back To The Saddle and Nobody's Fault (I knew through Testament) and the O Yeah! compilation. Sadly, I enjoyed a few of the major classics (Back In The Saddle, Rag Doll, Love In An Elevator), but I don't think the band as a whole are for me. They do a banging theme park ride though
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14.09.2020 - 21:17
JoHn DoE
I've got to make some time for some 70s Aerosmith, it's been quite long since I listened to these albums.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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14.09.2020 - 21:31
omne metallum
Written by JoHn DoE on 14.09.2020 at 21:17

I've got to make some time for some 70s Aerosmith, it's been quite long since I listened to these albums.


I used to have that problem very often, the lockdown's did a good job of freeing up some time to tick a few off my list
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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14.09.2020 - 21:35
omne metallum
Written by musclassia on 14.09.2020 at 21:13

They do a banging theme park ride though


This should be used as a measure of a band's success.

Metallica's good and all, sold a few million records and won a few awards but how many roller coasters do they have?

Does this make Dolly Parton the most successful artist of all time?
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Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
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14.09.2020 - 23:02
musclassia
Written by omne metallum on 14.09.2020 at 21:35


Does this make Dolly Parton the most successful artist of all time?


I mean if someone has to be there's worse options
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15.09.2020 - 00:43
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by omne metallum on 14.09.2020 at 21:35

Does this make Dolly Parton the most successful artist of all time?

Michael Jackson?
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I have no memory of this place.
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18.09.2020 - 17:04
luna mina
It's been quite long since I listened to these albums am in love
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