8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2005
Vince Neil ruled the 80s. He is recognized, probably second only to David Lee Roth, as the voice of 80s hard rock and metal. As the lead singer of Motley Crue, Neil scored six chart-topping, platinum albums, from 1981 to 1991. During the Crue's heyday, their songs dominated MTV and radio. With massive World-wide tours, the Crue conquered the globe. But at the dawn of the 90s, trouble began.
1992 saw the fall of 80s style hard rock, the rise of grunge/alt. rock, and the dismissal of Vince from the Crue.
Not dismayed from his firing (although the Crue maintains that he quit), Neil spent most of the 90s as a solo artist.
80s rockers in the 90s responded to the grunge/alt revolution differently. Some bands (Motley Crue, Warrant) sought to update their sound to fit in with the current trends. While others bands (Dokken, Slaughter) chose to stick to the pop-metal formula of yore. Neil chose the latter path.
Without missing a beat, Neil started a new band with former Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens, Dave Marshall (guitar), Vikki Fox (Drums), and Robbie Crane (bass). Their debut album, "Exposed" was released in 1993. "Exposed" lived in a vacuum, completely unaware of the changes that had taken place in rock and was a complete throw-back to 80s pop-metal. While the album, no doubt, delighted fans nostalgic for old-school metal, it failed to make a major impact. Within a year Stevens had returned to Billy Idol and Marshall was gone as well.
For his new band, Vince found Brent Woods to play lead, and retained the "Exposed" rhythm section of Foxx and Crane.
"Exposed" had acted as though the grunge/alt rock movement had never even occurred. For his second solo outing, Neil decided to chance his luck with a different approach. With the Dust Brothers (The Beastie Boys) producing, "Carved in Stone," embraced a new 90s sound. Although it is most definitely a rock album, "Carved in Stone" has elements of hip-hop, and the sound and tone are distinctly dark. "Carved in Stone" is the darkest album Neil had made since the Crue's classic "Shout at the Devil" (1983).
Although "Exposed" had tremendous instrumental firepower, the song-writing was lacking and thus the album was not up-to-par with classic Crue. Fortunately, this is not a problem for the follow-up. Compared to "Exposed," "Carved in Stone" is better written, with catchier hooks and grooves. The lyrics had also improved and had considerably more substance. While "Exposed" was a fun retro album (with amazing guitar work), it was ultimately, a fluff piece. "Carved in Stone" is darker, edgier, leaner, and meaner.
While "Carved in Stone" certainly has a dark 90s sound/vibe, the songs are also highly melodic with good song along choruses. It's not as though Neil completely abandoned his roots and tried to sound trendy, i.e., Tommy Lee's "Methods of Mayhem" (1999). What he did is update his sound for a new, contemporary audience. Unfortunately, few cared.
The album opens up strong with the mid-tempo, grinding "Breakin' in the Gun," told from the perspective of its sadistic narrator. "The Crawl" could have been a hit, as it has the perfect blend of an 80s sing-along chorus, and a 90s dark, brooding theme. "One Way" is one of the more hip-hop sounding songs on the disc, although it is rocking enough to please most old-school Crue-heads. The haunting "Black Promises" has a strong melody and could also have been a contender to be used as a single. "Skylar's Song," written for Vince Neil's dying daughter, is one of the most beautifully written heartfelt songs you will ever hear. The melodic "Make U Feel" and the angry, urgent "Writing on the Wall" are effective and keep up the momentum. The lethargic "Find a Dream," and the hopeless "One Less Mouth to Feed" are good, if not the most memorable songs. The album comes back in full force with the hopeless but beautiful mini-epic, "The Rift."
"Carved in Stone" was actually ahead of its time. It might have actually been a big hit, had it been released only a few years later, at the height of Nu-Metal. It would have been easy to imagine hearing these songs along side the likes of Kid Rock, KORN, and Limp Bizkit. Only Neil's album was far more melodic, with actual guitar solos that didn't sound like the inside of a meat-grinder.
"Carved in Stone" is most comparable to Motley Crue's "Generation Swine,"(1997) which was released two years later (after Neil had rejoined the group). Both "Carved in Stone" and "Generation Swine" see an 80s artist update their sound for a 90s audience. But "Generation Swine" sounds contrived and forced, whereas "Carved in Stone" sounds genuinely dark and edgy.
It's a shame that more people didn't check out "Carved in Stone" when it was first released, because it's a really cool album. While it isn't quite as good as "Too Fast for Love" (1982) or "Shout at the Devil," (1983), it's as good as just about anything else Vince did with the Crue. If you're a Crue fan and missed "Carved in Stone" the first time around, try giving it a spin.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
3. 5 Stars
The start of the 1990s looked promising for Motley Crue. The band had ruled the 1980s with massive tours, videos in constant rotation, hit singles, and had five multi-platinum albums under their belt. 1991 saw the release of yet another platinum hit, the greatest hits retrospective "Decade of Decadence."
In 1991 Motley Crue signed a multi-million dollar contract with Elektra Records. Indeed,
The 90s looked as though it was going to be a great decade...but it was not to be.
In 1992 Vince Neil suffered two sharp blows. First, he was fired from Motley Crue (although the rest of the band maintains that he quit). Second, the rise of grunge and alternative rock rendered Motley Crue's music and style obsolete.
Vince Neil ruled the 1980s as one of the decade's most popular and charismatic frontmen. His sunny California sunset-strip, bad-boy image fit the 80s metal scene like a glove. In the 90s, however, Neil was suddenly and unexpectedly out-of-place. Despite a shift in the musical climate, and without a band, Neil didn't miss a beat.
Soon after leaving the Crue he assembled a new band. Billy Idol's right-hand-man Steve Stevens on lead guitar, Dave Marshall (guitar), Robbie Crain (bass), and Vikki Fox (drums).
Technically, Neil's new band was as good as the old one (except for maybe the drum department). Guitarist Steve Stevens was really the centerpiece of the new outfit. Stevens is one of the most gifted guitar players of the 80s metal genre and is a far, far better player than the Crue's Mick Mars.
The spring of 1993 saw the release of "Exposed." It debuted respectably at number thirteen on the Billboard charts and sold a few hundred thousand copies. The showing of "Exposed" was a far cry away from the huge success of "Dr. Feelgood," (1989) released only a few years prior. Still, in an era where Pearl Jam and Nirvana ruled the rock world, "Exposed" was a moderate success, relatively speaking.
"Exposed" lives in a vacuum, completely unaware of the changes that have taken place in the state of rock. In an age of flannel and honesty, "Exposed" is a complete throwback to the superficial flashy 80s.
It's been established that "Exposed" is retro, but how do the songs measure up? To be honest, the album is a bit of a letdown. Considering the talent involved, with Steve Stevens on guitar, this album should have been exceptional. As it is, it's pretty good, but not great.
The problem is not the band. The band sounds great. They are tight, muscular, and energized. Stevens playing throughout the album is phenomenal. Killer, killer solos pervade each and every song.
The problem with this album is the songwriting. The band had the talent, but they didn't have Nikki Sixx. With Stevens on guitar, the Vince Neil Band of '93 may have been technically better than the Crue, but they didn't have a great songwriter. While the album sounds great, it lacks substance. Most of the album is quite good, but there is nothing quite as memorable as "Wild Side," "Looks that Kill," or "Kickstart my Heart."
The album gets off to a great start with the fantastic "Look in Her Eyes." It's fast, has a great hook, and a long, long, intricate solo. "Sister of Pain," although a little cheesy, is effective and also has a good hook and sing-along-chorus. The band sounds great on "Can't Have your Cake," but the hook just isn't there. "Fine, Fine, Wine," is good, but not great. It's fun to listen to, but ultimately forgettable. The album gets back on its feet with the groove laden, infectious "The Edge."
Of course the album needs its obligatory power ballads. "Can't Change Me," while no "Home Sweet Home," is still quiet good. A cover of Heathen's rapid-fire "Set Me Free" far outshines the original. The mid-tempo, cocky "Living is a Luxury" keeps up the momentum and is a nice change of pace. "Your Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come) is just filler (a far better version can be found on the "Encino Man" (1992) soundtrack). The mid-tempo "Gettin' Hard," while not the album's strongest track, has a good hook. The album closes with the power-balled, would-be arena anthem, "Forever." While "Forever" is rather generic, it's effective.
Overall, it's an enjoyable album, even if the songs aren't very memorable.
In an age of flannel shirts and depressing songs, "Exposed" was totally irrelevant and out of place. However, Neil should be applauded for sticking to his guns, following his heart, and not jumping on the flavor-of-the-month bandwagon. If "Exposed" is anything, it's sincere. That's probably its biggest asset.
If "Exposed" had been released just three years earlier, it probably would have gone triple platinum. As it is, the album just didn't come out at the right time and has been reduced to bargain-bin fodder. That's a shame to, because while "Exposed" may not be as strong as "Too Fast for Love," (1982) or "Shout at the Devil," (1983) or "Dr. Feelgood," it's still a decent album. It's at least as good as "Theatre of Pain" (1985). If you're a fan of Motley Crue, or flashy guitar work, this CD is worth checking out.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2001
this album is the better of vince's two solo discs. if you're a music fan you'll love this disc. he's doing things on this recored that "Limp" & "Saliva" are doing now. most of the tracks are dark heavy rock songs,("The Crawl", "MakeUFeel","Black Promisas'","One Less Mouth To Feed" & "The Rift"),with others weilding cazy groovs & hip-hop beets, ("Breaking In The Gun", "One Way", & "Find A Dream"). this is a record I wish evryboddy could hear, it's that good. this album hit the streets in 1995. way ahead of it's time!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2007
Ok the former Motley Crue band member is not the crue. This wonderful audio cd is filled with true ballets of Vince. Vince has always had his own style. The syle of some of the former Motley Crue band hits can be dirrectly traced back to Vince Neil.(((( Doctor Feel Good )))) for example.
Released in 1993 by vince neil. This cd has been out of print since 1999. They sold over 3 million copie retail world wide. Hit song Look in her eyes went to number one in london on the billboard charts. Fine Fine Wine was ranked # 5 on the billboard chart's in spain and in london as high as number #23.
Dont think for a second that this cd will be the "Classic" 80's Motley Crue sound. It is an advanced sound or a rebirth of the sound.
So in closing if you liked the sound and style of motley crue you shoul pick up a copy of this cd today.
5 STARS TO VINCE NEIL..............
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2012
Vince Neil at his best!Being one of the biggest Motley Crue fans in the world this was a most anticipated cd of 1990's.I will start off by saying Exposed kick's ass!This is a tribute to rock n' roll like rock should be,in your face with no regrets.This cd is one of the best from the entire decade and Vince sounds amazing with great vocals.Steve Stevens does some of the most amazing guitar riffs that will blow your mind as well.You get solid rock songs like Sister of Pain,and Your Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come).One kick ass cover of Set Me Free which is better than the original.There is also some cool ballads in Can't Change Me and Forever.Bottom Line Vince Neil Exposed is one of the best hard rock cd's that can match greatness with any Motley Crue cd around.Vince Neil and Motley Crue Rule!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2001
I have owned and loved the Vince Neil "Exposed" c.d. since the first time it was released. I am glad that he re-released this c.d. so that more fans and artist alike can experience this as well. I love all the songs on this "Exposed" c.d. because it shows Vince's true emotions with heartfelt sincerity and he reaches into his very soul on certain songs. I just wish more artist today would do the same by showing more emotion and feelings from the heart as he does on this c.d. I will always love this "Exposed" c.d.from the day I first purchased the original released one to present day re-released one. Hopefully we will all hear more from this brillant artist and soon! Stay true to youself Vince and stay true to your art! Forever and always, C.V
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2005
***** - FIVE STARS
Ok, I'll admit it, I'm a huge Crue fan, and have been since the early 80's. That being said, I was still highly cautions about Vince's solo career, and purchacing this release from him...
So many great singers in the past, who eventually decide to go solo, seem to get lost in all of the hype, and in return losing focus on the final product. NOT WITH VINCE. NOT WITH "EXPOSED".
This is simply incredible, and as much as it pains me to say it, Vince may be better off without the Crue boyz. If can keep this up, and continue to put out releases like this one, he'll have no need to rejoin Motley Crue at all. "Exposed" rocks harder than anything Crue has done since the late 80's in my opinion. Trust me, It's that good....
Guitarist Steve Stevens shreads to no end here. He's got a bluesy, yet very hard edged sound, and he adds tons to the overall power of "Exposed". He and Vince are an excellent combo.
If you're a Motley Crue fan, and gave up on them after the 80's like I did, you need to hear what Vince has been up to since then. "Exposed" completely cranks. You can't put a price on this masterpiece, it's a wonderful "rare" find, and I only wish I had heard it ten years ago!!!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2002
A bunch of artists who started in the '80's were forging refined and disciplined material by the beginning of the next decade, material that was largely ignored by a demographic coming to terms with responsibilities beyond haunting the local record store awaiting the latest release from glam/spectacle rockers like Vince Neil. Such is the fickle vagary of the music business. Kurt Cobain wasn't helping matters either.
The caustic Crue divorce over, Neil beats his estranged Motley mates out of the starting gate with Exposed, sounding closer to a Dr. Feelgood follow-up than the dense and oppressive disc that was being welded together in an underground steel factory by Nikki Sixx and company.
In a stunning example of profound rock n' roll wet dream double billing, Billy Idol alumnus Steve Stevens agrees to sign on and provide the sundry musical fortification over which Neil delivers vocals that are thick, comfortable and inspired. Where Neil's Feelgood vox were oddly thin and over-processed, his singing on Exposed comes across robust and lusty. And Stevens, whos role in the Billy Idol outings was pivotal yet bridled, is an equal player here showcasing varying styles that range from a crystal clear jazz-rock vibe all the way to uncontained in your face, maniacal, honey-dripping hard rock candy that blows the doors off any restraint from producer Ron Nevison's highly polished sheen. Stevens' licks flow with a liquid grace not unlike slow motion mercury rupturing forth from an overheated thermometer.
'Sister Of Pain' is a goodtime party rocker, a spirited drunken table stomping romp. 'Can't Have Your Cake' cooks with rollicking abandon. 'The Edge' is an impressively dramatic piece with a smartly thoughtful and complicated arrangement, kicking off with rolling waves of acoustic spanish guitar. Interestingly, 'Can't Change Me' sounds like a clone of 'Time For Change' from Dr. Feelgood. 'Set Me Free' is a pulsing rocker and 'Living Is A Luxury' is again another example of the extraordinary attention taken to song arrangement on Exposed. It is dynamic, elastic, and super-tight - all at the same time - with a cool extended jazzy-instrumental coda going into the fade. In 'You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)', a sassy hit single overflowing with pep, Stevens flashes his trademark Flash Gordon ray gun fx. It is the pleasing melodies of mid-tempo ballad 'Forever' that bring this hard rock gem to a close.
After eliminating any Motley Crue misconceptions a critical listen may lead you to find that Vince Neil's Exposed is a worthy, virtuous, and unfairly overlooked musical gift indeed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
"Carved In Stone"(1995). Vince Neil's second post Motley Crue album.
By the time it was the mid 1990's,even though Vince Neil had been one of the biggest metal stars of the 1980's,things were not going well for him. While Neil's first solo record that he released shortly after leaving Motley Crue(1993's "Exposed")had done well,it had gotten some critiscm for being a hair metal record that was released in 1993,and not only that,the guitarist in Neil's band(Steve Stevens)had left Neil's band to work with Billy Idol. However,after Vince Neil had hired guitarist Brent Woods to take over for Steve Stevens in his band,Neil released a new solo record in 1995,entitled "Carved In Stone". How did Neil's second solo record meausure up? Read on for my review of this:
The songs on this album,while they may not be up to par with hard,dark Motley Crue songs such as "Wild Side" and "Primal Scream",easily help Vince Neil's "Exposed" solo record give Vince Neil the honor of being the Motley Crue band member with the best post Motley Crue material(in other words,Tommy Lee's "Never a Dull Moment" and "Tommyland:The Ride" solo albums,the band entitled Brides of Destruction that Nikki Sixx played in who released their first album with Nikki in 2004,as well as Union,the band John Corabi's,Vince Neil's replacement vocalist in Motley Crue,is in with ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick). "Breakin' In The Gun","One Way","Writing On The Wall",and "Find a Dream" are all catchy,dark songs with great lyrics(Writing and Find even have a little bit of good messages to them--believe it or not!!!),"One Less Mouth To Feed" sounds like a cross between some of Motley Crue's "dark" songwriting("Knock 'Em Dead,Kid")combined with a song you might find off of The Crue's "Dr. Feelgood" album in a bit of a different but unique and creative way,and among several other great tracks here,there is this CD's closing track,"The Rift". It is a great way to end an album,and the sad,mellow,creative lyrics to the song that help it flow along really well prove just that. Vince Neil's vocals on the songs that are on this CD sound both focused and in top form,the songs here show that Vince Neil can be talented both performing and writing songs even if Nikki Sixx,Tommy Lee,and Mick Mars are not accompanying him in his performing and songwriting,and not only is the production on this record solid,the band accompanying Vince Neil on this CD(Robbie Crane,Brent Woods,and Vikki Foxx;just in case you are wondering,Vikki IS a man;see his picture in the liner notes for "Exposed" for proof of what I just said)all sound great on this CD. The background vocals here on this album also happen to be really good,and they do a good job at starting off "Breakin' In The Gun" before the song gets into it's detailed,angry,not caring lyrics and also before Vince Neil starts singing the song with the voice of the tone of the song. How come this CD didn't do good when it first came out???? What a shame......
Overall,a brilliant album that is a must have for all fans of both Vince Neil and Motley Crue. Vince Neil himself is my favorite member of Motley Crue,and I must say,I was NOT dissapointed with this record--I have it playing in the background as I type this review,and it has made me come to have more respect for Vince Neil as a musician. Like I already said above,it really was(and still is)a shame that this CD did not do well when it was first released,because if it would have done well,people would have seen the heights Vince Neil really was willing to go to as a musician when he wasn't the lead singer of Motley Crue.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2008
For any Steve Stevens fan, this album is a must. This album will definitely rock the boots of any rock guitar player. Songs like "Sister of Pain", "The Edge" are the usual Vince fare backed up by some stellar guitar playing and tight backing by the band. Definitely a good buy.