Skid Row - Slave To The Grind (1991) Skid Row made their entrance on the rock scene with a bang back in 1989. Their self-titled debut album contains a couple of Top 10 singles, “18 and Life” and “I Remember You”, and memorable anthems like “Youth Gone Wild”. The album peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 and was certified 5× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1995 for shipping five million copies in the United States.
But as it says in the high circles of the industry, the second album is the one which separate the men from the boys. And Skid Row deliver it.
“Slave to the Grind” it’s flawless. A metal masterpiece.
The party, glam-pop-metal flavor of their debut album it’s washed away by the speed metal pounding of the title track and the considerably more heavier and darker approach of the entire album.
Slave to the Grind is the first heavy metal album to chart at number one on the Billboard 200 in the Nielsen SoundScan era, selling 134,000 copies in its opening week. The album was certified 2× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1998 for shipping two million copies in the United States. It produced four singles: “Monkey Business”, “Slave to the Grind”, “Wasted Time”, and “In a Darkened Room”, which did not receive significant airplay as the singles from the previous record. Skid Row promoted the album opening for Guns N’ Roses in 1991 and as a headliner the following year.
The opening “Monkey Business” was the biggest hit on Slave to the Grind and although the song didn’t make the top 40 it reached #13 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks[1] and still gets heavy airplay on rock radio stations. The video got heavy rotation on MTV and catapulted the album to double-platinum status. It categorically marks the turn of the band from change from hard-hitting glam metal to overall heavy metal.
The following title-track, “Slave to the Grind” put the crown on the top of it. The powerful guitar riff will stuck in your ears forever once they get in.

It’s not a secret that I’m an unconditional fan of Gurdjieff’s teachings and philosophy. Gurdjieff taught that most humans do not possess a unified mind-body consciousness and thus live their lives in a state of hypnotic “waking sleep”. “Slave to the Grind”, the title track of the album express in a nutcase the essence of the Gurdjieff’s philosophy: “Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind”.

You got me forced to crack my lids in two
I’m still stuck inside the rubber room
I gotta punch the clock that leads the blind
I’m just another gear in the assembly line-oh no
The noose gets tighter around my throat
But I ain’t at the end of my rope
‘Cause I won’t be the one left behind
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
Tear down the rat racial slime
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
Get it?
A routine injection, a lethal dose
But my day in the sun ain’t even close
There’s no need to waste your prayers on me
You better mark my words ’cause I’m history, yes indeed
You might beg for mercy to get by
But I’d rather tear this thorn from my side
‘Cause I won’t be the one left behind
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
Tear down the rat racial slime
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
They swallowed their daggers by turning their trick
They tore my intentions apart brick by brick
I’m sick of the jive
You talk verbal insecticide
They swallowed their daggers by turning their trick
They tore my intentions apart brick by brick
I’m sick of the jive
You talk verbal insecticide
I won’t be the one left behind
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
Tear down the rat racial slime
Can’t be king of the world if you’re slave to the grind
I said slave to the grind
Slave to the grind, slave to the grind

The third track, “The Threat” is slower, but even heavier. Skid Row simply nailed it.
Then spin up the first out of three ballads of the record: “Quicksand Jesus”. At first, three ballads on one album might seems a little bit too much, but somehow Skid Row managed to avoid the traditional metal cliches and put together three absolutely fair and straight forward power ballads: “Quicksand Jesus”, “In a Darkened Room” and the closing “Wasted Time”. “Quicksand Jesus” it’s good, “In a Darkened Room” it’s better and “Wasted Time” it’s great. Smart placement, excellent build up and closing.
“Psycho Love” have some Alice In Chain type of feeling, which is okay. It’s a dark and heavy song.
“Get the Fuck Out” ease a little bit from the gloomy mood build-up tension and brings back the party feeling of the previous album in a quite punk-rock manner.
“Livin’ on a Chain Gang” it’s another heavy metal anthem, while “Creepshow” it’s one shade darker bringing back the vibe of “The Threat”.
“Riot Act” put together the glam flavor of the debut album with the power sound of the second. It’s an anthem.
“Mudkicker” it’s once again darker and heavier, makes you sing along.

Tracklist:

01. “Monkey Business” (Rachel Bolan, Dave Sabo) 4:20
02. “Slave to the Grind” (Bolan, Sabo, Sebastian Bach) 3:31
03. “The Threat” (Bolan, Sabo) 3:52
04. “Quicksand Jesus” (Bolan, Sabo) 5:26
05. “Psycho Love” (Bolan) 3:58
06. “Get the Fuck Out” (Bolan, Sabo) 2:42
07. “Livin’ on a Chain Gang” (Bolan, Sabo) 4:00
08. “Creepshow” (Bolan, Rob Affuso, Scotti Hill) 3:59
09. “In a Darkened Room” (Bolan, Sabo, Bach) 3:57
10. “Riot Act” (Bolan, Sabo) 2:42
11. “Mudkicker” (Bolan, Bach, Hill) 3:56
12. “Wasted Time” (Bolan, Sabo, Bach) 5:50

This is closer to perfect as it can be, a must have album if you enjoy trueblood heavy metal with bone cutting guitar riffs and incredible vocals.

Personnel:

Sebastian Bach – lead vocals
Rachel Bolan – bass guitar, backing vocals
Scotti Hill – guitar, backing vocals
Dave Sabo – guitar, backing vocals
Rob Affuso – drums and percussion

Production:

Michael Wagener – producer, mixing
Riley J. Connell – assistant engineer
Craig Doubet – assistant engineer
George Marino – mastering
Bob Defrin – art direction

Released on June 11, 1991 by Atlantic Records.

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Skid Row official site

Skid Row - Slave To The Grind (1991)


Category: Grilled Records

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