At the end of the Eighties, even with the Northwest winds of musical change blowing, there were plenty of bands from coast to coast still wanting to jump into the fray. Many were merely carbon copies of their peers hoping for, at the very least, the rewards of sex, drugs, drink, and maybe, if very lucky, fame and fortune. The tide was changing but there were some bands that desired to do differently.
Enter Chicago's Sandra Dee. They choose their name, haphazardly, from a lyric in a Motley Crue song (Come On and Dance) and not from Bobby Darin's wife. With an admittedly average name, Sandra Dee conspired to be a great band with solid and entertaining music. The archival recordings within Vision of Pain are not your typical late Eighties Sunset Boulevard glam/hair/sleaze metal, although the influences are heard. No, this music is heavy, dense, and hard driving stuff.
From the opening minutes of Pretty Child, your ears are met with Sandra Dee's wall of sound. Heavy rock is blurred with heavy metal. Cassandra, the quirky Peace, Pot & Politics, and the sort-of-could-be blues influenced Take You Higher elegantly blend solid rock n roll chops in a heavy, but melodic, brew. This heaviness and density even pervades the closet thing to a metal ballad, Heading Home. The title track offers that aforementioned conundrum, Is this heavy rock or is it heavy metal? It's deep, dark, and foreboding.
Sandra Dee is at their best when their music blends the raucous and raging. The heavy rock of Going Down delights midway with some blistering drums and bass. This song would be mighty played live. Then there's the intense and melodic heavy rock/metal, with attractive vocal arrangements, of Cold. And Nothing offers more heavy rock with anxious raging guitar work. But the signature piece, for my money, is the knockout cut, Inside Yourself, where bass and drums and thick guitars bless a more complex arrangement. Raging and unpredictable; works for me.
With the tunes on Vision of Pain, Sandra Dee, with little doubt, was on to something good. Their thick, melodic, and sometimes dark heavy rock/metal acknowledge the trends of the day, but also offered a path to the future. We missed it then. Don't miss it now. Recommended.
With the tunes on Vision of Pain, Sandra Dee, with little doubt, was on to something good. Their thick, melodic, and sometimes dark heavy rock/metal acknowledge the trends of the day, but also offered a path to the future. We missed it then. Don't miss it now.