Black Roses – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1988, Metal Blade Records)
1. “Dance on Fire” – Black Roses … 3:47
2. “Soldiers of the Night” – Black Roses … 3:46
3. “I’m No Stranger” – Bang Tango … 4:07
4. “Rock Invasion” – Black Roses … 4:27
5. “Paradise (We’re On Our Way)” – Black Roses … 4:05
6. “Me Against the World” – Lizzy Borden … 4:36
7. “Take It Off” – King Kobra … 3:55
8. “King of Kool” – David Michael Phillips … 3:26
9. “Streetlife Warrior” – Tempest … 3:47
10. “D.I.E.” – Hallow’s Eve … 3:25
This is the soundtrack to the movie Black Roses, which was just one of a handful of heavy metal horror flicks from the 1980s (Trick or Treat will always be my favorite from that sub-genre). I have wanted to see the movie since the early ’00s (when I first learned of its existence) but it was out-of-print on VHS and didn’t get a DVD release in 2007. Thanks to Netflix, I recently watched it. The movie itself was okay. I can see why it’s a considered a cult fave and it was entertaining enough for a one-time viewing. It was typically cheesy and full of unintentional comedy but it featured some of those cool latex creatures and costumes that are extremely rare in this day and age of CGI.
This is one of those soundtracks where a fake/temporary band is put together. (Steel Dragon for Rock Star, The Dudes of Wrath for Shocker, etc). According to information I keep coming across online, the Black Roses group on the album is comprised of King Kobra members Mark Free (vocals) & Carmine Appice (drums) with Chuck Wright (bass) and Alex Masi (guitar). This is where things get hazy though. The King Kobra song on this soundtrack is “Take It Off”. “Take It Off” is from 1988’s King Kobra III which featured Johnny Edwards on vocals. Also, David Michael Phillips (who contributes “King of Kool”) was a member of King Kobra throughout the ’80s so he very well may have been in Black Roses recording group too. Mark Free left King Kobra in ’86 and formed Signal in 1987 but it definitely sounds like Mark Free during the Black Roses songs. Just seems odd to hear him contribute to a soundtrack featuring his former band and to collaborate with them as well.
Most of the Black Roses songs could have easily fit on any King Kobra release. Even “Paradise (We’re On Our Way)”, which is a huge wedge of AOR cheese balladry, could pass for one of Kobra’s more guiltier pleasures and certainly sounds like the norm for something that would come from Signal. I didn’t like it it first in the movie but it’s grown on me in a disturbing way. It’s actually somewhat humorous when you pay attention to the lyrics and keep in mind that this is a demonic band from Hell playing this song: “my hometown is a page that’s turning, way deep down there’s a fire burning…”
I think this is actually a pretty good album. The cheese factor is high but if you love ’80s rock/metal, that’s never really going to be a problem. All of the Black Roses songs are actually pretty good and full of energy featuring great vocals performances from Free and then Lizzy Borden and King Kobra offer up two of their better songs from their catalog. I really enjoy “King of Kool” too. The vocals sound a lot like Kevin DuBrow, in fact, the whole song sounds like Quiet Riot. I wonder if that is David Michael Phillips’ voice?
Really, the only disappointing tracks are from Bang Tango and Tempest. The only song I’ve ever liked from Bang Tango is “Someone Like You” and I’m not familiar with Tempest but I don’t care for the vocals. The Hallows Eve song is okay, it reminds me of Anthrax, but I wouldn’t say it’s an album highlight.
While the movie is available for about $20 on DVD now, regretfully, this album is now out-of-print. I’ve done some looking around online and have seen prices ranging from $50 to $300! Yikes !! C’mon, Metal Blade, put this album back in circulation!
Highlights: “Dance on Fire”, “Soldiers of the Night”, “Rock Invasion”, “Paradise (We’re On Our Way)”, “Me Against the World”, “Take It Off”, “King of Kool”