Slade – The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome (Re-Issue)


When, in the mid-1970’s, Slade upped sticks and moved to America in hopes of cracking that market, they changed their sound en route and the results were less-than-spectacular. Their Wolverhampton boot-boy stomp was replaced by a sun kissed Californian sound, replete with Dobros guitars and soulful harmonies, and went down like the proverbial lead balloon (on both sides of the Atlantic). Returning back ‘ome, Slade set about toughening up their sound and when 1983 rolled ‘round they found their stride with The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome. It was a stunning return to form and one which should have propelled them onto greater things (it didn’t, but that’s a different story).

Introduced by Noddy Holder’s wonderfully throaty rasp, ‘Slam The Hammer Down’ gets the album off to a blistering start and the Black Country boys rarely look back over the course of 42 furious minutes. When Slade replaced Ozzy at Reading Festival, 1980, no one could have guessed that it would be the band’s rebirth and since then they started to play to their strengths and when that comes to Slade, it means vocals, guitars and drums. With a newfound heavy metal fanbase to please, ‘Slam The Hammer Down’ is a riff-heavy beast that seemed tailor made to sate that crowd. In fact, when it comes to The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome ‘riff’ is the optimum word and this album has plenty of the ten-ton variety. If Dave Hill and Noddy had unleashed these riffs ten years prior, they’d have had the teenyboppers diving for cover, but in late ‘83 it made perfect sense and it is easy to understand why Slade adhered themselves to the denim and leather brigade, and Kamikaze Syndrome could go toe to toe with AC/DC’s Flick Of The Switch quite easily. Much of this album’s power derives from the powerful production provided (in part) by bassist Jim Lea. He hasn’t stifled the band’s “pop” sensibility at all, but he has brought the hob-nail crunch of Don Powell’s drums to the fore (which is where they should be) and its given the band a kick that was lacking in much of their late 70’s output.

While Slade might not ponder the big existential questions of life, there’s no doubting they know a good song and this record is bursting at the seams with rock bangers. I’m sure these songs were written with the live environment in mind and cuts such as ‘In The Doghouse’ and ‘My Oh My’ have choruses that simply demand 1,000 voices sing along. However, Slade certainly weren’t playing it safe and the eight-and-a-half minute ‘Ready to Explode’ is a progressive number that tells the story of a motorcycle racer, and it certainly takes the listener on a wild ride. Departing as they arrived, ‘Razzle Dazzle Man’ is a rousing closer and as the album fades into the ether, you’ll have an overwhelming desire to press ‘play’ again.

In early 1984, The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome was repackaged by the band’s American label CBS, and released in the States as Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply with a slightly different tracklisting. And here’s the rub; by simply being themselves Keep Your Hands/Kamikaze Syndrome gave Slade their highest US chart placing. It also proved to be their last great studio album, so if you want to hear Slade at a creative peak, here’s your ticket.

Vinyl Track List:

  1. Slam The Hammer Down
  2. In The Doghouse
  3. Run Runaway
  4. High And Dry
  5. My Oh My
  6. Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)
  7. Ready To Explode (The Warm Up, The Grid, The Race, The Dream)
  8. (And Now The Waltz) C’est La Vie
  9. Cheap N’ Nasty Luv
  10. Razzle Dazzle Man
  • CD Listing: 

Tracks 1 through 10