HAWAII, Loud, Wild and Heavy (1984, Important)
Marty Friedman and company heard there was a skull out there with a birthmark that looks uncannily like the Hawaii island chain. They were like “We must have that guy immediately for our album cover.” They sent out a carrier vulture (such are the communications fowl in Hawaii) and it came back with this bad-ass looking skull. Mission accomplished. As for the flower, it could probably pass as the state flower (Hawaiian hibiscus). Kinda surprising they didn’t try to fit palm trees or a picture of Don Ho into the artwork, but we get it: you’re called Hawaii and you’re from Hawaii. Very novel, boys.
My first impression of Hawaii was through Aloha on Metal Massacre 2 and then Hawaii’s 1983 One Nation Underground album. Both struck me as scrappy and I never ventured further with this band. I didn’t listen to them again until my duties at Big Dumb Skulls found me face-to-face with the successor to One Nation Underground, this four-song EP. Loud, Wild and Heavy is solid enough, but it’s hardly great. It’s just one degree more metal than early Motley Crue, and might as well be one of those California bands like Crue, Ratt or Black ‘N’ Blue who toed the line between glammy hard rock and dirty Sunset strip heavy metal a la early Armored Saint and Odin. Vocalist Eddie Day talk-sings and sometimes growls his way through these standard-issue trad-metal tunes with attitude, and the musicians are tight, their delivery strong, their capabilities notable. There are some cool proto-power metal guitar lines in the middle of the title track; the chorus of “Escape the Night” sounds like something Dawnbringer might come up with; and instrumental “Rhapsody in Black” presages the symphonic power metal that would absolutely erupt out of Europe a decade later. Still, there were so many other better, more interesting releases that came out of the early/mid ’80s traditional heavy metal movement that this remains second rate. Yes, Marty Friedman graduated from junior high school janitor to Ivy League professor when he jumped from Hawaii to Megadeth. (Yes, I know about Cacophony in between, but then my stupid scholastic analogy is ruined.)
— Friar Wagner