When does a Ted Nugent CD not sound like a Ted Nugent CD? When Ted brought in Brian Howe (Bad Company) to sing on this record, it completely changed the sound of the music. The music on “Penetrator” is completely different from the hard rock most folks recognize as Ted Nugent’s. In fact, this disc treads the melodic rock/aor fence with its layered keyboard tracks. Nugent’s blazing guitar is here, but they keyboards really tone it down.
At times the style of Penetrator reminds me a lot of the band Bad English with its pop/rock tendencies.
Nugent rips it up on the song “Tied Up In Love”. I wish they would have left the keyboards off of this song. It really takes the song down a notch, and it doesn’t blend well with Nugent’s acrobatic guitar licks. This is a good song that could have been even better.
Once again, the ultra cheesy keyboards are back on” (Where Do You) Draw The Line”. The keyboards really date this song badly. Nugent’s playing is the best thing about this tune.
“Go Down Fighting” sounds like a lot Survivor tune. In fact, I thought I could hear parts of “Eye of the Tiger” in here. I think it is that same bass sound and rhythm. Aside from that this song is completely different, but it still doesn’t work for me.
The one song on “Penetrator” that does sound like classic Ted Nugent is the tune “Thunder Thighs”. This is the album’s one redeeming song, that I like quite a bit. In the CD booklet, Ted Nugent calls “Thunder Thighs” a career high point. I don’t know if I can completely agree with that statement or not, but it is high point of this album.
I can’t imagine what producer Ashley Howe was shooting for by adding all of the keyboards to the tracks on this song. Did he want the songs to be played on MTV or something? Ted Nugent is a great guitar player, and his style of music hard rock, not pop. It almost seems as if they were trying to have some crossover success with this album. The keyboards really messed up the sound of this record badly.
Brian Howe sounds great, as does Ted Nugent on guitar. If you can get over the cheesy keyboards on this disc, you might like it. This isn’t a Nugent record that I can listen to very often. I will stick with the classic stuff from the 70’s.
1. Tied Up In Love
2. (Where Do You) Draw The Line
3. Knockin’ At Your Door
4. Don’t You Want My Love
5. Go Down Fighting
6. Thunder Thighs
7. No Man’s Land
8. Blame It On The Night
9. Lean Mean R&R Machine
10. Take Me Home
Ted Nugent – Guitars
Brian Howe -Vocals
Doug Lubahn – Bass
Bobby Chouinard – Drums
Alan St. Jon – Keyboards
Peter Wolf – Percussion & Sequences
Background Vocals: Alan St. Jon, Kevin Russel, Todd Howarth, Cynthia Shiloh, Xoe Fox, Rahni Raines