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| 30 June 2016 | Reply

Promo Image

Label: Republic / UMe

Release Date: September 11, 2015

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Supergroup – I am not sure that label fits the bill when you toss all of the names that appear in the liner notes of the debut release from the Hollywood Vampires.  Even the touring lineup seems to exceed the term, but we will visit that revelation at a later date, for now let’s turn our attention to the 2015 self-titled release.  Disc opener “The Last Vampire” is a musically supported reading from Bram Stoker’s Dracula voiced by the one and only Sir Christopher Lee on what would be his last recorded performance.  From there the band jumps into an original track written for the project – “Raise The Dead.”  The vibe of the track brings a classic guitar sound while maintaining a modern rock sound we have come to love from Cooper on other recordings, thanks to support from his band members Tommy Henriksen on guitars and Glen Sobel behind the drums.  “Five To One / Break On Through” is a fun one-two punch of tracks from The Doors that seems to maintain the original sound and groove, with Cooper dropping into a lower register than we are used to.  Robby Krieger from The Doors lends his guitar skills to this track while drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. keeps time behind the kit, with keyboards from Charlie Judge.  Another member of the famous club is featured, as the band performs John Lennon’s “Cold Turkey.”  The core band is joined by Joe Perry for a heavier rendition of the track, which suits the band and the rest of the disc.  The guitar sound is full thanks to contributions from Johnny Depp and Henriksen, adding depth to the original composition.  “Dead Drunk Friends” is another original composition that features the core band sounding classic, yet refreshed.  The song is the perfect closer for the standard version of the disc.

Rocker Alice Cooper assembled a lot of friends to pay homage to the drinking club of the same name, performing music of the clubs era, with a few originals tossed in for good measure.  The first cover on the effort is a cool version of “My Generation” that brings the original tempo and intensity, but adds in a different feel thanks to Cooper’s vocals.  Check out the bridge fade and outro with a cool guitar solo underneath the mix, as well as the drums played skillfully by Zak Starkey.  Spirit’s “I Got A Line” gets the star treatment and sounds very different from Cooper’s own version he recorded previously.  Featuring the guitar of Joe Walsh, bass work from Kip Winger, and drums from Laboriel, Jr., this song gets a bit of punch and pop – and be sure to listen for vocals from Perry Farrell.  “One / Jump Into The Fire” delivers two classic tracks from Harry Nilsson, one of the members of the famed club.  The opening sounds are very familiar and close to the original, while the second half of the track benefits from the contrasting vocals from Cooper and Farrell.  This track also features Krieger on guitar and is the lone appearance on the disc of Dave Grohl on drums.  T. Rex’s “Jeepster” has a vintage sound to it, thanks to guitars from a trio consisting of Perry, Depp, and Henriksen that play off each other nicely.  This track was unfamiliar to me, but it perfectly fits the mood and texture of the disc.  Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” gets a makeover on this version, with Cooper’s vocals blending perfectly when held up against the original.  With guests Walsh on guitars, Starkey on drums, and producer extraordinaire Bob Ezrin on keyboards, this song is bound to be awesome, and it delivers.  Pulling a classic from Coopers catalog and merging it with a Pink Floyd gem, “Schools Out / Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” is a cool mashup that works well in its recorded version (I have heard Cooper perform this for a couple years live during his tours).  In addition to Brian Johnson on vocals, Joe Perry and Slash on guitars, Alice dialed up a couple old friends and added the classic rhythm section of bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith to the track, coming full circle on the Cooper classic.

The core band for the disc consists of Cooper (vocals), Depp (guitar), Henriksen (guitars / keyboards), Bruce Witkin (guitar / bass / keyboards), and Sobel (drums).  On Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” Cooper duets with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, for a slightly twisted sound that breathes a different feel into the song.  Add guitarist Orianthi’s fretwork, Walsh’s slide work, and a rhythm section that includes Starkey’s drums and Winger on bass and you get a nice rock and roll concoction.  What else can be said about a cover of Badfinger’s “Come And Get It” that features the song’s composer Sir Paul McCartney?  Nothing really.  The blended vocals of Cooper and McCartney are as diverse as it gets on this collection, but it totally works.  Paul adds piano and bass to the song, while Joe Perry (who is a full-fledged member of the band touring to support the disc) lends his guitar work and McCartney’s longtime drummer Laboriel, Jr. controls the tempo from behind the drums.  The Small Faces “Itchycoo Park” is another track I wasn’t familiar with, but fell in love with after hearing it for the first time.  The core band handles this track mightily and put their classic sounding stamp on their version without any special guests in the fray.  For those who were lucky or smart enough to purchase the extended version of the disc, there are three bonus tracks that help further the discs classic sound and reach, without getting repetitive or sounding rehashed.  “I’m A Boy” from The Who features the band sounding less like the original artist on the verse, but ripping their sound from The Who’s playbook on the chorus and bridge.  Love’s “Seven And Seven Is” brings a garage rock meets punk flavored sound to the disc, thanks to the heavy percussion, chugging riffs, and Cooper’s vocals.  Closing out the bonus tracks is the heavy handed sound of “As Bad As I Am.”  The song leans into a classic riff sound while Cooper splatters his typical vocal all over the track.  The song is my favorite of the original tracks and brings hope that this project will create more music together.

Tracklisting: The Last Vampire – Raise The Dead – My Generation – Whole Lotta Love – I Got A Line – Five To One / Break On Through – One / Jump Into The Fire – Come And Get It – Jeepster – Cold Turkey – Manic Depression – Itchycoo Park – Schools Out / Another Brick In The Wall Part 2 – Dead Drunk Friends – I’m A Boy (bonus) – Seven And Seven Is (bonus) – As Bad As I Am (bonus)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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