Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

December 14, 2013

The World's Greatest Metallica Tribute

(No official website)
Style: hard rock, heavy metal, trash, industrial, surf, techno, tribute
Label: Tributized
Year: 2004
Home: n/a

Members: Jon Oliva, Eric A.K., Eric Bloom, Billy Milano ~ vocals
Scott Ian, Lemmy Kilmister, Mike Clark, Al Pitrelli ~ guitars
Rob Trujillo, Tony Franklin, Phil Soussan, Bob Balch ~ bass
Dave Lombardo, Aynsley Dunbar, Gregg Bissonette, Vinny Appice ~ drums
Agent Orange, Apoptygma Berzerk, Sloppy Seconds, Dee Dee Ramone band, Funker Vogt, Vice Squad, Luciferion, Holocaust ~ n/a

If One Way Street: A Tribute To Aerosmith is producer/guitarist Bob Kulick helming a great tribute album, this is the opposite of the coin & anything but what it's title suggests. After doing Lulu & St. Anger one can probably guess Metallica like this tribute album to themselves. They'll be in a minority ... though they're probably used to that by now when it comes to their opinions. Here Kulick takes a couple approaches & none of them work any musical magic creating an album for collectors or diehard fans only. On One Way Street he placed together random rock musicians to do one off recordings. That again occurs here on four of the dozen tracks, while the other tracks are the traditional tribute band approach of bands submitting their cover songs. The success of these will all be dependent on if you like the bands or not. Though, this album is heavily split as the four one off groups have all star line-ups, while the submissions are lesser known bands. While the bands completely take to re-interpretting Metallica versus the one-off line-ups aim more for duplicating or finding a balance between imitation & discovery. This means right next to a heavy metal song is surf or techno synth making a jarring listen. One Way Street is so success because it doesn't do this as all the songs are kept in the same rock mood, all being produced by Kulick. The fact that there's not much of Metallica left in many of these experiments makes it an even more jarring listen. Metallica is a great band whose sound lies on powerful rhythms & a particular mood, but in the hands of others the songs fall apart quickly ... particularly when a band like Apoptygma Berzerk decide to do a dance techno version of "Fade To Black" that makes the song unrecognizable, throws the melody out the window & is pretty much one step away from Erasure but less camp, gay & entertaining. When doing a cover don't kill the recognizable melody line, while replacing a complicated recognizable riff, rhythm or line with something incredibly dumbed down also should be avoided. If you don't have the skills to at least get the basics of the song than don't fake it. Nor is this approach interesting, as Sloppy Seconds demonstrates with a straight punk take of "Hit The Lights" that dumps anything recognizable about the song. Luciferion also demonstrates with a boring by the book chugging nondescript guitar black/death metal version of "Fight Fire With Me". Agent Orange does a punk-surf version of "Seek & Destroy" which demonstrates that taking the cliched surf riff & putting on a song does not make for something creative or interesting outside of the idea that what would it sound like if Metallica was a surf band. Do surf bands ever get bored playing the same riff over & over again? It all sounds as much alike as Yngwie Malmsteen taking solo after solo. Things get really adventuresome with Funker Vogt who do a goth techno take on "Harvester Of Sorrow" but it's more techno than dark & this is a song that should be more dark than techno. At least it's not Erasure, though not quite Nine Inch Nails. Dee Dee Ramone does a bland "Jump In The Fire". Finally I've found someone who sings like Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones/Faces, but worse. Holocaust does an eight minute "Master Of Puppets" that at least ends the album on a good note, but twelve tracks too late. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery & Holocaust prove that with this particular compilation. Well crafted, though too light weight a guitar solo. The best contribution & only one worth listening to is Vice Squad who turn in an upbeat "Enter Sandman" with an industrial edge, think Powerman 5000. The best part is the toy laser gun sounds during the solos. The only thing that makes this album worth getting is the non-submitted four one-off line-up tracks. Maybe it's the fact that these include some star musicians, but someone was smart enough in each line-up to realize what not to dump in the song & how experimental not to be. Though, none of these songs are great & just for the gimmick of hearing a certain musician. "Nothing Else Matters" is anti-climactic gutless ballad with Jon Oliva of Savatage/Jon Oliva's Pain in a lackluster vocal performance only interesting for how much it sounds like James Hetfield, while this is not a good song to show off Lemmy of Motorhead. Also in this is Fu Manchu guitarist Bob Balch & tour/session drummer Gregg Bissonette most famously of the David Lee Roth band. "Battery" is safe & tame, though its hard to ruin this song, with Metallica's third bassist Rob Trujillo playing alongside drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer, guitarist Mike Clark of Suicidal Tendencies & vocalist Eric A.K. of Flotsam & Jetsam which would feature future Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. "Whiplash" demonstrates that while James Hetfield is an adequate singer he works for the music at hand, but when you hear someone with a harsher voice interpret the songs ... well, Hetfield suddenly sounds a lot better. Sorry Billy Milano of M.O.D.. While listening to the other musician one wonders is Metallica this monotonous with the guitars & this flat sounding? A poor showing from guitarist Scott Ian of Anthrax, bassist Phil Soussan of Ozzy Osbourne & Billy Idol & drummer Vinny Appice of Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell. "For Whom The Bells Toll" features with Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Al Pitrelli in one of his more rare heavy metal moments as his career has been more hard-rock that doesn't always push him with the speed or intensity. A decent show, though you can hear Tony Franklin of the Firm trying to spice up the bass line & mold it to his trademarkable fretless bass. Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult, who Pitrelli toured with for a month, turns in an adequate vocal showing, while acclaimed 70's session drummer Aynsley Dunbar takes up the beats also in a rare metal moment. This album has also been released under the name Metallic Assault

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