"Rise" (EARMusic; 2019)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Alice Cooper. Johnny Depp. Joe Perry. Three very different people: A metal icon that has been in my ear since the 70s (since I was 13 years old, wow!); an actor from some of my favorite movies ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Corpse Bride," "Sleepy Hollow" and others) and the legendary lead guitarist from Aerosmith.  With "Rise," they join togehter for their sophomore release and this recording is called "Rise."

This is simply one of the best recordings I have heard this year.  For some reason, I thought it was going to be an Alice Cooper solo release but then I saw the Vampires on Jimmy Kimmel and they played a David Bowie song called "Heroes" and Johnny Depp was the singer.  When you listen to "Rise" you see that the three main forces are involved in the writing and singing. The songwriting is very intricate with deep heart-felt lyrics and yet the words are easy to sing along with. 

I had to keep reminding myself that this was not an Alice Cooper album but a Hollywood Vampires release.  It's so very well-rounded and I was surprised at who took the mic. I mean, letís put that into perspective, if you had Alice Cooper in your band who would do most of the singing? Also, if you had Joe Perry in your band, he would do most of the lead guitar, right? Now, when it comes to Johnny Deep, sorry, I've forgotten what he did in the first recording but here on "Rise," he shines!  He is a very good musician, holding his own in a band featuring with Alice and Joe. I do not think either of them would suffer fools and Johnny's right there with them!

There are a few notiable guest spots on this recording: Sheryl Cooper (Alice's wife) adds her vocals. Jeff Beck (guitarist extraordinaire) and John Waters (I had to look that cat up ... interesting choice).  Everything about this recording is simply brilliant! I guess Alice likes to be in a band and he can and does share the spotlight.  I will be singing these songs for a very long time to come.

For more information, check out https://www.hollywoodvampires.com/. /.

"Rise" (EARMusic; 2019)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Someone in the Hollywood Vampires owes Snidermann a beer.

See, here's the thing: The first time I listened to "Rise," the new Hollywood Vampires album, I found myself bored about three-quarters of the way through. I think I probably expected too much from a band featuring the likes of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp. I mean, the levels of creativity amongst those three superstars is practically unimaginable. Yet "Rise" seemed to me to be just another rock'n'roll album, a collection of dull cliches and lackluster songwriting and production. I mean (and I know I'm gonna take heat for this), it sounded like everything else out there I was thinking of giving it maybe a two-guitarsaw rating.

But Snidermann sent me his review first. He gave it the full four guitarsaws and he raved that it was the best recording he'd heard all year. Maybe I missed something, I thought. Maybe it's better than I thought. So I promised Snidermann I'd give it another listen. And I did. And it was better.

But it still wasn't great. But I'm okay with that.

Here's the thing: "Rise" is sold rock'n'roll throghout but it's not remarkable rock'n'roll throughout. I wish it was. I'd hoped it was. With those three titans, I really expected something awesome but "Rise" is just "pretty good."

And I'm going to directly disagree with Snidermann on the "Heroes" cover. It didn't do much for me. Part of the problem is that it's just not a great cover version. It's okay but, despite Depp's earnest vocals, it just doesn't grab you. The fault with this is probably that one of the last Motorhead recorings released was a cover of this same song ... and it kicked ass. It may be unfair to compare them but, next to the Motorhead version, the Hollywood Vampires version is just okay.

There is some great music here. I must not have listened all the way through the first time because the final track, "Congratulations," is goose-bump inducing good with Deep adding a layer of electric emotion with his spoken-word vocals. Other tracks I really like include the snarling "Who's Laughing Now' and the gritty "Git From Round Me."

Overall, however, I expected more from the Hollywood Vampires and my disappointment in "Rise" is probably all my fault. It's hard not to have high expectations with a supergroup of this caliber and I was certainly guilty of that. So I'd pay more attention to Snidermann's review here than mine but, in the very rare chance I'm right, don't say I didn't warn ya.

For more information, check out https://www.hollywoodvampires.com/.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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