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"Powerplay" (H&H Records)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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I didn't know what to expect from this solo album by veteran drummer Ernst Van Ee. Over the years, Ernst has played drums with Highway Chile, Helloise, Threnody, and done tons of session work with bands you'd recognize, including work with Tamas Szekeres and the acclaimed "Voodooplay" CD featuring Peter Magnee. 

However, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

"Powerplay" reminds me a lot of Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society albums. The music is very much the same - dark, heavy, very well-written and superbly performed. These are songs that Ozzy Osbourne would be proud to perform; not that he's needed here - Robert Soeterboek and Stan Verbraak take over the mic here and do quite well.

Most of the tracks on "Powerplay" are original material. The CD begins with "Shot Down," which features an eerie, almost sci-fi chorus. Interestingly, "Spaceman" is next and it's another chunky rocker (which clocks in at a tireless eight-plus minutes!). The balance of the original material herein stays up to par. It's strong, it's heavy and it rocks hard. As you might expect, the drum work here is stellar; what you might not expect, however, is the expertise, style and sheer power of the guitars and vocals.

There are two covers (sort of) on the CD. The first is Van EE's version of "The Sixteens," originally performed by Sweet (done here in a much heavier fashion) and "Dance With An Angel" which was inspired by Cozy Powell's "Dance with the Devil" (in fact, this track is subtitled "a tribute to Cozy Powell). 

Yeah, there might be more emphasis on drums here than on other records but, hey, it's a drummer's record. The beauty of "Powerplay" is that the other musicians and instruments are just as strong and the end result is one hell of a CD.

Van EE is: Ernst Van EE - drums; Peter Magnee - all guitars and keyboards; Robert Soeterboek - vocals; Stan Verbraak - vocals. 

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 Jun 2020 15:11:00 -0400 .