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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Various Artists

Twisted Forever...A Tribute to Twisted Sister

Review by Mike Korn

Twisted Sister was one of my favorite "hair" bands from the 80's. Despite the fact that I loathed most of the glammy commercial metal at that time, there was something fun about these goofy looking New Yorkers that appealed to me. Plus, they were a pretty heavy band to boot, delivering maximum crunch when they had to. When that crunch was mixed with the catchy, almost bubblegum hooks prevalent in their music. It made Twisted Sister the musical equivalent of a Blo-Pop...crunchy on the outside, sweet on the inside and all delicious. With the nostalgia craze running rampant, now's the perfect time for a tribute to the band. This 16-track monster is more interesting than most of the tributes clogging record store aisles these days because the artists here are extremely diverse. Any record that has Chuck D, Cradle of Filth, Joan Jett and Vision of Disorder on it must be something different, if nothing else. There are some missteps here but the collection as a whole is very pleasing to hear and shows just how much Dee Snider and Company influenced music today.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lit-I Wanna Rock
I'm not much of a Lit fan but the alternative rockers really kick things off well with a very faithful cover of the famous Sister anthem. The vocals almost sound like Dee himself and the energy level is off the chart - good opener!
Motorhead-Shoot 'Em Down
Another pretty faithful cover of a very catchy early TS track. Lemmy's vocals are pretty tired on this one and it's getting obvious to me the old boy spreads himself too thin, appearing on so many tributes and other projects.
Nashville Pussy-The Kids Are Back
The Pussies capture the snotty, menacing aura of this tune well, especially the sneering vocals. That chorus will really get you going.
Nine Days-The Price
I don't know who Nine Days are but after listening to this, it's pretty clear they are uninspired "modern rock". All the clichés are present as they castrate this ballad...the whiningly "emotional" vocals, the acoustic guitars, the semi-crunchy guitar tone on the chorus. Not one of Sister's better tracks and they don't improve things at all.
Chuck D-Wake Up the Sleeping Giant
Well, Chuck D of Public Enemy is a rap legend and he turns this obscure track into a complete rap tune - no metal guitars at all. Chuck's got a better, stronger voice than most of his ilk but there's not too much more I can say about this, except that if you like true rap as well as Twisted Sister, this will be up your alley.
Anthrax-Destroyer
This is a competent but not overwhelming version of this brooding stomper. I don't think anybody but Twisted Sister themselves can really do justice to this track.
Overkill-Under The Blade
I guess it takes a New York band to understand another New York band. The long-lasting thrash legends do an excellent take on this powerful track. Some of Blitz's screams are really hair-raising and the cut is tailor-made for Overkill's own style.
Cradle of Filth-The Fire Still Burns
This is the highlight of the album. It shows how a band can cover somebody else's song and make it their own. The original track was one of Sister's most powerful and Cradle adds their own black/goth metal style to it. All the Cradle trademarks, like blastbeasts, horror movie keyboards and the shrieking, gasping vocals of Dani Filth are here yet the track underneath is instantly recognizable - a fine achievement!
Vision of Disorder-Don't Bring Me Down
Much like Cradle of Filth, aggressive hardcore/nu-metal band Vision of Disorder takes a Sister track and transforms it into one of theirs. In this case, they actually improve on a song I didn't much care for in the first place. Great screaming vocals and a real angry approach make this stand out.
The Step Kings-Burn In Hell
This is a good but workman-like version of what was probably Sister's heaviest track. The guys add in that typical shouted hardcore chorus.
Fu Manchu-Ride To Live, Live to Ride
This is a real disappointment. I like Fu Manchu's totally retro-approach to heavy metal but here they turn the song into kind of a laid-back "desert rock" number with none of the vitality of the original. Fu fans will find it interesting but it doesn't catch the power of Twisted's version.
Joan Jett-We're Not Gonna Take It
Aging punk queen Joan pretty much picks up a paycheck with this unadventurous cover of Twisted Sister's bubblegum metal anthem. This is faithful to the original but in no way improves on it.
Sebastian Bach-You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
Lots of folks hate this guy's attitude but he continues to prove he has one of the best metal voices around. This is a powerful, energetic cover with Bach at his best.
Hammerfall-We're Gonna Make It
The Swedish power metallers throw their hat into the ring here. As in the case of Anthrax and Motorhead, this is good but not particularly outstanding, and Joacim Cans' profanity-filled shout-out to Twisted Sister comes across as kind of silly.
Sevendust-I Am (I'm Me)
The nu-metal big shots deliver a quirky, nervous sounding version of the poppy anthem. It sounds almost like they were in a hurry to get through the song. I still haven't made up my mind on whether I like it or not.
Twisted Sister-Sin City
Finally, for the first time in more than a decade, the original Twisted Sister returns, ironically performing a cover of AC/DC's classic track. Damned if they don't do a killer job of it. This is almost better than the original and Dee is sounding good. Let's get a comeback soon!
 
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