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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Various Artists

Sin-Atra

Review by Gary Hill

Featuring hard rocking adaptations of Frank Sinatra songs, this is kind of a mixed bag. Most of the time it works quite well, but there are moments where it fails to some degree or another. Still, it’s fun and should have more staying power than the pure novelty album it seems like it might be. Billy Sheehan, Bob Kulick and Brett Chassen provide the music and various singers show up to render their versions. The music basically falls into the hard rock meets jazz category. Without the jazz influence, though, this would be a heavy metal album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
New York, New York

This powers out as uber metal, but the vocals by Devin Townsend are a bit over the top for my tastes, and they feel tongue-in-cheek. This is OK, but a little schmaltzy.

I've Got You Under My Skin
Now, this is more like it. Glenn Hughes provides the vocals and the arrangement is hard rock meets jazz. It’s a smoking hot tune.
Summerwind
One of my all time favorite singers, Geoff Tate is featured on this cut. Musically this pounds in hard and features a similar arrangement to the last one – hard rock meets jazz. Tate’s does a great job and this is another killer cut. It gets pretty metallic at times and really does feel a bit like Queensryche at times.
It Was A Very Good Year
Dee Snider is the singer on this one. As it powers in, it feels a little like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” but it shifts out from there like a real progressive metal tune. This is actually one of the coolest cuts on show.
Witchcraft
At once super heavy and jazz like, this is a good tune, but not one of my favorites of the set. It’s another that feels a little over the top. They do throw in a cool nearly full on jazz treatment mid-track. The vocal duties here are handled by Tim “Ripper” Owens.
Fly Me To The Moon
Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander is the singer on this number. This is one of the most metallic pieces, but it also has one of the most playful arrangements and deliveries. It’s one of the most successful cuts of the set.
Lady Is A Tramp
While this one is hard rocking with jazz still built in, it’s sort of a middle of the road piece. It features Eric Martin on vocals.
Strangers In The Night
The singer here is Joey Belladonna. Super hard edged and yet rather proggy, this tune is a killer and one of the best of the set. The mix isn’t all that different, but somehow it works better here than on some of the other cuts. “Doobie Doobie Doo,” indeed.
High Hopes
Featuring Franky Perez, this pounds in super heavy, but then works out to music closer to the rest of the set, metal meets jazz. The chorus is catchy and this is one of the better tracks here.
I've Got The World On A String
Starting in a very standard Sinatra type arrangement, this powers out to a hard rocking jam that’s got elements of progressive rock and jazz in the mix. Dug Pinnick is the singer for this one, and it’s one of the most unique and coolest on show here. It gets very heavy later.
Love And Marriage
Anyone who watched “Married with Children” will remember this cut. It starts with a bit straight out of that, then powers out to something that’s essentially a metallic progressive rock arrangement. The vocals (from Elias Soriano) are metal to the extreme. This one doesn’t work all that well for me, but it’s because it’s got a lot of extreme metal built into it.
That's Life
Featuring both Jani Lane and Ritchie Kotzen, there’s a real rock and roll (almost country rock) texture to this piece. It’s got a great jazz groove and really works nicely. It’s tasty and fun. It’s one of the most unusual (and tastiest) pieces offered up here. It’s a great way to end things on a high note.
 
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