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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


MetalMorphosis Volume 1

Review by Larry Toering

MetalMorphosis Volume 1 is a smash-up of jazz standards and jazz style metal tunes, by three very gifted players who come together for the sheer sake of pushing the boundaries of where old standards can go. Singer Larry Smith, monster guitarist Brandon Cook, and drummer extraordinaire Andy Korn have something very special to be proud of here. They’ve done these standards by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and others in the style of rock and metal singers like Ronnie James Dio. These are all premiere players on the scene in the Pacific Northwest, with Brandon Cook also being a member-of 80s rockers Black ‘N Blue for some time now. It’s great to hear an album of songs featuring this guitarist. They mix the old and the new like no other on their debut album. These songs came out like little epic albums themselves. It’s that fantastic and comes highly recommended.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 2 at
Track by Track Review
Luck Be A Lady Tonight
The "Guys and Dolls" classic by Frank Sinatra gets a musically dark rendering with a Plant/Dio combo vibe. Still, I hear everyone from Quiet Riot to Metallica on this, as well. They picked one of the best numbers to open with, as this is a blazing hot track.
Night and Day
A subdued note from Brandon Cook in the style of Tony Iommi gets this one running, with an outstanding vocal following from Larry Smith. There’s a cartoon video clip for this track which helps interest the listener, but make no mistake, this is in your face, jazz-crooner gone tastefully metal.
My Favorite Things
There’s so much going on here that it’s like going out on a limb to describe (as is true of much of the album). The lovely sweeping acoustic guitar from Brandon Cook is the first thing to note on this Julie Andrews track done in the style of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” At least that’s what I know. It builds up real nicely the way STH does, with over the top efforts by all. Larry Smith can sound like any number of rock singers of the past with no problem, but he’s not just doing a Robert Plant here. This is so good that it will blow you away. 
I Put a Spell on You
The Screaming J. Hawkins classic gets metalized to the max on this killer version. It sounds like the Scorpions decided to do this and invited a few other bands to play with them. Brandon Cook and Andy Korn play with complete reckless abandon, and the doomy voices add a thought provoking touch before it goes full on dark-metal outro. This must be heard. It should go down in history with other covers of this song. 
Strangers In The Night
This is where the Dio factor comes on the strongest and an equally well-done smash-up undeniably happens. By this time on the disc you’re hooked on everything about these songs, from their choice of material to what they add to them. It’s all done so very well.
Good Morning Heartache
Billie Holiday fans might be taken a little aback, but metal lovers who know this song will be appeased. You’d never even think of something like this. 
Hit The Road Jack
If you can imagine this song mixed with Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” then prepare for exactly that, with Brandon Cook showing off his capabilities. This has to be the most daring and adventurous cover of the 1960 Percy Mayfield classic.
Anything Goes
Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson meet head on here with all efforts meeting with flying colors and some wild singing and playing by all. This is a classic in its own-right. 
The Party’s Over
Nat King Cole gets heavy metalized with the utmost care. This is another cool choice made to work with on this album. You’re going to love every minute of it.
Food Glorious Food
From the Oliver soundtrack, this is another surprising version, with the band turning out more like a Tommy and Quadrophenia rendition. Once again they make something their own, with every single note sounding like they put their whole life into it.
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