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Carmine Appice

Guitar Zeus

Review by Gary Hill

This set has some killer music. It might not be quite metal, but it might be. It all depends on your definition. There is a real modern flavor to it. All the music has a cool groove. There are guest musicians on every song, but the core lineup here is Kelly Keeling (guitar, keys and vocals), Tony Franklin (fretless bass) and Carmine Appice drums, percussion and backing vocals). This has a fresh and unique sound and really rocks.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mothers Space (feat. Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal)
Coming in incredibly heavy, this is a screaming hot rocker. It has some cool hooks, too. The rough and tumble riff is just so tasty. I'm reminded just a bit of Montrose for some reason, but this has a much more modern sound than that. The bass work on this thing is amazing, but so is the guitar soloing. In fact, the guitar in the second instrumental section seriously soars into the stratosphere. The cut has such a cool groove even with all the powerhouse jamming.
Gonna Rain (feat. Richie Sambora)
There is a real psychedelic rock vibe to this. I can make out some hints of The Beatles on this thing. Yet, it's delivered with more of a modern, heavy element.
4 Miles High (feat. Steve Morse)
Again the bass work on this is on fire. This cut is so hot. It's packed full of energy and still manages to groove like crazy. Imagine Jimi Hendrix jamming with King's X. I think it would probably sound a lot like this.
Nobody Knew (feat. Brian May)
Starting with more of a balladic approach, this has a great heavy meets mainstream sound. The balance between mellower and more rocking is strong on this tune. This gets into some seriously heavy territory further down the road. The instrumental break is absolutely on fire. A mellower movement beyond that brings some variety. They launch back out into the song proper with style from there.
Where You Belong (feat. Slash)
Piano brings this into being. The cut starts to take on a blues rock vibe as the guitar joins. As this gets more rocking I can make out more of the Beatles elements we heard earlier. This tune has a real 70s rock texture to it. Slash lays down some tasteful guitar work. That's really what you always get with him - pure taste. There is a cool bluesy mellower section at the end.
Out of Mind (feat. Neal Schon)
The opening here has some world music type stuff playing in the background. It's odd. As the guitar joins the cut continues in strange zones with a weird sort of psychedelic element driving it. It eventually works out to more hard rocking stuff. This retains some of that psychedelic rock element, but lands closer the kind of thing we've learned to expect from here.
This Time Around (feat. Yngwie Malmsteen / Dug Pinnick)
Coming in with a cool hard-edged jam, this does make me think of King's X. You'd expect that, though. It drops down to kind of a weird freeform section with some spoken stuff. The bass work on that section has an almost fusion element. It fires out from there into some killer metallic stuff.
Nothing (feat. John Norum)
Firing out hard-edged, this has a killer rocking groove to it. It's a fiery number with a lot of style. There is a good balance between the dropped down sections and more rocking ones. There is some amazing bass work on this, and the guitar soloing is among the best here. Those things combine to make the closing section of this one of the strongest passages of the whole set.
Doin Fine (feat Vivian Campbell)
A mellower, almost country sound opens this. The cut works out from there to sort of a balladic soft rock approach. Eventually it soars upward with a slower tempo melodic rock vibe that borders on progressive rock. The bass brings some fusion elements here.
Under the Moon and Sun (feat. Mick Mars / Edgar Winter)
I love the hard rocking sound of this. This track is purely on fire with a real bluesy edge. It's one of the stronger ones here.
Code 19 (feat. Zakk Wylde)
This might be my favorite tune of the whole set. The modern metal edges on this things are purely on fire. This has some of the best guitar and bass work of the set.
Days Are Nights (feat. Ted Nugent)
This thing is mean. It is driving, rocking and very cool. The biggest disappointment of this song is the guitar soloing. It's the most pedestrian of the set.
 
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