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Appice: Sinister

An album from a pair of drumming brothers may not immediately sound like the most enticing prospect, but when we're talking the brothers Appice, things suddenly become a whole lot more exciting. With the elder of the two, Carmine, having worked with everyone from Cactus to Ozzy, Vanilla Fudge to Rod Stewart and King Kobra to Blue Murder, and Vinny long known as the drum presence in Dio, Black Sabbath, Kill Devil Hill, World War III and Last In Line, not only have this sibling pair worked with the great and the good of the metal and rock worlds, they also know how to construct a killer tune. Sinister is the duo's debut and rather than being a dressed up instructional drum disc, it's an album that brims with cracking cuts that nod reverentially to the pair's musical past and all with aid of a stellar cast list. In the guitar department, the likes of Vinny's ex-Dio mate, Craig Goldy, Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), Erik Turner (Warrant) and Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal (Gins N' Roses) all drop by. While ex and current band mates of Carmine appear in the shape of ex-Blue Murder (and The Firm) fretless bass monster Tony Franklin and King Kobra crooner Paul Shortino and guitarist Mick Sweda. As if that wasn't enough, Phil Soussan (Ozzy) adds extra bass, Erik Norlander some keys, while Jim Crean, Chas West (Bonham/Lynch Mob), Scotty Bruce and Robin McAuley all bring their vocals chops to the party. The most surprising singing contribution, however, might well be that of Carmine himself, a long hidden bluesy roar coming to the fore on "You Got Me Running" where we find the drummer almost reminding of Graham Bonnet which sure ain't bad company to keep.

Elsewhere, "Monsters And Heroes" is a lyrical tribute to Ronnie James Dio, the much missed singer's songs and bands referenced throughout as Shortino proves a perfect fit on a song that's more Whitesnake than it is Dio but that doesn't stop it being an excellent nod to one of the best singer's we've ever heard. Ironically "Killing Floor" brings a stronger Dio or Sabbath meets Kingdom Come vibe, with Chas West manning the mic with real authority. While the cover of Blue Murder's "Riot" proves what an underrated trio Carmine, Tony Franklin (who apparently doesn't play on this new version) and John Sykes truly were, ex-MSG/Grand Prix frontman Robin McAuley doing this tremendous song proud behind the mic. The album closer, on the other hand, alludes to Vinny's time with Ronnie James Dio prior to the singer's band being formed, "Sabbath Mash" a fun filled romp through Dio and Ozzy era Sabbath cuts that the younger Appice will have performed countless times with the band itself. With clever arrangements and a clear affections for the songs being honoured, it's a great way to close a really good disc.

Throughout, as you'd expect, the drumming is excellent, some cuts finding the brothers doubling up on percussive duties, while the mainly instrumental "Drum Wars" finds the duo split across the left and right channels to great effect. The autobiographical "Bros In Drums" tells the story of Carmine nurturing his brother until he became his drum equal, but again here, while the drums are understandably a little higher in the mix than you might usually expect, Sinister remains more about the songs than the individual performances. Although as you'd anticipate from the brothers Appice, there are copious, but never intrusive, tempo changes, tom fills and snare breaks.

Two drummers making an album doesn't feel like the most natural fit in the world, even when the pairing in question are as talented as this. However, to their credit Sinister is an excellent debut crammed with crafted songs that stand up to repeat listens, while reminding of the stunning catalogue of work these drummers have helped create. Hopefully it won't be a one off.


Track Listing
1. SINISTER
2. MONSTERS AND HEROES
3. KILLING FLOOR
4. DANGER
5. DRUM WARS
6. RIOT
7. SUDDENLY
8. IN THE NIGHT
9. FUTURE PAST
10. YOU GOT ME RUNNING
11. BROS IN DRUMS
12. WAR CRY
13. SABBATH MASH

Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Carmine Appice online
Hits: 347
Language: english

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