Appice, Carmine: Ultimate Guitar Zeus
The mere mention of the name Carmine Appice brings to mind so many different things. A drum legend, the legendary bands he's played with, the simple fact that he's been in the biz for 4 decades. Carmine Appice is a rock 'n roll mainstay. Cactus, Vanilla Fudge, Beck Bogart Appice, Rod Stewart, Ozzy, Blue Murder, these are just a few of the amazing groups and guitarists that are on his resume. Which brings us to the new CD release of the Carmine Appice Project's Ultimate Guitar Zeus(Escapi Music). The band features the talents of the fretless bass wonder, one Tony (Blue Murder) Franklin and one of the underrated and over looked hard rock singers on the planet, Kelly Keeling, who also doubles on rhythm guitar.
Ultimate Guitar Zeus features some of the biggest lead guitar player names in Rock today; Slash, Brian May of Queen, Neal Schon of Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ty Tabor of King's X, Zakk Wylde, Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Pat Travers, Steve Morse, Ted Nugent and more.The band is as tight as can be, and who would expect any less from Appice, Franklin and Keeling? This CD is made up of 99% new and original music, with the exception of a blues-ed version of the Rod Stewart classic "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" (which Carmine Appice has a songwriting credit!) with the great Pat Travers adding some great guitar work and backing vocals to Carmine Appice's own lead vocals! A great drummer and even a cool voice!! Carmine's drumming throughout this CD is exactly what you would expect from a legend of his caliber, tight and precise. But he lets things breath to allow the songs and the guitar players to shine.
Now if you are a guitar fan like myself, you might be a little disappointed and also a bit surprised. Some of the greatest guitar players of our time have left their "A" game at home. The original songs on this release are pretty strong, but some of the leads are disappointing. Case in point, the track "Nobody Knew" featuring the one and only Brian May. Now anyone that knows anything about the legendary Mr.May knows about the legendary" Brian May Tone". Unfortunately, "The Tone" is no where to be found and neither are the chops that made him famous. I had to actually look at the CD jacket to see who was playing on this song! Not that it's not a good solo, it's just a very average solo. But then there's Mr. Yngwie J. Malmsteen! Yngwie not only has one of the best solos on this record, but it is TOTALLY restrained, thoughtful and BLUESY! Words never, ever used to describe anything about Yngwie. The song "This Time Around", also featuring the vocal talents of Mr. King's X, Doug Pinnick ( if not the best Hard Rock singer of the past 15 years, then who is??). This is the total stand out Rocker of the lot and Pinnick and Yngwie just flat out nail it!!! I, for one have always wished that Yngwie would do a blues record. Fabulous!!
Other highlights on the CD are "Code 19" featuring one of the last guitar slingers Zakk Wylde, "4 Miles High" with the amazing Steve Morse, "Killin' Time" with Ty Tabor who never disappoints and "Out of Mind" with maybe the best solo on the record by the one of the most underrated guitar players of the past 30 years, Journey's Neal Schon. Schon just tears it up! There is even a track featuring the guitar pickup making legend, Seymour Duncan and Steven Seagal. Yes, you read it correctly, actor Steven Seagal!!! They pull out a blues instrumental called "OZ Blues". And Seagal is NOT half bad! Seymour Duncan does most of the work, of course, and his tone is great (which it had better be!! Lol).
Songs on this CD range from very Beatlesque, "Gonna Rain" to almost psychedelic to Hard Rockin' romps. There are some fantastic guitar offerings on this record, as well as some lackluster performances, as well. But all and all, the trio of Appice, Franklin and Keeling do a great job of setting up their guitar playing special guests. This is a breath of fresh air to have original material for these guitar legends to show their talents, rather than the tired old "cover song" formula. Carmine Appice is purely a living legend and a marvel. The guy still looks like he's in his 30's!!
With 2/3 of the original Blue Murder in the fold, lets hope that that he & Tony Franklin can corral one John Sykes (MIA on this record) for a Blue Murder reunion. I for one will the 1st person in line for that!!
- Days Are Nights
- Nobody Knew
- Where You Belong
- 4 Miles High
- Gonna Rain
- This Time Around
- Killin' Time
- Doing Fine
- Under The Moon & Sun
- Code 19
- Out Of Mind
- Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
- OZ Blues
Added: August 25th 2006
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Carmine Appice Website
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