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Carmine Appice's Guitar Zeus: Conquering Heroes

Legendary drummer, Carmine Appice, has thrown together 24 of the best tunes from his Guitar Zeus records, calling the compilation Conquering Heroes (Fuel Records). This double disc best of set features some of the best Rock guitarists today including: Steve Morse, Ted Nugent, Paul Gilbert, Brian May, Warren DeMartini, Dweezil Zappa, Neal Schon and Yngwie Malmsteen, to mention a handful. The Guitar Zeus projects have been a pretty cool outlet for today's Guitar God's to stretch out a bit and bring their tone and taste to songs other than their own.

The Guitar Zeus band itself consists of Mr. Appice on drums, of course, the Fretless Bass wonder, Tony Franklin (Blue Murder, The Firm) and the amazing vocals and rhythm guitar of the great Kelly Keeling (one of my personal favorite singers!). With this solid foundation, the 24 tracks picked for this compilation are a good example of what the entire Guitar Zeus thing is all about. Not a Heavy Rock record at all and actually with more of a Bluesy feel and at quite a few times a Psychedelic trippy aspect, Conquering Heroes delves into quite a few different "feels". Lead of track, "Dislocated" features the shred styling's of Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big) and is a nice up tempo Rocker with Gilbert doing what he does best. Some of the best standout solo's come from the chromatic licks of Steve Morse ( The Dregs, Kansas, Deep Purple) in the song "Four Miles High", the soulful Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Bad Moon Rising, Dio) in "So Long", the always funky Stevie Salas (Sass Jordan, session work with Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger) on "Stash", the much underrated Ty Tabor (King's X, Platypus, Jelly Jam) on "Trippin' Again" and the one and only Zakk Wylde, where you know it's him after 2 notes on the cool "Code 19". But the Conquering Heroes show is completely stolen by 3 players; Ted Nugent, Yngwie Malmsteen and Neal Schon! While I was a bit miffed in the unrecognizable lead work of some of my favorite players (Brian May, Warren DeMartini, Vivian Campbell), Nugent's work on "Days Are Nights" and "Even Up The Score" are quite possibly his finest lead work in his storied career. Very inspired, indeed. And while one would expect Yngwie to do his "neo-classical" shredding, he does NOT, but rather restrains himself and does some very tasty blues infused lick work. I have always wished Yngwie would slow down and do more Blusey playing and on the song, "This Time Around" (also featuring the awesome pipes of King's X's own Dug Pinnick) you get to hear what Yngwie can really do. This is also the heaviest tune on the record. But the best lead work is done by the most underrated guitarist in Rock history, Mr. Neal Schon! He stole the show on the '80's Metal take on the "We are the World" single with the Hear n Aid project single "Stars" and the 2 solos on this Guitar Zeus record, "Safe" and "Out Of Mind" are simply stellar. He has that killer tone that he's had on every NON Journey, Hard Rock project he's done (H.S.A.S, Neal Schon/Jan Hammer) and is also instantly recognizable. Schon just tears it up and I for one, am NOT surprised.

The Guitar Zeus projects are more about featuring the different guitar players used on each record than the songs, in my opinion, and on this compilation it kind of shows. While all of the playing is just great, it's the over use of Beatle-esque themes, tones and the overall Sgt. Pepper's vibe that grate on your nerves. Their melody lines are so over used that you begin to wonder if you are listening to a Beatles tribute record or not. Other songs are just lacking a bit and seem contrived, but like I said this a vehicle to celebrate the guitar players and not a songwriters album, so it is what it is. Carmine Appice has played with a TON of great players in his days and the Guitar Zeus series is just another way of him giving guitar players a way to shine. And for fans of the guitar and of any of the players featured on these CDs, enjoy.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. Dislocated (Featuring Paul Gilbert)
2. This Time Around - (Yngwie Malmsteen)
3. Safe (Featuring Neal Schon)
4. Miles High - (Featuring Steve Morse)
5. So Long (Featuring Doug Aldrich)
6. Nobody Knew (Black White House) (Featuring Brian May)
7. Guitar Zeus (Part I) (Featuring Jennifer Batten)
8. Killing Time (Featuring Ty Tabor)
9. Where You Belong (Featuring Slash)
10. Days Are Nights - (Featuring Ted Nugent)
11. Time to Set Alarms (Featuring Elliot Easton)
12. Under the Moon and Sun (Featuring Mick Mars)
13. Guitar Zeus (Part 2) (Featuring Leslie West)

Disc: 2
1. Stash - (Featuring Stevie Salas)
2. Code 19 (Featuring Zakk Wylde
3. Perfect Day (Featuring Warren DeMartini)
4. Gonna Rain (Featuring Richie Sambora)
5. Crusin' (Featuring Denny Laine)
6. Even Up the Score (Featuring Ted Nugent)
7. Out of Mind-(Featuring Neal Schon)
Guitar Zoo (Interlude) (Featuring C.C. DeVille)
8. Snake (Featuring Bruce Kulick)
9. Trippin' Again (Featuring Ty Tabor)
10. Dead Wrong (Featuring Dweezil Zappa)
11. Doing Fine (Featuring Vivian Campbell)
12. My Own Advice- (Featuring Kenji Kitajima)
Channel Mind Radio (Interlude)
13. Where You Belong (Featuring Paul Gilbert)
14. G.Z. Blues (Featuring Seymour Duncan & Steven Seagal)

Added: September 27th 2009
Reviewer: Butch Jones
Related Link: Official MySpace Page
Hits: 3315
Language: english

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