Appice – “Sinister” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Oh wow, ever wondered what would happen if legendary drum brothers Carmine and Vinnie Appice got together to record an album – well, check out “Sinister”! With big brother Carmine making his name with Rod Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne and Vinnie drumming for Sabbath and Dio, everyone knows the skills and power these guys have, and on this 13 track monster they invited just a few (!) friends to join them in creating something truly special. From Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, Ex-Quiet Riot), Robin McAuley (MSG) and Chas West (Ex-Bonham, Ex-Lynch Mob) among the vocalists, there’s a choice of guitarists including Craig Goldy (Ex-Dio, Ex-Giuffria), Bumblefoot (Ex-Guns N’ Roses) and Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), while doing the bass rounds are Tony Franklin (Ex-Blue Murder, Ex-The Firm), Phil Soussan (Ex-Ozzy Osbourne) and Johnny Rod (King Kobra, Ex-WASP) – all together making quite a racket in 2 studios on either sides of the US! Despite the seemingly dark aspect of the album and the undoubted power (especially from Vinnie) there’s also plenty of grooves and melodies (from Carmine) with definite precision from both, and has been the success of winning collaborations, the material has been definitely crafted to suit the skills and styles of the guests. Needless to say, with such talent on board, it all works a treat on the songs here, which are essentially hard rock, melodic rock, funk rock and rock n roll taking in aspects of the above bands and naturally with plenty of drum pyro! Powering in comes the driving rock of opener ‘Sinister’ with its heavy riffage contrasted by some swanky blues guitar breaks and wild solos – not to mention twin mini drum solos – before tripping out towards the end thanks to Erik Norlander’s (Lana Lane) keyboards. Adding a Rush prog like dimension on ‘Suddenly’ Paul Shortino adds his high-ish tones that contrast well with Tony Franklin’s rough hewn bass lines, while more dazzling guitars are provided by Craig Golding, completed by the heavy drum backdrop. Best of all though, is ‘Sabbath Mash’ that blends ‘Iron Man’ into ‘War Pigs’ and then ‘Paranoid’, with the creepy vocals provided by Jim Crean (vocalist for Vinny and Carmine Appice’s “Drum Wars” series of shows) and Warrant’s Erik Turner on guitar and Norlander adding some cheeky classical keys. Definitely not an everyday occurrence, “Sinister” brings together an impressive list of names on this fun but worthy release thanks to the pull of not one, but two of hard rock’s greatest drummers!