BPMD – “American Made” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
BPMD is Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellesworth (Overkill) on throat, guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, ex-Machine Head), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and drummer Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs, Sons of Apollo). The band name is an initialism of their own surnames and ‘Blitz’ in the spirit of 70s bands like ELP (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young). Indeed, that is precisely what this band is all about, namely producing high quality versions of 70s songs that inspired their youth, while adding their own take on the classics of Ted Nugent (‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’), ZZ Top (‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’), Lynyrd Skynyrd (‘Saturday Night Special’) and Cactus (‘Evil’), to name but a few of the 10 tracks on this kick ass debut. While certainly bustin’ each others’ balls during the recording process at Menghi’s home studio, “American Made” goes well beyond a jam between friends into being a serious commitment to reimagining nostalgia, so do be expecting something different from the sheer heaviness of these covers thanks to Portnoy’s double bass drumming and Demmel’s unseen talent through his guitar work, covering both rhythm and lead, while adding licks and naturally thrashing it up a little! Menghi, for his own part, has been dedicated to ensuring his bass brings out even more of that era’s music in not just preserving its original 70s groove, but actually enhancing it while adding his own slick lines here and there. Along with Blitz’s unmistakeably raw vocals, BPMD has breathed new life and certainly plenty of fire into the material here. Kicking in on Aerosmith’s ‘Toys In The Attic’, Demmel’s heavy but clean riffs definitely hark back to the 70s, as do Blitz’s teasing vocals providing the Tyler attitude before Demmel returns with a wailing wah solo nicely blending in with Menghi’s rumbling bass and Portnoy’s pistoning drums – it’s a real chugger from the off! Replete with monster cowbell and an absolutely sassy blues lick comes Mountain’s ‘Never In My Life’, and as Blitz yelps and screams amid Demmel’s licks and warbles, Menghi rolls in his bass once more to add the soul and plenty of balls to boot. Closing with a total rocker in Grand Funk Railroad’s ‘We’re An American Band’, Portnoy rolls in his double bass drums and cowbell to the massive, irresistible groove pumped by Menghi’s booming bass along to Demmel’s riffing brilliantly sounding somewhere between rhythm and lead as Blitz fires in with his red blooded fire – wow. If you wanna know what made these dudes into who they are, then check out “American Made”, because that’s precisely what it is.