When famous legendary musicians record a cover album, it is always no less than wandering. All the more in case of new super group (or rather project) BPMD, especially when their debut album American Made is fully complies with its name.
BPMD are vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth (Overkill), drummer Mike Portnoy (Sons Of Apollo, The Winary Dogs, ex-Dream Theater), bassist Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and guitarist Phil Demmel (Vio-Lence, ex-Machine Head), really legendary line-up. But what drove these musicians to record a cover album? According to Mark Menghi, the reason was quite mundane: “Last summer, right after the Fourth of July, I was sitting in my backyard. I was listening to a bunch of ’70s stuff and Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Saturday Night Special” came on. I said, ‘Man, I would love to play that song,’ and my eight-year-old son turned to me and said, “You should do a record of all these songs, Dad.” And I was like, “Hmmm? Yeah, why not!?!”” Then every member offered two songs, together they chose two more and started to rehearse and record.
The album opens with Bobby’s screams and then the band starts to play играть “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”. Keeping Rock’-n-‘roll drive of the original song, BPMD added some heaviness and dynamics with good guitar solo. The next one, “Toys In The Attic”, which was released as the first single, sounds much angrier than original one: musicians turned perky Aerosmith‘s hit to almost Thrashy, well arranged song. Here Phil Demmel’s play need to be mentioned: he didn’t played note to note Joe Perry or Brad Whitford’s parties but joined them together, adding lots of his own stuff. The same happened in ZZ Top‘s “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers”: obviously, nobody can replicate the original song so BPMD got really creative here, made this piece heavier and faster with the place for everyone to stand out. “D.O.A.” is also worth attention: the band made it “dirtier” and more aggressive than original one, and they did it really well.
On the other hand heaviness isn’t always for good. Initially “Evil” sounded like an American Led Zeppelin with great rhythm section, but BPMD with their thrashy sound ruined the atmosphere a little and Bobby went a little bit too far with aggression in his voice. But Mike Portnoy and Mark Menghi showed all they got here. The same problem is in notorious “Saturday Night Special”: aggression and hefty guitars removed all the Southern Rock utterly, leaving only badly pent up Thrash Metal. And if they did it really good with ZZ Top, with Lynyrd Skynyrd they didn’t. Blue Öyster Cult‘s “Tattoo Vampire” went too far from the original sound, turned to some Punk and honestly I still can’t decide is it good or not.
I really love covers, especially when the artist adds something from himself, showing his view on someone else’s piece. Jhonny Cash‘s “Hurt” is brilliant, Metallica coped well with “Whiskey In The Jar”; at the end of the day we can recall Marilyn Manson‘s “Sweet Dreams” and “Sound Of Silence” from Disturbed. But unfortunately I can’t say it about the whole American Made. Of course, everything played expertly and the album sounds really solid – you can’t expect something else from the line-up like this. But sometimes it’s not enough to make the song just “heavier”, so partially this album sounds quite pale and let’s say “debatable”. But I really need to thank BPMD for a couple of songs, which I’ve never heard before, they are great.
American Made was released on June, 12th via Napalm Records.
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