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A Tribute to Vinnie Vincent
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Kiss My Ankh
A Tribute to Vinnie Vincent
SplitScreen Entertainment
2008
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
www.splitscreenentertainment.com
http://www.myspace.com/kissmyankh
Rating:
4.0 stars

This was an interesting CD to get for review. There has unquestionably been a rash of tribute albums released over the last number of years with many members of the hard rock community participating. So much to the point it is almost too much and many times it the same cast of characters partaking in the proceedings. I mean how many times do you need to hear someone like Jani Lane sing a BON JOVI or AEROSMITH song?

But “Kiss My Ankh” is a bit different in that it pays homage not a particular band but to a talented songwriter and guitarist (even if he’s a bit of a strange person) by the name of Vinnie Vincent. Vincent was of coarse the one guitarist of KISS and also the aptly named VINNIE VINCENT INVASION. Although Vinnie hasn’t been heard from in years it’s great to again hear some of the songs he’s penned. The other cool thing about this tribute is it features a number of unknown names alongside some hard rock veterans and it makes for an interesting listen for sure.

The tribute opens with the band DOUBLE VIRGO taking on the song “Killer” from the KISS “Creatures Of The Night”. The song is done with much respect to the original. The vocals are classic sounding and the background vocals sound great.

Next up is the KISS classic “I Still Love You” which is performed by the indie band GODS OF FIRE. The version they offer up sounds like KISS meets IRON MAIDEN with a slight progressive spin. Kind of cool indeed!

The female act FUTURE 86 tackles KISS’s “Lick It Up”. The vocals remind me a bit of New Jersey act SARAYA without being quite as polished. It’s a decent version and certainly interesting to hear with the female vocal perspective.

The next track is maybe the strongest of the collection as Steve Brown (TRIXTER, 40ft. RINGO, STEREO FALLOUT) gives his take on the KISS track “A Million To One”. His rendition is an acoustic treatment with Brown’s smooth vocals. The solo is done electrically and his version simply gives the song a brand new life.

The VINNIE VINCENT INVASION anthem “Boyz Are Gonna Rock” is featured next as Mike Weeks along with Andre LaBelle and T.J. Racer pull off a faithful version. The vocals are almost spot-on to the original Robert Fleischman-sung track from the debut VVI CD back in 1986. Also the guitar playing is great and I would think Vincent himself would be possibly impressed!

One of my favorite Vincent penned compositions is up next as “Back On The Streets” is given the tribute treatment. The original version is from the debut VVI album but the version I like a little better was on the debut John Norum (EUROPE) CD from 1987. JAZAN WILD doesn’t really do the tune any justice as his vocals are on the weaker side. Also the sound quality is that of a pre-production demo and it never comes close to reaching the heights of the original.

The track “That Time of Year” which is from the 2nd VINNIE VINCENT INVASION CD “All Systems Go” follows and this is a great version. The original was set to one of my favorite MTV videos from back in the day as it featured porn starlet Tori Welles! Sheldon Tarsha (ADLER’S APPETITE) along with Ryan Roxie (ALICE COOPER), Marko Pukkila (ex-ALTARIA) and Troy Patrick Farrell (MIKE TRAMP’S WHITE LION) give a more than faithful rendition with the vocals sounding almost spot-on to the Mark Slaughter-sung original. The song is definitely another winner for this tribute.

Next the other ballad from “All Systems Go” is undertaken by Kelli McCloud and Vic Rivera (ADRIANGALE, CRUNCH and POLEY/RIVERA). McCloud’s female vocals are actually nicely suited for this track as she does a good job with the song. Also Rivera handles Vincent’s licks with ease as he does a fine job on this track.

The tribute next takes a strange turn with the KISS tune “Unholy”. With what I can only assume is death metal act of sorts as CURSE GOD AND DIE turn in an almost scary version of the song and one that is almost unrecognizable to the original.

The tribute ends with the band THE DEAD ZOO KEEPERS (don’t worry, I asked myself the same question!) doing the KISS song “I Just Wanna”. I wasn’t sure what to expect with a band by that name doing the song but it isn’t too bad. It’s pretty much a straightforward version with some interesting elements added to keep it interesting. The vocals have a slight ALICE COOPER feel which is a cool side note to the track.

There is also a bonus track featured which is very funny and actually has a story behind it. You can read all about it at the record label website (www.splitscreenentertainment.com). The track “Unholy” is featured yet again but this time in parody form with the lyrics being reworked to be about DANGER DANGER singer Ted Poley! Yes, it is very funny and just about worth the price of admission for this tribute. The song features the one and only R-n-R fruit C.C. Banana featured here as “BANANA 7” and he gets some help from none other than Chris Caffery of SAVATAGE and TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA fame.

This is an interesting tribute CD in a crowd that features many lackluster tribute CD’s. It’s worth checking out for the sheer obscurity and just plain originality factor but it also turns in some pretty decent performances by some known and some not-so-known names in the hard rock community.

All in all, it’s definitely a good job by Splitscreen Entertainment. Maybe they should give Cleopatra Records some advice on doing tributes!


Band Lineup:
  • Various bands/musicians, see track list

 

Track Listing:
  1. Killer by Double Virgo
  2. I Still Love You by Gods Of Fire
  3. Lick It Up by Future 86
  4. A Million To One by Steve Brown
  5. Boyz Are Gonna Rock by Mike Weeks (w/ Andre LaBelle & TJ Racer)
  6. Back On The Streets by Jazan Wild
  7. That Time of Year by Sheldon Tarsha (w/ Ryan Roxie, Marko Pukkila & Troy Patrick Farrell)
  8. Love Kills by Kelli McCloud & Vic Rivera
  9. Unholy by Curse God And Die
  10. I Just Wanna – The Dead Zoo Keepers
  11. Ted Poley (parody of Unholy) by C.C. Banana (as Banana 7) & Chris Caffery

 

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