Anthrax- Orianthi- Ricky Byrd- Adrenaline Mob
Here's a fun E.P. where Anthrax covers some of their favorite bands from the '70s. Versions of Thin Lizzy's "Jailbreak" and AC/DC's "TNT" are biggies that you might expect Anthrax to include but most of the other choices are a bit surprising: Cheap Trick's "Big Eyes," Journey's "Keep on Runnin'," "Anthem" by Rush and Boston's "Smokin'" where the band (necessarily for the song) augments their sound by bringing in keys player Fred Mandel (Alice Cooper, Supertramp.) The original arrangements for the songs are honored so this little one-off recording should satisfy both Anthrax fans and those who've heard the originals a million times. Two versions of the band's own "Crawl" round out Anthems.
Heaven in This Hell
For the last five years or so Orianthi's career has been mostly defined by her role as guitarist for hire, including as a member of the bands of Carrie Underwood and Alice Cooper. She was in rehearsals with Michael Jackson for the ill-fated This is It tour at the time of the superstar's death. Lately though Orianthi has made an effort to showcase herself as the well-rounded artist that she is and with Heaven in This Hell she demonstrates her prowess not only as a hot guitar player but also as a vocalist and songwriter (she co-wrote all of the set's 11 tunes.) A good chunk of the album finds Orianthi rocking out Pat Benatar-style but there's also swampy southern rock ("Fire") soulful pop ("How Does That Feel?") and smoky blues ("How Do You Sleep"), all finely polished by producer Dave Stewart.
Byrd is the former guitarist for the Blackhearts, Joan Jett's band, and here he pays tribute to the bands and sounds that he cut his teeth on in the '70s. To his credit Byrd has chosen to write fresh songs that sound like the era as opposed to just reeling off a bunch of covers and the results include great tunes like the guitar and piano rave-up "Rock'n'Roll Boys," a tribute to Mott the Hoople that couldn't sound any more Mott-like if Ian Hunter had written it himself. The inspiration for "Foolish Kind" is easily recognizable too; it's an homage to the Faces. But elsewhere the influences, including bits of the Stones, Humble Pie and soul music from the era blend together so as not to be pegged as honoring just one act. What matters is that its all good stuff; a very satisfying solo debut.
Adrenaline Mob is Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater, Russell Allen from Symphony X, John Moyer from Disturbed and Mike Orlando from Sonic Stomp and here they put their talents together to cover eight well-known songs including Heart's "Barracuda," Led Zeppelin's "The Lemon Song, Van Halen's "Romeo Delight" and an incendiary take on Dio's "Stand Up and Shout."