Beatallica- Blowsight- Spoken
Yes, this band that mashes-up the Beatles and Metallica is a novelty act. But the fact is Beatallica is pretty good at what they do. Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band have previously been given the Beatallica makeover; this time out the band tackles the Abbey Road album, appended with a few additional songs from throughout the Beatles career. You can never tell until you listen which band any given song will favor; "Come Together" and "I Saw Her Standing There" are performed with their original arrangements intact, sounding like heavier versions of the Beatles songs but with Beatallica's faux (and spot-on) James Hetfield vocals replacing Lennon's. For "Michelle," one of the album's highlights, the tables are turned as the band performs the song completely in the Metallica mode. The quiet "Blackbird" is done as an acoustic instrumental; you keep waiting for some type of heavy Metallica twist but the song is instead a playing-it-straight mid-album respite from the bombast. Interpretations of "Sun King" and "Polythene Pam" are among the best of the Abbey Road covers.
Life & Death
Life & Death starts on a very heavy note with "It's Me You're Looking For," an Active Rock Radio pounder with furious drumming, guitars riffing like chainsaws and occasional screamed vocals. Still this Swedish band is into melodic metal and subsequent songs like "Back Where We Belong" and the Golden Earring-like "Play Play Play" are easy to sing along to and clearly crafted to attract a mainstream rock audience. "Through These Eyes" is the album's big slow ballad, "They Whisper…" is a brief spoken word piece voiced by a boy and "This Pain" is reminiscent of something Rob Zombie might do. The band has a motto of "we play what we want" and the numerous metal and hard rock styles on display here, all performed well, confirm the notion.
Screamed lyrics, woozy grinding guitars and an insistent drumbeat are the main ingredients of "Stand Alone" and the two songs that immediately follow it; with that heavy sound firmly established it's a bit of a surprise when "Through it All" comes through with soaring harmonies and a melodic arrangement that makes it fodder for the Top 40. "Take Everything" is another potential hit that's crafted for a wide audience; Spoken's hard, metal-edged music is well done but it is the slightly toned-down half of the album that'll get the band on radio and grow their fan base.