What a line up and what an album, Bobby Blitz (Overkill), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theatre, Sons Of Apollo) Mark Menghi (Metal Allegiance) and Phil Demmel (Vio-lence, Machine Head) lend their considerable musical muscle to some old school American classic rock tracks and turn them into modern metal masterpieces.
As Blitz screams us into the opening track, Ted Nugent’s “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang” you know you’re in for a good time as Portnoy smashes the drums, Menghi lays down a thick bass with Demmel absolutely ripping on the guitar, there was simply no other way to start this album other than with this absolute cracker. Aerosmith’s “Toys In The Attic” is next for shaving, it’s a faster heavier version but in keeping with the original, Blitz tries to keep his voice in check with Steven Tyler’s and does a really good job while the rest of the lads give it socks and Demmel gives Joe Perry a run for his money with his solo. If you know Willie Dixon’s “Evil” then you will not recognize it here as they do a complete rehash of it with the guitar replacing the piano and harmonica, it’s a strange choice of tracks but pretty cool and it grows on you. “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” is a great cover of everyone’s favorite bearded rockers ZZ Top, while the original is a bluesy affair these guys turn it on its head with a much quicker and heavier beat but still keeping the essence of the original, again Demmel tears it up on the guitars with Portnoy laying it out on the drums. Skynyrd’s “Saturday Night Special” gets a reworking of immense proportions, a real gritty version with Blitz snarling his way throughout, Demmel’s riffs run deep and heavy with the solo a near carbon copy just a little cleaner and clearer. “Tattoo Vampire” is a little less bassy than the original Blue Oyster Cult version but Menghi gives it loads and a little solo midway through is deadly while Portnoy beating the living daylights out of the drums and Demmel slaying on the guitar.
Van Halen’s “D.O.A.” is a classic and these guys do it serious justice, with Blitz getting all David Lee Roth’s shrieks spot on as Demmel’s guitar sounds like it was taken straight off the original it’s that close to Eddie Van Halen’s sound, a real contender for track of the album. James Gang’s “Walk Away” is nearly unrecognizable as it is a mellow stoner groove that has been transformed to a high tempo kickass rocker with thick bass, a frantic drumbeat as Demmel shreds and Blitz kills it on the vocals. “Never In My Life” is a funky number just like the original from Mountain with a metronomic beat running through it and Blitz is really in the groove with his vocals as the rest of the band follow suit kicking it enough to let Demmel riff and shred for nearly another two minutes longer than the original, a class track made better. “We’re An American Band” brings the curtain down on a brilliant album, a whole lot different than the original but for the better; it takes a classic track and turns it into a heavy hitter with meaty riffs, pounding drums, thumping bass and Blitz owning the vocals as only he can.
Classic tracks covered classically.
01 – Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
02 – Toys In The Attic
03 – Evil
04 – Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
05 – Saturday Night Special
06 – Tattoo Vampire
07 – D.O.A.
08 – Walk Away
09 – Never In My Life
10 – We’re an American Band
American Made will be available in the following formats:
– 1-CD Jewel Case
– 1-LP Gatefold BLACK
– 1-LP Gatefold Red/White/Blue Splatter (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Jewel Case Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Black Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– American Made T-Shirt + Vinyl Red/White/Blue Splatter Bundle (NPR Mailorder exclusive / North America ONLY)
– Digital Album
June 12, 2020
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth: Vocals
Phil Demmel: Guitar
Mark Menghi: Bass
Mike Portnoy: Drums