Various Artists – The Second Coming…A Millennium Tribute to 80`s Heavy Metal and Hard Rock

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: December 1999
Released: 1999, Versailles Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Some “metal” and hard rock was best left to the 80’s, there’s no doubt about that. These better left to the 80’s bands were the (at the time) trendy glam metal bands. This CD is different than most tributes as it’s not a tribute to a single band, it’s a tribute to an era. Out of the 14 tracks on here there are some that to me shouldn’t of made it on the CD and there are bands that were left out. For example, when you’re talking 80’s metal and hard rock then you cannot leave out Ronnie James Dio, W.AS.P., Ratt, and a a slew of others! But hey, you can’t please everyone and some bands won’t make the final cut.

Since each band on this tribute has their own interpretation of the song they cover I felt it would only be fair to look at each cover individually and give a rating for each. Then for the fun of it I added up the ranking and averaged them out to see what the overall rating at the top is!

The CD opens up with a cover of Twisted Sister’s “Under the Blade” performed by American Dog What would a tribute to 80’s metal be without Twisted Sister? Unfortunately, their cover of this song did nothing for me. Rating 1/5.

Next up, Cage cover the classic Judas Priest tune “Freewheel Burning.” Priest are one of those 80’s bands that still mean something today, who are still together and putting out great music – even if they’ve only put out 2 studio CD’s in the 90’s (Painkiller and Jugulator). For a band to cover Priest they have to meet some high standards. Cage’s version is VERY close to the original. The vocals are almost perfect, only in one or two places did I notice that the vocalist didn’t reach the exact pitch that Halford at one time could reach. The leads were again almost flawless. I don’t know if this band’s own material sounds like Priest or if they have their own identity but this cover gets a 5/5!

Sticking out like a sore thumb is a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Don’t Believe A Word” by a band called Southern Rock Allstars I don’t really understand why this is on this CD. I never considered Thin Lizzy to be metal anyway. I can’t really comment on the cover that these guys do other than to say I don’t like this song and it’s simple boring rock…next please. Rating 1/5.

Guns ‘n Roses…why anyone would want to include them on a tribute is beyond me. After all, they only did one half decent album in 1987! “Welcome to the Jungle” is covered here by L.A.’s Guttersluts They manage to make the song more un-listenable than the original by turning it into mud. Rating 0/5.

Premonition deliver a cover of Ozzy’s “I Don’t Know” that vocally is so close to the original it’s scary. They have slightly changed the rhythm at the beginning which really didn’t add to the song and made it a little less lively. The solos are played very well, Randy would be proud. Rating 4/5.

Def Leppard are another band that I have never been a fan of. I did however like one of their CD’s – “Pyromania” (what fucking metalhead didn’t have that in their collection in 1983?). This album reminds me of being 13 again whereas their later material reminds me of why I turned to bands like Metallica and Anthrax in the 80’s to escape from the glam nightmare. That said, Straightjacket Smile aka Mudbone provide an excellent rendition of “Photograph.” The vocals here are almost dead-on and the guitar riffing near the beginning of the song sounds heavier than the original. Rating 4/5.

Wraith provide a so-so version of Quiet Riot’s “Bang You Head (Metal Health).” Musically this is done accurately but not many people can attempt to sound like Kevin DuBrow and pull it off. Again, this song fits in perfectly on this CD and reminds me of the early 80’s big-time! Rating 4/5.

“Transformers…robots in the sky”. Remember that cartoon? Well the next band on here, Salvo have taken their vocal ideas from the theme music from that cartoon complete with the robot synthesized vocals and used it to cover Motorhead’s “Orgasmatron.” On fist listen I laughed, by the second I thought it was different and cool, after hearing it a couple more times it’s getting old. That whole ministry thing is kinda repetitive and boring anyway. At least they have put their own stamp on this cover so that’s a 3/5.

There have been enough tributes to Iron Maiden done in recent years that I don’t think anyone needs to be covering Maiden for a while. Yes, Maiden were gods of metal in the 80’s but if you want to hear Maiden tributes go buy “Maiden Tribute.” A band called Tempered Steel cover “Revelations.” Vocally, Bruce Dickinson this isn’t! It’s not bad, but considering that Bruce is about the all-time best metal vocalist in my books you’d better not cover this unless you either completely change the vocals and only keep it the same if you can hit every note. the highpoint of this cover are the leads, for the most part done well. Rating 2.5/5.

This is the epitome of sleaze, the bottom of the barrel. Faster Pussycat were total glam poseurs whom you could count their decent songs on one hand, and that would be stretching it. Believe it or not the cover provided here is worse than the original. “Smash Alley” is covered by Detox Darlings Rating 1/5.

A Dokken cover?!?! Wow, this is different, and it’s not even one of their more pop-orientated songs. Black Widow do a fine job covering “When Heaven Comes Down.” On vocals we have a chick, but that doesn’t detract from the song because Don Dokken always sounded a bit like a chick anyway haha. The leads are not quite up to George Lynch’s caliber but it’s close for a 3/5.

Red Hot are a Motley Crue tribute band. You’d think that these guys would therefore probably have the best cover version on this CD as their entire reason for being is to copy another band. It’s sad then that they fail miserably with “Kickstart My Heart.” First off the drums are off and dumbed down. The vocals are ok but in places waver off-key. Why they picked a song that was from Dr. Feelgood is silly. They should of picked something from Too Fast or from Shout…something that is more classic. Rating 2/5.

O.C.D. are a band that has totally put their stamp on their cover of Alice Cooper’s “I Love The Dead.” Wait, you’re saying Cooper is better known for his 70’s stuff! You’re right, but I think we’d all rather hear this then a cover of Cooper’s “Poison” or “He’s Back (the man behind the mask)”…yuck. This sounds very little like the original and that’s why I like it. O.C.D. have the originality to make something new out of this song and breathe new life into it! Rating 5/5.

Closing out the CD is Mudbone – yeah scroll back, they are the same band as Straightjacket Smile?!! They do an impressive cover of White Lion’s “Wait.” I never liked this band much but “Wait” and “Little Fighter” were half cool. White Lion’s lead guitarist, Vito Bratta(?) was/is very talented and the fact that Mudbone’s guitarist plays the solo on this note for note had me impressed. The vocals on this one are also un-real in that they are so close to the original! I’m wondering what ever happened to White Lion…maybe they have renamed themselves Mudbone? I wouldn’t be surprised!! Rating 5/5.


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