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"Sin-atra" (CD)

Belladonna - "Sin-atra" CD cover image

"Sin-atra" track listing:

1. New York, New York - Devin Townsend (Strapping Young Lad)
2. I’ve Got You Under My Skin - Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple)
3. Summerwind - Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche)
4. It Was A Very Good Year - Dee Snider (Twisted Sister)
5. Witchcraft - Tim “Ripper” Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth)
6. Fly Me To The Moon - Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)
7. Lady Is A Tramp - Eric Martin (Mr. Big)
8. Strangers In The Night - Joey Belladonna (Anthrax)
9. High Hopes - Franky Perez (Scars on Broadway)
10. I’ve Got The World On A String - dUg Pinnick (King’s X)
11. Love And Marriage - Elias Soriano (Nonpoint)
12. That’s Life - Jani Lane (Warrant)

Reviewed by on June 10, 2011

"Unless you're David Lee Roth, you're not likely to get a great result in combining the Vegas schmaltz and style of Frank Sinatra with the swagger of heavy metal. That's a lesson the producers and singers of 'Sin-atra' should've taken to heart."

Start spreadin' the news — "Sin-atra," the latest in an increasingly large number of 21st century novelty hard rock albums, is largely a failure both as heavy metal and as a tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes. Still, in the same way that even a broken clock is right twice a day, there are a handful of tracks here that mash the Rat Pack with Rat Salad with something approaching style.

Take, for example, Dee Snider's take on "It Was A Very Good Year," which producer/guitarist Bob Kulick and drummer Brett Chassen imbue with elements of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir." The song works because veteran rocker Snider manages to connect with the lyrics about a wistful older musician looking back at his youth.

Taking the title more literally than Frank Sinatra ever did, Tim "Ripper" Owens and the band turn "Witchcraft" into something that sounds as though — minus the muted trumpets — it could've come off a Judas Priest album. Chassen proves particularly adept at the tricky balance between jazzy swing and heavy metal pounding on this track.

Also worth mentioning is ex-Warrant vocalist Jani Lane's take on "That's Life," which takes the David Lee Roth route, blending hard rock guitars with glitzy schmaltz (Roth himself covered "That's Life" on "Eat 'Em And Smile"). Not quite as great, but still in the running is the appropriately glam rock take on "Lady Is A Tramp," courtesy of Mr. Big singer Eric Martin.

Unfortunately, other than those tracks, the album proves to be quite a difficult listen. Strapping Young Lad's Devin Townsend and the band, which, in addition to Kulick and Chassen, included ex-David Lee Roth and Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan, as well as Doug Katsaros on keyboards and orchestration, resort to total overkill on "New York, New York," with Townsend seeming to sing at a different tempo than the band.

Queensryche's Geoff Tate over-sings the gentle "Summerwind," while Cheap Trick frontman Robin Zander gets stuck with an attempt to create Hawkwind/Bowie-style space rock with "Fly Me To The Moon." Scars on Broadway's Frankie Perez tries to turn "High Hopes" into a punk rock tune while Anthrax's Joey Belladonna and Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes turn in generic rock takes on "Strangers In The Night" (complete with the doo-bee-doo-bee-doos) and "I've Got You Under My Skin."

The album's worst track, by far, is Nonpoint frontman Elias Soriano's "Love And Marriage," which seems to be trying to blend Sinatra's take (perhaps most familiar to viewers of "Married With Children"), with Motorhead-style drumming. It doesn't work.

Unless you're David Lee Roth, you're not likely to get a great result in combining the Vegas schmaltz and style of Frank Sinatra with the swagger of heavy metal. That's a lesson the producers and singers of "Sin-atra" should've taken to heart. Other than a handful of tracks that maintain the integrity and feel of the originals — albeit with a hard rock twist — the majority of the album feels like more of a joke than a tribute.

Highs: "It Was A Very Good Year," "Witchcraft" and "That's Life."

Lows: The majority of the tracks feel like more of a joke than an actual tribute to Sinatra.

Bottom line: This album feels like more of a joke than an actual tribute to Frank Sinatra.

Rated 2.0 out of 5 skulls
2.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)