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"Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute" (CD)

 - "Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute" CD cover image

"Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute" track listing:

1. Hey Bulldog - Alice Cooper, vox; Steve Vai, guitars; Duff McKagen (Velvet Revolver/Guns N Roses), bass; Mikkey Dee (Motorhead), drums

2. Back In The USSR - Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead), vox/bass; John5 (Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie), guitars; Eric Singer (Kiss/Alice Cooper), drums

3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - Geoff Tate (Queensryche), vox; Michael Wilton (Queensryche), guitar; Craig Goldy (Dio), guitar; Rudy Sarzo (Dio), bass; Simon Wright (Dio), drums; Scott Warren (Dio), keys

4. Tomorrow Never Knows - Billy Idol, vox; Steve Stevens (Billy Idol), guitars; Blasko (Ozzy Osbourne), bass; Brian Tichy (Billy Idol), drums

5. Magical Mystery Tour - Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen/Soul Sirkus), vox; Yngwie Malmsteen (Rising Force/Alcatrazz), lead guitar; Bob Kulick (Meat Loaf/Paul Stanley Band), rhythm guitar; Jeff Pilson (Dokken/Foreigner), bass; Frankie Banali (Wasp/Quiet Riot), drums

6. Revolution - Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), vox/guitar; Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard), guitar; Mike Porcaro (Toto), bass; Gregg Bisonnette (David Lee Roth/Ringo Starr Band), drums; Joseph Fazzio (Superjoint Ritual), drums

7. Day Tripper - Jack Blades (Night Ranger/Damn Yankees), vox; Tommy Shaw (Styx/Damn Yankees), vox; Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake/Dio), guitars; Marco Mendoza (Whitesnake/Thin Lizzy), bass; Virgil Donati (Steve Vai/Soul Sirkus/Planet X), drums

8. I Feel Fine - John Bush (Anthrax), vox; Stephen Carpenter (Deftones), guitar; Mike Inez (Ozzy Osbourne/Alice In Chains), bass; John Tempesta (Testament), drums

9. Taxman - Doug Pinnick (Kings X), vox; Steve Lukather (Toto), guitar; Tony Levin (John Lennon/Peter Gabriel), bass; Steve Ferrone (Eric Clapton/Tom Petty), drums

10. I Saw Her Standing There - John Corabi (Motley Crue), vox; Phil Campbell (Motorhead), guitar; C.C. Deville (Poison), guitar; Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction), bass; Kenny Arnoff (Smashing Pumpkins/Jon Bon Jovi), drums

11. Hey Jude - Tim Owens (Judas Priest/Iced Earth), vox; George Lynch (Dokken/Lynch Mob), guitar; Bob Kulick (Meat Loaf/Paul Stanley Band), rhythm guitar; Tom Bogert (Vanilla Fudge/Beck/Bogert &Appice), bass; Chris Slade (AC/DC), drums

12. Drive My Car - Kip Winger (Winger), vox; Bruce Kulick (Kiss/Grand Funk), guitar; Tony Franklin (The Firm/Whitesnake), bass; Aynsley Dunbar (Whitesnake/Journey), drums

Reviewed by on December 12, 2007

"If you’re not bashing your head around… you must be dead"

Perhaps these tributes and cover albums that predictably come out every year are getting a bit out of hand, but “Butchering the Beatles” may well be the exception here--nobody has ‘metalised’ the Beatles before, and I doubt that any other tribute has ever collaborated so many skilled artists from so many musical styles. Now, if you’re looking for a death metal version of “Yellow Submarine,” a metalcore variation of “Twist and Shout,” or a thrashed-out “Eleanor Rigby,” then look elsewhere. What you’ll find on this record is some very old school ’80s rock anthem-type pieces featuring over fifty stars from some of the world’s most famous rock and metal bands. This is a tribute that cannot be denied attention, and shouldn’t be; we’re talking the greatest rock band of all time, after all.

“Hey Bulldog” gets your head nodding from the very outset, and you almost begin to think that it’s about time someone amped up the Beatles. This interpretation is what rockin’ is all about; the musicianship is solid and you can tell a lot of fun was had making it. Lemmy follows next, shouting “Back in the USSR” as only he can, and again you find yourself having a grand ol’ time rockin’ out. Loud and uncompromising, the first two tracks leave you charging for more of that good-time rock n’ roll. Damned lucky it doesn’t stop there. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is arguably one of the best covers on the record and definitely puts the original version in its place. If you’re not bashing your head around like a throw rug by now, you must be dead.

Unfortunately, the tribute does have its let downs, and “Tomorrow Never Knows” is one of them. You can tell Billy Idol’s giving the vocals all he’s got, but it just doesn’t come through for him and this really ruins the entire song. The actual music sounds weak, half-hearted, and there’s a clear lack of energy here. Yngwie, not entirely surprisingly, puts a little too much into his interpretation of “Magical Mystery Tour,” and the energy and excitement he obviously felt isn’t felt quite so much on the other end. “Revolution” gets the tribute back on track, with Gibbons adding a midnight inflection to the song that is held up impeccably by his peers, and the rockin’ feeling the first two songs pushed comes back for a second helping. “Day Tripper” proved a disappointment in the vocal department; however Doug Aldrich, Marco Mendoza and Virgil Donati have put forth a stellar effort.

“I Feel Fine” in almost no way reminds me of the original, and I just can’t make up my mind here. At times I found my socks had been rocked off, but other times there wasn’t much to say other than that the noise level at no point dropped. Doug Pinnick does nobody favours when he completely messes up his singing duties on “Taxman,” and once again, the tribute loses that rockin’ feelin’. “I Saw Her Standing There” is a step up from that miserable effort, but only a little step, and John Corabi sounds like he had other things on his mind and other places to be. A kind of “Is this over yet?” interpretation, and the rest of the production feels like it’s building up to the pinnacle the whole song --if only it had’ve gotten there. “Hey Jude” seems completely out of place as soon as it begins, and was possibly the lowest point on the entire album. I really wanted this song to finish right from the get-go, though it does actually get a lot better after the halfway mark. The tribute finishes on a big upside, with “Drive My Car” being a consistently solid performance.

All said, the best thing about this tribute is that the songs are covered but also styled to the individuals playing them--the solos are lengthened to accommodate the interpretations of the axemen, the vocalists aren’t just trying to reproduce Lennon or McCartney, and the production is surprisingly satisfying in that old ’80s rock n’ roll style. This record leaves a longing for actual Beatles songs and more of that old school rock, too--somehow, this is a tribute that manages to leave its’ mark.

Highs: Some brilliant musicianship makes this whole project understandable and worthwhile

Lows: A few less than brilliant vocal performances and a lack of momentum in songs like “Hey Jude” really doesn’t help

Bottom line: Fun, but you'll listen to this less often than you will the actual Beatles, and if you're on this site, that can't be too often.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)