a l b u m r e v i e w s


Produced by: Tommy Farese

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: Nothing
GENRE: Hard Rock

  1. Separate Ways
  2. Missing You
  3. Rebel Yell
  4. Over My Head
  5. Wanted Dead Or Alive
  6. Photograph
  7. You've Got Another Thing Coming
  8. I Surrender
  9. Crazy Train
  10. Live Wire
  11. Youth Gone Wild
  12. Into The Fire
  13. Panama

They call themselves the Rock Super Stars - implying that they are all household names. That should be the first hint that this collection of 3 'tribute' albums ain't going to live up to the name it's boldly marketed under.
There is basically a set band of musicians that created all three albums and a few quests involved to make it look a little more interesting. Don't bet on it.
The basic band features Tommy Farese from A Place Called Rage, Danny Miranda from Blue Oyster Cult, George Cintron (Enrique Iglasias Band), Rob DiMartino and various additional members of Japanese loved US metal acts Virgin Steele, Holy Mother, Helm and Last Temptation.
All three albums were produced by vocalist Tommy Farese.
Everyone loves to hear their favourite artists and songs covered by others, it's mostly good fun. But on these three projects, I have to say that it is at times quite painful to witness some of my favourite songs being butchered the way they are here.
The main fault is clearly and obviously evident from the moment the first song kicks in. The production and mixing of these records is hideous.
The drum sound is just dire. It sounds like the drums were recoded in the garage next door on a set of garbage pails. On tracks like Missing You it is so annoying it takes a concerted effort to concentrate on the rest of the song.
The guitars are fuzzy and not clear at all. Few of the vocals actually suit any of the songs and are flat.
The opening track, Journey's Separate Ways is sung by Dream Theater's James La Brie. Here, an awesome singer without doubt, is forced to sound strained, flat and as if he could be singing a totally different song that the backing band. Only the keyboard's really fit in. The guitar is barely audible, the drum sound is average but can hardly be heard over a thumping bass.
Missing You is even worse. The classic John Waite song is sung by Farese which goes OK until he has to lift over the base tone. His voice I am afraid just doesn't cut it. Listen to the chorus. Sounds painful.
Rebel Yell is such a basic (and classic) rocker, but this is also terrible. Rob DiMartino sings and once again suffers from having no range. The drum sound as I mentioned before is so distracting it's off putting.
Over My Head is a King's X song and is sung by Farese. This songs gets through as an OK version and it fits Farese's range better. That drum sound is there again though.
Wanted Dead Or Alive is just plain bad. Mike Dimeo of Riot sings, but his voice just doesn't suit the track. The higher range is not there. A powerful singer for sure, why not stick to a low register song?
Def Leppard's classic Photograph is next. Oh dear. Frank Vestri of Last Temptation sings and does OK, he has the range I guess, but the production is terrible. It's muffled, muddy and that drum sound!!!
You've Got Another Thing Coming is the other James La Brie track. Happy to say that things fall into place a little better here and he sings better and the mix is a little better. Solid rhythm section.
I Surrender is the old Rainbow song. The liner notes say how much Mike Dimeo sounds like Joe Lynn Turner. No he doesn't. Sounds like a demo at best.
Crazy Train sees Al Pitrelli guest on guitar. Cool enough, but the vocals of Tommy Farese are mumbled, muddy and basically unlistenable.
George Carr of Helm sings the Motley Crue classic Live Wire. Once again, the vocals are barely legible. Not a bad vibe on the track though, but again it's a demo at best.
Youth Gone Wild sees Frank Vestri back on vocals. Solid rhythm section here and a better mix, but still a little muddy. The vocals don't come close to the original, but this is better than some other earlier tracks.
Into The Fire is the old Dokken track. This is one of the more vocally interesting tracks. Katrini Chester from LA up and comers Luxx is on vocals and does a pretty damn good Don Dokken!! One of the better tracks.
And the album ends with the biggest test of all - Van Halen's Panama. Recently made over by the VH tribute album, these guys have 2 versions to be compared to. It doesn't come close to either. Loose production and average drum sound, plus the average vocals of Dominic Esposito (Black Jack Bomber). Stick to the original!
BOTTOM LINE: An album best suited for getting drunk to at parties. But I think somehow this was not the producer's intentions.
Great songs, but this truly lacks anything that makes covers albums worth buying. That is a neat spin on the original, a great killer re-arrangement of the songs, or versions that almost match the original. This has none of the above and a crap production to boot.
ESSENTIAL FOR: Die hard fans of the artists involved. Cover tune freaks.
DISCOGRAPHY:Rock Superstars Volume 1 . Rock Superstars Volume 2 . Rock Superstars Volume 3

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