Appice – Sinister

Appice – Sinister
When the names of Carmine and Vinny Appice are spoken, it is easy to immediately have the word “power” come to the forefront of your consciousness. Because this family of rock drumming royalty has been driving the rhythm power plants of numerous legendary bands and musicians for nearly half a century. Now they have unleashed that power into a masterful CD of original works featuring a prodigious amount of insane drumming and so much more. “Sinister” explodes like the Tsar Bomba and doesn’t throttle back on the intensity throughout the thirteen tracks. The brothers enlist a plethora of highly-talented guest stars including vocalists Jim Crean, Paul Shortino, and Chas West; guitarists Craig Goldy, Bumblefoot, and Mick Sweda; bassists Tony Franklin and Phil Soussan; keyboardist Erik Norlander, among others. The songs range from full-ahead rock to subtly progressive works and face-melting metal. It is obvious that Carmine’s and Vinny’s talent runs much deeper than their drumming prowess…this has considering their cumulative previous works. The music is just flat-out phenomenal in every direction and easily competes with any hard rock or metal releases available today. Of course, there is plenty of stunning drum work from Carmine and Vinny, allowing their cohorts to unleash their musical strengths as well.  Rock and drumming fans: pay heed. This is a definite must-have CD/download. The Appice brothers have graced the rock world with some of the best and most dynamic beats here and we hope to see more excellent work like this in the near future.  – MW


Jim Crean – Insatiable

Jim Crean – Insatiable
Rocker Records – RKR-1143
There is no denying that Jim Crean knows how to rock. A lot of his friends know this about him. That is why they are joining him on his latest potent release “Insatiable.” We are talking about friends like Mike Tramp, Frank DiMino, Tony Franklin, Phil Lewis, the late-great Jimmy Bain, the Appice brothers Carmine and Vinny, and many other well-known rockers. When you can rock like Jim and possess his songwriting talents, you can draw those kind of folks into your recording sessions. What Jim creates here is powerful magic – music that blends the perfect amount of seething intensities and melodic sensibilities. Take a song such as “Touch” for example: the grittiness of the powerful guitar snarl is nicely balanced by harmonic vocals and the right waft of hookiness. “Follow Your Heart” rips your head off with a relentless attack, but still snares your soul with fervent vocal passages. The quasi-ballad “Miss Me” has a kiss of prog rock leanings that has a comforting and epic feel to it. Jim also creates some excellent cover versions from bands his cohorts on the recording were members of including exciting takes on the L.A. Guns nugget “Over The Edge” and Dio’s “Caught In The Middle” featuring one of the last studio appearances of bassist Jimmy Bain. Jim’s talents are firing on all cylinders from his sonic but melodic vocal pyrotechnics to his prolific songwriting capabilities. This is pure hard rock at its finest, proving once again that Jim Crean is more than up to the task of rocking at the same high level of some of the best in the business. – MW

Last In Line – Heavy Crown

Last In Line – Heavy Crown
Frontiers Records
When Ronnie James Dio passed away, there were many tributes to the iconic metal vocalist. When a group of those who recorded with Ronnie during his most popular and famous period got together, one wondered what to expect – if they were just going to redo the classics or create something in the vein of Ronnie’s music. Guitarist Vivian Campbell, bassist Jimmy Bain, drummer Vinny Appice, and keyboardist Claude Schnell recruited vocalist Andrew Freeman (The Offspring, Lynch Mob) and bestowed the name of the second Dio album on their project. Last In Line unleashes thunderous rock with soaring vocals and thought-provoking lyrics on “Heavy Crown.” While not  trying to mimic Dio’s voice, Andrew is more than talented enough to tribute the vocal master with his powerful pipes, evident right from the first potent strains of “Devil In Me.” The musicians have not lost the capability of wreaking musical havoc; strap yourselves in for explosive tunes like “Martyr” or “I Am Revolution” if you need proof. Viv’s rhythm and solo work are blistering as always, while Vinny and Jimmy drive the rhythm machinery into the megaton range. Claude adeptly adds just the right kiss of keyboards in the perfect locations. The music is crafted well enough to stand on its own as if this was an entirely new act not meant to tribute anyone. Every fan of Dio or heavy music in general will be pumping their fists throughout the twelve tracks here and hoping this is not just a one time project. The future of Last In Line might be questionable. Unfortunately, this CD became a double tribute since bassist Jimmy Bain sadly passed away shortly after performing with Last In Line; doing what he loved best up until the very end. Vivian Campbell has been busy with his “day job” as guitarist for Def Leppard and has been doing all this while fighting cancer like a tiger. The always-in-demand Vinny Appice is involved in several projects including Appice Drum Wars with his brother drummer Carmine. While fans will always hope for more music, there is the satisfaction that these guys released an incredible CD of monster music that has Ronnie and Jimmy banging their heads in approval somewhere in the afterlife.  – MW

Carmine & Vinny Appice – Drum Wars Live!

Carmine & Vinny Appice – Drum Wars Live!
Rocker Records/Cleopatra Records – B00O2FIKCE
Many rock music fans probably cannot name the drummers of even their favorite bands, but it is doubtful there are many rockers out there who do not know who Carmine & Vinny Appice are. These hard-rocking brothers have bashed the skins for decades, recording and/or touring with such legendary acts as Vanilla Fudge, Black Sabbath. Rod Stewart, Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy, and multiple others. For several years now, the brothers have been touring with their act Drum Wars, playing the most beloved songs from their storied past while thrilling their audiences with both individual and dueling solos. For those who have not seen this act live yet (and if they play in your town, you really need to go!), they have now released a new live CD. The CD a very well done representation where you can actually feel the power behind Carmine and Vinny’s drumming. Backed by their highly talented band of vocalist Jim Crean, guitarist Ethan Brosh and bassist James Caputo, they rip through an hour plus of hard rock standards and thundering solos. Smoke will come out of your speakers when they roar into the lead track of Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” followed by the first of the “Drum Wars” battles. You will no doubt get dizzy from banging your heads along to songs such as Dio’s “We Rock” and “Holy Diver,” Ozzy’s “Bark At the Moon,” and a heavy rocking version of the classic “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” which Carmine co-penned with Rod Stewart  And while the songs are great with killer vocal work and musicianship, you are treated to astounding drumming throughout with two “Drum Wars” dueling solos, separate solos by both Carmine and Vinny, and their slamming drum-only version of “The Flinstones” theme song. This concert CD will drive home an understanding of why the Appice brothers have been two of the most sought after drummers in history. And after so many tours, recording projects, clinics, and other performances, they have not skipped a beat and still obviously maintain a high passion for drumming. – MW