Whenever a “supergroup” of well-known musicians forms, expectations are always high, but, sadly, more often than not, the finished product does not reflect the musical calibre in question. Now, this could simply be because so much is expected from these artists, or that the new material is not what we are accustomed to in comparison to their other projects, nevertheless, very rarely do these “supergroups” hit the standards expected.
So, when Hollywood Vampires first hit the scene with their 2015 self-titled debut album, expectations were understandably high. Sadly, the majority of what was delivered was a glorified covers album from Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, the godfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper, and Hollywood royalty, Johnny Depp. Don’t get me wrong, the album was great and a tribute to rock legends lost over the years, but there was a desire to hear some original tunes from some of the most talented men to take to the stage. This is where new album Rise comes in…
Rise actually demonstrates the talents on offer. Opening with “I Want My Now,” over seven minutes of extravagant guitar riffs and Cooper’s instantly recognizable rasping vocals, it would be a Guitar Hero player’s wet dream to nail this tune on expert level! You would be forgiven for comparing the opening of “Who’s Laughing Now” to industrial metal bands such as Nine Inch Nails or even Rammstein, but that feeling is short lived as the tune descends into a dark, yet riff-tastic cut with Cooper’s vocals being complimented by his bandmates.
“Who’s Laughing Now?” I thought so… Check out the lyric video for one of the standouts on Rise.
Where Rise really shines is when the players, especially Cooper, steps out of their comfort zone for the bluegrass-inspired “Welcome to Bushwackers” (featuring Jeff Beck and John Waters). This is such a fun song that is also very unexpected. In order to give an analogy, imagine The Blues Brothers playing to beer-guzzling rednecks but having to adjust their set to avoid an ass-kicking. Now imagine the Blues Brothers are Hollywood Vampires! Now, that would be a show worth seeing. “Mr. Spider” further demonstrates the variety of styles showcased on Rise. It is a psychogenic acid trip through the dark and twisted sub-conscious of Cooper, Perry, and Depp, a terrifying, yet enticing rabbit hole to journey down.
The tone then shifts dramatically to a politically-driven, punk rock sing along with “We Gotta Rise.” Much like “Welcome to Bushwackers” it is an unexpected change of pace to what you would expect from these three musicians. It is this that makes Rise really shine: the unexpected! This album is bold, adventurous, unafraid and unapologetic. It is a credit to Cooper, Perry, and Depp as they are sure to be aware that their fans would be looking to hear a mishmash of Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, which, of course, they have delivered, but alongside that they have produced tunes that essentially gives the middle finger to what you, I and the world expects them to deliver. In conclusion, these vampires do not suck at all!
Also featured on Rise is a cover of the iconic David Bowie song “Heroes.” Check out this live video of Hollywood Vampires performing last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Rise Track Listing:
01. I Want My Now
02. Good People are Hard to Find
03. Who’s Laughing Now
04. How the Glass Fell
05. The Boogieman Surprise
06. Welcome to Bushwackers (feat. Jeff Beck and John Waters)
07. The Wrong Bandage
08. You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory
09. Git from Round Me
11. A Pitiful Beauty
12. New Threat
13. Mr. Spider
14. We Gotta Rise
15. People Who Died
Run Time: 56:45
Release Date: June 21, 2019
Record Label: earMUSIC