June 18, 2019 Hollywood Vampires – Rise (Album Review)
What do you get when you bring together a Rock-n-Roll guitar hero, the king of Shock Rock, and a movie superstar? A unity of Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on guitar, megastar Johnny Depp on guitar, as well as the iconic Alice Cooper on vocals known as the undead trio Hollywood Vampires. Come together back in 2015, they would tour all over to massive audiences, release a self-titled album, and now they return with their forthcoming sophomore album Rise on Friday, June 21st through earMUSIC.
For those who are not exactly sure who or what Hollywood Vampires are about, legend has it the name’s origin dates back over forty years when it was drinking club between rock stars that included mainly Cooper, Mickey Dolenz, Elton John, John Lennon, among other. Then in 2015 Cooper, Perry, and Depp came together under the title, forming a band to honor the music of the rockers who died from excess during the 1970s.
Performing live with various lineups, that included some of the biggest names in Rock-n-Roll, their self-titled album would be a mix of various cover tunes. Additionally, the album also featured a handful of original tracks crafted by Cooper, Perry, and Depp, adding intrigue to what the three friends could do as a team.
Taking things to the next level with Rise, there are of course a keen collection of cover tunes – David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died,” and Johnny Thunder’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” – but the difference is the whole of their new album is original cuts handwritten by each of vampire. Produced by Tommy Henriksen and the band themselves, there are a total of sixteen tracks with their own unique sound and emotions that tells a story worth listening to.
It all starts with the jump start of “I Want My Now” which raises the adrenaline with a strong rhythm that pushes hard, leaving you no time to take a breath. From here there are various peaks and valleys of styles offered on the album from the brilliant Country vibed “Welcome To Bushwackers,” featuring John Waters and Jeff Beck, to addictive “Can’t Put Your Arm Around” with a chorus that is reminiscent of Jane Siberry’s “It Can’t Rain All The Time” from 1994’s The Crow. Then there is the serious, heavy arrangement of “Mr Spider,” but also a circus-like atmosphere heard on the ear-catching “We Gotta Rise,” along with the irresistible groove felt on leading single “Who’s Laughing Now.”
All quality original tunes, the aforementioned David Bowie cover of “Heroes” is sung by Depp with strong emotions, Jim Caroll’s Band’s “People Who Died” also sung by Depp, and Johnny Thunder’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” carried impressively by Perry. Together they sprinkle in nicely throughout the original songs on Rise which have a sense of humor with often sarcastic lyrics and quite a few interludes with spoken verses by both Deep and Cooper. In fact, the album closer “Congratulations” sends you off with a dialogue between the three bandmates.
In the end Rise is a very interesting album, one that proves Hollywood Vampires are here to stay. Featuring context that is funny, and others times quite critical, it is overall a well-written collection of songs that get stuck in your head. Not only for the Rock fan, or those who just may dig each member of Hollywood Vampires, Cryptic Rock gives Rise 5 out of 5 stars.