Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire
Best to look at this thing as one and a half Tattooed Millionaires, as this action-packed reissue adds five bonus tracks to the original ten from the surprising 1990 album. First off, the album itself, a bold solo move by Bruce, who was rapidly and rightly losing interest in a Maiden that sucked, seemed to be the result of a guy more Maiden than we thought creaking the door open to the deafening hair metal sounds which made Maiden's proto-power metal sound moldy in around, say, '86 to '91. So what you get is a half-hearted hybrid, sort of rough 'n' tumble hair metal, the kind you might expect an old NWOBHM geezer to come up with. Onto the five bonus tracks, these are OK but not spectacular, offering a perfunctory Sin City, an obscure cover of a pretty dull Arthur Brown song, two acoustic originals and a fairly riptide live blaze through Samson/Ballard chestnut Riding With The Angels. Packaging completes the solid value, including lyrics to the original album plus a Don Kaye contextual essay. Verdict: Tattooed Millionaire is now 15 tracks as dodgy/luke/good as the original album 'twas.
Hand Of Doom - Black Sabbath Tribute
Here's alternative queen Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins) ganging up with some like-minded alt.cognoscenti for a barely passable, well-recorded live in L.A. blast through a bunch of Sabbath standards. There's a bit of a smarmy attitude to the whole thing, like "aren't we too cool to be doing this" and then the songs are played straight, stiff, dry, no real energy, zero imagination, Melissa occasionally stylin' cool, but usually making camp fun. See the problem is, when you come from outside the circle, you don't realize (or don't care, because it's just a joke, right?) that there have been a dozen Sabbath tribute albums as well as about a hundred isolated Sabbath covers - by semi-famous metal people - 90% of them stitched together better than this in five of seven departments, and then a different five for the next one etc. I don't even need to go deep and name-drop on this: just compare this flyweight sleepwalk through Paranoid with Megadeth's smokin' charge carder from YEARS back - when phoning it in would have been cool enough - and you see the glaring deficiencies all 'round. In '02, you can't just show up, play Sabbath, and expect us all to be grateful.
Hard Reviews Page 6