BPMD - American Made review



Reviewer:
6.0

14 users:
6.14
Band: BPMD
Album: American Made
Release date: June 2020


01. Wang Dang Sweet Poontang [Ted Nugent cover]
02. Toys In The Attic [Aerosmith cover]
03. Evil [Willie Dixon cover]
04. Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers [ZZ Top cover]
05. Saturday Night Special [Lynyrd Skynyrd cover]
06. Tattoo Vampire [Blue Öyster Cult cover]
07. D.O.A. [Van Halen cover]
08. Walk Away [James Gang cover]
09. Never In My Life [Mountain cover]
10. We're An American Band [Grand Funk cover]


Another supergroup, another lot of unfulfilled potential.

On paper, BPMD is one of those supergroup projects that raise a curious eyebrow and a half-hearted shrug of the shoulders when you hit play for the first time. Though the names attached to the project catch your interest, the prospect of it being a collection of covers essentially makes this a fun jam session that you're lucky enough to witness. While this conflicting set of opinions swirls in your mind before you hit play, you come out the other side still shrugging, though now you know why.

BPMD's name is derived from an initial from each member: Bobby Blitz Ellsworth from Overkill, Mike Portnoy (which band has he not attached his name to?), Mike Menghi from Metal Allegiance and Phil Demmel from Vio-lence. When you look at this roster of names your heart should skip a beat, seeing a cast of characters from some of the most seminal bands in the last forty years. I should direction your attention to one important item of note with this line-up; it is a one guitar affair, with Demmel often having to amalgamate two guitar tracks from the original versions into one part (this has big implications down the line).

American Made essentially boils down to what you want from an album that effectively sounds like a bunch of metal luminaries having fun and jamming some classics. If you want to hear some of your favourite musicians blow off steam or want a soundtrack to an evening of drinking to the classics, then this album will probably find you in good company; however, if you want anything other than this kind of experience, then you will be sorely disappointed.

American Made trades in the charm and character of the originals for a metallic take on the tracks that often detracts from the quality of the original; in a live setting, this swap works, given that the extra energy can translate in the audience getting hyped up, but on record it ends up muddying up the sound. Take "Saturday Night Special": the band's power means they cannot fit into the groove that makes the song the classic it is. This is a constant theme, with tracks like "Walk Away" suffering from the same issue.

The biggest issue beyond the band putting power above groove is the fact the band only have Demmel on the six-string amongst their ranks; while this in theory is a blessing in disguise, as it sees the band not add yet more power to the tracks, it forces Demmel to juggle rhythm and lead parts and means that the guitar interplay of the originals is not featured here. "Toys In The Attic" is probably the biggest victim of this, sounding clunky and bereft of the rhythm that made the original the classic it was.

With that said, when the band cover songs that only had one guitar on the original it is then that they make the most of it, with tracks like ZZ Top's "Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers" and Van Halen's "D.O.A." being the highlights of the record. While none of the songs are bad, none exactly endear themselves to you beyond being the best of the bunch.

The stripped-back production does lend itself to giving the album a garage rock aesthetic, ensuring that the band don't sound like they're taking themselves too seriously and impressing the feeling that this is more a jam session than a serious album. While the occasional string shift and the minimal effects used by the guitar grate a little here and there, ultimately it sits in the middle of dial.

American Made is largely an inoffensive album that will occasionally catch your ear but mostly play out in the background. If only BPMD had decided to craft some original tracks in amongst the covers or just made an album of originals, then it would have made for a more compelling listen. As it is, if you are big fans of any of the members or just want something to put on while doing something else, then American Made may be some worth investigating.


 



Written on 22.10.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 51 users
22.10.2020 - 09:06
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Please for the love of God properly crop the album art
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
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22.10.2020 - 10:57
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
They could chose better covers
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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22.10.2020 - 17:43
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by RaduP on 22.10.2020 at 09:06

Please for the love of God properly crop the album art

Who is this directed at? The art looks properly cropped to me 🤔
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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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22.10.2020 - 18:03
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Troy Killjoy on 22.10.2020 at 17:43

Written by RaduP on 22.10.2020 at 09:06

Please for the love of God properly crop the album art

Who is this directed at? The art looks properly cropped to me 🤔

Yeah cuz nik replaced it
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Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
Loading...
22.10.2020 - 18:56
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by RaduP on 22.10.2020 at 18:03

Yeah cuz nik replaced it

Ohh it was the original upload here. I thought you were alluding to the cover art itself somehow being off-center or something and I thought I was missing something. Not that it's visually stimulating or interesting anyway...
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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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