ALBUM REVIEW: BPMD – American Made

Named after the four members, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, Mike Portnoy, Mark Menghi, and Phil Demmel, supergroup BPMD is here with their debut release, a covers album by the name of American Made (Napalm Records). As the title suggests, every cut on the record was originally recorded by an American artist, and each revitalised track sounds nothing short of tremendous.

After a frankly startling spoken word introduction by a fast-talking Blitz, ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poontang’ launches itself out of the speakers with the New Jersey frontman sounding more lively and energetic at sixty-one than the gun-toting Ted Nugent ever did. This is followed by a rip-roaring version of Aerosmith‘s ‘Toys in the Attic’ and the Howlin’ Wolf standard, ‘Evil (Is Going On)’ which manages to pack even more of a punch than the 1993 Monster Magnet version.

 

If there’s one thing missing from your life, it’s members of Vio-Lence and Overkill covering ‘Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers’ by Texan bluesmeisters ZZ Top. Former Dream Theater drummer, Portnoy, sounds like he’s having the time of his life while guitarist Phil Demmel – more commonly known for his time thrashing out the riffs for Machine Head (2003 – 2018) – plays his six-string as you’ve probably never heard before.

A riff-heavy ‘Saturday Night Special’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd bludgeons its way into your ears next, followed by an uptempo ‘Tattoo Vampire’ by Blue Öyster Cult, and a banging ‘DOA’ by Van Halen. What ‘Walk Away’ by James Gang lacks in authentic ’70s country funk, it makes up for with bags of attitude, while Mountain‘s ‘Never in My Life’ delivers more cowbell before a rousing ‘We’re an American Band’ by Grand Funk Railroad wraps things up perfectly.

A superb collection of unashamedly American classics, not only does every track on American Made sound as kick-ass as you would expect, but everything is just so bizarrely natural. For three straight-up metal musicians and a predominantly prog drummer to sound to deliver these tracks so convincingly is further proof that these are strange times indeed.

8 / 10

GARY ALCOCK