The Hollywood Vampires, ‘Rise’ Review – Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp + Joe Perry Soar

2019-06-18

Hollywood Vampires – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Ken Settle

Review: Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry offer a collection of contagious hard rock and metal with “Rise”

When the Hollywood Vampires came onto the scene in 2015, the super group certainly drew instant attention. After all, when you bring together one of the greatest metal vocalists of all time, Alice Cooper, with one of the most celebrated guitarists of the era, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and one of the biggest names in acting, Johnny Depp, you have a band with a major amount of star power.

But, could they make music together? With Hollywood Vampires’ new album, “Rise,” out June 21 via earMUSIC, that question is answered with an emphatic “yes.” The album features a meaty 16 tracks of fun, contagious hard rock and metal music that shows Hollywood Vampires is a real band, not just a collection of big players.

Beginning with the opening track, “I Want My Now,” it’s obvious Hollywood Vampires have a unique chemistry that makes their sound and style stand out. The more than seven minute song opens with a swirling jam of guitar, bass, drums and a head-bopping blend of rhythms before Cooper’s growling vocals come in. It’s the kind of song one can envision being performed at an outdoor amphitheater on a hot, summer night.

As the collection unfolds, what’s interesting is how Hollywood Vampires present a mix of full-scale, original songs with short transitional pieces, such as the 30-second long “The Wrong Bandage” and “How the Glass Fell.” The band also works in just a handful of cover songs, including a high-octane version of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” a new take on the late Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died” and Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory,” the latter which is sung by Joe Perry.

But the originals are where the Hollywood Vampires really shine. One stand out is that heartfelt cover of “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” which features emotive vocals and an overall psychedelic vibe. Elsewhere, “We Gotta Rise” is a fun, witty, punk-fueled song about politics in the vein of Cooper’s “Elected.” Another stand out, “Mr. Spider,” is a laid back, groovy rock anthem that recalls a Pink Floyd vibe.

The final song on the album, “Congratulations,” opens with a Cooper reciting Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” and evolves into a rap-rock ballad of sorts, reflecting on the world around.

The Hollywood Vampires have something special, and “Rise” shows that the famed band members are doing this for more than kicks– they want to create real, enduring rock ‘n’ roll. With “Rise,” Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry have created a collection of honest, straight-ahead rock runes that show the Hollywood Vampires are out for blood. Ink rating: 9/10 stars.

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