Mausoleum [Release date 19.05.14]
I am always a little wary of a seemingly star-studded cast assisting a lesser-known musician. Often these are vanity projects or designed to capture more attention for an otherwise mediocre release.
Unfortunately “Hollywood Monsters”, the brainchild of guitarist Stephane Honde, ticks these boxes. In spite of heavyweight assistance from the likes of Vinny Appice and Tim Bogert, and a cameo from Don Airey, it is really quite ordinary fare.
The usual issue is the strength or otherwise of the songwriting and the “home studio” production values. Honde has had a hand in all the songs which appear to ape his heroes (Dio, Whitesnake?) rather than striking out with something more original.
Airey’s Hammond percolates ‘Move On’ but can’t reprieve it whilst the two strongest tunes ‘Big Trouble’ and ‘The Only Way’ might have been better with another vocalist. Apart from Paul Di’Anno on one track, Honde also handles the vocals and he isn’t that convincing.
On the acoustic ‘The Cage’ and the orchestral ‘The Ocean’ Honde does a passable impression of Coverdale but it only feeds the view that this is a somewhat derivative enterprise, a doffing of the cap bolstered by big name input.
As with many similar albums, the album has evidently been recorded in various home studios with tracks bounced around the ether. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this, but the production is a little one-dimensional.
The final track, with Paul Di’Anno on vocals, says it all really and may be a finger up to any album dissenters, including this reviewer: ‘Fuck You All’. ***
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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