Various Artists - Re-Machined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head
Eagle Records
Tribute album
9 songs (46:30)
Release year: 2012
Eagle Records
Reviewed by Stefan

The original album had seven (awesome) songs, the remastered added an excellent b'side (When a Blind Mind Cries), this tribute doubles the most memorable (if a tad overrated) piece of music Deep Purple ever wrote: Smoke on the Water. Ok so, it's a tribute, there are some big names, some smaller ‘slightly on the loser's side” names, strange names too. Of course, there’s some (sparse) quality but there’s also embarrassment and disgust to be found.

Coming back to Smoke on the Water's two versions, which explore both aforementioned options, we have Santana who should really retire (here accompanied by one Jacoby Shaddix I haven’t even minded googling, probably some American Idol kind of dude judging his “performance”) for a unremarkable tired rehash, and the Flaming Lips producing their expected quality quirky indie version of that “ole saw”, enjoyable as their quasi-robotic minimalistic rendition is (and it is!), it doesn’t rival the sheer brilliance and utter-kitschy delightfulness of Pat Boone’s latino/jazzy big band version (featuring Ritchie himself!) recorded for his “metal” tribute album, In a Metal Mood.

The rest of the selection alternatively breathes hold and cold, good and bad. Chickenfoot (that conglomerate of VH rejects and mercenaries) didn’t even bore honoring the compilation with a studio recording and their pathetic attempt at Highway Star is nothing but an unnecessary plague on a terrific song with Hagar screaming as badly as he can, a rhythm section doomed by Anthony’s inaptness, and Joe Satriani being as boring and uninspired as he’s been in recent years. Kings of Chaos (Joe Elliott plus Steve Stevens and GnR’s Use Your Illusion era rhythm section) doesn’t do much better with a note for note, mellowed down version of Never Before which we could have easily lived without but, luckily, will have no trouble forgetting. And I’m sorry to write this but same goes with Iron Maiden’s Space Truckin’ on which we feel for Dickinson (age is finally showing) and cannot even enjoy what feels like an hastened recording of a song which deserved more.

On the “good side”, Maybe I’m a Leo’s version, credited to Chad Smith & Glenn Hughes (and featuring one Luis Maldonado on guitar some of you might have “met” when he played with UFO, Michael Schenker or Glenn Hughes), is not bad is a tad too soft to attain its bluesy, jammy, almost funky goal. At least, it allows us to enjoy Hughes extraordinary pipes at work which is always a delight. Also good, if not extraordinary, is Black Label Society’s Pictures of Home which, on that southern metal thingy’s side, strangely ended up reminding more of Uriah Heep than Deep Purple (probably the backing vocals’ effect’s cause). Short and efficient (with an okay guitar solo), it’s enjoyable enough not to feel the need to skip it before it ends and even consider giving it another spin someday. Australia’s Jimmy Barnes and Brad Whitford (strange how the song’s credited featuring Joe Bonamassa when Whitford does the lead guitar, or maybe the label messed up the credits) made an okay, entertaining enough, obviously live in the studio version of Lazy which doesn’t bring any new thrill to the song but, at least, is well played and manages no to bore while lasting 9 minutes… Not to forget Jimmy Barnes who has the pipes for a job well done. Not originally on the album, we were lucky enough to see a cover version of When a Blind Man Cries included on this tribute. Lucky because, whether you like Metallica or not, you’ll have to admit their rendition of that beautiful sad ballad is just spot on. Hell! Even Hetfield does a great job and forces himself into almost uncharted vocal territories.

I’m not sure how many times I’ll spin this. One thing’s for sure, it certainly not is the cleverest buy except if you’re so fan of Deep Purple you just can’t live with missing on one tribute, not matter how bad you were warned it was. Other than that, your favorite MP3 download provider will, well, provide you with whatever versions raise your interest, it'll probably be enough.

NB: We don't rate this kind of release on Metal Reviews. If I had to, it would have got a 40/100.

Killing Songs :
Black Label Society's Pictures of Home, The Flaming Lips' Smoke on the Water, Metallica's When a Blind Man Cries
Stefan quoted No Quote
Other albums by Various Artists that we have reviewed:
Various Artists - Brutal Africa: The Heavy Metal Cowboys of Botswana reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - Servants of Chaos II reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - In Mordor Where the Shadows Are - Homage to Summoning reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Various Artists - A Light in the Black : A Tribute to Ronnie James Dio reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Various Artists - Illud Divinum Insanus - The Remixes reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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