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BassInvaders – Hellbassbeaters

Label: Locomotive Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba


When I first heard of this project from Markus Grosskopf, I was interested to see just what the great bass player from Helloween had in mind. I became very excited when I found out there were some great guests on here which included Schmier from Destruction, Tom Angelripper from Sodom, Billy Sheehan from Mr. Big, Rudy Sarzo from Quiet Riot currently playing with Dio, and Peavy Wagner from Rage among others. I am sad to say this album is one of the biggest disappointments I have ever heard in my life. It kind of reminds me of a poor mans version of Probot, a project put together by Dave Grohl several years ago featuring the likes of Tom Warrior, King Diamond and countless others which sounded great on paper but did not live up to the hype. Here on this album you have many big names from the European metal circuit and it just left me with such a sour taste in my mouth.
 
Now there is just strictly bass playing on this album, no rhythm/lead guitar at all which I feel has a lot to do with why the album suffers. We get that the point of this album is to showcase great bass players but removing all other guitars is just a recipe for disaster. I found the majority of the songs here hard to listen to with the exception for a few.

I will start with the good, anything involving Markus Grosskopf. Most of the songs written by him like “Boiling Blood” and “The Asshole Song” seem to have that happy Helloween vibe to them and I can get through them despite the fact that they are bass only tracks. “We Live” is rather cool and sounds like it could have been recorded somewhere between Helloween’s Master of the Rings and Time of the Oath albums. The cover of Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 Helloween classic “Eagle Fly Free” was a nice addition but knowing what a classic song this is makes it very hard to listen to without that killer guitar work that Kai Hansen laid down when this track was originally released.

Apollo Papathanasio of Firewind fame does some guest vocals on this album. He is an excellent singer and his voice is very recognizable, it’s just a shame to have such a great voice on top of unappealing music.

Now onto the bad… pretty much the rest of the album. “Romance in Black” which features Peavy Wagner of Rage has some noteable moments to it, however when the chorus hit I did not know what to do with myself. It just sounded very different from anything I had ever heard this man do before. I envisioned him singing around a camp fire in the middle of the woods among friends who were roasting weenies and eating pork and beans, this was not a very metal moment to say the least. I had high hopes for “Godless Gods” which featured Tom Angelripper from Sodom and I was beyond let down. In this track Tom sounds like he is singing into one of those plastic microphones you find in the value toy section at Target which has that echo affect that little kid’s love when singing into it, just horrible. “Armageddon” with Schmier from Destruction was not much better.

Now I appreciate bass players more than ever and think that they play such a pivotal role in each and every metal band. However, hearing the bass being played like this with no soaring guitars is not a good formula and does not work for me. I would have probably appreciated this album more with the use of guitars and just a little something extra from the bass player featured on the track to showcase their skill. Perhaps if you are a bass player this album will serve as a wet dream come true for you, however upon listening to this album I was left with a case of shrinkage. I am now left yearning for some Sodom, Destruction, and Rage to hear my metal the proper way.

Here is a list of the rest of the all star cast featured on this album…

Bass:

Billy Sheehan (Steve Vai, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth)
Rudy Sarzo (Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot)
Lee Rocker (Stray Cats)
Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent)
DD Verni (Overkill)
Wyzard (Mother’s Finest)
Dirk Schlächter (Gamma Ray)
Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Fates Warning, Anthrax)
Stig Pedersen (D.A.D)
Nibbs (Saxon)
Tobias Exxel (Edguy)
Jens Becker (Grave Digger, Running Wild)
Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69)
Peter Baltes (Accept)
Jan S. Eckert (Masterplan)
Michael Müller (Jaded Heart)

Vocals:

Jesper Binzer (D.A.D)

Drums:

André Hilgers (Rage, Axxis, Silent Force)
Stefan Arnold (Grave Digger)
 
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