I own none of the early Dead End albums.
I like the latter Creature Creature stuff Morrie (v) has done, and that led to the new Dead End albums of 2009 and 2012, which are pretty badass — and far cooler than this tribute album ever gets.
Problem #1: These are very ’80s hard rock tracks that no amount of production can elevate to masterpieces. Either you give in to the nostalgia, or hope the numerous skilled artists on this disc reinterpret the tracks for you. (A third option is that you never lived through the late 80s hard rock scene, and somehow avoided all exposure to it thoughout the last two decades, and love the fuck out of this cool new sound you’re hearing.)
Alas, all these songs sound like I’ve heard them a thousand — a hundred thousand — times before, not even in my own collection but just during the hour before your favorite bands take the stage and the sound guy is blasting 80s rock/metal over the club’s PA.
Having said that, “Spider in the Bran” (lol I’m not fixing that) managed to pluck a few nostalgia synapses in my head, tho. But the track after, “Dress Burning”, is just a lame-ass redo of a song off the aforementioned 2009 album Metamorphosis, and I’ve heard better karaoke versions of jrock songs at 3am, and not even in Tokyo but in the States! Fucking BOO.
The cali=gari track is completely powerless and ignorable. The Boris track that closes the album is a mushy, tedious mess.
Problem #2: The opening songs, with vocals by Hyde (L’Arc), Ryuichi (Luna Sea) and Kiyoharu (Kuroyume) are probably the quantifiable best, but also feel the most “wealthy”; meaning you can hear that money was spent, expertise was expended, but no one brought much heart to the studio. Hyde’s performance especially just feels so practiced and calculated, but it’s all the musicians underneath too doing a fantastic computer/like perfecto-job without any risk, no seizing the day, no going for it, just faultless robotic paycheckery… I used to like that kind of thing, now I miss the humanity.
I had high hopes for this, because Dead End seems to be one of the few bands around that still have that magic mixture of talent and heart and CRED, and that that facet would inspire the musicians on this project to become youthful and GO FOR IT one more/last time, that these songs would be new to me (but still known quantities and familiar)… but alas.
But I’ll go check out Dead End’s old stuff now.