Friday, February 15, 2008

Vanilla Fudge Take Led Zeppelin Out Through The In Door

Out Through The In Door
Vanilla Fudge
Escapi Music

Review by Nightwatcher

Fresh off having their signature song, the classic heavy slab of psychedelia "You Keep Me Hangin' On" featured twice on the controversial final episode of 'The Sopranos,' rock legends Vanilla Fudge are back with their 8th album 'Out Through The In Door'. Featuring 12 Led Zeppelin classics redone the Fudge way, original 4 members drummer Carmine Appice, bassist Tim Bogert, guitarist Vince Martell and keyboardist/lead vocalist Mark Stein have come up with a loving homage to the band whom they helped rise to stardom, giving them the opening slot on what was Zep's first legendary U.S. tour. While I'm not normally particularly a big fan of tribute/cover albums, Vanilla Fudge's stock and trade back in the day was taking songs such as the aforementioned Supremes song, as well as songs by The Beatles, slowing them down and making them their own, so who better to do an album such as this?

While the band for the most part hasn't completely changed the arrangements on the songs, this still is an impressive outing. Beginning with "The Immigrant Song," which I was surprised to find at almost the same tempo as the original, immediately one is impressed at how good after all these years the band sounds. Stein's vocals are suitably powerful, while Appice and Bogert drive the song along in fine fashion, befitting of one of the best rock rhythm sections of all time. Fine guitar work courtesy of Vinnie Martell rounds off the track, and it's a great start to the album. Continuing on through renditions of "Ramble On," "Trampled Underfoot," "Dazed And Confused," and another surprising choice in "Black Mountain Side,"(where Martell impresses with fine acoustic guitar work, a rarity on Fudge albums), all the way to an amazing version of "Your Time Is Gonna Come," which could've easily fit on any of their original albums, this is an enjoyable ride. Appice even gets a chance to show how his drums would've sounded if he was in Zep with a slamming "Moby Dick", paying both homage to and linking the two men, Carmine being one of the late Bonham's big influences, bring it all full circle.

Still at the top of their game musically speaking, these 4 have crafted something different, although very familiar in the process. Kudos have to be given for resisting any temptation to include any sort of rendition of "Stairway To Heaven", as not only being one of the most overplayed songs in history, but the entire flow would've been disturbed by its inclusion.

Production, courtesy of Appice is modern, yet retro at the same time, allowing the instruments to breathe, unlike the majority of releases which jack up the mix to an almost unbearable listening experience, this is truly a treat sonics wise.

Honestly, given the state of the music industry these days, this isn't likely to set the world on fire, sales wise, but 'Out Through The In Door' shows that these rock veterans still have what it takes to put out a very solid album, much better than at this stage of the game it has any right to be, and for that we should be thankful and pick this one up. If you're a fan of either band, you're certain to find a lot to enjoy here. 8/10

1 comment:

Dazy said...

I have a tape of Vanilla Fudge and the Jimi Hendrix set too. This sounds pretty good, Hendrix set is
slightly distorted on the bass, the Vanilla Fudge set actually sounds

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