Appice - Sinister

Appice Sinister cover
Well, the brothers Appice, Carmine and Vinnie are well known in the rock community. The former drummed for Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and you might remember his own band King Kobra from the 80s. The latter didn’t do bad either with his Black Sabbath, Dio and other credits to his name. In “Sinister” the brothers collaborate and what you might have expected from them is most certainly what you get; a dry 70s to 80s hard and heavy amalgam, in which they enlist the aid of an arms long list of guests, like singers Jim Crean, Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt, ex-Quiet Riot), Robin McAuley (MSG), Chas West (Ex-Lynch Mob), and Scotty Bruce; on the guitars: Craig Goldy (ex-DIO, ex-Giuffria), Bumblefoot (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Joel Hoekstra (Whitesnake), Mike Sweda (Bulletboys), Erik Turner (Warrant), David Michael Phillips (King Kobra); on bass guitar: Tony Franklin (ex-Blue Murder, ex-The Firm), Phil Soussan (ex-Ozzy), Johnny Rod (King Kobra, ex-WASP), and Jorgen Carlson (Gov’t Mule), and Erik Norlander (Lana Lane) on keyboards. A who’s who of rock royalty to work with that all perform as you’d expect them to.
“Sinister”, the opening song to the eponymous album, is uncompromising early 80s hard n heavy, that comes off naturally and feels much more original than the “post” Dio attempts that a lot of the former collaborators of the late RJD put forward in trying to capitalize on his legacy, unsuccessfully of course.
“Monsters and Heroes” feels a little more “rock” and 70s and Purple boogie like. It name checks a shitload of Dio related staples, but it doesn’t really have to do that to keep things interesting.
“Killing Floor” is more “dazed” rather than confused and has a ball out Purple; heavy as fuck groove with afterthoughts of Zeppelin.
“Danger” is a bit more hard rock oriented while “Drum Wars” has one brother battling the other on drums, without being boring, as it also has some nice guitar and the silly repetition of its title as a lyric.
“Riot” has an awesome groove and in fact, its hard rocking aesthetics did remind me of early to mi- pre-Thundersteel era Riot (the NY band) even if the chorus is a bit of a letdown (relatively).
“Suddenly” sounds like bad mid-80s Whitesnake; I guess some sort of KK leftover? It’s not terrible, but it hardly feels like it fits here, along with a couple of more odds and sods that we’ll discuss promptly.
“In the Night” is the closest you’ll get to a ballad, a quite melodic song that would have easily worked well in a “Dio” album.
“Future Past” is heavy and slow and quite long, with a couple of interesting passages, but overall a pass.
“You Got Me Running” is another hard rocker that almost “happens”, but seems not completely polished or finished for that matter, despite a nice solo wasted on it.
“Bros in Drums” is funny and rhythmical, but its semi-spoken delivery is a bit “weird”.
“War Cry” is driven by a nifty riff and a nice rhythm and much better.
What comes as a bit of a surprise is “Sabbath Mash”, a medley of non Vinny-era Black Sabbath songs, like “War Pigs”, “Paranoid”, “Iron Man” etc… a rather poignant, but also pointless exercise, imho.
There’s also a silly “outro” on how to pronounce the surname of the bros.
Overall, not a bad effort by the Appice siblings, although the sound could be a bit more up to date and the songs could be a little more focused and not just tossed in, to reach an album’s length. We’ll see where they’ll go with this in the future, I guess.