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Saturday, April 03, 2010

CD Review: Beatallica - Masterful Mystery Tour

Beatallica - Masterful Mystery Tour
2009 The Oglio Entertainment Group, Inc.
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

The art of the rock parody requires a skilled hand if it is to become the stuff of legend. Most cases it's not. The Spinal Tap lads, genuises in the beginning, overkilled themselves with a few "comebacks" since first gaining notoriety through Rob Reiner's 1984 classic spoof film This is Spinal Tap. Nevertheless, "Big Bottom" "Gimme Some Money" and "Sex Farm" remain chuckle-rock tideovers, which opens breathing space in the rock and metal underground for more comedy.

Humorist musicians have run amok in their clown shoes of rock over the years, the most prominent being "Weird" Al Yankovic throughout the eighties and Tenacious D the subsquent decade. There's also been gonzo groups such as Dread Zeppelin, Psychostick, Bloodhound Gang, Mojo Nixon, Altar Boyz, ApologetiX, Dub Side of the Moon and even S.O.D. and Gwar. Let's not forget Napoleon XIV's claustrophobic tambourine stomp from 1966, "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haa!" Even better the song is played in reverse on the flipside of the 45! Now that's comedy!

Then there's Beatallica. What else can you say about a band mashing Metallica and Beatles songs together in laud 'n lard fashion? Did anyone expect this goofy riff ride to last a third trip? Seriously?

By all rights this should've been the underdog's friar club enjoying a good raspberry at the expense of the majors. After all Beatallica went through to gain an unexpected following and keep themselves on the clean side of a potentially sticky settlement with Sony/ATV Publishing, they should've clocked out with a happy ending to their hard day's night.

Their debut album Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub is essentially mission accomplished, grab some brewskis and start making plans to get real. All You Need is Blood came around in 2008 with Beatallica's rip on The Beatles' groovy love-in "All You Need Is Love," repeated in 13 different languages...and justice for none.

Now the Beatallica brigade have decided their mission is hardly accomplished. Given none other than Lars Ulrich bailed their smarmy keisters out of trouble by lending them Metallica's attorney, one would've thought Michael Tierney (known as his stage de plume "Jaymz Lennfield") satisfied with clean hands.

Granted, "Leper Madonna," "Ktulu (He's So Heavy)," "Anesthesia (I'm Only Sleeping)" and "Hey Dude" from Sgt. Hetfield's are absolute riots, but some argue the joke should've stopped there.

Negative. In for a third haunt (and haunt is a pretty good word to describe this alter-band), Beatallica brings out the blender once again on their latest spoof, Masterful Mystery Tour.

By now, you get the gist of what Beatallica's about. They enjoy a monster following and yeah, they're clever as hell at what they do. Still, a novelty is a novelty, albeit in Beatallica's case, one with surprising staying power.

At times, Masterful Mystery Tour is a freaking hoot. Just hearing the gang vocals woof "OOOOOOOHHHHH!" on "Got to Get You Trapped Under Ice" along to the main melody of The Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life" is hilarious. So is the psychobilly stance emerging through "I'll Just Bleed Your Face." Awesome guitar solo on that one, to boot. "I Want to Choke Your Band" will cause you to spit up whatever you're eating or drinking when it comes on, it's that damned silly.

"The Battery of Jaymz and Yoko" picks the locks of Beatallica's rock sanitarium with an insane bash and splash merging Metallica's "Battery" and The Beatles' groovy rocker "The Ballad of John and Yoko." It's perversely crafted as Beatallica smuggles more than its share of Metallica with an intentionally loose recreation, and you question where it's going. That is, until you hear The Beatles leak into the chorus and damn, it gets kinda hooky!

"Masterful Mystery Tour" itself is a gas in theory, hokey in execution. With Tierney fusing in a beer-laced cadence to his mostly-convincing James Hetfield mimickry, the title track is sheer looney tunes, particularly when it uses the solo section of "Master of Puppets" as its breakdown.

The cut which is likely going to cause the most laughter (and probably a bit of provocation) is "And I'm Evil?" Beatallica not only sticks it to their famous muses, but The Misfits as well, to the point a Glenn Danzig impersonator howls all over the track. Give Beatallica extra credit points for taking their farce to such levels as to roast Metallica's early years favorite band. "And I'm Evil?" is a risk (set largely to the melody of The Beatles' "And I Love Her"), even as Tierney sniggles a series of "Die Die Die! Die Die Die!" shouts straight out of The Misfits' "Die Die Die, My Darling." Dicey, but funny stuff.

"Everybody's Got a Ticket to Ride Except for Me and My Lightning" is sure to become a instant fan favorite because of the madcap switch between thrash bursts and knuckle-dragging verses. Ditto for "Hero of the Day Tripper," which is pure bar band slosh and guaranteed to get bottles tipping and shaggy man-fros flopping in midair.

If Beatallica weren't such detail-oriented musicians, Masterful Mystery Tour would have to be dismissed as an overplayed knock-knock-orange-banana tease. As convincing as Tierney pulls off his James Hetfield homage, and as delicious as his nutty lyrics come off, all of it does wear and grate after awhile. There's only so many times you can hear deliberately yanked "Yo-oh-ohhhhhhs" and "Yeeeeeeaahhhhhhhs" no matter how solid the playing is. And "The Thing that Should Not Let it Be?" Ouch. Cute try, but it sounds more like Prince's "Purple Rain" played at a high school talent show. Oh, wait a minute; that was the in-joke, wasn't it?

Okay, so Beatallica has the blessings of their "masters" to continue riding as the Fab Four Horsemen. That's good news for their fans, and let them eat cake in harmony with this sugar and sludge nonsense. Bad news once Tierney and his lightning riders have beat the core catalogs to death in search of the next great metallic nyuk. Somehow you just don't see "Dirty Window" snuggling up to "Across the Universe," but hey, it's a brave world Beatallica dwells in.

Shudder to think, you get the feeling there's a clan of Morrison 'n Mustaine worshippers calling themselves MegaDoors secretly stashed in some hidden nook of the world, spit-shining their chopshop ditty, "Break On Through to Hangar 18."

Rating: ***


Anonymous said...


Billy Joel songs done Metallica style...

DPTH International said...

I just couldn't get into Beatallica. Great idea, but just not for me. I'm glad Metallica backed them up. this band is a tribute of sorts and it's nice to have the support.

Now if we can get George Lucas to give his blessings to Anchorhead so we can get an album worth of Darth Metal.

Anonymous said...

man..are your reviews long and boring...

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Anon 1, now I've seen everything

Dpth, you'll have to keep me posted on Darth Metal, that's insane...but then again, I just read Lucas approved a new Star Wars animated sitcom coming

Anon 2, thanks for dropping in and be sure to pick up your Nameless Heckler t-shirt at the gift shop