Tributee: Frank Sinatra.
Guitarist Bob Kulick has made a cottage industry of late by attaching various hard rock and metal stars to sacred catalogs like the Beatles and turning out bombastic metal versions of songs that perhaps were never built for such treatment. That's the joke -- one wouldn't expect this. The whole enterprise would be a very loud one-trick pony in dubious taste if not for the fact that every once in a while these hybrid versions actually work. Kulick's latest excursion into such things is Sin-atra, which applies the formula to songs that Frank Sinatra made famous. Sinatra, whose urbane phrasing and style made him one of the finest singers of his generation and certainly the first modern pop star, doesn't translate too well to heavy metal, which will hardly come as a surprise. When anything truly works here, past being a thunderous put-on, it's when the song itself is sturdy enough to break into new territory. That's why "Witchcraft," sung by former Judas Priest vocalist Tim "Ripper" Owens, and "The Lady Is a Tramp," sung by Mr. Big's Eric Martin, both work here. It turns out it's the song and not the singer. Most of these tracks don't fare quite that well, though, and it's hardly the Chairman of the Board's fault. This set is worth hearing for the novelty of it all, and that, folks, is what Kulick is counting on. A little deconstruction never hurt anyone, after all, and since Sinatra is no longer with us, he can't complain -- he would if he could, one guesses. ~ Steve Leggett