Various Artists - Metal Mania Stripped

Ever since MTV began the Unplugged Sessions where performers played their music acoustically (though the guitars were plugged in, as were all the instruments) musicians as varied as Eric Clapton, Nirvana and George Michael have taken part and for a while this presentation became very popular. It was only a matter of time before a compilation of rock bands playing in a similar format hit the shops to cash in. Metal Mania Stripped features long forgotten bands like Extreme and Cinderella, many of which form the 80s era of poodle haired, spandex wearing rockers whose fashion sense has now dated, but thankfully the music has stood the test of time.

"Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison is greeted by an adoring audience. Bret Michael's vocal is very relaxed, he's taking his time in a less volatile arrangement. The melody is even more anthemic with the drums not intrusive. The vocal is quite high in the mix with just the right amount of percussion and bass. German band Scorpions political song "Wind Of Change" (originally released when the Berlin Wall was taken down) has whistling, a crowd sing along, an emotional lead vocal, great backing vocals and of course acoustic guitars and even a violin. Whatever style or arrangement this song has it'll always remain a stirring experience.

"The Way It Is" by Tesla has great fret work (muso speak I know, but it's true), a croaky lead vocal straining too hard and some screaming from their fans, but at over six minutes the self indulgent feeling is all too apparent. "When I Look Into Your Eyes" by Firehouse is a bit too soft rock Bon Jove for me with earnest cliché ridden lyrics, but for fans of the band this'll do just fine.

Also featuring Kip Winger and LA Guns this is all well and good, but won't rock fans enjoy the high voltage spirit of the originals more than the acoustic based versions

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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