Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Altitudes & Attitude-Altitudes & Attitude

Megaforce Records

Here's a bit of an odd release and chances are it slipped by most of our readers just as it (almost) slipped right past me. You see Altitudes & Attitude is a side-project of bassists Dave Ellefson and Frank Bello. Now, you should be familiar with those two names but if for some reason you're not then that's David Ellefson of Megadeth and Frank Bello of Anthrax. Long-story short ladies and gentlemen, these two musicians/longtime friends were out traveling the world and doing these clinics (which I guess are now known as "Metal Masters"?) when they struck upon the idea of making a mini-album together. Most of the material was reportedly written while the pair was out on the road and here on their first studio recording Dave and Frank are joined by Jeff Friedl who is also the current drummer of A Perfect Circle. Naturally all the bass parts fall on both Dave and Frank and the pair even shares guitar duties*. But when it comes to the main man behind the mic? Well, then we're talking about one Mr. Bello and he actually do a bang up job singing on "Altitudes & Attitude"! Do you find that hard to believe? Go try on "Booze & Cigarettes" for size and then come back and talk to me about whose taking care of business night and day! With only three songs this could be dubbed either a EP or a single and I believe that it was filed under the latter when I initially  downloaded it off of iTunes. For some reason though this self-titled release from the oddly-named Altitudes & Attitude looks as it has now disappeared from the U.S. version of iTunes, but for future reference you can either download it or purchase a physical copy of it on Amazon. As to whether or not you should take that step really depends upon how you feel about rock and hard rock as that is pretty much what Altitudes & Attitude is all about. Anyone expecting thrash from Dave and Frank should keep on walking. "Altitudes & Attitude" opens strong with the gritty sleaze rocker "Booze & Cigarettes" and then ends the same way with the eighties metal anthem, "Here Again". And no, we are not talking about something akin to early Anthrax on the oh-so-right "Here Again", but rather a fine rocker that pays homage to the American metal movement of the early eighties. Back in the day when U.S. hard rock bands were just starting to light it up as they looked towards their British brothers for inspiration (with stars in their eyes and a gnawing hunger that could only be satisfied by even louder and faster guitar solos!) a nifty little number like "Here Again" would have made a real splash in the pond as they say. It's hard rock plus with the "plus" taking the form of imported British metal LPs and it's as good as (if not better than?) the down and dirty "Booze & Cigarettes". If you're counting though that is only two cuts out of three so what exactly is the missing puzzle piece of this 3-track recording? That would be "Tell the World" and while it isn't exactly a dud it in no way, shape or form holds a candle to the two previously-mentioned numbers that it sandwiches. It simply exists in it's own right, but there is no way whatsoever that it would be enough to discourage me from recommending this short and sweet release! I'd love to hear more from Dave and Frank, but with everything else going on for these two bassists I highly doubt that we'll see anything new from Altitudes & Attitude anytime soon. For more information on this rock/metal side project be sure to check out the group's official website here.

*The stone cold slayer that is "Here Again" features wicked lead guitar work from Gus G. (Firewind, Gus G., Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Arch Enemy (live), ex-Dream Evil, ex-Mystic Prophecy, ex-Nightrage)

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