Striking a screen-worthy pose, six-string heroes inhabit an animated movies world.
Quote from a symphonic opus has long been a faux-intellectual way for axemen to show off their elite chops, but, having become a cliche, it’s too simplistic an attempt to woo the audience. Which is why coming from a simple angle may be a wiser way to go, and this disc treads such waters quite graciously. Guitar greats reimagining kids’ favorites: what’s not to love – even though most of the cuts on display don’t hail from Disney’s halcyon days.
In most cases, the secret of successful version offered here is rooted in the balance of familiarity and change, and while lesser dreamers wouldn’t dare and touch “When You Wish Upon A Star” that’s firmly ingrained in collective consciousness, Tak Matsumoto has applied a prog filter to the classic which started to shine rather than shimmer, and Jeff Watson has blown up “Colors Of The Wind” into hypersonic 3D, his shredding not meddling with the ballad’s lyricism. Stripping the songs of vocals, the guitarists flesh it all out in various guises to not only convey the original mood but also add another layer of emotional heft. That’s why, with the “Beauty And The Beast” theme wrapped in golden grandiosity, Zakk Wylde pours more heavy metal onto a newly fashioned riff to keep the tune’s tone saturated on an orchestral scale, whereas Paul Gilbert totally transforms “Under The Sea” by banishing calypso out of the piece yet keeps its playfulness intact to make the result arguably more infectious.
Perhaps, Mike Orlando’s harmonic upgrade of “A Whole New World” made the mellifluous melody textured too triumphantly, but George Lynch gave perfect twang and vibrancy to “Hellfire” to deepen the drama of desire. If Richie Kotzen didn’t contribute much to the reading of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” beside appending a bit of blues to it, Orianthi’s effusive take on “Someday My Prince Will Come” should betray a modern look at romantic hope, her flurry of notes befitting a contemporary female’s mindset. Still, it’s Phil X’s delivery of “Chim Chim Cher-ee” that turns the ditty into a powerful hymn, and it’s Bumblefoot’s handling of “Reflection” that is delicate and robust at the same time.
Here’s an album to bring together one’s love for two kinds of entertainment – rock and animation – and provide a fun listening to an entire family.