Various Artists

VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 2: The Anthems

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The second installment of this series pales in comparison to the first, a judgment that's mainly due to the fact that so many hits were included on the first volume. Doing the best they can, though, the outstanding VH1 Classics network collected 15 more metal anthems in acoustic settings that have mixed results, but are suitable for metal fans with fond memories of the originals. Setting a standard for the rest of the release, the Scorpions break a world record for the heavy metal song to be most quickly emasculated with their acoustic rendition of the juggernaut anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane"; not even the audience clap-and-singalong compensates for how quickly the song goes from a bang to a whimper. Whitesnake picks it up with "Here I Go Again," although David Coverdale's voice can no longer hit the peaks he once did. Thankfully, things pick up from there, with contributions from Night Ranger, Poison and Tesla. The former lead singers of Warrant and Ratt (Jani Lane and Stephen Pearcy, respectively), show up, sans band, to perform "Cherry Pie" and "Round and Round," two more songs that suffer slightly with acoustic treatments, but are inoffensive trips down memory lane. The most regrettable performance on the disc comes courtesy of Nelson, who -- complete with drum machine -- turn "Love and Affection" into a boy-band single almost effortlessly. A mindless and perhaps enjoyable indulgence, this collection should appease the appetites of former hair metal fans everywhere.

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