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Tribute to The Devil's Music
Released: 2003, Black Lotus
A couple of months back (May 2003) I posed a question to the knowledgeable masses on the well-attended Metal-rules message forum. The question was, “How many bands have recorded a full album of all cover tunes?” Collectively we came up with about 30 max, so in reality these are quite rare. We can now add Acheron to that list.
Acheron are a little known but prolific and respected American Black Metal band with a impressive history. Despite previously only owning one of their nine studio releases (The Rites of The Black Mass) I consider myself a fan, but not an extremely knowledgeable one. However, that will soon change as this great comp has inspired me to accumulate the other seven releases. Browsing the liner notes I had not realized how many talented ‘name’ musicians (at least in the underground sense!) have worked with Vincent Crowley. Guys from Incantation, Death, Iced Earth, Angel corpse, Immolation and more! The cover has a sense of humour with Satan himself, flashing ‘the horns’ to a corwd of assembled metallions! Crowley gives his thoughts on each song in the quite extensive liner notes. A nice package.
This is kind of a neat 15th anniversary thing with 11 cover tunes and one reworking of the cut ‘Ave Satanas’ from the debut. The 11 covers were recorded over the last decade some unreleased and some were available on EP’s, vinyl singles, tribute CD’s and so on. It’s neat to have them all in one place. This really is a tribute and it pays homage to the great pioneers of the genre. In the liner notes, Crowley writes, “Metal is the main soundtrack of Hell!…Does listening to such sinister music a soul to Hell’s infernal torment? I sure hope so!”
I had for the most part considered Acheron to be a Black Metal band, but these songs are certainly in the death metal realm. It could be a part of the fact that most of these songs are originally thrash or even traditional heavy metal, so the song structure itself may seem at odds with contemporary BM song writing.
Often these type of releases are hit and miss based partly on the individual listeners personal preference for the song being covered and the band. However, there is that intangible element that makes or breaks these, admittedly novelty tribute style releases. For example despite loving all the bands and tracks involved, I was unimpressed with the cover CD’s by Helloween, Overkill and Six Feet Under but I really l enjoyed this one. Some critics and fans are of the school that a bad vocal performance can wreck a song. I disagree and Crowley’s versions add that unique flair to these originals that we all know and love.
The song choices are very enjoyable and Crowley made the interesting choice to cover an instrumental by Mercyful Fate saying that he would not blaspheme the King’s voice! He also changes the words in a couple of these interpretations and these are not just straight reproductions of the originals, he adds even more evil fun if that is possible. The songs were picked for the familiar themes of death, hate Satan and so on. The production is raw rough and ready and Crowley seems to be singing a bit lower than usual.
I would gladly recommend this to any older metal fan who is not repulsed by raw vocals and reworkings of classic cuts. I won’t spoil your fun by saying who did the originals on this tribute but if you are well versed in your 80’s metal, check the track-listing and see how many you can identify. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
1. Black Sabbath
2. Evil Dead
3. Dawn of Meggido
5. Flag of Hate
6. (Don’t Need) Religion
7. Room of Golden Air
8. War Machine
9. Raise The Dead
10. Devil’s Child
11. Countess Bathory
12. Ave Satanas
Others too many to mention
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