Released: 2000, Midwest Metal
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Reviewing compilation discs is always a sticky thing to do. Especially when it’s a tribute album. With the advent of the internet, it’s become a hell of a lot easier to discover new bands and sample them. Buying compilations to discover new bands is a thing of the past, I believe. The main reason I would pick up any compilation disc nowadays is to get that one unreleased song or two by a band I’m into. Same thing goes for tribute albums. Thus I arrive at Dehumanized Witch, a tribute to Black Sabbath. Christ, do we need another Black Sabbath tribute? Sure as hell not. But when I heard that Memory Garden and Last Chapter were present on this CD, I just had to buy it immediately.
Memory Garden cover “Country Girl”, and of course they play it brilliantly. Their advantage of having two guitarists gives the song added depth with killer harmonies during the main riff and an ultra-heavy crunch behind the solo. Last Chapter play “Children of the Sea”, marking the debut appearance of their new vocalist. Not the most exciting song, but slow and dirge-like for good measure. Thankfully Last Chapter retains their naturally heavy sound, like their debut album The Living Waters. All of the other bands on this disc are pretty unfamiliar to me. But I feel you should at least know what bands/songs to expect. So here goes: Forsaken lead of the tribute with their rendition of “Neon Knights”. A pretty horrible song title to say the least, but regardless, Forsaken crush the earth with an ultimate doom opening, speeding things up for the remainder of the song without losing any of the heaviness. Berenice pay tribute by means of “Letters from the Earth” from the Duhmanizer. I’ve never even heard this song before, but it sure fucking rocks. Nice and slow, like it should be! Mood keeps the slothlike pace with “Lonely is the Word”. Their sound isn’t too far removed from classic rock. And neither is The Tempter’s, with “Falling Off the Edge of the World”. Leaf plays “After All (The Dead)”, another slow track off Dehumanizer. Damn, maybe I should pick that album up? Seasons of the Wolf covers “Buried Alive” well, but I’m not impressed with their sound. Extremely heavy guitars, horrible-sounding drums (drum machine?), and a vocalist that reminds me of a cross between Blitz (Overkill) and Jason McMaster (Watchtower), a combination that just doesn’t work well with Black Sabbath material. Syris and Mesmerize close the tribute with two upbeat songs: “Wishing Well” and “Die Young” respectively. I’ve always found the faster Sabbath songs relatively boring so my interest just sort of tapers off to nothing near the end of this CD.
My main objective in reviewing this disc is to make everyone aware that this tribute exists. The interesting thing about this tribute is that all the material is Dio-era Sabbath, as you may have noticed. I believe all Sabbath’s material after their sixth album Sabotage is way under par compared to the first six albums. So for these bands to cover this material is an improvement, especially considering they’ve all done exceptional jobs. I’m a diehard Memory Garden and Last Chapter fan, so this is the reason I bought this disc. So overall I think you have to be a big fan of some of these bands, or this type of music in general, to appreciate Dehumanized Witch. This CD seems very elusive. First of all, who in the hell are some of these bands? And who is Midwest Metal? And what’s with the cover artwork? And concerning the back cover artwork, Ozzy looks more like Jim Morrison to me. And I think the booklet could have been expanded. But what the hell, it’s the music that counts here. How often do you take your tribute album booklets out of the jewel case? But at the same time, considering how obscure some of these bands are, a little information on them would be helpful.