For Fans Of
Cover songs. The very pairing of words elicits a mixed response. There is intrigue. There is trepidation. But overall, there is a burning sense of anticipation. Can bands pull off a version in a unique and thoughtful way or rather can they only merely butcher a long-held classic?
Unfortunately in instances like these the argument always revolves around which version is better? The original or the cover? And for the most part this is incredibly stupid, trivial, not to mention unfair. It’s totally missing the point. It’s not about comparison but rather highlighting the differences and hearing a contrasting take. Essentially, it’s about seeing if the cover track can pay homage to its predecessor while offering a bit of variety and individuality in the process. Why the hell would we want to hear the same song, re-sung and re-performed, word for word, guitar line for guitar line and so forth.
On paper, ‘Homefront: Songs for the Resistance‘ is an interesting proposition. Periphery, As I Lay Dying, Misery Signals etc. covering the likes of Slayer, Metallica and Black Sabbath. Whether its brilliant or a teasing and overwhelming letdown, the need for a listen is certainly there.
As I Lay Dying are arguably the bravest of the compilation. Covering Slayer, who arguably have the most staunch and unforgiving fans in metal. No easy task. Thus, its no surprise that the band play very closely to the thrash stylebook on ‘War Ensemble‘. AILD have always had a driving pulse to their music so the cover is not that futile or difficult in many respects. Anyone who heard ‘Within Destruction‘ on ‘An Ocean Between Us‘ will get the picture.
Periphery‘s take on Metallica‘s iconic ‘One‘ is interesting. While Metallica are more straightforward, Periphery rely on the technical. Drummer Matt Halpern does well to add a bit of variety to the rhythm. The only fault is the vocals are a bit too clean cut. You don’t get that deep Hetfield angst that drives the track. But you’ve still got to love when that riff and double kick juxtaposition kicks in.
The Dillinger Escape Plan do a serviceable job on ‘Fight the Power‘ while unfortunately The Acacia Strain struggle slightly. Faith No More probably have claimed the mantle of number 1 ‘War Pigs‘ cover. Misery Signals’ cover of Pink Floyd‘s ‘Us and Them‘ is debatably better in the clean sung, softer moments instead of the band’s trademark heavier points.
The Ghost Inside probably pick the most opposite of songs and genres in comparison to the rest of the acts. Instead of a metal band covering another metal band, it’s a hardcore act covering an old school rock outfit in Creedence Clearwater Revival. Never thought ‘Fortunate Son‘ would be a song to mosh to in the pit. Iwrestledabearonce takes the cake for the most polarising cover when trying their hand at Muse‘s ‘Uprising‘. Krysta Cameron starts with sweet, harmonising vocals before launching into some of her guttural, deathcore vocals towards the tail-end.
Certainly a lot better than those insufferable Punk Goes Pop compilations.
There’s no sitting on the fence when it comes to cover albums. Some will lap this up for what it is – a casual, entertaining and contrastive affair while others will equally throw their hands up shouting blasphemy. Either way, ‘Homefront’ serves its purpose. Now can someone contact Converge and Mastodon for a volume 2?
1. War Ensemble – As I Lay Dying
2. Fight the Power – The Dillinger Escape Plan feat. Chuck D
3. Uprising – iwrestledabearonce
4. War Pigs – The Acacia Strain
5. One – Periphery
6. Fortunate Son – The Ghost Inside
7. For What It’s Worth – Winds of Plague
8. Us and Them – Misery Signals
9. Masters of War – Arsonists Get All the Girls
10. War – Oceano
11. Sunday Bloody Sunday – Veil of Maya