Motörhead – Under Cöver (Motörhead Records 2017)

And so it has arrived, the first “Archival/posthumous” release from the legendary Motörhead and it’s a compilation of cover songs, aptly named Under Cöver. Motorhead did covers throughout their long career  and now they’ve done you the favor of compiling them on one disc!

 

This might be the second most unnecessary release of the year, just after Masterplans Pump Kings. I’m not the biggest Motorhead fan in the world, but I’m still familiar with all of these covers, except Breaking the Law by Priest, Heroes by Bowie and Rockaway Beach by The Ramones. What the protectors of Lemmys legacy basically has done is to make a playlist and thus saved you 4 minutes of Spotify-time, thank you. I bow my head in appreciation. I will take a bit of self critique, I shouldn’t have bought the album. I should have had enough foresight to see what this was … a money grab. The people in charge of the estate of Lemmy, God of rock n roll, the coolest guy to ever play bass, loved by millions are cheaping in his name by releasing this sub par compilation. You can bet your ars this wont be the last archival release. They will pop up every couple years like clockwork.

 

I think it’s kind of odd to include Hellraiser as Lemmy wrote the lyrics for Ozzy, I guess he didn’t write the music. My favorite Motorhead cover is not on the cd and Louie Louie is sorely missed. I’m glad they included Starstruck with Biff Byford on vocals, it’s a truly a great cover. Shot Em Down is another highlight, and in my opinion far superior to the original Twisted Sister tune. Whiplash, the grammy winning Metallica cover, originally written as sort of tribute to Motorhead is fast and fun. Breaking the Law sounds a bit more criminal in Lemmys voice. Heroes is the most creative cover, where they actually experiment with sound and equipment and create something quite unique. Most songs follow the basic patterns of their originals, only faster and harder and topped with the signature gritty vocals of Lemmy.

 

I’m not really sure how to rate this album. I knew the music, I’ve heard it before, both originals and cover versions. They’ve excluded Motorheads finest cover and …. The music is Motorhead as I like to remember them. The existence of this “just for the revenue” release angers me, and yes, it angers me that I bought into it and bought the damn thing.

 

Recommended tracks: Heroes, Starstruck, Whiplash, Shoot Em down.

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Abattoir – Vicious Attack (Combat 1985)

This record’s sort of a gem, at lest side A is, the B-side is a forgettable collection of mediocrity. I picked this up at flea market, mainly to fill up the 5 for the price of 3 bargain dealy thing. I’ve listened to this record every now again, and the main draw is the first tracks off of the A-side; Screams From the Grave and Vicious Attack (Maniac). These two tracks are bursts of energy and scream-along greates. Vicious Attack (Maniac) is a great car song as well, at least if you want to drive fast. I have the speeding ticket to prove its effectiveness.

Both these songs are a cross of thrash and speed metal, they don’t have quite the edge of 1985 Slayer, Megadeth or Metallica, but they are fast, heavy and filled to the rim with riffs and headbanging goodness. Side-A is completed by the easily forgotten The Enemy and a ripping cover of Ace of Spades, dutyfully and lovingly done.

The B-side starts off with a warning of a lowering of the bar; The Living and the Dead. The riff is half assed, at best.  Stronger Than Evil is ok, it’s passable and unremarkable. Don’t Walk Alone is a classic skipper-track, with awful comic book style lyrics. Game of Death is the strongest track of the B-side. The riffs are better, the lyrics aren’t horrible and the energy is back.

All in all it’s not the best record, not the worst. It’s totally understandable why this band sort of faded away in the fog of time. One of the most annoying things about this record is the fact that it’s not available through Spotify, google play or Itunes. It was however re-released on cd and vinyl by Century Media a while back.

Recommended tracks: Screams from the Grave, Vicious Attack (Maniac), Ace of Spades

Rating: 2,5 / 5

Overkill – Coverkill (Steamhammer 1999)

I’ve been looking around for this record for quite some time, but it’s not that available in my frigid corner of the world, so I buckled under and bought the damn thing on Itunes. I’m completionist, if it’s an artist I really like, I need to own the entire discography (excepting some compilations, live recordings, singles etc.) or my life will be pointless and sad (ocd?). This hole in my Overkill collection has bothered me for years. And completion feels oh so very sweet.

I’ve talked about my fascination for cover albums when handling Danzigs latest travesty of a record. I downloaded these songs at work, with a slow, slooooow connection, which gave me plenty of time to check out the track list. Three Sabbath covers, wow, a Deep Purple track, Priest, Motörhead, Ramones, Kiss and Tull. Good stuff! But, wait, what’s this? ManOwar? Really? I’m never drunk enough to listen to ManOwar any more. I was in my youth, but now? I’m old fart… man.

I suppose it’s natural to open with the tune they took their name from. The Motörhead classic sound ferocious in the Overkills interpretation. I kind of wish they’d included a studio version, not a live version, oh well. Two of three Sabbath covers sound decent. Never Say Die has never been a personal favorite of mine, I rarely listen to that record at all. Megadeth has also done a cover of this song, but I think Overkill has the edge on this one. Changes I don’t like, Blitz doesn’t really have the voice for ballads, just like Ozzy. The bass really bothers me, it sounds half assed. DD’s bass is bouldering, as always, but it doesn’t fit this particular song. Cornucopia has never made an impact on me, neither the original nor this cover version, so I won’t linger on this tune.

Deuce is just a killer. I find the original Kiss song a bit on slow side. Overkill has sped it up and given it some power, which is totally what this song deserves. This one is just nice. I enjoyed the Ramones cover as well. I had a Ramones period in high school, when I listened to every track I could get my hands on, but this track … I don’t think it ever came my way. I’m not familiar with The Dead Boys, I like this song, but I have no idea how the original sounds. I think maybe they should have picked a different Purple tune, but that’s just me.

This entire album has the same feel as Metallicas Garage Inc. in that the production is not as slick and or precise as the studio albums containing original material. I guess that they’re looking for that garage sound, that feeling of the days when they first started. It’s not the best selection of covers I’ve heard, but certainly not the worst. Overkill had a typical groove metal sound in the late nineties, evident on this record, and it really doesn’t fit well with a few of the chosen tracks on this record.

This isn’t the big whole in my collection I thought it would be. It’s a nice little reminder that Overkill used to be a coverband, but also that they’ve moved on.

Recommended tracks: Overkill, Deuce

Rating 3/5

Variuous Artist – Ronnie James Dio: This Was Your Life

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Every now and again a tribute album comes along that really catches my eye. Ever since his passing, Dio tributes of various sorts and quality have been floating around, the best by far has been Jorns Song for Ronnie.

The list of contributors should alone be enough to trigger the interest of the hard rock and metal community, and the fact that the profits goes to Dio’s cancer fund should be an extra incentive to go out and buy the disc.

I’ll do a track by track review:

Neon Knights – Anthrax.

Scott Ian hasn’t really put any effort into making a unique cover, and does a blueprint cover. Belladonna vocals are great as always. I expected Anthrax to do Heaven and He’ll, but no matter. Except for the odd butchering of the guitar solo, I like this cover.

 

The Last in Line – Tenacious D.

This was a bit of a let down, I expected something much more creative and fun from Tenacious D.  In stead you get massive evidence that Jack Black is not a great singer, but just OK.

 

The Mob Rules – Adrenaline Mob.

Sounds like like the original, but with better production. Bit of a let down from this so called super group.

 

Rainbow in the Dark – Corey Taylor, Jason Christopher, Christian Martucci, Roy Mayorga, Satchel

I love this track, and Corey Taylor does an impressive job behind the mic. This track is truly a  great cover, it stays true to the original and yet adds a new vibe and energy to the song.

 

Straight through the Heart –  Halestorm

The best song on this tribute album. There is heavy metal magic present in every aspect of this recording. Lizzy sounds absolutely amazing. Her voice, like Dios, is full of power and honesty, consider me blown away. I’m definitely going to check out more from this band.

 

Starstruck – Motörhead with Biff Byford

This one is pretty straight forward, Biff sings great and Motörhead play great, without putting much of their sound and style in the mix.

 

The Temple of the King – Scorpions

I don’t really care for the original Rainbow version, I don’t really care for Scorpions and I don’t really care for this bland and boring cover.

 

Egypt (The Chains are On) – Doro

Doro has slowed it down and added a lot new elements, and has totally made this her own song. If hadn’t known this to be a Dio song, I would have thought she wrote it herself. And it sounds great and heavy.

 

Holy Diver – Killswitch Engage

When you receive the honor it is to be the ones to cover Dios signature song on a tribute album filled to the rim with metal gods, you should do a better job than this boring, slightly out of tune, uninspired waste of my time.

 

Catch the Rainbow – Glenn Hughes, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren and Simon Wright

It’s been a long time since I heard Mr. Hughes sound this high. It’s a real interesting group of people who made this laid back, slightly stoned and cool version.

 

I – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson and Brian Tichy

This is one of my favorite Sabbath with Dio songs. I have never heard Oni sing before, but he does a stand up job. Robertsons guitar work is impeccable, and the same could be said about the rhythm section. But there is just no magic, like the original has.

 

Man on the Silver Mountain – Rob Halford, Doug Aldrich, Vinnie Appice, Jeff Pilson and Scott Warren

This collection of metal Gods deliver, never doubt it. Everything sounds good, as it should. Halfrods puts his signature on this song and makes it something special.

 

Metallica – Ronnie Rising medley (A light in the black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill the King)

Metallica have way of making their covers sound like a Metallica song, and they do this here as well. The sound of Hetfields voice and Hammetts wah-wah is ever present. I was excited to hear if Ulrich would attempt the drum intro for Stargazer, but he didn’t, no shocker there. This is one of my favourite songs on the album.

 

Dio – This was your Life

A litle quiet song fram the man himself. Just a piano and Dios magnificent vocals. I am sorry to say that I can see way this wasn’t released before. It’s a run of the mill song, and nothing special really