The difficulty with tribute albums is that they are usually so varied - even inconsistent - that it's almost impossible to review them as a unit. So a one-track-at-a-time review follows below...

"Say Just Words" by Gloomy Grim: Never heard of this band before, they're probably a new signing. The song as such is pretty OK, pretty faithful to the original.

"Mercy" by Orphaned Land: You can trust these Israelis to give the song an oriental twist with arabic-sounding atmosphere and impeccably clean production. Quite good.

"The Last Time" by Septic Flesh: Although for some perhaps too commercial, this was one of the better tracks on "Draconian Times". Septic Flesh have made it a lot more dreamy. Good.

"Forever (Shattered) Failure" by Misanthrope: These French geniuses have not just given the song their own interpretation, but also translated the lyrics to French. A very specific twist that, however, won't enchant everyone. Musically, as usual with Misanthrope, it's well performed.

"True Belief" by On Thorns I Lay: I am only familiar with this band's debut, which sucked. The vocalist moaned and sighed most of the lyrics, and I am glad there is none of that on this track. There's a grunt, female vocals, and even occasional congas. You can't blame them to shirk away from experimenting, but it's one of the lesser tracks on the album (as was the original).

"Embers Fire" by Legenda: Starts off heavy and atmospheric with the well-known intro, but the Sir Luttinen and company crank up the gear and lose themselves in speed so as to create a track that is virtually unrecognisable. Weak.

"As I Die" by Argile: Average to weak. Doesn't do anything for me. Maybe I've just heard the original too often. I don't know.

"Gothic" by Godsend: A pretty good rendition, probably caused partly by the original being such a classic. The female vocals aren't all too good though.

"The Painless" by Stille Volk: A beautiful version of the original, really quite unusual what with violins and mediaeval elements having been thrown in. The highlight of the album, together with the next one...

"Eternal" by Yearning: Excellent, atmospheric, heavy, possibly superior even to the original. An amazing version!

"Lost Paradise" by Nightfall: Although a bit short and, some might have it, too beat-driven (almost danceable), this is a really different interpretation of the track. Very interesting.

"Rotting Misery" by Sup: Not really a climax, not really a letdown. With some beat-driven elements here, too.

All in all, Holy Records have released an unusual tribute album. Although I read a review where it was reckoned the covers were too much like the originals, I would have to differ. Some of the songs are innovative interpretations, and the quality is fairly consistent. Also, it needs to be mentioned that the booklet is quite interesting with plenty of pictures.



Written January 1999


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