I do wish that tribute albums wouldn't always be averagely performed, death metallized versions of the originals. As a collector of cover tracks I've heard quite a few, and inevitably they leave a foul taste in my aural mouth (as it were). Prog rock is transformed into loud mush, timeless classics are performed with singers that makes the very curls of your toes curl. And, inevitably, the artists are "up and coming" bands that will never go up, and never come.

Now Cradle of Filth is a band that does not feature especially excellent musicians, and a singer that, let's be honest, is so extreme that he is the single thing that keeps quite a few people off their music for good. As long as a vocalist sings in key and, importantly, the band somehow manage to capture the awesome atmosphere of Cradle's music, well, you can't really go wrong!

Deadline Music's "Covered in Filth" tribute is, therefore, not without merits. This album, too, is not flawless, though. Kaul's "Suicide and Other Comforts" is pretty lame, without any of the original aggression, with very tame vocals. Serpents Aria's "Born in a Burial Gown" features mumbling vocals, very improvised (a.k.a. unrecognisable and sloppy) guitars and limp percussion. Noctuary's "The Black Goddess Rises" suffers from a drummer who cannot keep up the tempo, but it has cool use of acoustic guitar here and there. Chronzon's "Cthulhu Dawn" is too much of a crap death metal version with wrong drum accents, no female vocals and an extremely simplified arrangement.

On the good side, you will find Willow Wisp's "The Forest Whispers My Name", which is almost as good as the original though it's got irritating piano bits. Kekal's "Dance Macabre" is very very unusual and really haunting with female vocalising, though I recognise no Cradle original in it. Lucifer's "Desire in Violent Overture" has a very convincing, virgin-tight drummer, with female vocals where needed, making it one of the best tracks on this tribute. The others tracks of this collection of 13 that I have not mentioned do not stand out positively or negatively.

In general there's more guitar and less keyboards, and more death metal style vocals obviously. Definitely not one of the best tribute albums out there, but there are many that are worse.



Written June 2003


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