Perhaps I am not familiar enough with the underground. Perhaps the underground is simply too vast to comprehend. Whatever may be the case, on this Dwell Records "Tribute to Metallica" I didn't recognise a single band name. Nonetheless I gave this CD a whir or two...

Metallica tribute albums alone are beginning to form a niche all of their own. In general, what you get is slightly (or very much) faster versions of the originals with grunted vocals. "Overload" is no exception. Track by track then.

"Whiplash" by Crematorium: Starts off pretty original, with spoken samples from an interview with Hetfield and Ulrich about 'selling out'. Then it becomes a pretty standard but quite OK speed metal grunt version of "Whiplash".

"Creeping Death" by From the Depths: Most bands these days can play the entire Metallica catalogue. Metallica songs just rule, and this one's a true classic. The vocals - a kind of mid-range grunt - are the lesser ingredient of the mix.

"Jump in the Fire" by Terror: This version sounds weak - no bass, no nothing, just pretty lightly produced drums and a guitar, with a terrible singer. If your CD player has a 'remember which track to skip on particular CDs' option, use it.

"Fight Fire with Fire" by Habeas Corpus: For any band to equal or top Luciferion's lightspeed version of this song on "Metal Militia - A Tribute to Metallica"...they'd have to be pretty amazing. Habeas Corpus partly succeeds. It's a really drum-heavy version, with an eighties-sounding vocalist. They got the guitar solos right, almost note-perfect.

"The Thing that Should not Be" by Diesel Machine: Arguably the heaviest song Metallica have ever written. Musically it's almost identical to the original, the vocals inferior. Nothing really makes this one stand out, perhaps because the original is damn nigh unbeatable.

"Fade to Black" by Steel Prophet: A wimped out version of the original. The vocalist is unconvincing, the guitar solos tinny. This song filled my the point of agony.

"Trapped under Ice" by Prototype: Really energetic version, quite a bit faster than the original, with really cool drumming. A relentless highlight on the album.

"Eye of the Beholder" by Sickness: Cool original, cool version with a down-in-the-dirt grunt. Another highlight.

"Enter Sandman" by Fongus: What have you got if you take the original "Enter Sandman" and remove Bob Rock's heavy-as-a-brick production? Musically, you would get Fongus' version of the song. Add an execrable singer who on top of that sings phonetic near-approximations of the original lyrics ("hush little baby don't say the world"), and you've got another candidate for the 'skip a track on particular CDs' function.

"King Nothing" by Castle of Pain: Rougher than the original (well, let's face it, how could it not be?), with added synth effects in the background, that's Castle of Pain's version of the "King Nothing" track. Another climax.

"Damage Inc." by Fist: If you know what Dream Theater with Barney on vocals makes of this song, no other band will ever be able to compete. However, Fist makes an admirable effort, though the track sounds pretty bland production-wise. No climax exactly, but definitely among the better tracks on this CD.

"Metal Militia" by Engrave: The original was pretty fast, but this one cranks it up another notch (or perhaps even two). With a cool grunt that doesn't disguise the words, another cool track.

I wish a larger record company would get together some well-known bands to play Metallica covers (like Magna Carta did with Rush, or Gun did with Venom). As it is, with only those few climaxes, this Metallica tribute by Dwell records isn't particularly vital for any Metallifan's CD collection.



Written January 1999


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