Tribute albums are generally filled with contributions from obscure bands. Also, in general these bands all offer a death-metallized version of the originals. Sometimes this leads to interesting, even positive results. Not so with "Red Star - a Tribute to Rush", recently released by a record label that seems to have made the production of tribute albums into an art form (with mixed success), Dwell Records.

"Red Star - a Tribute to Rush" features, um, cult bands that have yet to disentangle themselves from the grey mass of total obscurity, but may never. Engrave Speed Death and Scary German Guy are two of the more colourful names. In most of the cases featured on this CD, the efforts at playing Rush covers are as laughable as the band names. Most notably Engrave Speed Death ("Anthem" with horrible vocals) and Shallows of the Mundane ("Bastille Day" with hardcore vocals and quite a few wrong notes here and there) make a mockery out of the effort. "Red Star", unlike the Magna Carta Rush tribute "Working Man", echoes no appreciation for the band that is paid tribute to, in fact seems sometimes to purely take the piss out of the originals. Hate Theory scream through a barely recognizable "What You're Doing", Mythiasin offer a helium-induced version of "Freewill" in which only bass and drums are decent. Some of the more interesting contributions include Disarray's "Tom Sawyer" (a heavy, death metal grunt version), Blood Coven's "Temples of Syrinx" (with fast blastbeat sections, pretty OK) and Hostile Intent's "Subdivisions". Most of the other tracks have little or no merit but thankfully fail to irritate, such as a black metal version of "Passage to Bangkok" by Scary German Guy and the only two songs with actual singers: Premonition's "The Spirit of Radio" and "Red Barchetta" by Prototype (though both singers fail to properly deliver the higher sections).

I wonder who this album was made for, besides perhaps for the people at Dwell Records, creating some semblance of a cash flow. There are preciously few people who appreciate death metal and Rush, so perhaps it's a project doomed to fail from the start. It's not interesting enough to buy.



Written November 1999


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