Saturday 26 January 2019

Album Review: ARCH ENEMY - Covered In Blood

Arch Enemy - Covered In Blood

01. Shout (Tears For Fears cover)
02. Back To Back (Pretty Maids cover)
03. Shadow On The Wall (Mike Oldfield cover)
04. Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover)
05. Nitad (Moderat Likvidation cover)
06. When The Innocent Die (Anti-Cimex cover)
07. Warsystem (Skitslickers cover)
08. Armed Revolution (Skitslickers cover)
09. Spr├Ąckta Snutskallar (Skitslickers cover)
10. The Leader (Of the Fuckin’ Assholes) (Skitslickers cover)
11. City Baby Attacked By Rats (G.B.H. cover)
12. Warning (Discharge cover)
13. The Zoo (Scorpions cover)
14. Wings Of Tomorrow (Europe cover)
15. The Oath (Kiss cover)
16. The Book Of Heavy Metal (Dream Evil cover)
17. Walk In The Shadows (Queensryche cover)
18. Incarnated Solvent Abuse (Carcass cover)
19. Kill With Power (Manowar cover)
20. Symphony Of Destruction (Megadeth cover)
21. Aces High (Iron Maiden cover)
22. Scream Of Anger (Europe cover)
23. Starbreaker (Judas Priest cover)
24. The Ides Of March (Iron Maiden cover)

Covered In Blood, as the title suggests, is a compilation of all of Arch Enemy's cover versions throughout the years, and features all of their lead singers on the same album for the first time.

The world of covers can be quite controversial, as some artists like to be very faithful to the original versions, whereas others like to make a song their own, often changing it almost beyond recognition. Personally, I don't think there's a rule on how these things should be done. I think the end product either works or it doesn't.

The songs on Covered In Blood are a bit hit-and-miss for me. Being Arch Enemy, they attack each of these songs in their own style incorporating a shot of brutal technical Metal, along with snarling Extreme Metal vocals. Most of these songs were originally melodic Heavy Metal anthems, and in many cases, I feel that the Arch Enemy vocal style doesn't always fit. For example, a song like Aces High is really made by Bruce Dickinson's soaring, powerful vocals. Replacing this style with Arch Enemy's, for my personal tastes, doesn't really do the song justice. It's not bad, it's actually kinda cool, but the original is still leagues ahead, and I'm not just saying that out of loyalty to Iron Maiden.

That's pretty much how I feel about the bulk of this record. These versions are all expertly played, and as you'd expect, heavy as a sack of spanners. I just think the extreme vocal styles make these songs significantly different from the originals, in a way that alters their core a little too much in most cases.

Having said that, some of them work really well such as Shadow On The Wall, City Baby Attacked By Rats, and the Punk/Hardcore tracks that were already extreme songs to begin with.

Overall, this is a great album for die-hards and completists. There are also enough gems to warrant checking it out if you're a passing fan. I still think they're at their best doing their own material, but regardless, this is a fun record to delve into and certainly fills that gap while we wait for their next studio album.


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