How the Gods Kill a Covers Record
Covers records are a dime a dozen. I remember way back in the mid-to-late 90’s when album tributes starting coming out, when you would get ten to twelve different bands covering their favorite tracks by a single, legendary artist. Some of them were amazing (check out that double disc Judas Priest tribute Century Media did) but most were pretty lame cash-in’s. I was always more excited by bands that covered artists of styles that were totally different (not counting that terrible KISS covers record with all those grunge bands, though…just awful, minus the Anthrax cut) and seeing what kind of original spin they could put on something I’ve heard a million times. Most cover albums are tepid at best and when I heard Fister was doing one of their own, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. But then I saw the track names and heard the damned thing for myself. Long story short: this is a good one.
Decade of Depression is short and to the point and covers bands you probably wouldn’t expect a Death/Doom juggernaut like Fister to cover. Right out the gate they do a cover of a Fabio Frizzi soundtrack number from the Fulci film City of the Living Dead. It is doomy, grinding, brutal, and scuzzy to the point I almost hardly recognize the original in it. This slides effortlessly into a crawling, turgid cover of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” This is the original re-enacted with swarming masses of slow-moving zombies fighting in Hell itself. Goddamn this is heavy and brutal. And dirty. Oh, so nasty.
The tribute carries on with a Slayer cover, a Darkthrone cover (but of one of their punkier songs, not one of the cvlt past), a Danzig cover, and a Hellhammer and Pungent Stench cover. The album ends with a cover of one of their own (!) tracks called “The Failure.” All of the songs are done with Fister-style grit and terror, making each of the tracks their own. These are Death/Doom remakes of songs that are decidedly not Death/Doom and that makes the choices very interesting. They keep the skeletal frame of each song and you will recognize it right away, but they all now sport that grungy, vomit-splattered sheen that Fister does oh so well.
All of the tracks are damned near awesome, with my personal favorite being “How the Gods Kill.” The extra layer of grit that Fister adds gives the song an added level of heft and disturbing quality. But you can’t go wrong with any of the songs on display here, as Fister has picked out some great tracks to cover and the running order is near-perfect.
If you’re going to do a covers album (and most bands/labels shouldn’t) then this is how you do it. Brutal, unrelenting, all Fister and yet all true to the source material. Yeah, it might be forgotten by this time next year, but it’s a good platter to throw on and enjoy when you need the comfort of old friends done in a new way. Check it out.