METAL DEFENDS THE HOMEFRONT, BUT DOESN’T DO SUCH A SWELL JOB
So this is pretty cool… in theory at least. Last week, the videogame Homefront was released (I haven’t played it so I have no idea how it is, although I read some decent reviews), and yesterday, the makers of the game started giving away a FREE compilation of metal bands doing covers of war-appropriate songs, sometimes by other metal bands, sometimes by non-metal artists. You can download it here, and should get on that ASAP, as they’re only giving away 25,000 of the free downloads. As of this writing, DLs are still avail, though. Also, I’m sure this thing will remain all over the internet forever and ever, so don’t freak too hard if they’re all gone by the time you get there.
Another reason no to freak out too hard if you don’t get to download this puppy? Even though this is 100% free, like most cover albums, it’s not actually all that amazing. Let’s take a look at what the album has to offer, shall we?
1) As I Lay Dying cover Slayer’s “War Ensemble” — This isn’t bad, but it just sounds like AILD covering Slayer. They didn’t put their own spin on it or anything, unless you count Tim Lambesis’ growlier-than-Tom-Araya’s vocals to be “their own spin.” Your appreciation of this cover will depend entirely on how you feel about the original, and how you feel about AILD.
2) The Dillinger Escape Plan cover Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” — DEP get props for trying to make the song their own, and for enlisting Chuck D. to do the rapping parts, both so that they can truly pay tribute to the original, and so that Greg Puciato doesn’t come off as a wigger idiot. Unfortunately, I don’t actually find this cover very pleasing to my ears. Maybe it will grow on me after more listens — that happens a lot with me and DEP. But right now, my gut is to say “Close but no cigar.”
3) Iwrestledabearonce cover Muse’s “Uprising” — Again, nothing wrong here, but the band didn’t put their own spin on it at all — it’s just IWABO covering Muse, pretty much note-for-note. As much as I like IWABO, I also love Muse, so I dunno why I wouldn’t just listen to Muse when I’m in the mood for Muse and listen to IWABO when I’m in the mood for IWABO, y’know?
4) The Acacia Strain cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” — Again, pretty much a note-for-note cover. And, okay, so I have nothing but respect for The Acacia Strain, but this terrible. Sorry. Vincent Bennett’s guttural death vocals were just not designed for this song.
5) Periphery cover Metallica’s “One” — Yep, another cover in which the band didn’t actually change much. I loves me some Periphery, but I just cannot get used to Spencer Sotelo’s melodious vocals singing about all the horrors of war — his voice is so pretty it seems almost inappropriate for the material. I like it much better when he starts screaming during the heavy part. I like that Misha Mansoor made some major variations to Kirk Hammett’s solo while retaining a few key phrases from the original, though — that’s a good example of what I mean when I say bands should put their own spin on covers. It’s always recognizable as a Metallica song, but the solo is pure Bulb.
6) The Ghost Inside cover Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” — Oh, for fuck’s sake. This is just the same song it always was, but with hardcore-bark vocals and a section made to sound kinda breakdown-y. Which is as uninteresting as it sounds.
7) Winds of Plague cover Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” — This is as unlistenable as you’d expect. Seriously, it’s like a step below a Limp Bizkit cover. It’s so bad it makes me want the song to be erased from existence. I can’t believe anyone listens to this and doesn’t burst out laughing. Drek, drek, drek.
8) Misery Signals covers Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” — No thank you.
9) Arsonists Gets All the Girls cover Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” — I dunno how I feel about this one yet. The band definitely did put their own spin on the material, and a lot of it works for me. I almost think they should have gotten even crazier with it, y’know? Which probably explains why I’d still kinda rather just go listen to The Game of Life.
10) Oceano cover Edwin Starr’s “War” — It’s like they had a bet going with Winds of Plague to see who could come up with the more unlistenable piece of shit. And Oceano might win. I guess I need to give them props for not just doing a rote cover the way WoP did, but I also need to deduct points for sounding like Oceano.
11) Veil of Maya cover U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” — So this isn’t recognizable as a U2 song at all, and in that regard, it’s pretty successful — I mean, THANK GOD they didn’t just try to do a straight cover. Consequently, your appreciation of this song will depend entirely on how you feel about VoM.
And there ya have it! I appreciate the thought that went into “Hey, let’s have a bunch of metal bands do some covers and give that shit away for free!”, but it’s not like this album is a masterpiece — it’s barely even a fun diversion for the hour or so it will take you to listen to it. It’s mostly, just, like, something that happened.