VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sweet Leaf: A Stoner Rock Tribute To Black Sabbath

Deadline 2015

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sweet Leaf: A Stoner Rock Tribute To BLACK SABBATH

Sweet Leaf

Homage to metal godfathers from their mental – yet not too experimental – followers who feed their head and starve their dead.

There’s no such thing as a great Sabs cover: any of the band’s former members can testify to the difficulty of measuring up to an original version, and even the classic quartet have always been rather conservative with their on-stage delivery. Many a heavy tribute tried to be creative and missed the point by flattening the songs dynamically, but this one has a different angle to it looking at the group’s legacy from a psych perspective.

More so, the selection veers from the obvious for the most part, leaving GOLDEN VOID’s slowed-down and finely funked-up “Paranoid” for the finale – William Shatner’s previously released take on “Iron Man” with Ozzy‘s acolytes Zakk Wylde and Mike Inez is rather a bonus here – although only HOUSE OF BROKEN PROMISES venture beyond the ’70s with “Lady Evil” to land on a Dio-patented vigor. It’s great, still, to hear the roaring “Dirty Women” handled by another trio, no matter how close MOS GENERATOR’s Tony Reed comes to both Iommi and Osbourne before adding his own flourishes to the piece, while WO FAT did little in comparison to their heroes to upgrade “The Warning” which the Sabs themselves remodeled. Yet, of course, it’s the drugs influence – real or perceived – on both SABBATH and stoner rockers that demands special attention here.

That’s why DEATH HAWKS’ transparent, semi-acoustic rendition fills “Hand Of Doom” with hallucinogenic eeriness, and SOLACE hush “Electric Funeral” down to sinister degree. But where ULVER spike the bass-bobbing “Solitude” with a beautifully tormented trumpet, PENTAGRAM condense darkness around “After Forever” eschewing the groover’s otherworldly merriment, as do WEEDPECKER with a title track – given a blurred vision now, in keeping with this collection theme.

A laudable approach from its participants, uneven result notwithstanding.


January 10, 2016

Category(s): Reviews
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