"Covered in Colours" (Nightmare Records; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I know that Weezer's cover of Toto's "Africa" was a huge, fricking hit. But I don't know why it was a huge, fricking hit. It was so close to the original that you almost can't tell them apart. What's the point in covering someone else's music if you're going to make it nothing more than a note-by-note copy?

See, here's the thing: I love it when musicians do covers of other musician's music. It's a tribute and a celebration. I love when bands release entire cover albums and I search for covers of my favorite songs almost constantly (especially Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild"—send me a note if you're aware of a good one). But I expect the band doing the covering to put some of themselves in the song. Don't just re-record Toto's "Africa," make it your own!

Well, there's no issues with that on "Covered in Colors," the new covers album by Anubis Gate. I won't pretend that I've heard the original versions of the fourteen tracks Anubis Gate covers on this album but, the ones I have heard (and some I'm extremely familiar with) get the pure Anubis Gate, prog-rock treatment here. In fact, if you didn't recognize the lyrics, I'd dare say there's some tracks on this album you wouldn't have recognized, even if you've heard them a hundred times before.

Ozzy's "S.A.T.O." is recognizable but sounds more like a Anubis Gate original here.  Slayer's "Affective Perfector" not so much. Propelled by melodic guitars and soaring vocals—but with the same amount of atmospheric emotion—you'd never recognize the song with without the lyrics, even when it starts driving up ... and I love that! And AC/DC's "Back in Black" has been transformed into an eight minute head trip that would have fit nicely on a Pink Floyd record. The album ends with the band's version of The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields" which is so thick with atmosphere that listening to it is almost a visual experience.

As I said, there are some tracks (and even bands) that I wasn't familiar with. "Plantage," originally by Under Byen was one, as was Mike Stern's "Chromazone." Interesting tracks, both, but I can't really comment on their comparisons to the original. I also appreciated the band's use of deeper cuts, such as Voivod's "Experiment" and "Entangled," originally by Genesis.

"Covered in Colours" is an interesting album for the explorations it takes on music that apparently held some influence for Anubis Gate. I enjoyed the journey, and look back to taking the trip again in the near future.

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"Purification" (Locomotive Records; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Purification" is a showcase of great talent, epic songs and fantastic rock'n'roll storytelling ability. Unfortunately, it also lacks a little in the excitement department.

It's not that the band isn't talented. The guitars are what you'd expect from a power metal / prog metal band; the drums are thundering and huge and vocalist Torben Askholm has a voice that works like a slightly higher pitched Ronnie James Dio . It's not the production - the CD has a rich, full and balanced sound. It's not the concept; "Purification" tells its story clearly and succinctly.

I guess the problem with "Purification" is that the songs just don't have any oomph. They're all pleasant enough to listen to but not one of them really stands out or grabs the listener. "Purification" would have been a better CD if the band had shaken things up a bit and given a few songs a much faster pace and maybe even threw one in with a much slower pace. Some catchier melodies would be nice, too.

"Purification" is a solid CD that could just a little more juice to give it some edge. Still, as this is the debut CD by Anubis Gate, I expect great things from the band in the future. 

Anubis Gate: Torben Askholm - vocals; Jesper M. Jensen - guitar, bass, keyboards; Morten Soresen - drums; Also performing on "Purification" are : Kim Olesen - guitars, keyboards; Henrik Fevre: harmony vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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