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"Hell Rules: A Tribute" (Dwell Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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Like skid marks etched upon pavement, the songs of Black Sabbath are probably embedded in your mind and can instantly remind you of a person, a place, or an event in your life. That's why it is so hard to listen to "Hell Rules: A Tribute" - as I hear the new versions I keep recalling the Sabbath originals as my mind forms a virtual playback from another point in my life.

Steel Prophet's cover of "Neon Knights" is fun to listen to; my collective memory reminds me that this is probably the only Dio-era Sabbath song that I actually liked. "Into The Void," covered by Rise, always has a special place in my musical history, but I've always liked how Soundgarden made this song unique. Agent Steel's near-faithful match of "Sweet Leaf" keeps the claustrophobia of the original intact while adding some modern touches to call it their own. Division's redaction of "Heaven And Hell" brings a decidedly European flavor to the disc's proceedings. 

A few of the covers are downright interesting. Coffin Text's treatment of "Disturbing The Priest" is a chaotic descent into unholiness while Society 1's demented execution of "Who Are You?" is like the bastard spawn of doom and industrial madness. Debauchery's translation of "Paranoid" is fairly faithful in the musical sense, but is given a more menacing sheen on this tribute. Tyrant's reverb soaked "Children Of The Grave" keeps the familiar galloping groove without sounding like a sappy imitation (for what it's worth, "Children Of The Grave" is probably my most favorite Sabbath tune). Hostile Intent ministers a dark version of "Electric Funeral" to great effect. 

A trio of death metal bands gets their fair chance at the Sabbath legacy with Hate Theory's harsh rendition of "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," Infamy's carpet-bombing blast of "Cornucopia," and Blood Coven's destruction of "N.I.B." The versions of these Sabbath songs suffer a bit as individual selections, but somehow they oddly work in the entire package.

Overall, I've never been a big fan of tribute records; however, this is neither spectacular nor bad. It does serve the purpose of expanding one's familiarity with a multitude of bands without breaking your bank account.

For more information write Dwell Records at P.O. Box 39439, Los Angeles, CA, 90039. 

Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Oct 2018 19:54:50 -0400.