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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: Various Artists- Kerrang Presents Nirvana: Nevermind Forever (2011)

Band: Various Artists
Release: 2011
Genre: Various
Label: Kerrang Magazine

01. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Arcane Roots
02. In Bloom – Framing Hanley
03. Come As You Are – Deaf Havana
04. Breed – Rise To Remain
05. Lithium – Francesqa
06. Polly – Young Guns
07. Territorial Pissings – The Dillinger Escape Plan
08. Drain You – Kids In Glass Houses
09. Lounge Act – Evile
10. Stay Away – The Blackout
11. On A Plain – Frank Turner
12. Something In The Way – Spycatcher
13. Endless, Nameless – Dangerous!
14. Sliver (bonus track) – We Are The Ocean

Review:9 /10

First off I am a fairly big Nirvana fan, being that they were one of the first bands that got me into the grunge scene. And I have heard some very bad covers of their radio hits from local and big bands alike, but with this compilation, I was surprised, giving a facelift to an original album. It is rare to hear bands actually take a cover and make it their own, but keep to the roots of what the song is. Most of these bands I have never heard of, but after reviewing this album, there will be several that will be added to my iTunes playlist.

The first track off Kerrang Presents, Nevermind Forever is Arcane Roots, covering Smells like teen spirit. It starts off a bit faster than the original song, adding an almost math metal feel to the intro. But when the vocals come in, it mixes very well. The more up tempo feel of the drums and the more complex bass lines giving the bass a much more prominent role than the original song. Also adding today’s metal vocal style, with some screams made this track enjoyable for more of a metal feel, which should appease metal heads and hardcore fans alike.

The next track on the album is In Bloom, covered by Framing Handley. When the track first starts off it sounded identical to the original, but within a few seconds they added some very unsettling electronics that added to the creepiness of the song. The tempo changes were very cool, a single vocalist, to multiple, with an underlying acoustic rhythm. This is one of the covers that I believe would make Kurt Cobain stand up and applaud. The vocals match the original very well, much like a current Cobain.

The next track is Come as you are, covered by Deaf Havana. When the track first started I was not impressed, the vocals were no justice to Kurt, not saying they are bad, but I think that for such a song as Come as you are, it could have been a bit darker. The musicians behind this song were amazing though, great use of minor electronics behind the track, the solo within the song kicked ass, executed very well. In the end this is a very good track, but more for an alternative crowd.

The next track is Breed, Covered by Rise to Remain. The start is very edgy, really love the metal feel to the song. The musicians on this song did a very good job. The vocalist did an excellent job with covering this, mixing both a thrashy/hardcore style with some guttural growls. The guitarists did a great job as well. If I was at a show and saw this song performed live I would be in the pit getting down. Total mosh song. The energy this song gives off is amazing. This band took the song and made it their own, one of those songs that if it was not well known, people could assume that this song was written by this band.

The next song is Lithium, covered by Francesqa. Lithium is one of those songs that everyone knows, either by being a Nirvana fan, or just hearing it on the radio. This cover was very well written. Using minor distortion on the guitars, and a less prominent bass line. The vocals were amazing, not overpowering, and most importantly not outshining the original. Everything was very clean, using some minor electronics behind the track to add some ambience to the song. This track seemed a little more radio friendly, like you could hear it on an alternative station, but was very well performed.

The next track is Polly, Covered by Young Guns. The track begins with acoustic guitars, and throughout, some distorted guitars, emphasizing the original grunge sound. The dual use of acoustic and electric made this track very interesting, the feel of acoustics, but mixing in the usage of the electric guitar and bass for solos and the minor bass break. The electric guitars eventually take the prominent role, to give the song a much faster tempo, and rocking feel to it.

The next song is Territorial Pissings, covered by the Dillinger Escape Plan. To start off, I have never been a big fan of the Dillinger Escape Plan, due to their vocalist, but this song was performed very well in their own unique style. A mix of almost old school punk styled vocals, mixed with the newer metal style vocals. Musically, I was very impressed since I am more into the metal scene and I love the de-tuned overly distorted guitars.

The next song is Drain You, Covered by Kids in Glass Houses. This track seemed to keep pretty close to the original grunge sound, I really enjoyed the vocals on this song. The minor use of the electronics helped create an ambient feel. The musicians did a great job, felt like Nirvana had recorded in the future.

The next track is Lounge act, covered by Evile. The track begins with almost a Rammstein feel, then breaks into a thrashy, old school MetallicA feel. The vocals have a minor hint of David Draiman of Disturbed. This track sounded very good, much like a blend of some of my favorite bands thrown into a blender and this was what came out.

The next track is Stay Away, covered by The Blackout. This track had a jazzy feel, but mixed heavily with punk/metal roots. The thoughts that came to mind listening to this track was sitting in a coffee shop, the musicians in suits, but then mayhem ensues as soon as the song starts. The mix of metal vocals and clean vocals was very welcome to me. Along with the overly distorted guitars, the jazzy bass lines and the awesome drumming throughout the song, all coming together to mesh into an audio assault of unexpected proportions.
The next song is On a Plain, covered by Frank Turner. This song had a very folky feel to it, Frank Turner is an amazing musician. Great voice and amazing guitarist. This was a great choice by the company to add Mr.Turner to this compilation. The folky/punk feel was a good leveler to the post hard-core and alternative tracks before this one.

The next track is Something in the way, covered by Spycatcher. This track had a House/Trance feel to it. If this song was played at clubs and raves I could see it becoming very popular among fans. This is a kick back chill song. Just lounge around, kick back and listen to the vibe of the song, have a beer or two, or get up and move to the groove.

The next track is Endless, Nameless covered by Dangerous! This track was far different than the rest, having an Otep feel, the aggression of the vocals, the bass having a prominent roll within the mix, the detuned guitars, fairly simplistic drumming technique. One of those bands that you will never be able to understand what is being said, and makes you wonder if they are actually singing or just using random words! But it was performed well, but i see almost no resemblance to the original track.

The last track I will be reviewing is a bonus track, Sliver, Covered by We are the ocean. This track had a newer punk style sound, like Pennywise or Bad Religion. I really enjoyed this track, being that punk rock is one of my favorite genres, the raw sound and feel to it. The dual vocals within the song contrasted eachother beautifully. The musicians did a fantastic job on this cover.

So all in all I would recommend this album to any fan of Alternative, Post Hardcore, Metal and Rock fans. Most of the artists did an excellent job on these covers, very few trailed far away from the original songs. This is a great way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the original Nevermind, the birth of the grunge scene. If Kurt Cobain was still alive, I personally think he would be proud of these artists and the impact that his music has had on the fans and countless musicians.

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