Published on June 19th, 2020 | by Justin G.
Anubis Gate: Covered In Colours (Nightmare, 2020)
Covers albums are fun. You get to hear a band you like paying tribute to the artists that influenced them, and get to hear new takes on classic material. They’re also fairly safe and fairly predictable. Who wants to take chances with such time honored songs? Anubis Gate, that’s who. For their new album Covered In Colours, the Danish progressive metal band not only covered, but also rearranged (in some cases drastically) 14 classic songs. Here’s the breakdown:
The first three tracks are the “starters” – Japan’s “Still Life In Mobile Homes,” King Crimson’s “Red” and Under Byen’s “Plantage.” Now these are all unorthodox bands in the first place, so Anubis Gate’s treatment of these songs is appropriate. This is pure prog candy.
The next trio are the “jazz-metal lounge” – Voivod’s “Experiment,” Mike Stern’s “Chromazone” and Steely Dan’s “Glamour Profession.” Now it’s getting weird. Voivod’s manic robot thrasher becomes a slow, somber number that retains the heavily distorted vocals and tranquil jazz piano warring with a frenzied finale. They put a great neo-prog spin on Steely Dan’s soft rock staple. If you didn’t know better, it could pass as an It Bites song.
Next up are “the beautiful ones” – “Entangled” by Genesis and Coldplay’s “Atlas.” These are probably the least “messed with” tracks on the album, and they really are beautifully done. I suspect that was just to get us to let our guard down before they hit us with the album’s mind-bending final songs.
“The eighties corner” includes Mike Oldfield’s “To France,” Visage’s “Fade To Grey” and Ozzy’s “S.A.T.O.” The Oldfield cover is well executed, though no one is ever going to top Blind Guardian’s version. They managed to turn Visage’s synth pop hit into a fist-pumping metal anthem, which is just insane. They played “S.A.T.O.” pretty straight, though it definitely has a prog metal flair.
The album ends with the “no, they didn’t…” section, and man this is what it’s all about. Slayer’s fast and furious “Aggressive Perfector” becomes a 4-minute psychedelic prog exploration that’s all but unrecognizable if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, and God help me there’s an 8-minute version of AC/DC’s “Back In Black” that’s basically the quintessential Anubis Gate prog nerd song but with the most incongruous lyrics smacking you right in the face. The closing cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” is almost a relief, since it’s such a prime candidate for a progressive reinterpretation. It’s also pretty brilliant, and arguably the best song on the album.
Anubis Gate definitely didn’t play it safe with this one, and it really pays off. You may love some of these cover versions. You may even hate a few. But you’re not going to forget them. This is what truly progressive metal is all about.
Summary: Bold and brilliant covers album