• We All Want Our Time In Hell

    We All Want Our Time In Hell
    Released by: Corpse Flower Records
    Released on: May 4th, 2018.
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    Shawn Knight, the front man for Detroit’s Child Bite (check out our review of their album Negative Noise here), put together this tribute to Samhain, the ‘goth punk’ band that Glenn Danzig led between his time in The Misfits and in Danzig. Thirteen different artists from various walks contribute, providing a pretty interesting and eclectic selection of covers, each putting their own spin on music that, to some of us, is pretty familiar.

    The album opens with Night Chill (the opening track off of Samhain’s 1990 album Final Descent), covered by Joel Grind. It’s a two-minute instrumental, heavy on synths and keyboards, that, like the original, does a great job of setting up what’s to come. From there? We cut straight into a fantastic cover of Mother Of Mercy (from Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire) by Midnight. This three-minute track is sludgy, scuzzy… almost doom sounding, and it’s great. It sounds like the original in terms of tempo but Midnight definitely makes this track their own and it’s a great way to really get the record started.

    From there we move on to Nil Eye’s cover of In My Grip, also from Samhain III, which clocks in at just over three-minutes. This is played fast and tight, an interesting contrast to the Midnight track. There’s an industrial sound to the backbone of the track, and some of the effects used over the vocals accentuate this, but the playing is tight. From there, Initium’s Black Dream is covered by Ohio’s Ringworm. This track, which clocks in just under two-minutes, is a fairly straight ahead punk song. It’s a bit sloppy, it’s plenty angry and it’s just pissed off enough to work. The chimes in the background pay tribute to Samhain’s darker, gothier sound without overdoing it – it’s a nice touch, actually.

    Up next, Ghoul does a fantastic cover of Macabre complete with eerie chanting over the super dramatic vocals. The band’s sense of humor is definitely a big part of what makes this work – everything is pain, basically – but they don’t overplay it, this is done well. Dark, with a goth-tinge, but not taking itself too seriously. If you’re familiar with Ghoul, you’ll ‘get it’ and if not, well, get familiar with Ghoul.

    Acid Witch’s cover of III’s Halloween II starts off with an audio clip of a vintage interview with Glenn Danzig talking about how great it is to play in Detroit before then launching into a trippy, swirly and almost psychedelic version of the well-known Samhain classic complete with really WEIRD vocals over the chorus – these guys make this track their own, that’s for sure. This is followed by Multicult’s version of The Howl of off Samhain’s Initium album. This track, at just under three minutes, has some Jesus Lizard-esque bass and drum action working in its favor. The vocals are Yow-esque in spots too, but they never borrow too much. If the influence is clear they’ve certainly got their own sound going on and they apply it to this surprisingly intense cover.

    Multicolt delivers a solid cover of The Howl, another track originally found on the Initium album. This pushes Samhain’s goth tones to the side and replaces them with some very dark guitar tones and some simple but serious effective rhythm playing that makes this track stand out a bit. The vocals are also pretty piercing and intense here. This is followed by Chicago’s Like Rats’ cover of The Shift, also from Initium. This is the most straight ahead punk track in terms of how it is played, but it’s got some completely over the top death metal vocals which contrast with it in seriously bad ass ways. This cover is nuts, but in every way that you’d’ want it to be and it’s one of the best songs on the album.

    As we move through the second half of the tribute, Shed The Skin – who also hail from Ohio - deliver their take on Kiss Of Steel, once again from Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire. This track is unlike anything else on the album. It’s played fast and insane like a grindcore track almost, but with death or black metal vocals really just going for it, burying everything else in a completely devastating way. You wouldn’t know this was a Samhain cover if you were just casually listening to it, but they do a fantastic job on the cover. I Am Misery, covered by Chicago’s Immortal Bird, also stands out. From there, Knight’s own Child Bite delivers one of the album’s highlights with their take on Unbridled but the vocals from combined with some Dead Kennedy’s inspired guitar playing give this track its own beautifully strange sound.

    As things move to a close we get Brain Tentacles’ amazing cover of Human Pony Girl, the unforgettable closing track from Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire. This take on one of Samhain’s weirdest and most memorable songs comes complete with what sounds like strange saxophones in the background to play off of the strong low end of the rhythm section and the unhinged vocals. I won’t say it’s better than the original but it’s damn good. Bringing things to an appropriately dark close is Archangel’s cover of Ritual Howls, which is clearly done with an intent to not only mirror the original but to incorporate sounds from bands like Joy Division and Bauhaus, with maybe some early Jesus And Mary Chain thrown in to keep you guessing. It has that sort of drone-ish, no-wave sound to it with some repetitive synth work and drum machines way up front to give it that sound.

    Samhain will probably always live in the shadow of The Misfits and Danzig but the fact of the matter is that they had some seriously great songs and that their sound was, in hindsight, a lot more influential than most would maybe recognize. This tribute album sees a diverse group of bands get together to put their own spin on some of Samhain’s best tracks, and really there isn’t a weak song in the bunch. All the groups here put their own spin on things, while (mostly) keeping things close enough to the original that you’ll have no trouble recognizing the songs.

    All in all, a very strong collection of tracks that pay a fitting tribute to a seriously cool discography.