Five Sick Covers, by Brendan Duff of Pristina

Upstart Connecticut noise merchants Pristina have already received the Cosmo Lee invisible oranges-up in our print edition. Now, the band who unleash a gashing rendition of the title track from Today Is the Day’s 1997 classic Temple of the Morning Star [check that shit out here] regales us with five similarly radtastic extreme covers. Today Is the Day, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (Black Sabbath) Myself and my band are all huge Today Is the Day fans. I’m also a huge Black Sabbath fan as well, so this one is a no-brainer. This is a killer cover and one of the standout tracks from the 7-inch collection put out years ago on Hydra Head called In These Black Days. For those who don’t remember, It was six 7-inch records with Anal Cunt, Eyehategod, Converge, Brutal Truth, Coalesce, TITD, Cable, Cavity, Jesuit, Overcast, Cave In, Botch, Soilent Green and Neurosis all doing Black Sabbath songs. I spent six months of my life listening to nothing but these albums after school. If memory serves, they came out in 1997, and I still get excited when I check them out 13 years later. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” also appears at the end of TITD’s Temple of the Morning Star, but there’s something about listening to the song in the context of the split series that hits me differently. I mean, it’s the exact same recording, too. It’s hard to explain it. It is what it is for me, I guess.

Melvins “Goin’ Blind” (KISS) This song comes from one of my favorite albums of all time, Houdini. I’ll never forget my first time checking this album out. Houdini came out when I was 13 years old in eighth grade. It’s funny because I can barely remember what happened yesterday, but I can remember little things like this. I remember I hadn’t heard the Melvins yet, and picked it up because I heard Kurt Cobain produced it. It’s one of those records that change your perspective on music. The second “Hooch” started, I was changed forever. Like the first time I heard Black Flag and Black Sabbath. It’s funny because, although I dig KISS now, for years I had no idea that “Goin’ Blind” was a cover. All I knew was the Melvins version. When I was young, I didn’t get KISS and thought I was way too cool for that shit. Yeah, like many teenagers, I was a total dumbass who thought he knew some shit. Not much more can be said about this. Great song from a great band.

Anodyne “Life of Pain” (Black Flag) This is from another 7-inch collection that came out a few years ago called Black on Black: A Tribute to Black Flag. I chose this one because I personally think that Anodyne did the best cover out of all the bands on it. They pulled off what I most respect about a band doing a cover song: They were true to the original, but made it their own. They even captured an urgency to the song that the original recording may not have had. Don’t get me wrong—Black Flag were the most powerful, visceral band that ever existed. It’s just not up for discussion in my opinion. However, I think, for instance, that the Damaged album sonically couldn’t touch the live versions. Unfortunately, I was three years old when that was happening, so the closest I could ever get was bootleg cassettes and VHS copies. Sorry, I got off topic a bit. Talking about Black Flag does that to me. Bottom line: Anodyne crushed “Life of Pain.” Fuck yeah!

Ministry “Lay Lady Lay” (Bob Dylan) Ah, Ministry. Damn, man, I remember when they were great. Psalm 69 was so goddamn good! I remember buying Psalm 69 and Sepultura’s Chaos AD on the same day, and the rest of that summer was me skateboarding around town with those two tapes in my Walkman. (Yeah, I was too poor for a Discman). Then Filth Pig came out and I was bummed. To be honest, the only song I liked on that record was “Lay Lady Lay.” This version is another great example of a band taking the original and making it their own. Ministry’s version is basically unrecognizable compared to Dylan’s, but in a good way. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sadly, as I said, it’s the only good song on that record, and basically the last Ministry song I ever liked.

Kylesa “Left to Starve” (Eyehategod) This was a tough one. I knew I wanted to include a track from For the Sick: A Tribute to Eyehategod. I wanted to include it because it’s really the last compilation album that I really dug all the way through. If you are like me and love EHG, I don’t have to explain why. Same goes for if you hate them. They are one of those bands where there is no in-between. For this record, it was a toss-up between Kylesa, Unearthly Trance covering “Shinobi,” Swarm of the Lotus covering “Blood Money” and Cable doing “Pigs.” Basically what it came down to was what I mentioned before: It sounds like Kylesa playing “Left to Starve.” They didn’t just cover it; they made it their own. They couldn’t have picked a better song to do, I think. It really works perfectly. I’m not gonna lie—their version is a lot easier on the ears too, production-wise. I’ve been really into Kylesa since I first heard To Walk a Middle Course and they get better each record. I’m glad they are out there rocking and being appreciated.

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