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Covered In Filth
A Tribute To Cradle Of Filth (Deadline Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

The guys over at Deadline don't waste a second do they? C.O.F. still figures prominently amongst the walking dead, to this day, still releasing records and reinventing this orchestrated madness that's since been received by a wholesale sized following worldwide. There's nothing to effectively "cover" the idea of playing C.O.F.'s music; for all their deranged exploits in and out of the studio, on record, camera, and undoubtedly the local news, they've forged an inimitable union of brutality with barbaric lust and of late, cinematic sci-fi FX that transcend the mere boundaries of what once was, now having evolved into something historic and holistic amidst an unyielding fury of blasphemic outrage to those of the uninitiated. Thus, the thirteen sinister factions chosen to participate here, even knowing what lay in store, could only have approached with caution. Comprised of names known mainly to followers of the dark underground like Wehrwolfe, who do a searing introduction by way of the Filth classic, "The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh," cutting and slashing their way with a maximized guitar shred befitting of the early pioneers like a Frost or even Slayer, leading the charge, and daring the rest to follow; "Born In A Burial Gown" steps forward a few years to their "Bitter Suites--" release and as copped by Baltimore's Serpents Aria, exhumed and to the extreme for another Filth-y classic that goes heavy on the horror, slightly clumsy to the center but without sacrificing intensity. Finnish anti-gods Mirzadeh go by way of the epic "Malice Through The Looking Glass" for what ranks as one of the top two or three selections of the whole by one of the one's to look out for in the days ahead -- this is where the musicality of an often overlooked entity like C.O.F. lies amidst an atonal and bountiful five minute rite of passage where terror takes flight toward the moonlit pale; Additionally, D.D.T. (Dofka's Destruction Theory), another stateside East Coast entry featuring the stellar shred of one Jim Dofka, opts to cover Filth's own cover of the Sisters Of Mercy track, "No Time To Cry," one of the shorter here, and blending dread and darkness with melodic Goth passages and overactive double bass fills, successfully shaking the old standard by its dark roots. One thing that surprised me was I didn't get a lot of the expected sloppiness, especially around the earlier titles that were naturally less refined and concocted by an almost completely different C.O.F. cast. Oddly enough, many songs are true to their original form, yet I remain undecided even after two and half listens whether that's the real trick here or to what degree of desecration would've been in order to really do them justice? Cradle Of Filth continues to remain the benchmark of Black Metal stretching the limits of just how far the idea of "extreme" can go in a crowded room of unlikely instrumental entries and willing competitors of a free wielding lance (see opening introduction). Willow Wisp, who appear next to last, before the 13th track bonus by this thing called Kekal of the "Asian Underground" who themselves do a warped and enigmatic version of "Dance Macabre" that ironically enough, fits the typically C.O.F. standard of incalculability and whimsy that wax unlikely yet scream and receive attention and eventual acclaim-- and okay, then Willow Wisp, who cover "The Forest Whispers My Name," among themselves, a sickly persona heavy on the gimmickry but with a chameleonic chain of styles that follow closely those of our heroes in spite of their late '80s origin. Most of the bands are actually American and all but a few began life in the mid-to-late '90s and have music available for download or web site info available. I didn't think they could pull it off and kudos to Deadline for compiling a true to life imitation of dark art that was poised for a downfall before it took its first step. These guys take a beating often enough for their weighty and often sloppy entries into the overdone tribute field, but this is a genuinely solid collection that covers the career of an extreme Metal monster in all its black hearted splendor.
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