Review & Track Premiere, Various Artists, Alice in Chains: Dirt [Redux]

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on September 9th, 2020 by JJ Koczan

dirt redux

[Click play above to stream Howling Giant’s “Rooster” from Magnetic Eye Records’ Dirt [Redux] Alice in Chains tribute. LP/CD/DL out Sept. 18 with preorders here.]

Make Business Plan - Top reliable and trustworthy academic writing aid. Enjoy the merits of qualified writing help available here Forget about those Says Howling Giant’s Zach Wheeler:

“To be honest, getting ‘Rooster’ was a bit intimidating as it’s one of their most popular songs. We wanted to pay tribute to Alice in Chains as much as possible while giving the song that special Howling Giant sauce. We changed a few things around, but tried to reinforce the melodies that make the song so memorable in the first place.”

Sophisticated Beowulf Research Paper with the excellence illustrated in your upcoming grades. Come take a look at the writing services we propose. The Says Howling Giant’s Tom Polzine:

“When I was growing up in Buffalo, Minnesota, there was a local band called Blood Root Mother made up of some dudes that were probably four or five years older than me. I remember sneaking out of my house to see them perform at this rundown venue called The Vault. The Vault was run by some 20 year olds that skipped college in order to renovate that old antique shop into a dirty DIY venue. If dirty and uncomfortable was the vibe they were going for, they nailed it. Anyway, Blood Root Mother were tight as hell and I’ll always remember their cover of ‘Rooster’ as one of the most moving performances I witnessed from a bunch of local, lovable scumbags. The energy was so raw, and the volume was overwhelming. I think that witnessing those guys performing that song in particular is the reason I started playing in rock bands in high school, and why I still play today.”

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In continuing its tribute series of full album releases by embarking on a Dirt [Redux], Magnetic Eye Records takes on a no less crucial album than when the label put together compilation tributes to Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix. There are some recognizable acts from the Magnetic Eye stable as well as others clearly given to celebrating the work itself, and those who remain loyal to the original versions of the songs while other groups prefer to bring their appointed track into their own sonic context. Like the original Dirt, Dirt [Redux] of course boasts 13 tracks — it’s a whole-album tribute; it wouldn’t do to leave something out — though its runtime is longer than the original, at 63 minutes as opposed to 57. The tracklisting reads as follows:

1. Thou – Them Bones
2. Low Flying Hawks – Dam That River
3. High Priest – Rain When I Die
4. Khemmis – Down in a Hole
5. These Beasts – Sickman
6. Howling Giant – Rooster
7. Forming the Void – Junkhead
8. Somnuri – Dirt
9. Backwoods Payback – God Smack
10. Black Electric – Iron Gland
11. -(16)- – Hate to Feel
12. Vokonis – Angry Chair
13. The Otolith – Would?

Their take on “Would?” — tracked by Alice in Chains first for an appearance on the soundtrack of the film Singles then reused on the album — marks the debut recording from post-SubRosa outfit The Otolith, and arrives with no shortage of anticipation. Bookending with “Them Bones” as interpreted by New Orleans art-sludgers Thou, the atmospheric breadth brought to the finale is a standout on the release and, at that point, one more instance of a band making the track their own. Thou‘s blend of harsh and cleaner vocals notwithstanding, they largely keep to the original tempo and arrangement of the leadoff track, whereas Low Flying Hawks take the subsequent “Dam That River” — a hooky follow-up to the opener — and turn it into an ambient drone only vaguely related to the original.

dirt redux vinyl

And why not? There’s no rule that says a band has to do an impression rather than an interpretation, and as Dirt [Redux] plays out, the likes of Khemmis, These Beasts, Howling Giant, Forming the Void, -(16)- and Vokonis bring their own spin. Khemmis could hardly be a better fit for the emotive doom of “Down in a Hole,” and the crunch These Beasts deliver on “Sickman” is an intense precursor to what L.A.’s -(16)- do with “Hate to Feel” later on. Feeling very much like the vanguard of an up and coming generation of progressive heavy rock, Howling Giant, Forming the Void and Vokonis boldly tackle their respective cuts, with “Rooster” getting a bolstered melody (no easy feat), “Junkhead” receiving a newfound nodder groove, and “Angry Chair” highlighting a rhythmic complexity that is both a late surprise and oh, oh, oh so very Swedish.

To complement these forays, Somnuri find a glorious and elusive middle-ground on the album’s title-track, the Brooklynite trio not giving “Dirt” a total makeover so much as an organic-feeling performance that captures the subtle spaciousness that was so much a part of Dirt‘s lonely feel in the first place — all those sometimes empty reaches of its mix. Earlier, Chicago’s High Priest offer perhaps the most impressive vocal included on the redux with “Rain When I Die,” with the as-yet-underrated, very-much-need-to-put-an-album-out group play to their own Alice in Chains influence. Ditto that Backwoods Payback, who bleed their love of the original through their raw interpretation of “God Smack,” finding a space somewhere between punk, post-hardcore and heavy rock that is theirs alone on this release and in the wider underground sphere. These cuts serve the vital function of bringing Dirt [Redux] its sense of homage, making the tribute a tribute, and giving a listener who might not be familiar with all the bands on the Magnetic Eye roster a chance to reorient before, say, These Beasts unfurl their pummeling rendition of “Sickman” or Low Flying Hawks taffy-pull “Dam That River” to suit their own whims.

One would be remiss not to point out that the 43-second interlude “Iron Gland” is here covered by Black Electric, which features Magnetic Eye Records‘ own Mike Vitali (also ex-Ironweed and Greatdayforup) on guitar. Their version is almost eerily reminiscent of the original, on which Slayer‘s Tom Araya sat in for vocals, and gives way to -(16)-‘s roughed-up “Hate to Feel” with a similar flow to the progression between the two tracks on Dirt proper. If you come out of this Dirt [Redux] with a hankering to listen to Alice in Chains, don’t be surprised. I’ll admit to having an attachment to the album that borders on the familial, and whatever they do with it arrangement-wise, I have nothing but respect for anyone brave enough to cover songs that have so much specific heart and style behind them. Inevitably a listener’s experience with Dirt [Redux] will depend on their own context with the original record as well as with the bands involved, but when all is said and done, it is a more than worthy inclusion in Magnetic Eye‘s [Redux] series — Black Sabbath would seem to be next — and it points to just how broadly Alice in Chains‘ influence has spread over the last three decades. You can’t really go wrong.

Various Artists, Dirt [Redux] (2020)

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Khemmis Announced as First Band for Magnetic Eye Records’ Dirt [Redux] Tribute Compilation

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 14th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

khemmis

I don’t know what song Khemmis have signed on to do for Magnetic Eye Records‘ next tribute compilation, Dirt [Redux], but as the label takes on one of the all-time classic albums of the 1990s — as well as the soundtrack to a goodly portion of my youth — they’ve started out well in choosing the acts to participate. The project has unsurprisingly met its corwdfunding goal via preorders and will press head with Khemmis as the first announced band involved. Who’s next? Hell if I know. Who wouldn’t want to be involved in this thing? It’s fucking Dirt. My real question is who’s going to do “Iron Gland?” I bet if you doomed that out you could get five minutes from it, easy.

Of course, Magnetic Eye is also on the cusp of issuing its Pink Floyd tribute, The Wall [Redux], which follows homages to Jimi Hendrix and Helmet, and has also seen a massive response. Tune in Oct. 26 around these parts for a rather sizable feature on that, and I’ll hope to have more to come on Dirt [Redux] as well, since the source material is one of my favorite albums, period.

Here’s the Khemmis announcement:

alice in chains dirt art

KHEMMIS confirmed to appear on “DIRT [REDUX]”

Riding the wave of excitement and success around The Wall [Redux], the massive Pink Floyd homage featuring The Melvins, Pallbearer, Ruby the Hatchet, Mark Lanegan, ASG, Scott Reeder and many others, Magnetic Eye Records has seized the moment and set its sights on the next volume in its popular Redux series.

And, given the staggering array of bands MER secured for its latest outing, the label can afford to be selective.

With that in mind, Magnetic Eye is ecstatic to announce that, pending the expected logistical discussions, acclaimed Denver prog-doomsters KHEMMIS have enthusiastically joined the project.

Says Khemmis, “We are thrilled to announce that we will contribute a track to Magnetic Eye Records’ newest project, a reimagining of the legendary Alice in Chains album Dirt. After the success of their last undertaking, Pink Floyd’s The Wall (featuring Pallbearer, (the) Melvins, ASG, and many more), the Magnetic Eye crew set their sights on Seattle. We are honored to be part of the record; just wait until you find out what song we’re covering and who else is on this project.”

If The Wall [Redux] and the signing on of Khemmis are any indication, Dirt [Redux] will be another stunning volume in this ongoing series that pays tribute to iconic musical works classic and modern by re-imagining them from cover to cover.

The Kickstarter campaign to move the project forward must meet its pre-order goal by the morning of Wednesday, October 17 to move forward, with more info available at kickstarter.com/projects/magneticeye/dirt-redux/

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Alice in Chains, “Hate to Feel”

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