субота, 5 серпня 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Rollins Band - Ghost Rider


You know Henry Rollins. He's a hulky-bulky ultra mega tattoed guy (he's got Einstuerzende Neubauten logo on his arm!! so edgy!) who usually says spectacularly obvious but nevertheless quite rational things with his commanding thunderous voice and really-really dislikes techno music (never forget). He also fronted goddamn Black Flag. And then he had his own outfit aptly called Rollins Band. It was good up until it was substituted by Mother Superior (which was good in its own right but sounded mostly really lame and predictable).

Among other things Rollins Band had a superpower of performing other people's songs better than the real thing. Because why bother doing it if you're not doubling the stakes.





For example - their take on Pink Fairies' Do It (my favorite song ever). It is transcendental. The band takes already cool, hard-rocking stomper and turns it up to eleven with the heater on, cuts the fat, blows the crap, turns it inside out and then fires it up from the missile launcher right into your ear because that's how you cover the best song in the history of mankind. And that is not even the greatest cover they ever did. Which is saying something.

The best Rollins Band cover version is of course Suicide' Ghost Rider. Because they didn't just covered the song or made it seem cooler in their hands - they made their very own variation of the song that stands equal with the original.



Rollins got a long history with this song. His first version of it was released on 1987 debut solo release Hot Animal Machine. Musically it is not very different from the original version (for example Alan Vega's 1981 version differs far more from the original - to the point the lyrics are substantiall different). All the moving parts are in place - the riff, the stomping, rolling rhythm. But it has very different kind of groove on its back and Rollins delivery is not desparate as Vega's - he tries to croon the melody as Vega used to do, but it is not his style and he feels rather alienated in his performance. After a while - he jumps back to his more usual blowoff style before going back to the forced croon. For sure, he is boiling with frustration but he's still channelling frustration and despair of somebody else.

Next time - things have changed. The version present on re-release of Rollins Band seminal 1992 album End of Silence is like the transmission from another, much more darker and violent, world. Gone is Rollins who mimicks Vega's twisted croon - he's doing his thing now and it is something to behold. By that time Rollins had fully developed his "no holds barred, howling, blistering ubermensch" and it shows. He's the force of nature who storms over the songs. He is ripping the thing apart, then starts beating the place with its parts up until the whole place is drowned in the mist of things obliterated to dust. He is overwhelming - he transcends the song to the level of religious experience.

Musically - it can't be more different from the previous version. It is grinding, bone-crunching, smashingm thrashing machine. With a very-very slowed down and doomed-up crust-beat that gets harder and harder with every bar. It stomps the listener to the ground and deeper with its raw, visceral force. From the starting razorblade-sharp feedbacks to the concluding beatdown - it is full-on assault on senses. It sucks you in and minces to pieces and then leaves you to ponder a bit.



Later this version of the song was later edited down to five minutes for the soundtrack of the film The Crow. Actually, it was the first official release of the song. The edit is not as impressive as the full version - but it still delivers.

However, there is another, much-much more intense version of the song recorded all the way back at the sessions for the 1988 album Hard Volume. Curioulsy, it was left unreleased until the 1999 re-release. While overall arrangement ois more or less the same - the tempo is a bit higher and that makes song a different beast. The beat is revolving, rotating and spinning around like rabid. It is not the meat grinding merciless monster which was the previous version - there's an inflectuos deviant groove in this version. It is boiling down under, exudes toxic fumes and takes no prisoners. It is fainting, acid bubbles blowing, muscle-tearing, heart-pounding act of terror.



Basically, Rollins Band fully realized the potential of the Suicide' song. While originally it was just a minimalistically sounding looping stomp with a promise fastlane massacre - in Rollins Band hands it not only fulfilled the promised but turned the song into roaring, thundering beast who destroys everything in sight with extreme prejudice as if it was natural order of things. It is something you have to go through to fully understand the song.

That's what i call a cover version.

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