Friday, May 29, 2009

Hell

Another Antiseen upload, and this CD is my second favorite release of theirs. (The first being Here to Ruin Your Groove, but you already knew that.) Vinyl purists may disagree with me and cite the original ten-inch instead, but the Hell CD is an expanded version that is far superior in my book. What knocks it out of the box for first place is the fact that all but four songs are covers, but otherwise this CD is every bit the equal to Here to Ruin Your Groove. The record starts off in devastating fashion as Antiseen covers the Curtis Mayfield classic “(Don’t Worry) If There is Hell Below (We’re All Gonna Go)” in a way where the lyrics and the music both evoke the image that, yes indeed, we’ll all wind up in hell regardless of our skin color. It’s really one of those instances where a band takes a cover song and makes it their own, and as much of an Antiseen classic in my book as “Fornication” is. The cover of Roky Erickson’s “I Have Always Been Here Before” registers with me much better than Antiseen’s rendition of “Two-Headed Dog” on another record, while I honestly can’t deal with their take on BTO’s “Taking Care of Business.” Then again, I’m not sure if I can deal with the original either. An old favorite of mine, “Haunted House” by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons (although I think my recently-inherited 45 of that song was done by someone else), sounds really interesting and fun with distorted guitars. The Talking Heads classic “Psycho Killer” also gets covered in interesting fashion here, as does Hank Senior’s “I Saw the Light.” “Chicken” by Jack Starr puts a silly grin on my face as Clayton growls out oddball lyrics about how a rock chicken tastes finger lickin’ good…I think. The original record ends with Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street” that is ten times better than the earlier version of the same cover that I heard on Noise for the Sake of Noise.

The extra songs on the CD, taken from various seven-inches with some inserted between the songs from the ten-inch, are what make this CD superior to the vinyl original. Ernest Tubb’s “Thanks a Lot” is another cover song that is as good as any Antiseen original, as well as the brutal rendition of “Deeds of the Damned” by close friends Rancid Vat. Ironically, their idea of covering Skrewdriver’s all-time racism-free classic “I Don’t Like You” is to play it about four steps faster rather than keeping it closer to the original’s slower, more powerful tempo. Although I haven’t heard the original, I do find myself really enjoying the cover of Adam Shame’s “It All Breaks Down.” Another song where Antiseen makes a cover their own is none other than the Sun Ra epic “Space is the Place.” You might guess that Antiseen shortens the song considerably, but they also add in sound bites from the Planet of the Apes series (I think) and play the song in a way that crosses several different genre lines, still makes sense, and has a sick vibe. Further bonus tracks on the most recent reissue of the CD version take things even a step further with “The Witch,” an original that bears no resemblance to the Sonics tune of the same name (be happy for that), as well as a great cover of Roky Erickson’s “Bloody Hammer” that brings that exact imagery to mind in a different (good) way than the original does. You might really dig Antiseen’s take on the late Roy Orbison’s “Mean Woman Blues,” and dare I say that this live version of “Sick Things” that ends the disc is better than that done in the studio with Michael Bruce on leads.


TRACK LIST:
1. (Don’t Worry) If There is Hell Below [Curtis Mayfield]
2. I Have Always Been Here Before [Roky Erickson]
3. Taking Care of Business [B.T.O.]
4. Thanks a Lot [Ernest Tubb]
5. Haunted House [Jumpin’ Gene Simmons]
6. Deeds of the Damned [Rancid Vat]
7. You’re Gonna Tote an Ass Kickin’
8. I Don’t Like You [Skrewdriver]
9. Psycho Killer [Talking Heads]
10. Masters of the Sky [Jack Starr]
11. It All Breaks Down [Adam Shame]
12. Cactus Jack
13. I Saw the Light [Hank Williams]
14. Chicken [Jack Starr]
15. Positively 4th Street [Bob Dylan]
16. (We Will Not) Remember You [Anti-Nowhere League]
17. Space is the Place [Sun Ra]

BONUS TRACKS:
18. Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World [The Ramones]
19. I Don’t Ask You for Nothing
20. The Witch
21. Bloody Hammer [Roky Erickson]
22. Mean Woman Blues [Roy Orbison]
23. (Don’t Worry) If There is Hell Below (live) [Curtis Mayfield]
24. Sick Things (live) [Alice Cooper]

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