Various In These Black Days Vol. 5 & 6

The burgeoning legacy that Hydra Head is creating with their In These Black Days series is furthered by the two most recent editions to their Sabbath tribute series. Botch and Cave In share Vol. 5, while Neurosis and Soilent Green share Vol. 6. All are spectacular covers of Sabbath songs that easily surpass the originals. Botch opens Vol. 5 with an incredibly dense cover of “The Wizard,” before adding some unique Botch/math rock twists, heavier and more vicious, yet staying true to the original, at least until the end. Cave In follows with a most stunning cover of “N.I.B.” Slower than the original, but laden with rich textures, some Sonic Youth like art-noise and emotional playing, with Brodsky’s melodic, yet passionate vocals giving new meaning to Ozzy’s words. Vol 6 features two from the Relapse camp. Soilent Green redo a couple with the “Lord of the Southern Priest (Medley),” which must have been like throwing gasoline on a fire given Soilent’s love of Sabbath sludge. A competent enough medley, Soilent’s take lend more to the slow (rather than their more grind side) and are heavy enough, and add a few twists of their own to make things interesting. Neurosis have everyone’s back covered with their version of “Children of the Grave,” even Sabbath never dared play this slow. Tribal influences and breaks are added to their interpretation and since Neurosis excels at slower tempos, it is no wonder that their cover is the most malicious sounding of them all, the multi-vocals add a harsher feel and despite the joke that Sabbath have become, they can take some sort of pride in the fact that their music inspired some of today’s best. (Hydra Head)