What do Marilyn Manson‘s “Tainted Love“, R.E.M.’s ”The Lion Sleeps Tonite” and “Leader of the Pack“ by the Donots have in common? They‘re cover versions, well, actually they‘re more like cover versions of cover versions because all three have more in common with Soft Cell, The Weavers and Twisted Sister respectively than with Gloria Jones, Solomon Linda or the Shangri-La’s. The three songs already had a history of being covered (and having been #1-hits as cover versions) before Manson, R.E.M. and the Donots picked up the baton again. Baltimore-based extreme metal outfit Locrian, in a brilliant no-bullshit-move have given us level two and level three of this “game” with the release of their new Solar Lodge-EP at midnight!
Locrian, this most potent virus amongst all the extreme metal bands out there, have a long list of songs they love, one of them being Coil’s ”Solar Lodge” which the guys used as a closer to their concerts for years on end. The track, originally released on Coil’s Scatology record is a quintessential Industrial track with the machine-like heartbeat, some haunting guitar lines and the Coil-typical vocals. Admittedly, the track is one of the best ones ever written out there – if you do not know check out the video below – therefore it should not come as a surprise that the trio of Terence Hannum, André Foisy and Steven Hess has a strong perchance for it because of its ritualistic and yet highly artificial character combining both nature and culture in their utmost aspects. Of course, with Coil being a side-project of Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle, the track has an even stronger connection to the development of what we now call Industrial than one might think at first glance.
When Locrian take on ”Solar Lodge”, they stay somewhere close to the original, yet turning up the haunting guitar parts and the ghost-like character of the vocals up a few notches, but keeping it pretty similar by and large. If Coil’s original is Level 1, then Locrian’s ”Solar Lodge” is therefore, naturally, Level 2. But on this new release on Profound Lore we get also Level 3 in the form of three cover versions (or remixes as they’re called here) of the Locrian version!
Here, a look at the remixers is also mighty interesting as we get remixes by Dome(nico), a member of Italian Death Metal heroes Fulci, by Deathpile’s Jonathan Canady and by Paul Riedl whom you might know as a member of Blood Incantation – all these three deliver very different takes on Locrian’s cover version: Riedl’s version is very dark, deep, haunting Ambient, bordering on abysmal Dungeon Synth; he basically used the eerie vocals most and underpinned it with a massive noisey wall of (death) sound. Canady on the other hand, focused a lot on the swirling, shrill guitar lines and emphasized them in his remix which is much more in the vein of Japanese noise artists like Merzbow. Most interesting might be Dome’s version as he twists the track into a dark slowly beat-driven synth-pop track. This is what a crossover between an act like Throbbing Gristle and John Carpenter could have sounded like.
The highest praise one might give all four artists contributing to this release might be that their versions are all a perfect homage to Coil’s original, yet they do not simply cover it note-by-note, each gives it their own twist and that is mighty difficult. In a way, I would even say that their versions are all much more appealing than any of the ones mentioned in the opening paragraph and it would also have been taken pretty well by both late members of Coil for sure!
The original version by Coil:
Locrian’s Solar Lodge-EP containing their version and its remixes: