Carnival in Coal - _French Cancan_
(Season of Mist/Kodiak, 2000)
by: Paul Schwarz (
This is definitely one of the most unusual and worthwhile covers albums out there, and quite a pleasingly amusing and surprising extreme metal release into the bargain. Reshaping tracks from metal acts like Ozzy Ozbourne ("Bark at the Moon"), Pantera ("Fucking Hostile"), Morbid Angel ("Fall From Grace") right through to Genesis ("Mama"), Afric Simon ("Piranha"), Michael Sambello ("Maniac") and Gerry Raferty ("Baker Street") in ways so intentionally odd that the track-listing will give you little indication of what exactly you'll be listening to, Carnival in Coal have hit upon a relatively original idea, though it is one that has been attempted, and successfully so, before. Thus we begin with the non-drastic, though storming, death metal beefed "Bark at the Moon", and move through bizarre reworkings like that of "Fall From Grace" (sounding in parts merely like Laibach's powerful remixes, though not as powerful, while adding symphonic, carnival-esque and nursery-like synthesizer sounds at others) before finally closing with the continuously chortle-inducing moog/lounge-room jazz version of "Fucking Hostile". Ultimately, it is more satisfying for laughing than enjoying as music, although occasionally the band's talent for moving between styles and reworking familiar music into new frameworks evidences itself so strongly that one has to take a moment to admire their daring. However, it is still a covers album. There is nothing strictly original here, no track I would choose over the originals, and I doubt that in a year or maybe even less I will have any interest in putting this on for more than a fleeting few minutes to laugh at how easily and amusingly the same music can be controverted by a change of style.
(article published 25/5/2000)
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