BY WILLIAM RIDDLE // "This is Rock ‘n’ Roll with its horns up and temptation in its eyes. Play it loud.”
A few months back, February 2015 to be precise, Portland record label founders Keith Littlefield, Jason Rocksmore and Justin Phelps of Volume Bomb Records came up with an idea for a limited run, colored vinyl compilation record showcasing talent from all over the city of Portland, Oregon, with a continuing topic of “Under the covers with….” In true Oregon fashion, the first noun was handpicked from a hat containing many possibilities and, of course, the first one drawn was none other than the dark one himself: Satan. Whether or not you’re a fan, the concept is nothing short of brilliant.
Keith, Jason and Justin have spent countless hours, blood, sweat and whiskey on this project delivering what could be conceived as one of the best projects from the label to date. Having caught up with co-founder, Keith Littlefield, for comment, whose band also appears on the album, I asked a few questions. Here is what he had to say.
“When we first conceived the idea for this record, we wanted our favorite bands in Portland, OR to record their favorite song about Satan. It seemed simple enough. I imagined it would be a Metal record, given the theme, but I was wrong. All of these bands surprised us in good, maybe evil ways. They found Satan everywhere in Rock ‘n’ Roll, and in the end presented us with a multi-genre mixtape of the beast. This record stretches from 60s Rock to Punk to Thrash and beyond.
“The bands had chosen rarities that had never been recorded well. They reimagined songs and did what I think are superior versions. They stripped songs of pretentiousness and did loving homages to their icons. These are songs of evil, the power of Satan, damnation, and just general sin with a lust for life. This is Rock ‘n’ Roll with its horns up and temptation in its eyes. Play it loud.”
With notes on several of the acts on the LP, Side A, the Agony side, it lines up and builds anticipation for the next track. Disenchanter kicks off with “Satanispiritus,” which is an incredible version of an obscure piece taken from the one and only single from the 1970s era psychedelic occult Rock band Astaroth. Disenchanter’s lead singer Sabine Strangenberg’s vocals and bandmates’ musicianship breathes new life into this classic hit.
Track II is a respectfully performed cover of “The Antichrist” found on the Show No Mercyalbum from Slayer. With Metal fans being as hardcore and critical of material covered from their legendary heroes, The Thornes grabbed the proverbial Dark One by the horns and made this song their own with a fantastic version of the 1983 hit.
Track III is performed by World War Four (WWIV) with a cover of the Sonics hit song “He’s waiting”. WWIV vocalist Steve Ricke adds power to this track with vocals and bass, Jack Winslow and Chris Peterson amp things up a bit with some raw guitar riffs and leads, along with the hard hitting drumming by Venus, which brings a heavier sound and a little bit of raunch to this classic, yet complementing the original.
Track IV is one from the Decliners, who chose “Shout at the Devil” from Motley Crue, which is a tough song to cover. The Decliners have done a great job with their version, adding bong rips, backward masking, drums and guitar riffs that I believe any fan of the original will appreciate. Staying true to the tone and theme of the album, the Decliners make it their own.
And for the last in the line on the Agony side, Perfect Monster performs their version of “White Witch of Rose Hall” from the band Coven. Listening to this song in its original release and then the version perfectly performed by Perfect Monster, with a slightly up beat and magical transformation of the original, should be enough to own this LP. Perfect Monsters’ version is incredibly well performed and lyrically over the top, and it’s very hard for me to even say this on a review but I feel Perfect Monster has the winning version.
Kicking off Side Beast is “Heaven’s on Fire,” from extreme Metal kings Venom, performed by 42 Ford Prefect. They’ve taken an awesome song and elevated it to a new level in a way only this four-piece can with their hard vocalizing, powerful guitar rhythms, ripping leads, heavy bass and drumming. This is a bit faster than the original, but if you close your eyes and visualize Chronos, it would be them the band had channeled taking this song over the top.
Track II is performed by Lexxi Vexx and the Modern Gentlemen. Their version of “Eyes of Satan” from the Pagans is definitely an upbeat, harder and much sexier version of the original. I believe it’s safe to say any fan of the Pagans will fall in love with this version of the song.
Track III is a cover of “Deity” from industrial legend Ministry, performed by Stumblebum in the key of evil. The trio really put their all into this one and delivers a uniquely revised version, keeping the original darkness that envelops the original. Nothing at all is transformational with this one. It’s completely freshened up, yet is still a cover.
Track IV is performed by a band that had to undergo a lot of recent transformations themselves, not only in name but with its members as well. The Mormon Trannys’ former members relabeled themselves as The Latter Day Skanks and do “Fucked by the Devil,” by Jayne County, who was pivotal in inspiring the founder of the The Latter Day Skanks, the Prophet Josephina Smith, in forming the trio. No golden tablets or secret handshakes are needed to describe how incredibly their version of this song is. Just play it loud!
Track V is done by the Shit House Rats, who chose “Heart of the Devil” by Glenn Danzig to cover. Shit House Rats bring a lot to the table with their version of the song with slide guitar, locomotive rhythm and harmonizing, making it a fantastic addition to the album.
Track VI is the Latin statement “Nulli Domini Astri Sunt,” which has been turned into a chant. Loosely translated the phrase means “No Gods, No Masters”.
For an official release date, performances from the bands showcased on the compilation, and to get your copy of the release, be at the World Famous Kenton Club on October 31st at 9pm. You will not want to miss this show or this release.