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What - No Cowbell? - 67%

dystopia4, May 12th, 2011

Being a huge Candlemass fan, I was exited to discover that they have released an EP of two covers of classic songs. The first song is obviously Blue Oyster Cult's smash hit "Don't Fear the Reaper." The second is Bob Dylan's fantastic "All Along the Watchtower." While not exactly bad, these covers aren't really anything all that amazing. To be honest, this kind of feels like a filler EP.

"Don't Fear the Reaper" doesn't stray to far from the original. There are a few changes: the song's trademark cowbell is omitted and there is distortion added to the guitars. During the verses Robert's voice is nice and melodic, which suits the song perfectly. The vocals that fade in and out during the chorus are a bit boring, though. One thing that really bugs me about this cover is that they fucked up the bridge. It lacks the overwhelming power of the original and it doesn't last long enough for it to have any effect. While this cover is adequate, one would expect Candlemass covering a rock'n'roll classic to be more inspiring.

Their cover of "All Along the watchtower", is a bit lacking. After hearing the vocals of this song, I kind of wish that they covered this while Messiah was still in the band. The vocals are much deeper than on the first cover and have hints of Dio, Hetfield and if you listen carefully, you might even detect vague traces of Bob Dylan's nasally whine. The rhythm guitarist sounds like he is kind of bored; nothing all that spectacular goes on there. There is some pretty cool shredding, but unfortunately they don't know when to stop and it gets to the point where it is excessive. This can stand up to neither Dylan or Hendrix.

Frankly, my favorite thing about this release is the artwork. Sure the same sort of thing has been done a lot by other bands, but it is still pretty cool. When it comes to the actual music, I can't help but feel they could have done a lot better. This doesn't sound very inspired. These don't compare to the originals. Sure, they are competent, but in the end they come off as a bit unnecessary.