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V/A - Everything Comes & Goes: A Tribute to Black Sabbath

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Artist: V/A

Album: Everything Comes & Goes: A Tribute to Black Sabbath

Label: Temporary Residence

Review date: Apr. 18, 2005

As Temporary Residence Ltd. points out themselves, a lot has changed since their 1997 brainstorm to hash out a Sabbath salute. Anyone keeping score will have seen this float on “new release” schedules and rumor mills for nearly eight years, all the while underground metal real estate soared and the profile of Mr. Bat-Biting, Alamo-Pissing, Pill-Popping, Sabbath-is-over Osbourne morphed into a cuddly, Ozz-fest, TV family guy. In the last three years alone there have been numerous Sabbath tributes like Sabbatum, medieval reworkings; Evil Lives: True Metal Trib to Black Sabbath; Opium Jukebox’s chill-chill dub Bhangra Bloody Bhangra; and The String Quartet’s classical swipe. And yes, TRL adds to this mess, but damned if isn’t bent towards a great mix-tape vibe than repetitive replication.

Tribute albums are questionable propositions to say the least; more often that not ill-fated praises to a tribute, fleshed out by a stable of misconceiving contributors. And this is Black Sabbath. Steppin’ up to their plate is no small potato. Yet, Everything Comes & Goes: A Tribute to Black Sabbath somehow eludes total crumble.

The goods: Sabbath’s first five albums – with three choice cuts coming off 1971’s Paranoid – is the pool of coverage. Nine groups alternating between straight homage and drastic adaptations with nearly nay yawners. Sabbath is oft heralded for their metalness, but the group ventured into folk-like séances that were equally heavy. Thankfully both sides of the group are heard here.

Smiles arrive with the Curtis Harvey Trio’s update of “Changes” into a tear drippin’ undeniable porch ballad with dual finger-picking guitars, backing viola and the lyrical mist of an aging man on the cusp. Harvey sings is his soul crashing, remorse drawl that made Rex such an elegant downer. The ending vocal haunts of “Silent Night” brings it all to a weepy end. Set your bets for when Gillian Welch will embrace it. “Planet Caravan,” which is already a spooked number to begin with and gets covered with a Southern Gothic cloud by The Anomoanon. Paul Oldham’s retelling is backwoods, in the late-night story-telling way and just as eerie as the original.

Ruins are the sole adventurers to stake claim on a new Sabbath brawl. “Reversible Sabbath” is the melody of your favorite Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler riffs strung together backwards and wrecked through the duo’s bass/drum aperture. Breakneck and fun, spotting the riff would be a good drinking game. Or use Matmos’ digital distillation of “F/X” in the “that can’t be a cover!”-style, similar to Fennesz’s warp on the Beach Boys and Rolling Stones: miniscule sound flecks of the original regurging from the cosmos. Surely tablature for these both will be on-line soon.

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” is the perfect festation for Racebannon to brutalize by today’s maximalist standards. Dragged and slaughtered, the song is not returning home the same. The end guitar solo and shattered noise coda is signature Bannon but works as a fitting end here.

Grails and Four Tet rub their paws on “Black Sabbath” and “Iron Man,” respectively, adding their prints but not much else. Four Tet‘s instrumental does affix unique volumes of openness that treats his guitar and beats into a miniature version. Greenness with Philly G take a crunchy swab on “Sweet Leaf” that woulda been better off replaced with a remix of the Butthole Surfers’ “Sweat Loaf.” Paul Newman’s “Fairies Wear Boots” is a real bummer, as it milks the free-swinging groove of Butler and Bill Ward and trades it for a clinical and soulless blather. Maybe they should’ve went for a solo harmonica take on “The Wizard.” Someone should of.

Despite a few missteps Sabbath fans, Podcast operators, and post-rock resurrectors should fine a lot to dig. But if not, there is always Iron Horses’ Black & Bluegrass.

By Eric Weddle

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