Flush Friday: Under the Cover of Darkness
Cats are delicate creatures with complex emotions. Two of them, to be precise. Don’t buy into this “curiosity” drivel; I know from personal experience that any and all cat behavior is the result of either hatred or fear. A meta-analysis of one zillion cat studies involving cats suggests that cats eat their food not because they’re hungry, but because — like all things — they hate and want to destroy it.
What I’m trying to say is this. Mr. Bojangles was supposed to be back from Italy over a week ago and I’ve concluded that he hasn’t returned because he a) is afraid of you and your supreme weirdness, and/or b) hates you because you’re dumber than natural home birth. Whatever the reason, his flushing responsibilities have once again fallen upon our shoulders, and who are we to deny the flush god his sacrificial weekend flushes?
Upon further reading, you’ll notice that your beloved former President and I agree that there’s typically nothing to warrant a song cover’s existence. A band really has to make the song their own / be Týr to make me want to listen to it when I could always just go for the original. Prep your jimmies for maximum rustling. Here’s one that’s better than the original.
By 1998, after recording two undisputed classics in Bergtatt and Nattens madrigal, Ulver decided they were kinda bored with pioneering black metal and roamed robe-clad into uncharted ambient realms. Their take on “Solitude” can be found on their excellent 2007 release, Shadows of the Sun. Ulver’s mastery of dense atmosphere allows the song to reach a level of hopelessness that Black Sabbath‘s original — as great as it is — just doesn’t. The decision to swap out the flute in favor of saxophone was a nice touch; it flourishes dream-like over the ambiance. Kristoffer Rygg’s soulful, reverb-drenched vocals echo through the desolate soundscape and are a welcome change from Ozzy’s crowing, which sometimes sounds less like a man singing a heartbroken ode to loneliness and more like a withered old woman who can’t remember where she put the tapes of her favorite programs because Alzheimer’s. Or this. To Sabbath’s credit (read as: Tony Iommi’s credit), they (he) wrote a truly impressive and emotional song. Ulver just made it better. Turn it up and be miserably lonely.
I generally hate covers, especially metal covers. Most metal covers fall into the pitfalls of simply re-adorning the original song with double-bass drum rhythms, distortion, and growls without actually adding anything interesting to the original song. In my humble opinion, covers typically only work if they stay very close to the source material or completely corrupt it. However, I’d still usually rather listen to the original song. I think it’s critical that the original artistic intent of a song remains pure in future permutations, but when that original heart is a smoldering vortex of pain and wrath, it may lend itself to even greater misery in expert hands. Enter Pristina. I’ve teased these guys before in the comments, but on this day, the first Flush Friday of September, it’s time to unleash their rage upon our dedicated readers. In case you aren’t aware, “Temple of the Morning Star” was originally recorded by Steve Austin’s Today Is the Day, and you should totally listen to the titular album if you never have. However, I’ve chosen the Pristina cover because it maintains the fuming darkness at the core of the original while meshing both the clean and the harsh versions of TItD’s recording into a completely overpowering one-two punch of sorrow and anger. Give in to the negativity.