Various Artists – Eurodance: The Metal Way
Antichrist Magazine TV
Release Date: 31/08/21
Running Time: 63:54
Review by Steven Hooke
6.4* / 10 (Average)
Ah, the 90s. The proud identity of millennials the world over, and the unwavering yardstick of culture of a generation. Advancements in CGI, technology, teen-orientated media, Pokémon, Robin Williams, the ‘Renaissance of Disney’, WWF’s Attitude Era, grunge, a golden era in sitcoms, the Power Rangers (especially the heart-stealing Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson), God it was good! Just try not to think of the Iraqi Gulf War, various genocides, school shootings, the overly-casual use of racist and sexist terms and language, and the steady rises of Islamist Extremism, financial inequality, and global warming, the latter two of which we’re still having to convince people is a serious threat.
Oh, and Sunny D. We also had Sunny D.
Somewhere in the middle of all this was Eurodance, a style of dance music incorporating techno, disco, hip hop, and copious amounts of synthesizers (and probably acid). Feeling like it was created to directly challenge Eurovision as the best/worst thing ever, Eurodance’s origins actually trace back to 1987, before gaining significant popularity in 1990, thanks to ‘The Power’ by Snap! – the same year Death released “Spiritual Healing”, by the way.
Eurodance dominated the 90s rave scene, and quickly infiltrated the charts, with a selection of the genre’s “greatest hits” breaking into commercial success, and turning names like Scooter, Aqua and the Vengaboys into household names.
After an unspoken accord in the early 2000s, everyone agreed that Eurodance should be banished, never to be spoken about again, except when trading stories about what colour Panda Pops you’d get at your school’s discos. That was until webzine Antichrist Magazine thought it would be absolute banter to have some of Eurodance’s biggest hits covered by a plethora of underground metal bands, which brings us to today.
Don the nostalgia goggles, and get fresh batteries in your Game Boy, we’re going for a trip down memory lane. Not good memories, just memories…
Terminal Carnage ft. Lara Vaupel – Omen III (Magic Affair)
Relative new-comers to Germany’s death metal scene, Bavarian duo Terminal Carnage open proceedings with one of the highlights of the compilation. A fantastic display by Markus Zillig on drums to blast the song into life, but to then act as the closest semblance to the original song, is a feat worthy of a knighthood (or whatever the German equivalent is). Guest vocals from another up-and-coming musician in Lara Vaupel is a great pallet-cleanser from the extremity of Zillig, and partner-in-crime Stefan Walter, and matches the ghostly execution of Franca Morgana perfectly. A genuinely good opening track, maybe we’re gonna be ok?
TERMINAL CARNAGE LINE-UP:
Stefan Walter – Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Markus Zilling – Drums
Lara Vaupel – Additional Vocals
DevilsBridge – The Sign (Ace of Base)
And then again, maybe not. Swiss melodic metal troupe DevilsBridge cover the first of two Ace of Base tracks, and honestly, there’s episodes of Noel’s House Party with more structure than this.
Starting with a relatively basic funk-heavy original, DevilsBridge seem to have a terminal case of the ‘too many cooks’, with dueling guitars trying to both replicate the original melodies, and formulate their own. It may have worked if their producer wasn’t tracking using MiniDisc, but computer mixing won’t be readily available for another couple of years yet. Vocalist Dani Nell saves the song a bit with her impressive set of pipes, but I nearly knocked another mark off for that VTech post-chorus synthline, until I remembered what I was reviewing so…
Dani Nell – Vocals
Tom White – Guitars
Simon Black – Guitars
Steve D.R.T. – Bass
JC Daisy – Drums
Everlust – Happy Nation (Ace of Base)
Our second foray into the Ace of Base back catalogue! And don’t think I don’t appreciate the irony of a song called ‘Happy Nation’ being covered by a gloomy goth rock band. To be fair, the original is a slow-going affair with a weird cult sacrifice-vibes music video…
Latvian goffs Everlust probably got one of the better deals, all things considered. Their brooding delivery blends very well with a Eurodance song going 6 bpm (seriously, what were AoB thinking?), ultimately making the best out of a bad situation.
Kate Brown – Vocals
Vlad Pucens – Guitars, Vocals
Max Reksna – Guitars
Pavel Savins – Bass
Alex Shangin – Drums
Andrew Jirgensons – Keyboard
Nidhoeggr – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (Vengaboys)
And now for a group of lads who thoroughly understood the assignment. Swiss Folk/Death metal sextet Nidhoeggr were lumped with covering one of the giants of Eurodance, a feat that would scare most away, for ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’ is truly the ‘Enter Sandman’ of the genre. Have faith though, and ye shall be rewarded, as these guys get everything absolutely spot-on. It’s heavy whilst still recognisable, they make great use of their folk side to manage synths and group vocals, vocalist Janos Thomann actually sounds like mortar fire in the choruses, and overall, everyone sounds like they’re having a whale of a time.
Janos Thomann – Harsh Vocals
Lorenz Joss – Clean Vocals, Keyboards
Nino Moser – Lead Guitars
Janick Rüttimann – Rhythm Guitars
Thibault Schmidt – Bass
Patrick Scheidegger – Drums
Ironthorn – Blue (Da Ba Dee) (Eiffel 65)
Tackling another giant of Eurodance are trad metallers Ironthorn, who look to do good by their fellow Italians Eiffel 65. For the most part, the band do rather well, it’s identifiable whilst still showcasing their sound, there’s some decent guitar work from Messrs Maurizio Liberto and Gabriele Misuraca, including the use of harmonics to mimic the verse synth hooks, which is a nice touch, but it does almost feel like they were trying TOO hard to cover a song featuring the lyrics “I’m blue da ba dee da ba di da ba dee da ba di da ba dee da ba di (and so on)”. There’s a distinct lack of daftness to it, probably not helped by the fact that Fleshgod Apocalypse also covered this song at the start of the year, and sound like they’re taking the absolute piss. Legit though, what’s with Italians and this song?
Luigi Pullara – Vocals
Maurizio Liberto – Guitars
Gabriele Misuraca – Guitars
Eliseo Bonacasa – Bass
Antony La Marca – Drums
Permon – The Real Thing (2 Unlimited)
I feel like we were robbed of something genuinely brilliant here. 2 Unlimited’s 1994 hit song has a synth line that would feel more than welcome on a Mega Man soundtrack, and the idea of it getting shredded on guitar sounds hella tasty. Instead, Czech trio Permon just sticks to the bassline. Absolute cowardice.
To be fair to the lads, the production on their track is top tier. Their melodeath riffs sound heavy, their tone is crisp, and the tempo really gets you bumping, but when you think about what could have been, it’s kinda a wash.
Jiří Tomíček – Vocals
Václav Permon – Guitars
Tomáš “Chreňo” Chrenko – Drums
Brunno Mariante – Heal or Kill – Baby Baby (Corona)
The solo project of Brazilian ‘I Can’t Believe it’s Not John Bush’ vocalist Mariante, Heal or Kill, also largely do away with the main synthline of Corona’s 1995 track, in favour of a pretty lively heavy rock track, featuring a brilliant drumline that worships at the altar of Motörhead. It gets repetitive quickly, but that’s more down to the subject matter, than the band themselves. Chimes of NWOBHM liven up an otherwise dreary song, making me realise why this is Corona’s second biggest song.
BRUNNO MARIANTE – HEAL OR KILL LINE-UP:
Brunno Mariante – Vocals
Andreas Dehn – Guitars
Rick Posi – Bass
Leonora Mölka – Drums
They Came From Visions – Obsession (Army of Lovers)
It’s staggering that Army of Lovers not only had a Mick Hucknall cosplayer as their frontman, but also tried to fart out an emotional Eurodance ballad in 1991. They Came from Visions start out their cover as a glum, goth rock brooder, that feels very apropos, before slowly morphing into their more typical black metal style. Weirdly, despite having one of the biggest gaps between style and tempo, you do hear more of the original track coming from the medley. The soaring tremolo riffage invokes the original’s downtempo haze with Voice of Misery’s gurgling screams bringing the kvlt. Sacrifice a goat at your next underground rave (actually no, don’t do that).
THEY CAME FROM VISIONS LINE-UP:
Voice of Misery – Vocals
Voice of Gloom – Guitars, Drums
Voice of the Deep – Bass
SFS-666 – How Much is the Fish? (Scooter)
God, Scooter was some daft brilliance, weren’t they? The Germans are still synonymous with the genre all these years later, and were often the band that was able to rope in the casuals, and act as the gateway band for eurodance’s lunacy. One of several hits for the band, ‘How Much is the Fish?’ features plenty of synthetic pan flute/bagpipe-adjacent instrumentation that extreme folk metal duo SFS-666 do largely NOTHING WITH. I’m all for bands making a song their own when covering another act, but this is a song SFS-666 have thrown together and just added Scooter’s lyrics on top. So much potential, squandered.
Ölf-Lex – Vocals
Dräka – Instruments
Verdoemd – Come Take My Hand (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)
One-man Belgian Blackened Death Metal project, Verdoemd, got a pretty raw deal compared to their album-mates. The man behind the outfit – Maes – got lumped with this painfully dreary 1995 song from Dutch group 2 Brothers on the 4th Floor, and did perhaps the only honourable thing, which was to completely ignore the source material. Vermoemd’s version is a full reimagining, with seemingly only the lyrics in common, and the result is just an average extreme metal stomper. Not bad, not too exciting, a fun little demo from Mr. Maes.
Maes – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drum Programming
A Second of Silence – Cotton Eye Joe (Rednex)
A main event anywhere else, Rednex’s 1994 classic ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ has remained one of the most endeared tracks from the Eurodance era. Beloved in uni club nights, and throwback parties, the song casts an imposing shadow over the artists on the compilation, and for whomever dares to cover it.
The task fell to Mexican metalcore troupe A Second of Silence, who were able to keep the structure and familiarity of the original, whilst still injecting their own sound and personality, showing many of their contemporaries how it’s bloody done. The final product is entertaining, if not a tad repetitive, missing out on the chance for some banjo-based shredding and beat drops to really add some oomph. But again, this is “Cotton Eye Joe” we’re reaching for here.
A SECOND OF SILENCE LINE-UP:
Sohee Noyola – Vocals
Lalo Núñez – Guitars
John Mera – Guitars
Omar Uribe – Bass
Arwin Mendoza – Drums
Aeons – Deeper Underground (Jamiroquai)
I don’t think I’ve ever considered Jamiroquai a Eurotrance act. For that matter, I don’t think anyone has ever considered Jamiroquai a Eurodance act, and yet, here we are.
Hailing from the birthplace of the Bee Gees, Aeons also understood their assignment, and absolutely nailed it. It remains fairly faithful to the original, blends in some of their own personality, has a monstrous production job that makes Scott Sayer and Si Harvey’s guitars sound massive, and brilliant drum work from Justin Wallace, overall invoking thoughts of the better portions of Incubus and Howard Jones-era Killswitch Engage, all with a djenty hue. Lovely stuff.
Skippy Hilton – Vocals
Scott Sayer – Guitars
Si Harvey – Guitars, Vocals
Joe Holland – Bass
Justin Wallace – Drums
Vadge Fang – Falling For a Witch (E-Rotic)
If nothing else, Oregon-based Experimental Doom duo, Vadge Fang, certainly do offer a sonic reminder of the rampant drug culture of the Eurodance and rave scenes. The illusive pairing come out swinging with a drunken karaoke take of the song’s intro, before bravely taking a crack at the original song’s rapped verses, though you’d be forgiven for not realising that’s what’s going on, as the production on ‘Falling For a Witch’ sounds like it was recorded inside a warehouse fire. It’s ironic that the clearest vocal line that can be heard on the verse is “I don’t know what I’m doing”. You ain’t kidding brother.
Folklore Negro – Fly on the Windscreen (Depeche Mode)
Why is this here? Who’s calling Depeche Mode a Eurodance act? Who’s calling this song a Eurodance song? I just don’t know anything anymore…
One-man Mexican Death/Doom project Folklore Negro has had a decent crack at harnessing Depeche Mode’s gothic spookiness, with jagged tremolo picking, some great reverberating guitar riffs peppered around the song, and just generally syncing DM’s gothic vibes with a subtly-extreme doom soundscape. Can’t imagine the funeral raves playing this back in the day.
FOLKLORE NEGRO LINE-UP:
Feto Majadero – Vocals, All instruments
Scurìu – The Rhythm ov the Night (Corona)
And finally, another 1-man project, this time incorporating the styles of Black Metal and Doom for an end product that is probably the hardest song of all to rate. The project stretches out fellow-Italians Corona’s most famous track – and one of the biggest hits of the entire scene – to a near 7 minute trudging crawl of a song, with some distinctly kvlt licks to carry the song throughout its duration. What constitutes a “chorus” does pack a noticeable punch to grasp onto, and makes for an entertaining song in its own right. However, a combination of the slowed Doom delivery, and the lack of vocals, results in this song sounding nothing like the original piece. And again, we are talking about one of the biggest tracks of the entire scene.
It’s an ok song when isolated, and to cover a song and make it your own is one thing, but to completely abandon the source material and leave no recognisable traces just seems like kind of a weird move.
Omar Jarid – Vocals, All instruments
01. Terminal Carnage ft. Lara Vaupel – Omen III (Magic Affair)
02. DevilsBridge – The Sign (Ace of Base)
03. Everlust – Happy Nation (Ace of Base)
04. Nidhoeggr – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom (Vengaboys)
05. Ironthorn – Blue (Da Ba Dee) (Eiffel 65)
06. Permon – The Real Thing (2 Unlimited)
07. Brunno Mariante – Baby Baby (Corona)
08. They Came From Visions – Obsession (Army of Lovers)
09. SFS-666 – How Much is the Fish (Scooter)
10. Verdoemd – Come Take My Hand (2 Brothers on the 4th Floor)
11. A Second of Silence – Cotton Eye Joe (Rednex)
12. Aeons – Deeper Underground (Jamiroquai)
13. Vadge Fang – Falling For a Witch (E-Rotic)
14. Folklore Negro – Fly on the Windscreen (Depeche Mode)
15. Scurìu – The Rhythm ov the Night (Corona)
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.