While the concept of a covers-only release is not something new in the world of music in general, such a feat is not always pulled off successfully. All-too-often, the band in question chooses a bunch of songs by other artists they love and/or admire for whatever reason, and either butcher the living hell out of an otherwise classic and amazing tune, or perform it nearly identical to the original…without adding anything new or (gasp) making it their own, in a sense. However, through the multitudes of towering piles of covers collections that fill the halls of music history, there are indeed some that manage to simultaneously pay tribute to the artist who’s song they’re covering, while bringing something completely new to the performance and adding a bit of their own sonic flavor, bringing the song to the listener in a new light. Featuring a clever re-working of the cover of Metallica’s Garage Days EP, the new digital-only covers EP release from Chicago’s sludge-covered doomsters The Atlas Moth fits victoriously in the latter category.
The One Amongst The Weed Fields (Candlelight Records) drags four ditties through a dark, gloom-soaked ringer that is equal parts psychedelic and devastating. Here, The Atlas Moth reinvents “Five to One” (The Doors), “California Dreamin’” (The Mamas & The Papas), “Fearless” (Pink Floyd) and “Golden” (Failure) and injects their own brand of doomed-out chaos and ambient sensibilities into each song. On “Five to One”, Jim Morrison’s haunting croon is replaced with raw-throated, screaming banshee vocals and trippy, droning guitar, twisting the Doors number into a new and remarkably unique direction while still keeping the bluesy undertones of the original. The exact same can be said for the band’s take of “California Dreamin’”, which, as a result of the delivery, does a damn good job of turning the potentially blissful lyrical imagery into a brutally anguished, shrieking nightmare, making it, along with the soaring reconstruction of Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” definite highlights of the EP.
It’s probably safe to say that not every fan of bands like The Atlas Moth are also die-hard fans of The Mamas & The Papas or The Doors, for that matter. Some people may very well think that the idea of a sludge/doom band covering any band The Atlas Moth reinterpreted here as a bit of a stretch. On that note, let it be known that The Atlas Moth have breathed new, startling life into all four songs and filled that gap in excellent fashion. Their namesake only has a lifespan of a few weeks, but it seems very reasonable to assume that The Atlas Moth will be around for quite a while!