ShinMonuOne of many requests that we get in a week caught my attention stating “We know that in the jungle of promo links and releases to review as for today it might be not possible for you to cut some space in your Media to write about a small and limited piece of vinyl, but then again.., maybe better 9 minutes of unusual music than another average album.” How true I thought and we do get far too many requests to cover bands of all shapes and sizes and have to choose carefully what to feature. Even though this is limited to 300 copies and no doubt will be snapped up and sold out straight away these are certainly artists that hit our radar head on and their intriguing choice of covers are very much worth exploring.

Starting off with cult Italian act Monumentum, well what can I say? I had a real love affair with their stunning occult and arcane 1995 release In Absentia Christi but after that never really found the love for them again on follow up ‘Ad Nauseum.’ Roberto Mammarello is no stranger to covers having previously tackled Visage (brilliantly), Ain Soph, Death SS and Dead Can Dance. Here after a very long silence it is his turn to have a crack at PJ Harvey’s dour, dismal and depressive classic ‘The River.’ Having just been playing them back to back and having shivers run up and down my spine to the PJ version and even getting close to going and finding the razorblades it is evident that Monumentum have picked a very tricky song to do justice to. Obviously they get the essence of things albeit with a more electronic emphasis but it does not have me feeling quite as deadbeat as the original. The male vocals with lilting female backing tones work well and it is a perfectly adequate cover, there are Fields Of The Nephilim sounding guitar textures here that are quite involving but at the end of the day I have to say I prefer the original.

At least there is a good chance that you will have heard the original of that one, as far as Shining are concerned yet again Niklas Kvarforth has gone for a more obscure Swedish act Bay Laurel who split up in 2001. Listening to the original it is absolutely gorgeous and the band obviously are well rooted in the gothic and dark rock world that bands as diverse as The Mission and The Chameleons dwell in. It reminds me a little of both and the English vocals are as expressive as the music is rich and melodic. Of course it is a miserable SOB which makes it perfect for Shining to get their mitts on.  This is not a song that I am going to say I prefer the original as both are excellent. The opening guitars on the Shining version are lush and sparkling and Nik’s voice matches original singer Richard löfgren without trying to upstage him in the slightest. In fact it strikes me that this song is a complete and utter mark of respect to the original and even if it does take a bit more of a driven spark to things as it progresses this is a perfect updated rendition of what I have just been playing.

If you are lucky enough to pick this up and you are a fan of either bands you are in for a treat as long as you have an open mind and are not looking for an exercise in ‘kvlt black metal.’ The depressive cutting edge is certainly here in spades and as far as I am concerned thanks have to be given to Niklas for turning me onto another act who I am now checking out in more detail and very much liking what I am hearing.

Pete Woods