Spawn (Again): A Tribute To Silverchair – Various Artists
Released: October 17th, 2017
The Amity Affliction
Void of Vision
In Hearts Wake
Hands Like Houses
Storm The Sky
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a cover songs and even more of a sucker for compilation albums from decent bands covering songs which in turn, can become better than the original… obviously not talking about the most recent Punk Goes Pop release though, but that aside UNFD have gathered up some of the best upcoming and established Australian acts to cover one of the greatest bands from our generation’s youth, Silverchair.
With a mix bag of tracks from the Newcastle native’s career (unfortunately including the Young Modern era) it was always going to be a big deal to take part in and be
judged critiqued for so let’s get it underway and find out who nailed it and who shouldn’t have even tried, kicking it off with Brisbane’s The Amity Affliction covering ‘Tomorrow‘. Clean vocalist Ahren Stringer brings us in (and doesn’t sound half as auto-tuned as he did for the band’s offering on the Punk Goes Pop album) with Joel Birch chiming in for growls and backup screams for the chorus. The focus is more on the melodic side and it’s weird to hear the guys sound this way. I know they’ve been moving towards this direction for a while now but basically Joel’s contribution is minimal and all the attention is on Stringer, Dan Brown on guitar and Ryan Burt drumming away. Amity aren’t new to the cover scene having nailed songs in the past like ‘Born to Die‘ by Lana Del Rey and ‘Love Is A Battlefield‘ by Pat Benatar but this one, just manages to cross the line of getting my approval however as an album introduction song, it feels slightly out of place. But that’s alright Void of Vision come in next with ‘Israel’s Son‘ which increases the heaviness within a matter of seconds and goddamn it sounds good. Combining heavy screams (which are present for the majority of the song) and melodic vocals for added value, this is one of the better covers of the album and an indication that Void of Vision mean business. Next up we have arguably the best track Silverchair released (disagree? fight me!) and for this I have to put my extra judgy pants on because In Hearts Wake are at the helm of ‘Freak‘; one of the earliest heavy rock songs I remember jumping around like an idiot to at the Biggera Waters Primary School disco way back in 1997 (holy shit that’s 20 years ago), so it’s been a part of my life for a while you could say. Firstly they’ve distorted the intro which immediately annoyed me BUT those feelings went away as the heaviness kicked in shortly after. Just as I was digging Eaven Dall‘s melodic singing which took us up to the chorus, out of nowhere Jake Taylor‘s screams took over and kinda missed the mark, interrupting the flow of the song. Following this was a somewhat Dr Jeckyll vs. Mr Hyde styled back and forth singing between the pair that worked in some parts, but in others, it would have been better if the singing wasn’t shared between the two. Luckily for the band, just prior to the final chorus, they get the formula right all the way until the song’s climax, disregarding the last 3 seconds. Harsh? Maybe. But then again that was always going to be a hard song to cover, I would have loved to have heard Northlane or Amity attempt it, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The Brave are up next tackling ‘Cemetery‘ and within the first minute I am already impressed with their direction of the song. It draws you in, alluring yet almost monotonous but all that goes away in the next quarter where the band open up, singing gets heavier (to an extent), clearer and the band riffs it up creating a great new aged version of the song. By the end of it, The Brave’s version sits perfectly sounding like it belongs with releases between the early 2000‘s and now which opens your ears and ind to what Silverchair would be like if they rose up in this generation (of iPods, Spotify and social media). The same could be said for Northlane who absolutely killed it with their cover of ‘Anthem For The Year 2000‘, proving this is a band who show they care about everything they do. It sounds heavy where it needs to, it’s melodic and synth throughout and has that unique Northlane charm to it. They’ve taken a classic, reworked it with their own signature stamp and delivered something on par (if not better) than the original. Frontman Marcus Bridge is an upcoming musical legend who has definitely taken the band to places they could only dream of before. My relationship with the next band hasn’t been the best, but I’ve pushed aside my differences with Hands Like Houses to openly hear their attempt at the emotionally driven ‘Ana’s Song‘, which, luckily for them, is a pretty good attempt. They haven’t tried to go over the top and change it up too much, but there is more of a focus on the instruments more so than the singing… but in saying that Trenton Woodley has a fucking great voice on him switching between melodic high pitches and harmoniously hair raising singing. The only thing missing was his emotional connection with the track, it sounds great yes, but where’s the heart and soul? In saying that though, he’d give Daniel Johns a run for his money vocally nowadays, not that Daniel would care, you know with all his money and hot AF model/felon girlfriend Michelle Leslie.
The album title track is next and expectations were high for Ocean Grove‘s take on ‘Spawn (Again)‘ because it must be good if they’ve named the whole album after it, right? Well, yes it is. At just 2:55 in length the Melbourne nu-metal revivalists managed to not only grab you by the ears and scream in your face, but push you backwards with the sheer force behind them. Frontman Luke Holmes is a much better frontman than Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit so it’s easier to enjoy his singing and the rest of the band are in tune and on point as much as each other. I have no doubt in my mind they’ll skyrocket further than ever imagined within a few years, and this cover song is yet another stamp on their one way pass out of the burbs and into the spotlight. Now for the interesting part, I don’t know why, but I’ve always hated ‘Emotion Sickness‘ even well before Storm The Sky put their hand in to do their own rendition, so to say listening to this one was a chore would be a lie because it turns out I’ve either been missing out on a great sounding track or STS actually made it better. Sounding something like a cross between Radiohead and a post-hardcore/emo band, what I was dreading at first slowly became something I didn’t want to end.
Tonight Alive are up next and they’ve been handed ‘Without You‘ and as expected Jenna McDougall takes us on an adventure with her vocal ability, however the track has now been turned into a pop song with the rest of the band behind her bouncing back and forth between pop punk and and pop band. It hasn’t exactly been improved with their attempt, but I guess it’s better than anything from Young Modern right? Wrapping up the album is Brisbane’s Columbus and they’ve taken one of the weakest songs Silverchair released and turned it into a pop-punk banger. ‘Straight Lines‘ has the perfect blend of fast pace riffs, guitar solos, smashing cymbals and a singer who knows how to hold a note or two. I couldn’t have picked a better song to wrap up the album so well done to the team at UNFD for chucking that one there.
So that is what some of our homegrown talent have done to pay Tribute to the Silverchair lads, in some cases I reckon the boys will be stoked to hear new age renditions of their classics, but in the same breath, there’s maybe two or three versions that didn’t need to make the final cut. A fantastic idea though and I can’t wait to see who the next band is that cops a Tribute album like this.
Spawn (Again): A Tribute To Silverchair tracklisting
1. The Amity Affliction – Tomorrow
2.Void of Vision – Israel’s Son
3. In Hearts Wake – Freak
4. The Brave – Cemetery
5. Northlane – Anthem For The Year 2000
6. Hands Like Houses – Ana’s Song (Open Fire)
7. Ocean Grove – Spawn (Again)
8. Storm The Sky – Emotion Sickness
9. Tonight Alive – Without You
10. Columbus – Straight Lines