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Kiss (Entombed/Sator/Hellacopters/Livin Sacrifice) – Covered In Scandinavia A Tribute To Kiss


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Kiss Covered In Scandinavia, a 1997 Pink Honey Records/Quadromedia release, is one of the best Kiss cover discs I've ever heard. Virtually every track has been given at least a minor personal touch by the artist who performs it (though more often than not the touch is a substantial one) making this, track for track, perhaps the most creative and original disc of Kiss covers I've heard. It is also one of the most polished and professional sounding, which is not really surprising since over half the artists on the disc have released albums of their own in Europe/Scandinavia. The double CD's (the second disc contains interviews with Kiss) excellent packaging includes a 12 page color booklet which contains detailed information about each of the artists on the disc, as well as other Pink Honey releases. The following is a track by track review Detroit Rock City (Moon Flower) This track features a great, bluesy lead vocal, and the minor changes to the arrangement made by the band (mostly in the chorus) really work well, giving the track a fresh feel. Most notable is a really nice guitar solo & the use of the song's opening guitar riff in various places throughout the entire track. The drums and vocals are positioned in the mix very well, with the drums being especially crisp. Cold Gin (Hakan Hemlin and Mike Nilsson) This one hits you with an aggressive, "crunchier" guitar sound right from the opening. The lead guitarist, while clearly using the original as a blueprint, also makes his own statement to be sure, especially during the solo. But it's the drumming that is the star of this track for my money — Mats Haxell certainly has one heavy kick and he's not afraid to use it! This track, heavy to begin with, gets even heavier once it moves into the chorus, both vocally (utilizing a "nasty" gang vocal) and with the use of a little "stutter" breakdown instead of the straight break in the original. "Cold Gin" with a "God of Thunder/War Machine" attitude… very cool! Escape From the Island (Lindgren 5 Steps) This track is quite simply brilliantly creative. Not only have these five gentlemen chosen an extremely unusual song to cover, but they then decided to cover their unique selection in a complex jazz arrangement! The Lindgren 5 Steps showcase some extremely impressive playing from all five members, particularly saxophone player Magnus Lindgren and trumpet player Magnus Broo. Absolutely incredible and worth the price of the discs for this track alone in my opinion. This one instantly became one of my all time favourite Kiss covers! God of Thunder (Entombed) With a band named Entombed covering the bad ass Kiss classic "God of Thunder" you would think that expecting something HEAVY would be reasonable – you would be right. This is a monster of a cover! If any of you have the Kiss cover disc "Kiss of Death" you have a pretty good idea what this song sounds like. For those that don't, think of an extremely pissed off Gene singing in a "death metal" voice and you're getting close. This is heavy, heavy straight ahead hard rock music, with a particularly impressive solo by the lead guitar player. Entombed's apocalyptic ending also contains a nasty drum breakdown from drummer Nicke Anderson. Strap in before spinning this track! Rock Bottom (Leila K) The beautiful, low key piano and (synthesized) string intro gives you absolutely no warning of the hellacious direction this track takes immediately following the intro's conclusion. Leila K's delivery is very reminiscent of the late Wendy O. Williams, and is supplemented by excellent backing vocals from Henrik Olsson during the choruses. Olsson is also responsible for some very unusual, space age sounding synthesizer "fills" during the chorus and a "rap/chant" during the second verse. Beth (The Creeps) The band's slow groove, reggae flavored musical arrangement (you can almost feel the cool ocean breeze on a moonlit night) breaths welcome new life in to this arguably played out Kiss classic. Robert Jelinek's vocals give the tune an anguish that is missing from most sugar-coated versions of the track, and there's also a very nice vocal and drum only breakdown on the last verse. Until KAOL standout Nile "Ice Man" Carter covers this one I'd have to say this version by the Creeps is gonna hold the top spot as my favorite version of this track. Very smooth. Goin' Blind (Borgvall Chamber Ensemble) This one is right up there with the Lindgren 5 Steps' version of "Escape From the Island:" tied for best track on the disc. Another instrumental, this one features incredibly talented guitar player Jonas Borgvall (who also arranged and produced the track) on acoustic guitar, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful string arrangement of cello, violin, and viola. Absolutely masterful. All American Man (Hellacopters) Its great to see another Kiss tribute disc featuring a version of this too oft overlooked gem. The Hellacopters aren't playing around on this aggressive, take no prisoners, screaming guitar version that had no trouble convincing me that Swedish lead vocalist "Paul Hellacopter" was actually a six foot, hot look, all American man (the man sings like he's challenging you to say he's anything but what he claims to be!). A good, old fashioned, flat out rocker – with some interesting vocal and guitar distortion! Black Diamond (Infinite Mass) Another track with a reggae flavor, this one features gang lead vocals which are "chanted" rather than sung contrasted by a silky smooth chorus that will have you thinking of Shaft type laid back cool cats from some 70's flick. Josef Zachrisson's rolling bass line will rattle and vibrate objects right off your shelfs, and there's an interesting completely new addition to the track in the form of a rap/spoken word section that pays tribute to the Kiss Army, among other things. Another standout on a disc already full of creative covers. C'Mon And Love Me (Sator) Ok, this is the fastest I've ever heard this track played by anyone. I don't think it'd sound this fast if you played your LP on 45! I hope someone gets a radar gun on this thing cause it's smokin'! Other than that it's actually a very respectable "straight up" cover featuring some excellent guitar work from Chips Kiesbye, who is also the vocalist. Love Gun (Dia Psalma) Another straight up cover with solid musical performances and backing vocals. Again, there is some excellent guitar work on the track, with the lead guitarist doing an admirable job of faithfully reproducing the classic solo. Do You Love Me (Livin' Sacrifice) The first thing that came to mind when I heard this cover was Joan Jett. That was followed closely by the image of a really pissed off Pat Benatar a la "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." That's it, it's Pat Benatar's voice with Joan Jett's attitude — in other words, very cool! Livin Sacrifice's female vocalists Maria and Marianne (guitar & bass respectively) sing this song in a way that makes it clear the answer to the question posed by the song's title better be one they like or else they're gonna be really, really upset. In addition to the female vocals, the song also comes complete with a beefed up, heavier (though very recognizable) musical arrangement. Parasite (Gone) The Nine Inch Nails (think "Head Like a Hole"), industrial flavored beginning to this track lets you know right away that Gone is gonna put their own stamp on this one, which they most definitely proceed to do. For those who thought Parasite wasn't already heavy enough, this is the version for you! There is an absolutely screaming guitar solo in this one by Mats Stahl, who certainly knows how to play his axe, and that ain't no drum machine, but rather Stefan Kalfors killing his kit! Yet, despite the industrial feel to the track the arrangement is actually fairly close to the original all the way up until the breakdown/solo section, from which Gone does proceed to GO in a completely different direction, to very cool effect. Another standout favorite. Rock 'N Roll All Nite (Happy Nite Quartet) Boy, the producers of this album certainly have a wicked and ironic sense of humor I'll tell you that. How else to explain the placement of this do-wop, barber shop quartet version of Roch And Roll All Night right on the heels of the industrial annihilation of the proceeding version of Parasite?! Of all the tracks on the disc that the various artists have over-hauled in one way or another, this has got to be both the most noticeable and welcomed. I normally cringe when I see this track listed on the back of a disc (especially one from Kiss themselves!), and so I was pleasantly surprised to find a version of that not only could I listen to without thinking, "Oh God, not again!", but one that I can honestly say I've deliberately dropped into the disc changer to listen to AGAIN! The Happy Nite Quartet has captured an infectiously upbeat and charming version of Kiss signature classic here on Kiss Covered in Scandinavia. I dare you not to be grinning at the end of this one! Track listing: Disc 1: 1. Moon Flower – Detroit Rock City 2. Hakan Hemlin And Mike Nilsson – Cold Gin 3. Lindgren 5 Steps – Escape From The Island 4. Entombed – God Of Thunder 5. Leila K – Rock Bottom 6. The Creeps – Beth 7. Borgvall Chamber Ensamble – Goin Blind 8. The Hellacopters – All American Man 9. Infinite Mass – Black Diamond 10. Sator – Cmon And Love Me 11. Dia Psalma – Love Gun 12. Livin Sacrifice – Do You Love Me 13. Gone – Parasite 14. Happy Nite Quartet – Rock And Roll All Nite 15. Kiss – Kiss Talks Disc 2: 1. Interview with Ace Frehley 1987 2. Interview with Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley 1992 3. Interview with Peter Criss 1988

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Pink Honey

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