In the grand scheme of riff-worship, a cover doesn't get much more salient than Sabbath's 1971 classic "Lord of This World"--a highlight track on an album crammed full of 'em. It's a track that Magnetic Eye Record's upcoming Best of Black Sabbath tribute compilation would, frankly, be incomplete without.
But, perhaps most importantly, it's a track deserving of a band worthy to shoulder the monstrous mantle. Howling Giant is without a doubt such a band, and we slumbering scribes are honored to premiere here today their stellar take on "Lord of This World." Give it a listen below! We'll meet you on the other side.
If you're familiar with Howling Giant and their meaty doom chops, you likely know that they carry themselves with a (deservedly) confident air. It takes a certain level of precision and grace to nail a cover of a classic while still lending it a little extra character, and it is clear that the crew before ye met that challenge head on. Despite a little extra texture in the solo-laden back half (in part courtesy of Ben Mcleod from All Them Witches) the overall structure doesn't differ, and the elements that exude Howling Giant blend so well that it's hard to tell where one band's influence ends and the other's begins. Of course, it helps that Howling Giant views themselves as a direct sonic descendant: in their words, "Ozzy is the biggest vocal influence for us, blending clean melodic vocals with heavier pentatonic-based riffery. Its one of the core flavors of Howling Giant, directly influenced by Sabbath."
This is a faithful take. It's not, in other words, a reinvention--but it's also Sabbath, and Sabbath is monolithic. Nigh-untouchable, some might argue. Say the band about their interpretation of the track: "Normally when we do a cover, we like to chop and screw with everything from the song form, musical arrangement, and sometimes will even add in our own melodies. We feel the only reason to do a cover is to make it your own and offer a different experience than the original. When it comes to Black Sabbath, they're so revered within our scene that we decided not to alter any of the riffs or song form too much. We used our classic HG tone and added some sax on the low end riff to offer a slightly different sound palette. We also recently worked with Ben from All Them Witches on our Ripple split album, Masamune & Muramasa, so we wanted to get him shredding dual solos with Tom over some extended sections." All told? The cover before ye is an impressive display of care, commitment, and love for this 50 year old genre.
I don't need to babble further. This song can, as it always has, speak for itself. This is a masterful cover from a band that deserves your full attention. Give "Lord of This World" a listen if you haven't already done so--and if you have, listen again! It's truly a wonderful tribute.
Best of Black Sabbath will be released Oct. 30th, 2020 by the estimable Magnetic Eye Records. Pre-order vinyl, CD, or digital here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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