Metamorph - Spellbound Empress
This review was commissioned. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
I have an amazingly simple opinion regarding cover songs: if you can’t either elevate the original or cover it in a way that makes it unique to your band while retaining a sense of quality, then simply don’t do it. Metamorph’s cover of ‘Spellbound’ falls into the category of “Never should have been done”. There’s not much more praise I can heap onto Siouxsie and the Banshees’ for arguably the best song they’ve ever written in their career. Siouxsie howls to the nine winds while McGeoch provides some of the finest guitar work the 80s and beyond has ever seen. But Metamorph’s cover completely eradicates every element that made the original so powerful. Instead of powerful and leading vocals, we get practically whispered vocals that do not sound in tune at all. The gorgeous guitar work is replaced by shoddy synth work. It’s quite embarrassing and not the best showing for Metamorph.
‘Empress (The Plague: remake) (Adoration Destroyed Production)’ is a much better showing for the project. We’re looking at a slower darkwave ballad for this track with solid instrumentation. It’s crisp and clear; the bassline thumps as the guitar riffs up and down with the beat. It’s great attention to detail that I vibe with quite well. The vocals are better on this song, but I feel as if lead vocalist Margot Day needs to hammer home a theme on the track. I don’t mind an exaggerated vocal range but that has to go hand-in-hand with a varying beat. Day tries to utilize her voice in various forms to little to no effect, emotive or otherwise, thanks to that limiting factor.
The following song ‘Empress’ is a remix conducted by Eva X. As expected, Eva X cranks up the bass and puts out a stomping, hardened dance rhythm perfect for your local club night. There’s plenty of room for breakdowns, experimental bits and bobs, and general electronic fuckery that keeps the beat refreshing and fun. Not sure if the vocals fit quite well in the remix, but that could be due to the fact that Eva X is transforming what could be considered a traditional goth / darkwave track into a dancefloor stomper. Either way, this is so far my favorite track on the EP.
Caustic takes a stab at ‘Empress’ as well with a remix on the fifth track. He takes the song into a dirty, ominous environment. I imagined this being the soundtrack of someone being bit by a vampire, stumbling through a dark alley as they try to come to terms with what just happened. I think Caustic uses Metamorph’s vocals to his advantage as best as possible; a thick, mysterious atmosphere that compliments the tone Metamorph conveys in the song. I feel as if the vocals are overblown in the mix; perhaps it was an artistic choice, but it did make my ears hurt a few times throughout the track. A slight adjustment would have made this better.
There are also two instrumentals on the album, the first of which is the instrumental version of the Siouxsie cover. This still isn’t much more palpable than the original cover; it just makes me wish I was listening to the original version instead. However, the instrumental version of ‘Empress (The Plague: remake)’ is phenomenal. The beats and production value really shine through, and I can appreciate all the little touches throughout.
Metamorph’s “Spellbound Empress” is not a great showing for Metamorph. Their cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees is weak and feeble. And I’ll repeat myself by saying I don’t think it should have ever seen the light of day. It’s terrible. The EP does get better as it moves on, but the sad part is that it’s not in part of Metamorph, it’s primarily on behalf of the remixers. Eva X and Caustic both utilize their skillsets and strengths to create gold out of iron.
Oh, and shoutout to Steven Archer for doing the cover art. Lovely bit right there that’s inspiring my next tabletop RPG character.May 21 2023
Review Everything : Part 9 : This Is The Last One I'm Doing (But There Might Be One More)
Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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