ANUBIS GATE — Covered in Colours (review)

ANUBIS GATE — Covered in Colours album cover Album · 2020 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
For their eighth studio album, Danish progressive metal act Anubis Gate have opted to produce something that is both a counterpart to their previous album Covered in Black (2017) by titling it Covered in Colours (2020) as well as something completely different in their discography: a covers album. The fourteen track, seventy-three minute long album has the band taking on songs originally by a diverse range of artists, from King Crimson to AC/DC, Steely Dan to Slayer via Ozzy Osbourne, Coldplay and Mike Oldfield.

Covers albums by their very nature are never in the running for being an artist's essential work and that's certainly also the case with Covered in Colours. With that said, as far as metal bands doing covers albums go, Anubis Gate have produced a pretty fine one that will actually manage to surprise not only long-time fans of their own music but especially from the wider metal crowd, with the way they interpret the actual metal/hard rock songs they've covered. This is most evident with their version of Aggressive Perfector by Slayer. You'd expect a song by Slayer to be among the heaviest cuts on the album. It's actually among the lightest.

Generally speaking though, Anubis Gate has adapted this set of songs to their own progressive metal style, regardless of what genre of music a track came from originally. The Slayer situation feels like they went that way to counter expectations. Mostly this feels and sounds like the last few Anubis Gate albums, though there is a slight edge that betrays that the songs are actually the work of other creative minds no matter how different Anubis Gate has made their versions from the originals. The thing to note about that though is that only those who listen to Anubis Gate a lot and know their work really well may pick that up without the bias of knowing in advance that they are listening to covers.

The main instance of when Covered in Colours doesn't sound too like Anubis Gate is during Voivod's Experiment, which features some harsher vocals than this band typically uses (not quite growls though), which are performed by guitarist Kim Olesen instead of the band's regular singer Henrik Fevre. It's the one and only song where, despite the variety of original artists, that it feels like it's jarring to the flow of the album, which otherwise is bad to work really well by the band. Choice cuts for this reviewer are their takes on Chromazone (Mike Stern), Glamour Profession (Steely Dan), To France (Mike Oldfield), Fade to Grey (Visage), Back In Black (AC/DC) and Strawberry Fields Forever (The Beatles).

People who like Anubis Gate already will of course be the primary audience for Covered in Colours, but the album should also hold interest to people who enjoy hearing songs originally not by metal bands get a heavy treatment. The few songs on here I'd heard before tend toward the being very different takes, except Oldfield's To France. Though full disclaimer, I don't recall ever actually hearing his version. To France seems to be semi-popular cover choice amongst metal bands. Anubis Gate's is the third version I've heard of it, after Blind Guardian and Leaves' Eyes (Kingfisher Sky has also done it). But why not? It's a very good, memorable song and since all three versions I have heard sound somewhat similar in structure, I don't think its been altered too much. The likes of Slayer and AC/DC though, are definitely a far cry from the songs you know.

And that's a good thing. Faithful covers after all tend to be boring, even pointless. You'll perhaps give them a curiosity listen and then return to the original. Anubis Gate have given you covers you'll instead have a reason to return to and in Covered in Colours an album that fully deserves to be part of their main discography.
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