Emil Bulls – “Mix Tape” (AFM Records)
Close to 25 Years on and this Bavarian alt nu metal band have come a long way since their beginnings in a covent school! Coming off the back of their 12th release “Kill Your Demons” and 2 sold out tours, Emil Bulls have decided to put together a special mix album for their fans. Usually confined to the studio while blowing off excess energy in between recording songs or compiled for long car journeys, it has long been in the life of these guys to play covers and that’s exactly what “Mix Tape” is – 14 of their most favoured tracks from a list of over 300 songs! Special in their hearts from the days of their youth but more importantly being inspirational in staying true and never surrendering, “Mix Tape” is a massive thank you to the fans of Emil Bulls for supporting them over the years, while beckoning them to continue their journey together! Certainly no roughly cobbled together ‘compilation’ of raw demos or outtakes or re-mixes, each artist’s song writing has been analysed and then re-worked carefully into the style of Emil Bulls without losing the original’s special character. Given the sheer diversity of styles on show here I really take my hat off to these guys for pulling this off exactly how they’ve intended, whether its on ‘Survivor’ by Destinys Child to ‘Jesus He Knows Me’ by Genesis and ‘We Built This City’ by Jefferson Starship. More impressively, whilst the likes of Billy Idol (‘Rebel Yell’) and the Pixies (‘Where Is My Mind’) have long been known to me, less familiar were Bruno Mars’s ‘Grenade’, which has been re-worked brilliantly not just to make it heavier but to bring out its deep chorus and harmonies even more, while Placebo’s ‘Every You Every me’ has been made even more melancholic yet also uplifting in its overall radiance – excellent! Ending with MGMT’s ‘Kids’, which although close to the original thanks to that unforgettable melody, the sound instead here is massive, taken to stadium proportions thanks to the heavy chundering grooves that really add…well, balls to it that work a treat. “Mix Tape” is a whole lot more than what its modest title might suggest, and in many cases the work of Emil Bulls has taken those wimpy originals to more beefy levels befitting my appreciation. Respect!