“Sweet Leaf – A Stoner Rock Salute To Black Sabbath” 2CD (Deadline Music)
As if the genres of stoner, doom and sludge didn’t owe a great deal to the four Brummies who, after over just as many decades continue to be one of the pillars of hard rock and metal, then this 16 track tribute from well known names and the next generation of doomsters sure goes some way! Whilst I’m not a big fan of covers, I have to say that when they are done well in stylized interpretations, then they can add value in offering a different and possibly unique take to the originals from which they were drawn. That’s certainly the case here when you’ve got the likes of Ulver doing a trippy jazz ensemble trumpet festooned ‘Solitude’, Pentagram rolling in ‘After Forever’ after a slick ‘Sinister’ intro, and the totally insane trip of ‘Iron Man’ fielded by Zakk Wylde, Mike Inez (Alice in Chains) and wait for it – Star Trek’s William Shatner (on warp speed!) – totally mad!! Of the lesser known bands there’s Bloody Hammers piano recital harmony of ‘Changes’ (oh, if only Ozzy sang like this!) and Scorpion Child’s acid rock ‘Hole In the Sky’, complete with a nice rollin’ southern groove thanks to Chris Cowart’s driving guitar. With such a high pedigree of performances in front of them, I’m really pleased that the underground bands don’t disappoint from Canuk punkers Cancer Bats doing a nice RATM version of ‘Into The Void’ and House of Broken Promises giving ‘Lady Evil’ a very cool desert rock touch especially with that ballsy bass, although my personal favorites had to be Golden Void’s superb Hendrix meets Iommi psych rock trip of ‘Paranoid’ and an ultra tripped out version of ‘Sweet Leaf’ by Polish stoner grungers Weedpecker with Wyro’s hypnotic vocals still resonating in my mind amid Mroku’s smog heavy bass wafting clouds of you know what into my (sub) consciousness. With seven more band’s adding in their herb on this classy but fun double album, all I can say it’s a double portion of sweet leaf indeed!