Various Artists – Everything Comes and Goes: A Tribute to Black Sabbath

Various Artists
Everything Comes and Goes: A Tribute to Black Sabbath

‘Unusual’ is probably the best word that can possibly be used to describe Everything Comes and Goes, a collection of “interpretations and mutilations” of Black Sabbath songs recently released by the Temporary Residence label. This is most definitely NOT what most mainstream music fans would have expected from a collection of Sabbath covers, indeed.

The disc opens with Matmos’ sparse, basically unidentifiable, blip-and-bloop electronic washing of “F/X,” which is an admittedly auspicious start for the disc. From there, the Japanese noise-rock act Ruins kicks the disc into a more proper gear with an instrumental montage of Sabbath bits titled “Reversible Sabbath” (side note: the band was so worried about being part of the tribute that it enclosed a scribbled note along with the master recording sent to Temporary Residence – “We hope Sabbath fan will not angry with this song”). Four Grails’ “Black Sabbath” is pretty creepy, actually – the dark, ominous drone of the original is gone, replaced by what almost feels like a set of slowed-down, yet amped-up Celtic sensibilities. The vocal is replaced by a plaintive, howling violin, which works well in the few spots it pops up.

Four Tet’s take on “Iron Man” is surprisingly good for an instrumental acoustic cover, and it actually comes off as something that would be great as background music at a coffee shop or bookstore (hey, it’s already been stated that this isn’t a conventional cover album). Curtis Harvey Trio’s “Changes” initially sounds like it could be the most faithful cover on the disc, albeit with a piano/acoustic guitar/trumpet arrangement; however, once the first chorus kicks in, the song goes full-blown country/Americana. It may sound strange, but the style pairs up with the song remarkably well, thus proving that sometimes the best way to revere something great is to change everything sacred about it.

Paul Newman’s “Fairies Wear Boots” is instantly recognizable, though the style of the track is 100% ‘garage rock’ rather than ‘metal sludge.’ Outside of the first 45 seconds of the “Changes” interpretation, The Anomaonon’s slightly spacey reading of “Planet Caravan” earns the title as the most faithful cover on the disc, as well as being one of the CD’s most redeeming aspects. The band does drag the song out a bit, dragging things out to around the seven-minute mark with some inspired, intense guitar noodling – all in all, this is a solid track.

While the “Planet Caravan” cover is very impressive, Racebannon follows it by bludgeoning the living hell out of the rest of this compilation with a nasty, snarling, screechy, noise-riddled take on “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” that manages to honor the spirit of Tony Iommi’s riff while also spitting in the face of rock history and slandering it with a load of modern day shameless, snotty rock bravado. Hell, Racebannon’s casting of the opening riff alone is enough to send goose bumps up and down the body. This track is the very definition of ‘doing your rock idols proud,’ indeed. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Greenness w/ Philly G’s album-closing take on “Sweet Leaf” – while the track features some impressive bass playing, the overall effect sounds like a bunch of guys that have never played together before trying to jam out a Sabbath cover in a garage somewhere.

Well, in all honesty, there are a few lame ducks in the bunch on Everything Comes and Goes, but the stuff that works here is actually pretty interesting. The country-styled “Changes” and acoustic layerings of “Iron Man” work way better than they should have any right to, the “Planet Caravan” cover is just plain quality, and Racebannon’s cover is nothing short of amazing. This is a short disc, indeed, but folks with widespread musical taste who are familiar with Sabbath material just might get a kick out of some of this material.