ALBUM REVIEW: Ellefson – No Cover

Cover songs can be tricky. A balancing act that often results in calamity. Lean too far one way and be accused of musical blasphemy; keep things too safe and be reliably informed you shouldn’t have bothered in the first place. So with that in mind, surely an album consisting entirely of cover versions is just asking for trouble, isn’t it?

As the band name Ellefson suggests, No Cover(earMUSIC) is the brainchild of Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, who, with the help of a whole host of fellow metal luminaries, has compiled a record of absolute bangers. Just one quick look at the Def Leppard inspired cover will tell you exactly what’s in store – a bunch of stupidly talented metalheads paying homage to their roots. Get on board or get the fuck off.

From the thunderous, hoarsely shouted blasts of Judas Priest opener ‘Freewheel Burning’ (featuring Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys, ex-Machine Head/Sacred Reich drummer Dave McClain, and guitarists Gus G, and Andy James from Sacred Mother Tongue) and ‘Tear it Loose’ by Twisted Sister (featuring former TS guitarist Eddie “Fingers” Ojeda himself), the album rockets along with the help of Doro Pesch (Motörhead‘s ‘Love Me Like a Reptile’ and ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ by Queen), Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante (‘Holiday in Cambodia’ by Dead Kennedys), and former Slayer sticksman Dave Lombardo (‘Riff Raff’ by AC/DC).

Ministry legend Al Jourgensen appears on Cheap Trick‘s ‘Auf Wiedersehen’, former Megadeth drummer Chuck Behler turns up on ‘Love Me Like a Reptile’, and ‘Love Hurts’ by Nazareth, and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal also pops up with some regularity. Among others, contributors also include Mark Slaughter (Slaughter), Jimmy DeGrasso (Megadeth), and Troy Luccketta (Tesla), the collection of musicians having an absolute blast, tearing through the likes of ‘Over the Mountain’ by Ozzy Osbourne, ‘Eat the Rich’ by Krokus, ‘LOVE Machine’ by W.A.S.P., ‘Nailed to the Gun’ by Fight, a blinding version of ‘Wasted’ by Def Leppard, and er… ‘Beth’ by KISS.

No, of course not every track is made of pure solid gold. There are a couple of clunkers, and the vocals don’t always suit the song, but overall the playing is first-rate, the production is top drawer, and with the world in such a godawful state at the moment, it’s just good to hear a bunch of quality musicians enjoying themselves doing something they love.

7 / 10

GARY ALCOCK