Slaves On Dope-Covers EP Vol. 1
Slaves On Dope are one of those polarizing groups where people seem to be either crazy about them or dead-set on writing them off as nu metal cast-offs. I'll come right out and say that I'm not here to argue either point, but rather I'm here reviewing this EP because I dig cover songs/cover albums. I especially dig album's/artists like this that offer metalized versions of songs you wouldn't normally expect to be heavy and twisted. With the exception of "Digging the Grave" (Faith No More) these are all tracks that fall well under the tag of "hard and heavy". You could perhaps argue that Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend" (which opens this EP up) or Genesis ("Mama") are not too far removed from getting a serious heavy metal look, but covering Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" and Sheriff's "When I'm With You" are kooky choices on any level! So, what do these Canadian alt-metallers do with the material at hand? It should first be mentioned that this isn't the band's first rodeo as they have covered Black Sabbath in the past as well as Poison. So, Slaves On Dope know their way around cover songs. With that said the first single from the EP was Slaves On Dope's take on "Mama" (which you can hear below) so let's tackle that one first. "Mama" was actually the first single from Genesis' self-titled 1983 album and this one-time hit, at least in the hand of Slaves On Dope", is tapped for into for it's sinister and dark nature. While their version is obviously heavier it's a good choice for the band as it translates rather well into a gritty street-rocker. While "Mama" was a good choice for the first single as it's a dark and crunchy rocker "Working For The Weekend", which actually opens this EP comes off (unfortunately) as a tad lifeless. In a way I think trying to make Loverboy's 1981 hit into something dark (when it's clearly meant to be an upbeat nod to having fun) was a bad call, but it's not without merit as the band does give it their all. "Digging the Grave" works well as a grunge-inspired thrasher as the source material was heavy to begin with. And then there is Sheriff's "When I'm With You". I was really wondering about how they would pull off this cheesy ballad. As I never liked the original (it made me want to puke) I feared it would be truly dreadful, but it's a cool take on the cut and actually makes it bearable to the listener! It's a really interesting choice to make into a heavier rocker so what do they then do with "Sexual Healing"? Well, it's both good and bad. It does work as a heavier, almost sleazy, grunge cut and Slaves On Dope play it full-tilt. It's only that when you've heard the original and experienced the original (if you know what I mean) then hearing it like this takes away a lot of it's "power". As it's played for fun though it's all good in the hood as they say. Of the bunch my favorite is probably "Mama" followed by "Digging the Grave" with "Working for the Weekend" being my least favorite. All in all it's a cool little EP though.