A Punk Tribute to Metallica/Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute t

A Punk Tribute To Metallica

Smells Like Bleach: A Punk Tribute To Nirvana

Various Artists

Cleopatra

The Cleopatra compilation juggernaut steamrolls on and on and on and on and on and on, like some demented version of that truck from Maximum Overdrive, with The Smiths’ “Paint a Vulgar Picture” blaring on an endless loop. So who gets the “tribute” treatment this week? Nirvana and Metallica get the rush job this time around, but with a twist, the only contributors are B-Team punk bands. So in addition to cheap• er, minimalist packaging, downright embarrassing liner notes, and nearly identical lineups for each record, you are treated to the likes of Total Chaos cluelessly thrashing through “One” and Agent Orange callously mauling “Serve The Servants.” The main problems with each records can be narrowed down to two areas. Firstly, most of the “punk” bands here are mostly too one-dimensional and musically homogenous/flat to take on well-written and multilayered material by good hands like Cobain and Hetfield/Ulrich. Seriously, some of this stuff is even too painful to consider. Secondly, the choice of tracks is pretty uninspired as well — the Metallica one is mostly the big hits, with a smattering of tracks from (ugh) Kill ‘Em All (And Justice For All being almost totally passed over), and the Nirvana ‘un is just kinda all the songs you know so well, just not as good.

But I can’t dismiss the records as total crap, cuz there are two stunning exceptions. First, Dee Dee Ramone covers “Jump in the Fire” and “Negative Creep,” and as everyone knows, Dee Dee rules the school, and I could never say anything bad about him. Awesome. Second, and finally, fucking FLIPPER surface from their drug hell and totally thrash and flog and slice open “Sad But True” and “Scentless Apprentice.” Flipper’s performances are completely amazing and just flat-out rule in a million different ways. Great choice of cover material, and bloody, emotional, raw performances that lay the twitching hearts of these two songs bare before us. Sonic voyeurism and pornography of the best kind. I daresay Flipper almost better the originals here. “Sad But True” is stripped bare of bastard Bob Rock’s studio sheen and turned into a dub-driven primal moan, while “Scentless Apprentice” is just gutted, exposing the sadistic innards of Kurt Cobain’s muse — truly scary, emotional, subsonic stuff. Flipper! Flipper? Treasures surface in the strangest of places.

Cleopatra Records, PMB 251, 13428 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Ray, CA 90282

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