VARIOUS ARTISTS  Clone - Play Slow, Die Fast Volume IV  2 x LP   (Blind Date)   27.00

††† My favorite out of the series, Clone IV is the final installment in Blind Date's ambitious covers-collection of various sludge, punk and doom metal outfits, both known and unknown, taking on a variety of classic tunes and obscure personal faves. As with the other records in the series, this comes in an embossed, die-cut chipboard jacket with the inlay art peering out through an oval in the center of the jacket, the full artwork presented as a full-color printed insert, and also comes with a thick oversized booklet loaded with artwork and info from all of the featured bands.

††† They kick this off with probably my favorite track from the series, a killer cover of the Wipers classic "No Fair" from Canadian sludge metallers Haggatha that turns the punk pop of the original into this fantastic piece of hauntingly lovely heaviness, the huge hooks countered with the screeching abrasiveness of the vocals, the guitar tone massive. It's one of those covers that kinda makes you wish that the band would actually pursue this sound even deeper with their original material. That's followed by Finnish filth-crawlers Frogskin, who drag their rotting bulk through the sewer for a cover of Regurgitate's "Bleeding Peptic Ulcer", dissolving the song into a putrid pool of rumbling gore-sludge. Experimental doom metallers Black Shape Of Nexus give us a cover of an old Vorkriegsjugend tune that pulls a similar move with the cult German punk outfit, transforming their old-school punk rock into a droning, hypnotic tar-pit creep, while Laudanum filters "The Life Machine" from the early Gary Numan new wave band Tubeways Army through their blackened, industrial-tinged sludge for another highlight moment on the compilation, producing what is easily one of the LP's most desolate, atmospheric pieces.

††† Sweden's Modorra are gone in a flash with their faithful cover of Napalm Death's micro-blast classic "You Suffer", leading into another one of my favorite tracks on the LP, a bilious cover of Mudhoney's "Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More" done by Aussie sludge-thugs Fattura Della Morte, which keep things bludgeoning and nasty without slowing down too much. One of the more unusual choices for a cover song appears with Black Shape of Nexus side-project Ghost Of Wem, who take the old straight-edge hardcore band Chain Of Strength and transform their "Impact" into a churning, feedback-infested sludgepunk dirge, while Poland's Enth take "Down My Throat" from cult crustcore band Disrupt and turn into a crushing wave of vomitous filth. Black Flag songs almost always acquit themselves well to this sort of slugfuck noise, and Unearthly Trance turn their classic "In My Head" into a more metallic beast, fairly faithful to the original but rumbling with the Trance's own trademark blackened power. The set is rounded out by a belligerent cover of Venom's "Countess Bathory" from Chilean doompunks Electrozombies, followed by a bone-splintering, weirdly halting rendition of the song "Suffocation" from Tokyo death metallers Transgressor, performed by Japanese doomdeath band Funeral Moth, and it fucking kills.

††† Limited to six hundred copies, on black vinyl.