Eesh, where do I start here? Let me open up by saying that after I had seen 3TEETH live back in 2018, all bets were off: in my estimation, these guys were to become imminent torchbearers of the industrial scene. Shutdown.exe was an imperfect experiment but, christ, the potential was written all over the wall. The album’s opening track ,”Divine Weapon”, was some of the heaviest shit I’d heard in 2017, but moreover the album collectively enveloped the vintage of industrial’s high points whilst modernising it with metalcore styled riffing and some heterogeneously applied electronics and vocal work. Again, it wasn’t a perfect offering by any means, but it displayed the gamut of their capabilities. Fast forward to 2019 and the aching anticipation I had for their third album, Metawar, was met with disappointment – not because it was a bad album, but because it failed to capitalise on that spark Shutdown.exe presented. Indeed, Metawar swapped the inimitable experimentation for a more candid chapter in their career; a commonly designed mainstream offering that did the job well, but ultimately subverted the high standards I had for this band.
Now Harry Potter has a new film coming out and 3TEETH have covered two flamboyant songs for it. At this point, the whole ‘look, this heavy metal band has covered the unexpected!’ is about as original as throwing a TV out of a hotel window, but, oh boy, Alexis and co. went all the way with this one – covering Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round” and The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz”. Let’s get it out of the way now; I’m actually quite partial to a cover, I have no aversion to an artist/band giving a rendition of something, in fact I wholeheartedly embrace it. Mastodon’s cover of “Stairway to Heaven”, Seether’s “Careless Whisper”, or Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” are all covers I adore in their own way. Each track mentioned in their original forms are stone cold classics, but these bands bring a different outlook on the songs, which sometimes improves upon the original [“All Along the Watchtower”]. Ironically, 3TEETH’s cover of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” was one of the best tracks on Metawar – because it brought something different to the table. These two tracks, however, not so much.
Getting to brass tacks here; both songs are terrible, but the worst offender of the two is “Ballroom Blitz”, an abortion that fails to capture the brilliance of The Sweet’s version in any way. Initially I pondered over where the intrinsic issues manifested, blaming the problems on the style of music being ill-equipped to represent the point of these two pieces, but then who would have thought Johnny Cash’s simple acoustic rendition of “Hurt” would have worked out so well? No, the fundamental problem with these covers falls on their handling. “Ballroom Blitz” in particular is so bad because of its production: the farty guitar tones, the sloppy electronics, and the saturated vocal effects all conjoin into one big, steaming sonic shit. Dynamics are non-existent, a brickwall of abrasive noises mercilessly murdering the famous chorus’ melodies while Alexis projectile vomits his effect-laden vocals across the formless landfill of sound. “You Spin Me Round” is marginally more entertaining than its partner in crime, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t splitting hairs with that sentiment. What makes “You Spin Me Round” more listenable is the fact it doesn’t sound as busy – you can actually distinguish what’s going on. Of course, Alexis’ one-dimensional drawl pales next to the late Pete Burn’s gaudy performance, and let’s not forget the guitar chugging breakdown at the end to add insult to injury.
What we have here is a 101 case study in how not to do a cover. There isn’t a morsel of redemption to be found here, all that is present is pain and anguish. Pete would be spinning (round) in his grave if he heard this tripe, but I’m also rolling around on my living room floor wondering what the hell 3TEETH were thinking when they approved this garbage.
“You Spin Me Round” 1.5/5
“Ballroom Blitz” 1/5