By Various Artists
Having recently celebrated its 20th birthday, it's only right that Nirvana's classic breakthrough album, 'Nevermind', is given the mother of all birthday celebrations; although this Kerrang! CD falls short of the original effort by a reasonable margin, it's not without some absolutely brilliant moments.
Kicking things off are Arcane Roots, whose rendition of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' is nothing short of fantastic. Covering such an esteemed track has been the downfall of many bands, but the lads take it all in their stride, producing a punked-up, ballsy take on Nirvana's biggest hit that makes it sounds as fresh as the day it was released. Framing Hanley have never appealed to this writer, but their take on 'In Bloom' is really rather spectacular, and at any rate is miles better than that dreadful 'Lollipop' cover that made them so famous in the first place. Dangerous! weigh in with a terrific cover of 'Endless. Nameless' that snarls and spits with fiery attitude, throwing down the gauntlet for every other band on the bill in fine style, and in doing so open themselves up to a whole range of awe-struck fans; the queue starts here, folks.
There's a strong show of quality from the British bands on here, as well. Alongside the aforementioned Arcane Roots, there's also a stunning cover of 'Polly' courtesy of Young Guns, and Rise To Remain's blistering version of 'Breed' proves to be one of the highlights of the CD. Elsewhere, Kids In Glass Houses impress with a wonderful 'Drain You' that is as telling a sign as any that the band have matured from the feisty pop-punk contenders that emerged all those years ago to something rather more impressive indeed.
However, it's when the big guns come out to play that this CD really starts to take off. The Dillinger Escape Plan's truly unhinged 'Territorial Pissings' is by far the best track on the release, and this most of all proves that great songwriting can stand the test of time and still come out swinging at the other side. Huddersfield thrashers Evile make their mark with an epic metal take on 'Lounge Act,' adding real flair to the track, but retaining Nirvana's classic gritty vibe perfectly. Frank Turner's acoustic take on 'On A Plain' introduces elements of folk to the compilation, and exposes the more soulful side of Nirvana that was so often forgotten amidst their many mega-hits.
Still, the album is far from perfect. Spycatcher bring a moody tone to 'Something In The Way', but don't add anything of great value to the tracklisting. We Are The Ocean's 'Silver' is a fairly bog-standard cover, and The Blackout's 'Stay Away' is as generic as it is boring.
Even worse still is Francesqa's butchering of 'Lithium'; their attempt to transform it into a happy-go-lucky pop-punk smileathon is truly weak, and fans of the original record should stay well away from this truly disappointing version. Their only consolation should be that Deaf Havana's frankly crap take on 'Come As You Are' is equally as bad as their own cover, but this is hardly a compliment; both are terrible covers of classic songs that should never have made the final tracklisting, especially when you look at some of the quality that surrounds them on this release.
In summary, this compilation is a fairly hit-and-miss affair, and diehard fans will likely piss and moan about how 'Kurt would be turning in his grave' or some other generic 'music-is-rubbish-these-days' comment that only people who still live in their mum's basement would make. In actual fact, the quality material on this release shines surprisingly brightly, and it's just a shame that there's so much filler on this, because some of the tracks on here aren't too far from their original counterparts. Whatever your view is, the idea is to bring Nirvana back to life, and this CD does exactly that; happy 20th birthday, 'Nevermind,' and long may you inspire teenagers to grow their hair long, pick up a guitar, or just stay as far away from showers as possible.
Young Guns are an alternative rock band from Buckinghamshire / London.