Various Artists - Not of this Earth (Sci-Fi Movies Tribute) - 2003
Do you remember that double album plus book that paid homage to terror movies entitled “E tu Vivrai nel Terrore” and released by Black Widow?. You can read the review at reviews section. Few years later, the italian label releases a tribute to sci-fi movies, and this time the format is a triple Cd!. The package is really nice and the book contains all kind of information about the bands, the movies, a section about “The Prisoner”, artworks, etc. This risky label offers us a beautiful gift and a bet for the graphic quality and imagination.
Concerning the music, there are forty tracks and forty bands (well, in fact there are forty one if we count with the big final surprise) that, as happened with the terror tribute, offer unreleased tracks inspired by sci-fi movies. A very interesting concept.
As you can imagine I won´t make this review too long but I´ll try to write a comprehensive overview so you´ll know more or less what you´re going to find inside this sci-fi movies tribute.
Cd one starts with Malleus and a track a la Kitaro entitled “Tiamat” based on Close encounters in the third kind, followed by an absolutely martian trip by Hawkwind named “This is Hawkwind sonic attack”. Sun Dial plays an amazing and particular cover of “The Prisoner Theme” (Devil Doll and Iron Maiden already covered it). Mr Quimby´s Beard plays a hard psych track called “Quatermass and the Pit” and this style is also played by Architectural Metaphor in “The Maker”. Dr. Hasbeen does a try with “Apollo 13” but it´s not the best track of the album; but PXR. 1 with “The day the Earth stood still” and their powerful flangered guitars make us forget the previous song. Dark Sun & Nick Turner offer one of the highlights with the ten minutes of “Abduction file”, space rock with amazing changes of rhythm, and an original sax. Alan “The Elf” Davey plays an intriguing “Monster from the Id” as The Soil Bleeds Black offers a nice (too short) space-ritual-folk song “To Each his Own Fat”. The album finishes with a very hallucinogenic “The Silent Factory” by Quarkspace, and a noisy “The Pursuit of Maria” by ST 37. In my opinion the best are Malleus, Sun Dial, Dark Sun and The Soil...; and the latest two tracks are the worst. The rest of the tracks are pretty good. Three stars.
Let´s go to the second Cd, that is opened by a new Universal Totem Orchestra´s song (I want, I need a second album… NOW) entitled “Lacrima di Tempo”. A short intro is followed by Ana Torres impressive and angelical voice. The last four minutes are pure UTO: jazz, zeuhl, RIO and incredible changes of atmosphere and rhythm. Ana sings like an angel and there are hundreds of sensations inside seven minutes. This is the best track of the whole tribute. After the aforementioned track Presence and “Contact” looses all interest, although the track is not bad at all. The japanese Ars Nova scare us with a sinister and wonderful homage to “War of the Worlds”. Versailles and Moon Fog Prophet maintain a high level with “Zardoz” and “Moon Fog Prophet”, but the real surprise is Doctor Theatre and the track “Connexion”. Doomsday Goverment plays a short “The Thing” as Malombra tries to freak the listener out with a very apocalyptic “Children of the Invasion”. Death SS shows an experimental and sympho side with “La Voie Lactee”, even they include interesting trance rhythms. Wounded Knee talks about Alien in “The Dark Inside”, an insignificant metal track. The hammond kings Standarte play a great “La Donna di Latta”. Fantasyy Factoryy (I have no parkinson) does an amazing “Raumpatrouille” plenty of sharp guitars, dirty hammond's and melodies from the 70´s. More psych are Mooseheart Faith Stellar Groove Band with a bizarre yet curious “Viva Von Daniken”. The album finishes with “Big Band (version 1)” by Nirnaeth Space Lab (very good) and the nine minutes of “Ai Confini della Realitá” by Paul Chain Experimental Information, a very experimental track. This second album deserves four stars and a half. I don´t give five stars because Malombra (and I´m a big fan of the band). UTO is a band from outer space.
Now it´s time for the third CD that begins with Adrian Shaw and “Silent Running”, a song a la Waters, and with Pete Pavli and “Day of the Triffids”, a minimalistic and avant-garde track that is not very boring. Another surprise brings the dark and legendary black metal band Candlemass, that offers us a dark song plenty of synths, strange atmospheres and echoing guitars based on “The Planet of the Apes”. The japanese psycho-rockers Eternal Elysium pay homage to their favorite monster in “Godzilla”, another highlight of the tribute with references to californian psychedelia and bands like Blue Cheer or Spirit. Braindance talks about the film Dark City in the interesting “Tears”, very decadent and with string arrangements played by synths. “Altered States” by Sethian doesn´t fit in this compilation although it´s a good song with influences from bands like The Mission or Lucyfire. A short and dense “Piramids of Mars” by Reverend Bizarre with a heavy bass and dark hammond carries us into an industrial track entitled “Unisex Borg” by Deviate Damaen. Fortunately the song is very short. Helden Rune (the side project of Mercy, mastermind behind Malombra) plays “A different mankind” a song inspired by The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a movie that I like a lot. Better than Malombra. Nekropolis plays a “Saturn City” very Moroderish and Kirlian Camera plays a “Solaris” as awful as the movie is. Flavio Tori´s Madre del Vizio... well, the song “UFO (Alien Dictation Mix)” is very 80´s techno pop, but it´s not bad at all. The tribute finishes with Krel and “Track Thru Space” a Floydian track plenty of synths landscapes and Gilmour-like guitars. After some minutes there´s a hidden track.. the original music of The Prisoner and the version played by Devil Doll!!!!!. I hope the band will release a new album soon. This third album is the worst of the tribute although it also contains little gems like Eternal Elysium, Braindance or Adrian Shaw. Three stars.
Well, it´s hard to maintain a high level in forty or forty one tracks, so it´s almost impossible to give a tribute like this the highest score. Anyway, if I have to evaluate this tribute as a whole, "Not of this Earth" is a very good album if you want to listen to good music (well, 75% of high quality in a triple album is enough, isn´t it?), if you want to find lots of new or unknown interesting bands, if you are a sci-fi fan (the book is really big), or if you want to listen to first line bands such as Ars Nova, Hawkwind, Universal Totem Orchestra, Standarte and Devil Doll.
An amazing extraterrestrial artifact.