Dan Swanö is a busy man lately. Besides his job as a producer, engineer and mixer, he has a new album by his long time band Nightingale and now an EP from his newer band, Witherscape. The EP has one brand new song, the title track, which is a up tempo number and a killer track. The rest of the EP has 3 cover songs and one new version of a track from the last Witherscape album, "The Inheritance." Dan told me during an interview that the songs chosen for this EP were ones that needed a little something extra that maybe the original didn't have.
The first cover is "Defenders of Creation" which is a song by Warrior that I was not familiar with. The song sounds perfect for Witherscape with Dan doing some death vocals during the chorus which gives the song some balls.
I'll have to check out the original version, which is the idea here. Dan hopes
this might shed some light on some forgotten albums.
The next cover is the one I was most interested in, "A World Without Heroes" by Kiss. The song is from "Music From The Elder" which was Kiss' only foray into progressive rock. The album flopped but I still love that album. "A World Without Heroes" gets a major facelift with more powerful vocals from Dan and Ragnar gives the song an edge with cruncher guitars. He also upgrades the guitar solo which really sounds amazing. This is one of the best cover versions I have ever heard.
The final cover song is Judas Priest's "Out in the Cold" which is off of "Turbo." The problem with the original is obvious, the 80s sound. The song is actually my favorite track on that album so it's great that Witherscape rescued it. It starts with an old school Priest sounding acoustic guitar (think "Beyond The Realms of Death"). It has keyboards like the original but they never sound dated. Witherscape give the song a heavier sound over all which is what "Turbo" needed.
The last track on the EP is a raw, stripped down version of "Dead For A Day" which is renamed "Dead For Another Day." I called the original a "death metal pop song." A friend said he would have loved the song but felt the death vocals were out of place. I actually liked that. Regardless, on this version, the song's poppier side is allowed to flourish and it wouldn't sound out of place on a Nightingale album. The album serves as a nice calling card to what the next album will be via the title track and the new character introduced. The rest of the EP is just pure fun. There aren't many EPs that I would call essential but this one is.