Having been impressed with last year’s grunge-infused Hate To Love, I was intrigued to see how Favor would approach this seminal Heavy Metal work and what he would bring to the song. You see, although the vast alt-rock sound that he has made his trademark and the doom-laden, epic sludge-metal of early Black Sabbath might seem to be from the same musical school, there is a lot which separates them.
Alt-rock has a particular polish; even the grunge sound of bands such as Pearl Jam, which makes a good reference point for what Favor does, is generally well-defined and organised. Sabbath’s sound, particularly on those early albums, is a wave of claustrophobic sonics, swampy seduction and guitar riffs that seem to pull you into an undertow from which there is no hope of escape.
What Favor has neatly done here is to merge both musical styles to significant effect. The song is both writ large, to the point of being epic, yet it also retains those dark undercurrents and cavernous guitars which define the song. In short, it is both big and clever.
Covering songs is an art form. You either stay true to the nature of the original, or you find some way of putting your own spin on things. Do the former, and people question why you feel the need to cover the song in the first place. Do the latter, and people ask why you think you need to bring anything new to an already great song. Here you have the perfect balancing act. The song echoes with all of the sounds and sonics that made it great in the first place, and yet it also sounds like Amacio Favor doing what he does so well.
A neat trick if you can do it. Not everyone can. Amacio Favor can, and this is the proof.