Of all the different directions that Amphibian Man has taken, this was the easiest to see coming. Shortly after releasing No Surfers In My Town, Amphibian Man started posting videos of surf versions of metal songs, so here they are compiled into an album.
This isn’t exactly a gigantic leap. Not only is surf not too far away from metal to begin with (see this viral video), And though there’s plenty of reverb in their sound, Amphibian Man certainly don’t sound like The Astronauts. So the first three tracks of popular Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest kinda feel more like singalongs than a transformation. I was especially surprised that “The Surf Trooper” might even be a smidge slower than the Maiden classic, especially since I’m used to hearing covers that crank up the speed.
But then I think this record finds its stride. First is a cover of Immortal’s “Withstand the Fall of Time”. I’d never heard this before (my background is a lot more punk than metal) and not only does it remove the blast beat drumming that, frankly, never does anything for me, but I think it does a good job of extracting the juiciest bits of the riff from the thin scronk of the guitar. Next is a cover of Metallica’s “Creeping Death” -- right off the bat the song benefits from the immediate gigantic wall of sound, giving life to what Ride the Lightning’s awful recording quality struggled to capture. But both of these covers do a good job of layering the “vocal” guitar over what would originally be the lead guitar, so you get enjoyable guitar interplay where you would originally have guitar and vocals.
The remaining tracks are basically unknowns to me as far as the originals go (though I like this one more than most Converge songs). I’m very curious how this appeals to more metal-friendly types, but I suspect it’ll go well. I already think Amphibian Man is a good surf entry point for the punk/metal crowd, and in general I think this album does a good job of removing the abrasiveness while preserving the intensity.
It's on bandcamp!