Various Artists - Rebels Sing (A Tribute To Todd Serious & The Rebel Spell) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Various Artists

Rebels Sing (A Tribute To Todd Serious & The Rebel Spell) (2016)

Not Yer Buddy Records

The punk scene (especially Canada’s) lost one of the its most notable talents in March 2015 when Todd Serious, lead vocalist of The Rebel Spell died in a climbing accident, which at least at this point has ended the band or has put it on a long hold for now. The Rebel Spell has to be one of the best contemporary punk bands to come out of Canada in quite a while. The mixture of their aggressive instrumentation and melodies and politically and environmentally provocative lyrics truly made them a force to be reckoned with. A lot of the reasons that they became a punk powerhouse in Canada was because of Todd Serious, not only for the words he sang, but also because of his incredibly unique voice. If someone were to put on a Rebel Spell song without telling you whom the artist was you could easily guess once the vocals started.

So how does a scene that has dealt with such a huge loss try to honor one of their fallen soldiers? They get other bands to rally together and make a compilation in honor of them hence the release of Rebels Sing (A Tribute To Todd Serious & The Rebel Spell). Mind you this is no ordinary comp. This release has twenty-nine tracks of Canadian punk artists who covered one Rebel Spell song each. What makes this comp especially great is that because there are so many different artists who recorded their own interpretations of these songs it turned out to be very sonically diverse record.

I’m not going to go through every single track on this comp, but it worth mentioning some the outstanding ones. Rebels Sing (A Tribute To Todd Serious & The Rebel Spell) starts out with quite the bang with none other than Propagandhi’s cover of “I Am A Rifle,” one of the Spell’s more popular tunes. If you are going to have the Propagandhi cover your song, this is exactly the way you would want them to do it. The band added so much power to it to the point where there is a stark difference between it and the original. Propagandhi also decided to take out the plucked introduction and instead inserted Todd Serious yelling “I AM A RIFLE!” to start it all off. Brutal Youth took the song “Bring ’em In,” which is a very melodic tune and changed it completely and made it their own by making into hardcore/thrash song. Interestingly, this comp doesn’t only have full band covers. Doug Naugler’s version of “All We Want” is this beautiful acoustic anthem when originally that song is full of fury. He calmed it down quite a bit, but it still comes off just as powerful as the original.

Rebels Sing (A Tribute To Todd Serious & The Rebel Spell)’s finishes with what every Rebel Spell fan would hope for. The thirtieth track is not a cover, but instead it is a new track by The Rebel Spell called “Solemn Eyes” in which drummer Travis Challard apparently takes over lead vocals. Overall it is pretty consistent with the rest of the band’s catalogue. It does go bit a gloomier (because it is about Todd Serious) than their typical songs, but it is still super aggressive and has a very angrily melody. You can definitely hear the sorrow in Travis’s voice about Todd Serious’s death. Fans will be very happy to hear it.

Every artist on this comp, whether they did a straight cover or put their own twist on these songs did Todd Serious and The Rebel Spell not just justice, but they went above and beyond here. The fact that so many of these punk musicians were able to come together to honor this band should show that genuine punk is still very much alive and filled with camaraderie. I’m sure fans of The Rebel Spell will very much agree. For those of you that have not had the pleasure of listening to The Rebel Spell before, this comp is one of those releases where I would say go back and listen to their catalogue (highly recommended) and then come back to this. Otherwise this is one killer release.