Record Store Day, known of by only a handful of music listeners was held Saturday,
April 19 this year. Of the many records unveiled, indie label Robotic Empire put together a Nirvana In Utero Tribute Album. Circa Survive is one of the twelve bands paying tribute to the third and final Nirvana album.
Circa’s take on “Scentless Apprentice” is very similar to the original, the only differences being the timbre of Anthony Green’s voice, and slight instrumental variations during the noise-filled bridges of the song.
The first thirty seconds of the song sound nearly identical, with the drums possessing the deep, heavy reverb sound of the original, while the distortion-thick guitars blaze through the power chords with feedback. Anthony Green’s vocals enter at the first verse as the first major difference in the two versions. Green’s voice has a similar heat and grunginess to Cobain’s, however Green’s voice is slightly more nasally and breathy.
The octaves featured during the bridge fifty seconds into the song are more defined and clearer than the Nirvana version. Cobain’s insanely harsh and most likely peaking screams that follow the bridge sit much quieter in the Circa track, and are therefore much less irritating. This makes the track more accessible to listeners surprised by In Utero’s massive stylistic differences to Nirvana’s previous albums.
The song returns to sound like a convincing copy of the original until 2:08 in, following a repeat of the “Go away, Get away!” screaming section. In the original version, the guitars break down into a sludgy and distorted tuning-like sound, that seems to be designed to be pretty unpleasant to the ears. Circa’s instruments are far more tonal here but equally as bizarre and somewhat dissonant, the combination of which is reminiscent to Circa originals.
Overall, the Circa Survive cover of In Utero’s second song “Scentless Apprentice” is incredibly similar to original Nirvana song, as they retain the intensity of the original track and stick to the form created by Kurt Coban, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl. There are a few instrumental and vocal differences, however, they make the song less harsh and more approachable to the common listener.
In Utero: In Tribute can be found on Robotic Empire’s bandcamp page (roboticempire.bandcamp.com). Other featured artists include Thursday, Ceremony, and Jay Reatard.