It’s no secret that The Three Tremors’ debut was one of my most disliked albums released in 2019. The spotty writing certainly played into it, but the overstuffed mix and lack of true chemistry between the three singers were what really soured the experience for me. With that in mind, the idea of reissuing the album with each singer performing the songs separately turns what is essentially a cash-grab into an opportunity to reexamine the songs in more digestible contexts. I sure don’t expect any drastic improvements, but it’s nice to hear how everything sounds without the literal screaming matches on top of it.
Alas, one of the immediate takeaways when listening to the so-called Tyrant Version, is how ill-suited Harry Conklin was for this project. He’s my personal favorite singer of the three involved, but his strengths don’t get to shine as much as on his best works. An extreme emphasis on falsettos leads to him often playing catchup, and his higher shrieks show signs of strain compared to the other two. Thankfully there are moments that highlight his mid-range bellow but nothing that resembles his nuance in Jag Panzer or menace in Satan’s Host.
Fortunately, Tim Owens and Sean Peck’s takes on the material fare considerably better, if only because both singers essentially use the same techniques. The Hell Destroyer Version feels the most natural, which isn’t too surprising when you consider that this album is basically leftover Cage material at its core. There is a certain novelty to the Ripper Version, though; it might be one of his most demanding performances ever when you take the other two out of the picture.
Of course, the songs themselves are still a mixed bag, no matter who is wailing over them. The more grounded approach may make tracks like “The Cause” and “The Pit Shows No Mercy” easier to handle, but there aren’t any hidden treasures or magical transformations on here. “Invaders from the Sky” is always a mediocre song thanks to its intrusive introduction and fumbling chorus. Amusingly enough, the individual versions of “Wrath of Asgard” all end up inferior due to the gang vocals being taken out of the pre-choruses, effectively leaving each singer starting a chant that nobody will echo. Hey, we’ve all been there right, guys?
There won’t be any critical re-evaluation when listening to The Three Tremors’ Solo Versions, but I will admit that the project’s vision is easier to absorb when it’s broken down like this. Hearing these songs with one singer instead of three condenses a cheese-ridden train-wreck down to an unexceptional power metal album, but there aren’t enough nuances to recommend one performance above the others beyond personal preference. If you want to hear what these songs sound like without the gimmick attached, just download the version with your favorite singer on it. If you want a gloriously ridiculous adventure, stick with the final product.