QUESTION OF THE WEEK: COVERED ‘N SICK!
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Hey MetalSucks friends! Didja read about the new batch of Anthrax cover songs? Gosh you can tell that those dudes love music; they’re always paying tribute to their favorites, from classic D.R.I. to awful KISS, super Sabbath to chipper Cheap Trick. So let’s see if Joey Belladonna and posse appear in this MetalSucks Question Of The Week, a weekly survey of our staff on a recent hot-button issue that’s (sorta) rocking our metal planet.
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Okay not that straight. Here’s this week’s topic:
Inspired by the awesomeness of Exhumed’s version of “The Power Remains” by Amebix, we asked our staff the following question:
What is the best metal cover song?
Wat u think? The MS staff’s expert answers after the jump!
It’s a tie between Coroner‘s ballsy, bluesy take on The Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy” and Deiphago’s filthy Satanic sneer on The Exploited’s “Sex and Violence.” So good! And it’s hard to pick just one because I love a good cover: There’s the amazing Coffins version of EyeHateGod’s “Sisterfucker,” Speedwolf’s “The Rocker” (Thin Lizzy uber alles), and Pallbearer’s chills-worthy rendition of “Gloomy Sunday.” Any half-decent cover of either “Zombie Ritual” (Death) or “Elisabeth Bathory” (Tormentor) will make me smile, too, though nothing could hope to top the originals.
Celtic Frost‘s cover of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.” What else could it be?
I cared about Gov’t Mule before I cared about metal, and I still can’t get over Warren Haynes and crew’s soulful take on “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath. The version I like best is on the 1999 album Live… With a Little Help from Our Friends (Capricorn), when original bassist Allen Woody was still alive and throbbin’. This version has some asshole named Jason Newsted on bass.
Metal’s greatest cover song is also one of music’s most powerful moments: Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine” by Voivod. No volume knob turns far enough clockwise, no power plant generates enough juice, no bank of speakers rises tall and wide enough to get this jam as loud as I want it lol. The shit rages! And sure, we hail Syd Barrett for the startling original version, but by comparison, his invention is a cool launch ramp made of plank and shoe box; Voivod upgraded it to a towering, technologically marvelous half-pipe that blocks out the goddamn sun. And really the awesomeness of “Astronomy” is like mandated by its neighboring tracks on Nothingface. It’s like Voivod was forced to ace the cover song or their shit wouldn’t hang right, right?
Like a great cover song in any genre, a great metal redux must both pay tribute to and surpass the original. So does the fucking solid take on Black Flag’s “My War” by Leviathan, our favorite divisive black metal “band” (non-Varg category): Leviathan mainman Wrest adds his misty black metal dervish — and blastbeats, of course — while preserving the bones of the original. He even improves it, warbling its lyrics in a grim-as-fuck rasp to hide their flat literalness; Black Flag singer Henry Rollins shouted them intelligibly, thereby drawing attention to their naive lack of depth (or to the limited perspectives of a constantly shirtless 23-year-old). And if there’s anyone who’d identify more with the “My War” themes of betrayal and non-conformity than the mastermind of a basement black metal band, I sure as shit haven’t met them.
Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz” by
D.I. Krokus The Damned Agent Orange Nuclear Assault Crucial Taunt.
That’s my vote up there in the intro: Exhumed’s cover of Amebix’s iconic “The Power Remains”! Classic Amebix is unbeatable and I’m on board with pretty much Exhumed’s entire career — so it make sense that their pairing gets a huge thumbs-up from me. Whenever Exhumed’s version plays, I get as stoked as when I first heard it. They added a thrashy rawness to an already raw song. I am not suggesting that their version is better, just that its complexion is something new and wild. It’s always refreshing when an amazing track get a badass makeover — and more so when it’s executed by a band with a plan to do it justice. This is a perfect example.