Reggie and Matt’s All Time Favorite Cover Songs: #1 Hallowed Be Thy Name covered by Machine Head

Astral-Body-2When we started our “best of” lists a while back, we never showed each other what our favorites were before we posted them.  It wasn’t intentional nor was it a secret…it just ended up that we didn’t share our lists with anyone until it was time to post.  Matt’s list of favorite albums and cover tunes was as much of a surprise to me as I am sure mine was to him.  Despite being interested in many of the same bands, our musical tastes vary even though we are both huge fans of metal and everything under that umbrella.  For the first time, we have actually picked the same favorite #1 on any of our lists.  A few weeks ago, we both noticed that neither one of us posted this special cover that we both know each other likes a lot.  Low and behold, it’s because it’s sitting at number one.  -Reggie

Our thoughts after the jump.

About the Song:  Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name is an absolute classic found on the even more classic Iron Maiden album The Number of The Beast released in 1982.  According to the Wikipedia article dedicated to the song, it is the most covered Iron Maiden song recorded by about 14 artists including Dream Theater, Iced Earth, Cradle of Filth, and Machine Head.  Machine Head’s version, our favorite cover song, was recorded as part of their beast of an album, The Blackening in 2007.  The Blackening is regarded by many to be Machine Head’s greatest work, something I do not disagree with.  It is a dark and epic record featuring songs much longer than anything Machine Head had ever done previously.  This album raised the bar for Machine Head to where you could once call them a “fine” and now they are leading the pack!

Reggie’s thoughts:  It is truly an epic song and for me was one of the first “long” songs I ever thought was cool.  I can’t remember what year I first heard it, but given I didn’t notice Iron Maiden until I heard Two Minutes to Midnight; I suppose it was around 1984 which puts me at about 11 years old.  Who do I have to thank for that?  MTV and lack of parental supervision.  From that point on, I have been a Maiden fan and it wasn’t until 2011 that I got to see them live for the first time in London’s O2 arena.  And to sum up that experience as cliché as possible; epic!

Matt’s Thoughts:  I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog even for the shortest amount of time you’ve probably noticed that I am quite the Iron Maiden fan.  No band out there holds the energy and that special spark like Maiden does.  So when it comes to another band covering a Maiden song, not only do they have to possess the high technical prowess, but also find a way to recreate that spark that originally existed in the original tune, and according to my rules for making a great cover inject their own style into the song.  You’ve seen the Iron Maiden covers that made list recapture that spark and make it their own only when they dramatically alter the song.  That’s great and all, but Maiden is a metal band and do deserve a quality metal cover.  Enter Machine Head.

When it comes to my all-time favorite Iron Maiden songs “Hallowed Be Thy Name” sits at the very top sharing the #1 spot with “Wasted Years” and “Revelations” (I can have more than one #1 songs, right?).  The tune just screams perfection from every facet and it seems like an impenetrable song to find a single thing to improve upon.  Bands have tried, and while they may get points for effort, they just don’t make the cut and I really just can’t get into the cover.  So, when I saw that Machine Head had released a B-side of the “Hallowed Be Thy Name” cover, I was excited because MH do have a good standing track record of doing great covers, but on the flipside, they were attempting the holy grail of all songs to cover.  When I started the tune up I was first awed at how well Robb Flynn’s voice fit the song so well and how some tonal changes to the guitars and bass really added a more profound atmosphere.  And then the drumming, instead just doing the common add more double bass to make it more metal, Dave McClain stayed true to Clive Burr’s original patters for the most part only adding in a couple of beats here and there, but the conviction he plays with really give the song that spark.

For me, the crowning moment that sent this cover flying over the edge into the realm of cover song greatness was at the 3:35 mark where Robb shifts into harsh vocals for the “Mark my words, I believe the soul lives on….” lines.  Thematically and contextually that shift in style just works so well and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” elevates to a whole new level.  It adds so much more meaning to the following to the excellent guitar solos that take place afterward which represent the passing into death.  Every time I hear MH’s cover it never fails to give me chills.  It’s a truly great rendition of a classic song that should be missed by no Iron Maiden, MH, and metal fans.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

<<Matt’s Previous Entry

<<Reggie’s Previous Entry

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on April 8, 2013, in Matt's Top 25 Cover Songs, Reggie's Top 25 Cover Songs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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