I wouldn’t be surprised if I got some hate mail for this one, but Trivium’s cover of Master of Puppets is my #2 favorite cover song. I think this is one of those bands that has a fine dividing line between love and hate or like and dislike among metal fans. I happen to be on the “like” side and this cover is spot on, if not equal to or better than Metallica’s original version. I think this is the cover that earned them the nickname of Metallica copycats. The original version can be found on Metallica’s Master of Puppets album released in 1986. I don’t think I can say more about that album, as it is my #2 favorite album of all time.
Trivium recorded their cover of the song for Remastered: Master of Puppets Revisited distributed for free by Kerrang! You can find it on the re-release of their album Ascendancy originally released in 2005. That album shot Trivium to new levels and garnered them some serious attention. This is also the point where I first heard of them and enjoyed their music. Since then, they have been the source of contention among metal fans with many views and opinions widely varying. For me, I prefer the album Shogun above all, but still appreciated their most recent work and look forward to something new from them hopefully in the near future.
Here is Trivium performing Master of Puppets live.
Here is Metallica’s epic song also live.
This is one of those unlikely songs covered by a metal-ish band. But, since Faith No More did it; it seems more fitting. It would probably be strange if Anthrax covered it. Mike Patton’s vocal range is a perfect pitch for this particular song. It was very well done and really not that much enhanced from the original Commodore’s version. Faith No More’s version was recorded in 1992 and in some instances became the band’s biggest hit outside of America.
The Commodore’s recorded this ultimate ballad in 1977 – seems like a lot of my covers originated in the 70s. It was written by the ultimate ballad composer Lionel Ritchie when he was part of this funk quartet. Interesting thing about Lionel Ritchie…when my son was a baby/toddler we used to put him down for his nap. We would put the satellite TV on the easy listening channel and sure enough something from Lionel Ritchie would come on at the same time every day and BAM! Sleepy time worked every time; out like a light. Anyway, it’s song not likely to be covered by a metal or hard rock band, but Faith No More did it justice.
Below is the cool version from Faith No More.
Here is the classic by the Commodore’s
Scottish rockers Simple Minds recorded Don’t You (Forget About Me) for the hit teenage cult classic movie The Breakfast Club (1985). I think you had to be alive at the right time to appreciate this movie. Every generation has its cult hit movies and this was one of mine. Anyway, this song was prominently featured in that movie and I remember the video being on MTV on heavy rotation. I actually didn’t mind the original even though I was a budding headbanger at the time. Now let’s talk about the band who covered it; Life of Agony.
I think this classifies as an unlikely cover; pop song gone metalized. Brooklyn’s Life of Agony put their spin on it for their 1995 follow-up to River Runs Red. Ugly featured some of the bands memorable moments including this cover song at the end of the disc. They recorded a great cover; Keith Caputo (now Mina Caputo) fit the tone of the song perfectly and the cover held true to the original though the beginning was a bit more…creepy sounding.
Judas Priest’s 1984 album Defenders of the Faith has some cool songs, to include Eat Me Alive which was on the PMRC’s list of wicked bad (for you) songs. How silly and fearful people were back then of glorious metal! Where is the PMRC today? Bueller…Bueller…Bueller? Though that song isn’t the subject of one of my favorite cover songs, The Sentinel is. You can find it on Machine Head’s awesome album Unto The Locust (2012 deluxe version). Machine Head, in my opinion, has strung together some seriously quality cover songs (hint for another appearance much later on my list).
Those riffs at the beginning of the song belong on a (best of) riff list. Machine Head recorded a spot on cover of the Judas Priest classic.
Dare I say I am not a Pink Floyd fan? I never have been a fan and to this day I have heard enough of their music to honestly say they will never make my list of favorite bands. Blasphemy to some, I know. I do, however, like when other bands cover their music. I think this is some kind of genetic mutation I cannot fully explain. Enter Dream Theater and their cover of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. I totally dig it and can listen to it repeatedly, but when the original comes on, I turn the channel or whatever. Like I said, I can’t explain it.
Comfortably Numb appeared on the 1979 double album, The Wall. Obviously, it is very popular and has been covered many times. I did see a great live rendition of the song at a co-headlining Dream Theater and Queensryche show around 2003-ish. Both bands collaborated on stage for Comfortably Numb which you can see on Queensryche’e The Art of Live DVD or on YouTube or below. It was awesome to say the least especially now knowing Geoff Tate is no longer part of Queensryche.
Here is the original song recorded recently in London, 2011.
Here is Dream Theater’s version which appears on their (bootleg) release of The Dark Side of the Moon.
Below is the bonus Dream Theater/Queensryche collaboration.
This ZZ Top cover is the newest on my list of cover song favorites. Cheap Sunglasses appears on The Sword’s 2012 album Apocryphon – deluxe version. Growing up, I thought ZZ Top was a cool band, but it wasn’t until the Eliminator album I first heard them; they had already been around a while by that point. Eliminator is the album featuring some of ZZ Top’s most famous songs; Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin’, and Legs. I had the pleasure of seeing the 3-piece at Download 2009 and they were well received by the crowd.
As far as the song goes, it’s very nostalgic to me. I have known about it for about 30 years and even when I was so young, I thought it was cool. Back then sunglasses were cheap. We didn’t have the fancy unbreakable stuff we have today. The Sword, who has a similar vibe as ZZ Top, did a remarkable job covering the song. They basically kept the original song intact, but added a 2012 refresh to it with their personal touch.
Here is the live version from The Sword found on 2012’s deluxe album Apocryphon.
Here is the original recorded by ZZ Top in 1980 and featured on the album Degüello.
Favorite Cover Song #22
The extreme style of Fleshgod Apocalypse is both enjoyable and hard to listen to at time…just due to the speed and intensity. I can typically listen to a band like this is short durations, but I enjoy those short bursts of insanity. To give you a bit of history, Heartwork was the first Carcass song I ever heard and it made me an instant fan of the band. Unfortunately they didn’t last, but their music lives on and is now being covered which tells me they have an influence on newer generation metal bands. Fleshgod Apocalypse is ball-busting Technical Death Metal (or whatever you want to call it).They did a great job of infusing their brand of madness to make Heartwork their own, but also ensured it is easily recognizable to Carcass fans; job well done. This actually made me pull out some old Carcass material for a revisit. And yes, I do like the older material as well. Not sure if it’s true, but we could see a new Carcass release in 2013.