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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.

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #4 Message in a Bottle covered by Machine Head

stingIf there is one band I really can’t stand, it’s The Police (though I will say Stewart Copeland is a sick drummer).  Sting’s vocals I find beyond annoying and the amount that they rip-off Bob Marley riffs is staggering, but all to many popular bands with bad vocals and c/p-ed riffs to verbatim exist and they don’t annoy me as much as The Police.  What really irks me about the band is underneath all of the crap I can’t stand, exist some wonderfully well written songs that have massive potential if only the obscuring rust were to be scraped away.  So in turn, when a band does a cover of a Police song, I usually end up enjoying it immensely, cause ya know, good songwriting and all.  Which brings me to my #4 favorite cover song, “Message in a Bottle”.

Robb Flynn and Co. simply just rock this song hard.  Doing away with all the fluff, Machine Head bring “Message in a Bottle” to its core and the impact the song has is infinitely more powerful and meaningful.  A song about desperation and need of help just doesn’t work with an upbeat light rock feel, but when you metal it up some the whole of the tune hits like a well-directed punch to the gut.  I particularly enjoy that dreamy echo on the low-key guitars in the intro and how well the song just explodes into an outburst of emotion when the pre-chorus hits.  Some damn fine cover work.  Check it out!  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Machine Head Version:

Original Police Version:

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Album Review: Anthrax – Anthems EP

88-300x300I can always appreciate an album of cover songs from my long-time favorite bands.  Anthrax, though not necessarily known for recording that many covers, does do them well when they get around to it.  You may remember a few cover songs off that eclectic album Attack of the Killer B’s released in 1991.  It has the popular Metal/Rap collaboration Bring the Noise and a newer version of I’m The Man.  Contained therein is also a Kiss cover (Parasite) and even a couple S.O.D. covers (Ode to Billy and Chromatic Death) which, ironically, members of Anthrax are part of.  Other than Antisocial, Anthrax has kept their recording of covers to a minimum compared to some other Metallica bands.  Now, we have the EP Anthems to satisfy our craving for metal cover songs.  Here is the breakdown.

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #16- Stargazer covered by Týr

stars_1230_600x450While no one can match Rainbow’s musical masterpiece “Stargazer”, Faroese metal band Týr come pretty damn close.  As with almost all of the covers you will find on this list, the covering band makes sure to inject their own sound and personality into the song and attempt to make it their own while still respecting the source material.  Such is the case with “Stargazer”.  Mixed with the very recognizable Týr guitar tone and vocal style I can picture Mr. Dio smiling in his grave each time this tune is played.

While the original still sounds amazing today and more than holds up, it is also really cool hearing this tune with a fresh coat of paint.  And the heathenistic style of Týr shine a light in a different angle at it.  Anywho, check it out and enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Týr version:

Original Rainbow version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #17- Shame on a Nigga covered by S.O.A.D.

controversyBeing one of those bands that also does some fine, and quite interesting covers (this isn’t the first time SOAD is on this list, nor the last) as well as making damn good original music, I found myself a bit surprised when SOAD chose to cover WuTang Clan’s insanely controversial song.  But when you think about it makes sense, SOAD were always a band that loved to bring various social and political controversies to the forefront with their music, and WuTang are definitly one of the most (and best) hip-hop groups out there.

I like SOAD’s take on the song moving it from the jazzy samples and beats of the original to the glorious sounds of metal.  They add a different mood to it, and dare I say make it sound more angry.  And R.Z.A. (my favorite member of WuTang) gave his grace to SOAD covering this landmark song of theirs by stepping and rapping out a guest verse by showing homage to his fallen bandmate, Dirty Ol’ Bastard and rapping the late members verse.  Whether you enjoy hip-hop or not, I recommend rocking out to this cover fully as well as taking a moment to jive to the fat grooves of the original.

S.O.A.D. Version:

Original WuTang Clan Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #18- Perfect Strangers covered by Dream Theater

perfect-strangers-1Want to know how I got into Deep Purple?  It can all be credited to Dream Theater and their awesome cover of “Perfect Strangers”.  After hearing the tune and totally loving the groove I packed my bags and went in search to discover one of the best hard rock bands out there.  And while nothing will beat the original track, the DT version adds a nice modern punch to the tune and I really find James LaBrie’s vocals very fitting for the tune.  Enjoy!!!!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Dream Theater Version:

Original Deep Purple version:

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Version featuring Dream Theater and Bruce Dickinson after the jump:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #19- No Quarter coverd by Tool

Salival+ToolEven though I partake in herbal relaxation from time to time, my days of being a stoner are behind me.  But while I left most of the lifestyle that came with the stigma behind, my love of the psychedelic music I loved to listen to while under the influence has never gone away.  I still find that the trippy music is able to completely able to engage me and send my mind into that nice transcendental place I enjoy so much.  Simply put, it’s great music to relax to.

One of my favorite tracks to zone out to has always been Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”.  The wintery atmosphere, shifting moods, the colorful tones, and the thought provoking lyrics all add up to make this particular tunes one of Zeppelin’s best.  As far as my interpretation of the song, it deals with the British during the American Revolution.  When settlers refused a British soldier a place to stay and food to eat the settler was shown no quarter, which is also a way of saying no mercy.  This was a tactic used by the British to try to force their way into a position of power through fear.  But I feel that the song goes deeper than that, acting more as a commentary on the fear mongering primarily found in religion and politics.  And with a deeper meaning pointing to questioning religion and politics, what better band than one that is consistently asking their listeners to dig deep below the borderline and open up their minds and question everything.

Being a band that rarely ever does cover material, Tool completely rock “No Quarter”‘s socks off.  Retaining that psychedelic feel of the original, even making it more trippy, they add a layer of heaviness that increases the depth of the song ten-fold.  What really gets me about this cover is how much more fitting I feel Tool’s approach to the music compliments the lyrical themes.  Even more frozen and saddened than the original they really give the feeling a British soldier must have refused room and board.  And when the heavy kicks in it better personifies his rage.  The trippy sections serve to convey the fact that the protagonist is not of sound mind when looking to execute ‘no quarter’.  All in all, this is one of the few covers of majorly influential songs that I find I enjoy much better than the already excellent original.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

“No Quarter”

Close the door, put out the light.
You know they won’t be home tonight.
The snow falls hard and don’t you know?
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They’re wearing steel that’s bright and true
They carry news that must get through.

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter.

Walking side by side with death, The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that’s slow, The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through, To build a dream for me and you

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter. They ask no quarter.
The pain, the pain without quarter.
They ask no quarter.
The dogs of doom are howling more!

Tool Version:

Original Led Zeppelin Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #22- The Sound of Silence covered by Nevermore

FbTbLI had always thought that Simon & Garfunkel’s timeless classic would make for a great song to get metalized, but had thought a black metal or a more atmospheric band like NIN would have been the style I would first hear it all metalled up in.  Needless to say, when I first heard Nevermore’s spin on the tune about passing into the afterlife, I was taken aback quite a bit.  Heavy as hell and very straightforward, Nevermore more or less gut the entire song and completely make it their own.  What I find quite interesting about this cover is that, despite the heaviness and the usual stigma that comes with metal music (dark, evil, Satanic, etc), Nevermore’s version comes of as brighter and more energetic when compared to the original, but doesn’t lose that harrowing effect the lyrics make.  This reworking is a real hit or miss with many people, and as you can see it is a hit with me.  What say you?  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Nevermore Version:

Original Simon & Garfunkel Version:

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A couple more quality metal covers of “The Sound of Silence” after the jump:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #24: Animals covered by Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade

The_Les_Claypool_Frog_Brigade_-_Live_Frogs_Set_2I tip my hat to Mr. Claypool and his brigade of amphibious creatures.  They could have just covered a single song off of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece (and my favorite PF record), Animals.  But Les had too much respect for the album, and to break it up, he felt would hurt the records integrity, so he just covered the whole darn thing.  And he released it as an official Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade live album to boot: Live Frogs Set 2.  So not only do you get the Claypool take on a classic album, but you get to hear it with wonderfully captured live energy as well as quality sound quality (if you ever purchased a bootleg of another band doing this kind of thing, you know how bad the audio recording can get).  I really can not speak enough of how great the sound quality of this record is, hats off to the production and recording team.

Les’ take on Animals is pretty straight forward not changing anything and staying true to the way Roger Waters composed it.  But, given that Claypool carries such a unique bass playing style as well as a peculiar voice, it would be impossible for him to replicate Animals note for note.  When compared to the original the low ends are a lot fuller and much more pronounced with many blue notes added in.  His voice also fits in perfectly with his oddball croon being a nice change of pace from Roger Waters rather pedestrian voice.  The rest of the band also does some outstanding work giving due respect to the source material.  I particularly like how saxophonist, Shriek, was able to replicate many of the sound effects heard on the original with his saxophone and Jay Lane’s excellent drumming working well with Claypool’s occasional improvised bits.

After listening to both records back to back, I have to say, I almost prefer Claypool’s rendition to the original, almost.  And while there is plenty of the Claypool personality and improved moments crammed in, I do wish he deviated from the original a bit more to give it a more Claypool-ish spin to it.  Nonetheless, it’s an excellent homage to Claypool’s favorite band and a wonderful cover that all fans of the original should listen to.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Listen to the cover after the jump:

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Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #25 – Hell Is For Children

Children of Bodom is one of several well-known bands that records numerous cover songs; some quite good while others are just entertaining (see their Britney Spears cover).  It’s hard to take the band seriously sometimes; they seem to joke around a lot with their music.  Setting comedy aside, they covered Grammy winner Pat Benatar’s Hell Is For Children and did a great job with it.  The song appears on the album Skeletons in the Closet released in 2009.  The album of covers features Billy Idol, Suicidal Tendencies, and Slayer remakes to name a few.  Their rendition of Hell Is For Children is their own, but still holds true to the original.  I like it mainly for nostalgic reasons.

When MTV first came out in 1981, Pat Benatar was one of a few artists that filmed videos which were on heavy rotation.   There weren’t many videos at the time.  I was 8 and I thought Pat Benatar was a cool rockin’ chick.  I liked a lot of her songs.  Little did I know she was setting the foundation for the metalhead I am today.  I think it was her song You Better Run which was the second video ever played on MTV.  Hell Is For Children was a controversial song (at the time) about child abuse.  The song appears on the 1980 album, Crimes of Passion which remained on the U.S. album charts for 93 weeks.  Just a tidbit, Pat Benatar was the first solo female artist played on MTV.

Here is the original song by Pat Benatar featured on the album Crimes of Passion, 1980.

Below is the cover song by Children of Bodom which is featured on the album Skeletons in the Closet, 2009.