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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #2- Into the Void covered by Monster Magnet

charlie_dont_surfBlack Sabbath’s anti-Vietnam classic tune “Into the Void” has been covered numerous times by many different rock and metal bands, but out of the many that are out there, none seem to not only capture the essence of the song, but also elevate it to a ‘higher’ plane.  Starting out with a low-key drum procession ushering vocalist Dave Wyndorf acting out the part of a paranoid infantryman in the jungles of Vietnam the slow build up of downtuned guitars begin to add a healthy dose of Jacob’s Ladder to the sound as it trips out into a bit of psychedelia.  And then the song proper starts and Monster Magnet simply just own it slipping out here and there to embrace delusions of Charlie round the corner and the Tango sluts dancing in Hell.

While the original is a timeless classic that will never stale, Monster Magnet really went above and beyond the call of duty and injected such a huge amount of color and personality to the tune.  When I listen to the Sabbath version I get imagery of the whole broad picture of Vietnam, but when Monster Magnet jam it out it all becomes much more intense and personal.  I get the picture of a soldier directly in the bush gripping a rifle as he looks at his dead squadmates and is laughing maniacally as he prepares for his last stand vowing to take Charlie down with him, and maybe dreaming of some surfing afterwards.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Monster Magnet Version:

Black Sabbath Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #3- Wasted Years covered by Ryan Adams

3cc4a9a458d45578ecd7bbab6ec2aee5After I had heard that Djali Zwan cover of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” I didn’t think acoustic lightning could ever strike twice with an Iron Maiden tune.  And wrong I was.  It struck twice and harder the second time around when my ears caught onto alt-country star Ryan Adams’ take on Maiden’s “Wasted Years”.  Unlike the other cover, the shift into a more somber and stripped mood didn’t completely change the meaning of the song or make it depressing.  Ryan’s arrangement still gleams with the positivity of the original but this time around it takes on a more everyman feel to it, something that even my mother could connect with (she’s not the biggest metal head in the world 😉 ).  There is loads of emotion and passion added to the song, and that’s a lot given how charged the original is.  I really don’t have much else to say about this song other than it gives me chills each time I listen to it.  Enjoy!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Ryan Adams Version:

Original Iron Maiden Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #5- The Devil Went Down to Georgia covered by Primus

The_Devil_went_down_2_Georgia_by_MakinitaMany a year ago Primus released a neat little EP called Rhinoplasty which contained various covers including an excellent versions of Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be”, Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses”, and Andy Partrige’s “Scissor Man”.  There were also a couple live tracks (with the best version of “Bob’s Party Time Lounge” available) and a neat remix of the Primus classic “Too Many Puppies”.  For a quick EP there was a lot of value in the package, but what really got me didn’t hit until about a year later when the technology of a CD ROM drive made its way into my household.  I had randomly popped the CD into my computer to have something to listen to while I did some schoolwork and out of nowhere an autostart screen popped up with the Primus logo on it.  Naturally I clicked on it.  Along with a couple of other things there was an option for a bonus video, catch being, you needed a password to get to it.  Having had lost my jewel case for the CD along with the inlay checking the liner notes for the password wasn’t an option.  Forgetting about my school work I went and started calling up all my Primus fan buddies to see if they still had the inlay or knew the password.  That worked to no avail.  OK, option 2.  I ran to the record store to see if I could snatch up a copy.  No dice there either.  And brute forcing the password didn’t work either.

Well, as you can see I was in a little predicament.  There was no way I’d be able to get anything done until I sated this obsession to get to this golden bonus material.  Luckily I decided to try forcing the sweet, golden, gooey bonus material by trying to find a way to circumvent the password.  And, wow, that was easy.  Simply browsing the CD in the explorer let me double-click a mysterious file called Devil.  Ahhh, but this is back in 1998 and the native Windows 98 player doesn’t recognize the file type and to play it one needs the player on the disc. Want to talk about a frustrating moment.  But giving up wasn’t going to happen.  I don’t remember the exact steps I took to hack my way into getting the video player on the disc to work stand alone, but after hours of messing with ins and outs, I finally bypassed that damn password and my efforts paid off.

Contained behind that iron curtain was an awesome claymation video for Primus’ cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, a song I was pretty familiar with at the time as I had a friend whose parents were big into bluegrass and would always be on the stereo when I went to my buddy’s house.  It may be the video combined with the effort I put into unlocking the damn thing, but Primus’ version simply just kicks more ass IMO.  Les Claypool’s vocals fit the story so well as well as the tweaks made to the song like making the Devil’s fiddle solo more ominous and metal.  Sooo, great cover, great video, was worth the effort in unlocking.

And funny story, the next day when I was telling my friends at school how I cracked the video, someone nearby overheard and said he had the CD and the password is ‘Violin’ 😉

Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Primus Version:

Original Charlie Daniels Band Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #6- Here Comes the Sun covered by Ghost

36_188750Of all songs that I could have never imagined be turned into something of evil, Satan loving retro doomsters Ghost have been able to turn one of the Beatles happiest and most sun drenched songs into something that may now be played before a the sacrificial slaughter of kittens.  With just some minor changes in tone and the addition of some organ sounds “Here Comes the Sun” takes on a whole new meaning, and I love it.  I really don’t have much else to say other than the original is one of my favorite Beatles songs and Ghost are certainly one of my favorite bands to hit the scene in the past 5 years.  This is a perfect example of how to make a cover staying true to the original while completely making the song your own.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

Ghost Version:

Original Beatles Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #7- Lady in Black covered by Ensiferum

grim_reaperOne classic rock band I always felt were always grossly underrated were the gents in Uriah Heep.  They did find a nice chunk of commercial success during the 1970s with their first wave of records including Salisbury, Return to Fantasy, and their most celebrated album Demons and Wizards.  But somehow, probably due to the general public’s shift towards a more ‘modern’ sound that pervaded the 80s, the band kind of fell off the map even though they continued to release stellar records.  Fortunately the countries of Northern Europe never gave up on the band and they continue to thrive selling out arena shows in that region allowing the band to continue producing records so us in other parts of the world could be graced by their proggy sounds.

Being Finnish and incorporating elements of heroism, pub style sing-a-longs, and fantasy into their music it’s pretty obvious that the popularity of Uriah Heep in Ensiferum’s region played a nice part in helping shape the bands sound.  And as most bands do with the artists that influenced them, a cover was sure to be done.  Taking one of Uriah Heep’s biggest hits, Ensiferum transformed the folk ballad about the Lady of Death (depending on how you want to interpret the lyrics, as the clever way they are written, different cultures will find many different meanings to the song) into one hell of a raging metal song.  Keeping that original feel of “Lady in Black” in tact along with all of its infectious harmonies and memorable progressions, the extra punch of metal transforms a somber yet punchy little ditty into a song of raging heroism.  Enjoy (and check out some Uriah Heep if you dig on some classic rock and haven’t done so already, you won’t be disappointed)!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Ensiferum Version:

Original Uriah Heep Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #8- Do Ya Think I’m Sexy covered by Revolting Cocks

Rod-Stewart-Do-Ya-Think-Im-Se-105018Every once in a while a band covers a song then ends up sounding like the original artist traveled forward in time, heard a band, and went back to his time and wrote a song and made it a hit just so the future band could cover it and really make it their own.  Such is the case with The Revolting Cocks take on the Rod Stewart mega-hit “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”.  The tongue in cheek side project composed of members of Ministry and Front 242 transform the extremely promiscuous for its time song into one of the dirtiest, filthiest, and most depraved covers ever.  Rod Stewart’s true intentions with this song were so ahead of its time that he knew he needed another 20 years for people to accept the real get freaky message he originally intended.  The tonal change from happy-go-lucky rock which may have inspired some couples to leave the lights on and maybe even engage in oh so famous 69 if they were feeling really adventurous switches to the back alley of a seedy red light district area where things being done with fists, multiple participants, various body fluids, and a plethora of other things I dare not write are being performed.  So, without further ado, grab a partner, git nekid, and get filthier than you’ve ever been in your life, just remember to ask if they think you’re sexy 😉  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

On a side note: when going to grab the posting vids, I saw that that show Glee had done a cover of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”… Does anyone else think that a group of underage high school kids performing this song is kinda, umm, odd.  Maybe NAMBLA has stock in the show.  Anywho, just a random thought.

Revolting Cocks Version:

Original Rod Stewart Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #9- Witch Hunt covered by Machine Head

witch-hunts-22149-20120730-503When I grabbed my copy of Unto the Locust one big surprise other than how absolutely solid the album is was the fact that their choice of cover song bonus tracks included a Rush cover.  In case you didn’t know, Rush is one of my Top 1% favorite bands and Machine Head have a pretty damn good track record of making some fine covers, so naturally I was really excited to hear the Machine Head rendition of the kick ass tune “Witch Hunt” off of Rush’s landmark album Moving Pictures.  Needless to say I was really impressed with the metal version of the synth heavy song.

Robb Flynn’s vocals work great with the song and somehow make the song sound more ominous and the guitar tone chosen really gives the tune a nice extra metal punch and a cool doom metal feel.  I also love how all the synth sections are translated into the 2nd guitar parts and Adam Duce’s awesome work replicating Geddy Lee’s bass lines staying true to the original yet adding a heavy metal attitude to the low-end.  Check the songs out and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Machine Head Version:

Original Rush Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #10- Number of the Beast covered by Djali Zwan

2003-spun-2The first time I heard this cover of one of Iron Maiden’s most celebrated songs, “The Number of the Beast”, it kinda of creeped up on me and caught me off guard.  Me and a couple of buddies had rented a movie called Spun from the video shop (remember those?) and not to long after popping it in my ears and brain got a bit confused.  I heard the moody acoustic guitars setting the rather depressing tone for the movie, but within a few seconds of the lyrics kicking I started saying this sounds really familiar.  Didn’t take me long to catch on that the tune was an acoustic cover.  And I don’t know if it was the context of the movie, which is about crystal meth addiction, or just an awesome job rearranging the song, but the lyrics of “The Number of the Beast” take on a whole new meaning in this cover.  In the original Iron Maiden version they have a very literal feel to them as images of demons and monsters course through the mind.  But here the demons that show themselves are grounded in real life alluding to the number of the beast being drug addiction.

If you have yet to see Spun, do check it out, it’s one hell of a mindrape of a movie filled with wacked out, yet sobering scenes and some terrific acting from Mickey Rourke, Jason Schwarzman, and Brittney Murphy (Trailer).  Check out the cover and the original and let us know what you think of this take on The Number of the Beast.  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Djali Zwan version:

Original Iron Maiden Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #11- Gravel Road covered by Clutch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s common knowledge that all the wonderful rock and metal music you hear today is based off the roots of the blues.  And while many artists acknowledge that, finding a cover paying homage to the oldschool delta bluesmen seems to be quite a rare commodity.  Well, leave it up to Clutch, who are no stranger to incorporating the delta blues into their unique style, to be ones to buck the trend and drop a cover of one of those old timey blues jams.  And being Clutch, they just couldn’t do a straight cover of the song, but went ahead and added a wealth of electricity to the song changing Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Gravel Road Blues” from a chugging steam locomotive into a speeding Maglev.  Clutch also added a few more lines to the song not heard in the original, but they still carry on its spirit and feel.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Clutch Version:

Original Mississippi Fred McDowell Version (note: not the real original but the closest I could find on Youtube)

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #13: A Whiter Shade of Pale covered by Black Label Society/Zakk Wylde

pianoI bet by now you’re starting to notice a trend in my covers list.  I tend to prefer covers of older classic, mainly non-metal songs, brought up to the modern age.  Can’t say exactly why, but I just really dig it.  Anywho, today’s entry seems a bit off kilter because it’s not exactly a ‘metalized’ cover of a song even though it is covered by a very prominent voice in the metal realm.

If you had parents who grew up in the 60s or are grew up in that time period yourself, you probably heard Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” countless times.  It was a big hit then, and even today it is one of the most played and requested tunes on classic rock radio.  It’s a very sad song, but damn if it isn’t beautiful.  If you’ve followed Black Label Society you’ve noticed by now that every so often they release an off the path album filled with more chill and mellow music instead of their groove laden, guitar theatrics album.  On those records, branded as the Hangover Music series, it’s Zakk Wylde who takes even more of the forefront and shows off a different vocal style (and IMO, better) and utilizes his stellar piano skills.  On Hangover Music vol. II he finds himself delivering one of his best performances ever as he tackles Procol Harum’s classic tune.

The soul he shows in both his vocals and piano playing is simply staggering.  The emotion he pour into the song feels like nothing he’s done before and his rendition of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” totally outdoes the original in every aspect IMO.  Having the piano at the forefront adds so much to the song and his rough and rugged vocals transform the song’s theme into something I can much easier connect with.  So, check it out, let us know what you though, and have a great day!  Peace Love and Metal.

Black Label Society/Zakk Wylde Version:

Original Procol Harum Version:

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