I can’t say I am a fan of System of a Down, but now and then I do listen to a few of their songs. I had their self-titled album, System of a Down, but after that never really followed them. If they had something on TV or radio I would listen, but they never caught my attention for more than their most popular songs. I was familiar enough with the song Aerials to recognize it when it appeared on Amon Amarth’s latest release Surtur Rising as a cover. The original Aerials song appears on SOTD’s album Toxicity (2001) which I think was their most popular and resulted in Grammy nods and chart positions.
Amon Amarth’s version is not far removed from the original, but much more down-tuned and doomy. It’s a cool cover mainly because it came unexpected from a band like Amon Amarth to cover something from the new-ish wave of American metal. Surtur Rising is Amon Amarth’s 8th studio album and was released in Mar 2011. I am not sure if the cover of Aerials is on printed CD at this point, but when it was released it was an iTunes special edition track.
This is the cover off the album Surtur Rising (fan video).
This is the video from System of a Down found on the album Toxicity.
Being 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.
Original WuTang Clan Version:
Well, I guess you can now see we have become a bit list obsessed here at A Metal State of Mind 😉 Now we are going to drop our top 25 lists of our favorite cover songs. You will see 2 a week from both me and Reggie for a total of 4 a week, so enjoy!
And to kick off my list I chose System of a Down’s excellent cover of the almighty Black Sabbath’s, “Snowblind” off the album Vol. 4. What I love about SOAD’s cover is first off, they injected their unique style into the song, and second the big increase in tempo matches the songs subject of cocaine much better. Not saying that Sabbath’s mid paced masterpiece isn’t great, but, if you have ever done or know about the effects of cocaine, there is no other speed other than ludicrous speed, that stuff will make you go plaid (and it’s really bad for you and you should never try it #lifelessons).
The first time I heard this song was at a SOAD concert (Snocore festival in Asbury Park, NJ, with Mr. Bungle and Incubus); it blew me away live and was a totally unexpected song for them to cover. Right after that show I hunted around for the tune to no avail (mind you, the internet and stuff like Youtube weren’t in full swing in 1998). Luckily, a couple of years later the excellent Black Sabbath cover album Nativity In Black II (great disk and includes acts like Megadeth, Machine Head, Pantera, Slayer, and Soulfly) was released and had the SOAD cover on it. That album is well worth hunting down and I can assure you this won’t be the last you will be hearing about it on this list. Soooo, Enjoy the cover and original! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Audio after the jump:
Looks like the Stoner votes are in and Kyuss took the victory for best Stoner rock band over Monster Magnet and Sleep. Thank you for playing in that poll and if you haven’t casted your vote there is still plenty of time. You can check out that poll here.
Starting sometime in January, A Metal State of Mind will post our Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs in increments in lieu of the Theme Thursday. The Theme Thursday will become an as necessary post since we have been doing that nearly two years. For this week’s poll I am going to give you a small glimpse into what you will see on my (plantera7’s AKA Reggie) Top 25 cover song list.
These three cover songs represent the high, medium, and low of my list…a top 10, bottom 10, and one in the middle. I am not going to spoil my list that much as far as who places where, but I am curious to see how you vote for what you think is the better of these cover songs.
Here are your choices…
First up is Coal Chamber’s version of Shock the Monkey. The original was recorded by Peter Gabriel which makes this cover qualify for an “unlikely” cover which was the subject of a theme some time ago. I like their take on the song where they made it their own, but didn’t stray too far from the core of the song. Do you also notice the cameo?
Second is Megadeth’s rendition of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. I have to say it is all the cover songs of Black Sabbath that got me more into Black Sabbath themselves. That sounds like it doesn’t make much sense, but I am more fond of Sabbath covers than the band itself, but that is slowly changing. This is not the ony Sabbath cover on my list; just one I chose for this poll. What to you think?
This cover struck me as odd when I first heard Aerials covered, but it is very well done. I would have never imagined Amon Amarth knew who System of a Down was, but I stand corrected. Again, this is another example of a band making the song their own, but not steering too far from the core of the song.
Cover songs are a great way for a band to show tribute to their favorite artists, and move out of their comfort zone and have some fun with their music without having to compromise the integrity of their core material. Here’s a list of some covers done by metal bands that step out of what the bands core sound and cover something that is a little different for them, some of the covers are “metalized” some hone the spirit of the original, but in the end, they’re all pretty damn good covers. And if you dig the cover version, check out the original, more times than not it’s a great song. If you know some more unlikely covers let us know in the comments and let us know what your favorite were. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal
Posted in Theme Thursday
Tags: ABBA, Agnostic Front, amon amarth, Angelo Branduardi, Anthrax, Aphex Twin, Austrian Death Machine, Between the Buried and Me, Blind Guardian, Blind Melon, Boney M, Burt Bacharach, children of bodom, Covers, Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deftones, Demons & Wizards, Dillenger Escape Plan, Ensiferum, Entombed, Faith No More, Folkstone, Heavy Metal, Helloween, Iron Butterfly, Joe Jackson, Kenny Rodgers, King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Machine Head, metal, Metallilca, Mike Patton, Moonsorrow, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Queen, Rock, Sade, Seals & Crofts, shadows fall, Slayer, System of a Down, The Beach Boys, The Chordettes, The Commedores, The Police, Tool, Turisas, Type-O-Negetive, Uriah Heep
Another cold day today. I hope your November was eventful. My metal moment for the month was seeing and meeting DevilDriver. Looks like System of a Down is the first headliner for Download. I wonder who the other two headliners will be because System of a Down isn’t enough to get me up to Derbyshire for a day. Today’s song to close out November is:
The 13th Caesar by Cradle of Filth off the Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder album.
Have a great December! See you later this week and also this weekend for the album of the week.