Theme Thursday: Metal: Un-Metalized
Posted by RiffRaff
Some may call this heresy punishable by the highest form of capital punishment, but whatever, I think de-metalized covers of songs are cool and fun. Truth be told, being able to write a song that can be deconstructed and put back together with a completely different style and still be a great tune shows great songwriting skills on part of the original writer(s). Here are what I consider the best of the best of un-metalized cover songs ranging from jazz interpretations, acoustic renditions, and surf rock extravaganzas. Hope you all get as much of a kick out of these covers as I do. Know of some other great de-metalized covers, let me know down in the comments. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Glitter Dick: Seasons in the Abyss (Slayer)
I would have never expected that “Seasons in the Abyss” would work so great as a surf rock tune. The diminished 5ths fit the psychedelic tone perfectly as well as driving chugs reworked into the rolling Dick Dale style double picking. Now that I think about the insane speed of Dick Dale and his unique picking style, metal really does have a lot more in common with surf rock than I had thought, go figure. The video for this cover is great too with a great mash-up of a bunch of different exploitation and horror flicks. I can name about 80%, how much for you?
Pat Boone: Holy Diver (Ronnie James Dio)
I’m sure no matter what kind of music genre you listen to you know the name of the world-famous crooner Pat Boone. Back in 1997 (Damn!! Has it been that long already) he released an album of cover songs of famous metal and hard rock and metal tunes including hits such as “Enter Sandman”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”, and “Crazy Train”. The whole disk is great as his jazzy, big band covers are all well done and give a really fun twist to many classic tunes we all love. My personal favorite off the disk is “Holy Diver”, the vocals fit perfectly in the crooner style and the interpretation of the music, especially the stand-up bass and horn section, really nails it. Ronnie James also contributes to the backup vocal section as a nod of approval.
Slaughter of the Bluegrass: Twilight of the Thunder God (Amon Amarth)
Man, did SOTBG nail this one perfectly. I now can’t listen to “Twilight of the Thunder God” without this version getting stuck in my head. Not only do they bluegrass the tune up, they also add an awesome Spanish flavored section, complete with translated lyrics, that just flows with the tune wonderfully. SOTBG bluegrassed-up In Flames, At the Gates, and Dark Tranquility which you can listen to and download on their site here.
Ryan Adams: Wasted Years (Iron Maiden)
I believe I drooled all over this cover on my Iron Maiden cover song post a while back. But it’s so damn good it needs a reprise. American Folk musician Ryan Adams works magic with one of my all time favorite Maiden tunes. While his somber acoustic guitar playing and melancholic voice add hints of sadness to the tune that rush of positivity of the original still remains. Mr. Adams has released a Live EP called Acoustic Nightmare where he does stripped down acoustic versions of popular rock/metal, also check out his cover of Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell”.
Andy Rehfeldt: Eaten (Bloodbath)
I’m still chuckling at how hilarious this cover turned out years later. Take one of the most brutal death metal bands and turn their music into radio friendly Disney schlock. What gets me is how well done this is from the mimicking of the music to the hilarious rendition of the vocals. Top notch, if Disney ever made an episode of Hannah Montana and the zombie plague this would be the lead, million unit selling single.
Andy Rehfeldt again: The Trooper (Iron Maiden)
If you jump onto the Youtube and search Andy Rehfeldt you will find hours of expertly played and always hilarious reinterpretations of tons of songs ranging from the heaviest of metal to stabs at popular pop tunes. I could have made this list all of his great covers, but that wouldn’t be fun, so just 2. This bossa-nova cover of “The Trooper” is just great and that swinging bass line always gets my foot tapping and fingers snapping. Props to Andy on that killer bossa-nova guitar solo. Nailed it!
The Andy Lim Trio: Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine)
This jazzy cover plays great on the contrast of the two styles. While they use the original CD vocals of Zach De La Rocha his politically charged rage is just hilarious over the happy and upbeat smooth jazz. Give it a listen and have a good laugh!
Equilibrium: Heimwärts (Equilibrium)
For their album Rekreatur, German folk metal band Equilibrium packaged a bonus CD in with the collectors edition CD. The disk had a bunch of great acoustic renditions of their music ranging across all of their albums and made the couple extra bucks for the upgrade money well spent. My favorite off the disk is the super happy and very Bavarian acoustic version of “Heimwärts” (“Homeward”). I can just hear the musicians at Oktoberfest jamming out to this tune all day long swilling great tankards filled with delicious German brews.
Turisas: “The March of the Varangian Guard”, “Stand Up and Fight” and “To Holmgard and Beyond” (Turisas)
Ditching the warpaint and electricity, for a great little bonus for collectors edition purchasers, battle/folk metal band Turisas got together and did a great 3 song acoustic set. These versions, I feel, capture the spirit of the originals better than the originals themselves. If back in days of yore bards were to sing these tunes I bet they would sound more akin to this than their epic, orchestral, metal versions.
TopRushFan22: 2112 (Rush)
This may be the apogee of all things nerd. Take one of music’s nerdiest bands, Rush, and then take one of a nerds favorite past times, video games, and mash them together. 8-bit chiptune covers can be real hit or miss but this one is a dead on hit as Mr. TopRushFan22 nails the feel of the original prog rock anthem perfectly. If you thought Rush ever had a synth obsession in the 80, maybe it was Nintendo’s fault, lol.