You may remember our list of 12 heavy covers of slow/soft songs from a couple of weeks ago. Now that the dust has settled, we’ve decided to explore the inverse of that idea: slow/soft covers of heavy songs.
1. Feist, ‘Black Tongue’ (Mastodon)
Mastodon and Feist, the Canadian indie folkster, started a musical romance after appearing on the same Later…With Jools Holland episode a few years back. That romance led to the split 7″ Feistodon, where each band covered one of the other’s songs. Feist’s cover misses all the guitar wails and the drum rolls, but it captures a weird and dissonant vibe that hasn’t been seen anywhere near Mastodon since at least ‘Bladecatcher’.
2. Dead Letter Circus, ‘Killing in the Name’ (Rage Against The Machine)
Brisvegas’ very own Dead Letter Circus made a bit of a ripple last year when they turned this revolutionary banger into a stripped-back hippie protest song. While the attempt at infusing the trip-hop stylings of Massive Attack begin and end with the slight intrusion of a keyboard and electronic drum pad, Dead Letter Circus still retain the inspiring strength of the original, even if the iconic “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” is turned into a whisper.
3. City & Colour, ‘Boiled Frogs’ (Alexisonfire)
Alexisonfire were always the sum of many parts, and anyone can see that by looking at what they did post-breakup; Dallas continued with his alternative-country solo thing; Wade went to sing for English punks Gallows; and George became a fireman. So, it’s not totally cheating to include this Dallas Green’s cover of his own band’s song. And besides, it’s a completely fleshed out alternative take, which works as well as the original. Check out a live performance of the original here for comparison.
4. Strange Changes, ‘Baby’s First Coffin’ (Dillinger Escape Plan)
Strange Changes are an ensemble band that mix old timey genres with modern rock and metal. They have the whole works – a horn section, a raving jazz pianist, and a guitarist that looks just like Dave Dennis. Their instrumental cover of ‘Baby’s First Coffin’ re-imagines the mathcore song as a chilled out jazz piece, with an extra three minutes of jazz wank. Although it does of course retain the chugging of the original.
5. The Cardigans, ‘Iron Man’ (Black Sabbath)
If you are unfortunate to remember ‘Lovefool‘, you might remember 90s Swedish pop rockers The Cardigans. Well, being Swedish, metal was never too far from The Cardigans, and they actually turn out a pretty good cover of Black Sabbath‘s ballad about a statue. They’ve also covered ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath‘, too.
6. Art vs. Science, ‘Enter Sandman’ (Metallica)
7. Sam Westphalen, ‘Sehnsucht’ (Rammstein)
Sam Westphalen, or Sambo Ray Jr as he’d like us to call him, is a Sydney-based guitar virtuoso who has filmed a few unique takes on some classic metal songs. Simultaneously playing the guitar as two instruments in some parts, the real hook in this cover is his tongue-in-cheek vocals.
8. Rodrigo y Gabriela, ‘Orion’ (Metallica)
While we’re on guitar virtuosos, it’s time to revisit this classic by Mexican flamenco shredders Rodrigo y Gabriela. With Rodrigo on the pick, and Gabriela on the double-jointed wrist thing, together the duo pull out an amazing redo that somehow outdoes the original.
9. Eric Emery, ‘C.O.T.E.’ (Karnivool)
Now he’s the vocalist for Indian prog-metallers Skyharbor, but before that, Eric Emery was just a fella on the Youtubes (he’s also been nominated for a Grammy with his audio engineering, but errybody knows that ain’t glamourous). As ‘C.O.T.E.’ (or, Centre Of The Earth) is an ode to unrequited love, Emery’s acoustic cover is probably a better suit than the original’s alternative metal stylings.
10. Breaking Benjamin, ‘Prison Sex’ (Tool)
Breaking Benjamin are one of the slew of alternative rock bands that came out in the late 90s/early 00s who owe their existence entirely to the drawl of Metallica and the self-pity of Nirvana. While there are many covers of Tool out there – Sam Westphalen has an instrumental version of ‘Lateralus‘, for instance – this one takes the cake for replacing Danny Carey’s massive kit with just one djembe.
11. Steve’n’Seagulls, ‘Thunderstruck’ (AC/DC)
Ok this is when things start getting silly. Finnish bluegrass cover band Steve’n’Seagulls have conjured a magical cover of AC/DC‘s classic banger. It even includes some spoon-based percussion.
12. Richard Cheese. ‘Chop Suey’ (System Of A Down)
If you haven’t heard of Richard Cheese, this is where your life changes for the better. A natural entertainer – check out his live cover of The Pussycat Dolls‘ ‘Don’t Cha‘ – Richard Cheese has an obsession with metal, mainly because his schtick is to take outrageous songs and turn them into workable lounge music. His cover of ‘Chop Suey’ is him at his peak.