OK friends, this is the second part of “METALHOLIC’S Top 25 Hard rock and Metal Covers”. Initially we intended to make a list of 25 highly recommended cover songs. Later on I changed my mind and decided to come up with Part II (You can read Part I here in case you missed it or need a refresher). Thus we now have our list of top 50 cover songs. They are not in any particular order however. Depending on one’s mood of the hour and the genres a listener is more attached to, the preference would vary from person to person, even day to day. Some of the songs may not be quite described as metal or hard-rock. But like our Editor puts it: “If it rocks, it rocks, and that’s all that matters.”
Without further ado here is the remaining top 25 cover tracks picked by Metalholic:
26. WASP’s cover of The Who’s “The Real Me”
Spilling fake blood, hurling raw meat at the audience, brazen display of strapped, topless women, performances showcasing inappropriate, objectionable song writing- this is how a certain strata of critics identified WASP once upon a time- solely for their on-stage antics and explicit lyrics while ignoring their much laudable musicianship. But with the release of The Headless Children album, a lot of those critics were finally compelled to acclaim their sterling musical prowess around a time when Grunge was starting to make an impact. This awesome cover is the second track of that awesome album. Pete Townshend once said he wished The Who original to sound like the cover by WASP. And that says a hell lot.
27. Dissection’s cover of Slayer’s “The Antichrist”
From Slayer’s debut album Show No Mercy the original song, arguably, was the first to define their very brand of music. And here Dissection shows reverence to one of the biggest Thrash metal bands of all time. Even the most die-hard fans of Slayer would appreciate the absolute greatness of this menacing cover.
28. Laaz Rockit’s cover of The Dead Kennedy’s “Holiday In Cambodia”
A jaw-dropping cover of a punk rock classic by a largely underrated band , which appears on their terrific Annihilation Principle album (considered as the best Laaz Rockit album by most of the fans). Quite often I see threads in various sites “Name metal covers you prefer more than the original.” Well this is one of those annihilating covers I would love to mention in this regard.
29. Cannibal Corpse’s cover of Metallica’s “No Remorse”
Metallica’s first four stupendous albums have greatly influenced many bands over the years, including Cannibal Corpse who picked this decimating tune from their much hallowed Kill ‘Em All album and performed it with their total, brutal, passion! The cannibal’s no-remorse way.
30. Emperor’s cover of Mercyful Fate’s “Gypsy”
The finest Mercyful Fate cover I had the good fortune to come across. The ambiance it weaves (and leaves you with) is perfect – dark and haunting. The way it should be. Emperor absolutely rules this cover like the King (Diamond) rules the original. Both lethal and regal.
31. Judas Priest’s cover of Gun’s “Race With The Devil”
While I enjoy the Girlschool version and relish the doom-metal boom by Church Of Misery, it is the Priest who wins this one. This Gun cover saw “All Guns Blazing” as Judas Priest well defended the faith and delivered yet another admirable cover. Gun released its original version in 1968.
In our first part Judas Priest appeared thrice already in a list of 25. Now counting this one, in the list of 50 great rock/metal cover songs, the Metal Gods race ahead of everyone else being mentioned four times for their memorable performances.
32. Battle Beast’s cover of WASP’s “Wild Child”
To begin with, I am a great fan of the WASP original. So much so that it continues being my ringtone for well over a decade. Now when I listened to this cover, I was dazed and amazed. Yes, I overall prefer the original for the attitude and atmosphere ie. the ideal pace and tone of the intro (you can play it fast, you can pump in more power, you can add more to the instrumentation but you can’t outshine the WASP intro as it’s just perfect for this song) , the somewhat tranquil build-up of Blackie’s voice to finally attain the Wild Child’s ferocity (imagine a confident badass keeping it calm yet firm only to explode like “The Raging Storm”, that’s the right impact!) , the stray, feral cries further adding to the wild-quotient. However the way this cover ends with those tremendous soaring vocals deserves a round of applause. I have always been awed by the aggressive, raw vocals of Blackie Lawless. And here Battle Beast’s Noora Louhimo’s mighty pipes impressed me greatly. A wild tribute, yes indeed!
33. Kalmah’s cover of Carcass’s “This Mortal Coil”
Kalmah adds an extra layer of melody to this apparently Iron Maiden and Death influenced Carcass tune. I personally prefer the more aggressive original but this cover by the Finnish melodic-death metal band does not disappoint either with the expected, harmonious outcome serving a particular mood well enough. Good cover of a great Carcass song.
34. Revocation’s cover of Death’s “Pull The Plug”
They are neither the only band to cover this one nor this is the only great cover by Revocation. But in this list they are the only band for their ripping work as far as this Death number is concerned. After listening to this Death cover you may want to check out their Morbid Angel and Metallica covers too.
35. Vader’s cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”
Vader have covered Slayer more than once with “Silent Scream” and with “Hell Awaits”. Their “Angel Of Death” is a Thin Lizzy cover by the way, and another fine one, but they make this list with “Raining Blood”. A cover that covers all the necessary ingredients to reign supreme!
36. Lemmy Kilmister’s cover of Black Flag’s “Thirsty And Miserable”
Metal God Rob Halford nailed it: “That voice (of Lemmy) is the voice of Rock N Roll”. The distinctive gritty, raspy vocals have inspired legions of metal-heads for decades. Lemmy Kilmister and his “That’s the way I like it baby” way of life come together as a highly significant part of rock-metal culture. When you think of this song, you feel this cover was just meant to be. I can even imagine the legendary bad ass with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels when I play it.
37. Sleep’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Snowblind”
Didn’t turn blind, was more like dumb. Dumb-founded by this cover. At some parts it’s kind of hard to believe it’s not the young Ozzy singing here. I like it when artists put their own creativity (need not be musical always) while covering songs, instead of following the original blindly. Like I specifically mentioned Chuck’s opening scream in the first part while discussing Death’s Judas Priest cover of “Painkiller”. Here that opening snort takes the coke.
38. 1349’s cover of Mayhem’s “Buried By Time And Dust”
Frost’s insane drumming is the very highlight of this highly intense cover. Some may exclaim “Better than the original!”, some may disagree. But what I hope every Black Metal fan would agree with, is the well-deserved recognition of this performance particularly in discussions on great metal covers.
39. Blind Guardian’s cover of Dio’s “Don’t Talk To Strangers”
I bet Hansi Kürsch always longed to do this. He sounds that well prepared! The priceless musical contribution of Ronnie James Dio has vastly inspired several Power metal bands. Here Blind Guardian pays a fantastic tribute to the titan-guardian of many metal artists who still learn from the amazing work left behind by the forever radiant Neon Knight.
40. Strapping Young Lad’s cover of Judas Priest’s “Exciter”
Devin Townsend’s abilities are often over looked. This Judas Priest cover is a reminder of what he is capable of. How well he is capable of. Just blast this exciting cover and you will find yourself all strapped to it.
41. Behemoth’s cover of Mayhem’s “Deathcrush”
After Vader, the second and final band from Poland to make the list. This one also marks the second and final Mayhem cover here. Like Vader, Behemoth covered Mayhem with “Freezing Moon” as well (I personally like Vader’s tribute version more). Now this song takes us back to the daunting Behemoth of the early 90’s (album: … From The Pagan Vastlands). Nergel’s hell-raising and hell-crushing voice makes it all the more superior. All the more raw. Hailed by both Behemoth and Mayhem fans alike.
42. Gotthard’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”
The competent Swiss hard-rockers did a reasonably impressive “Immigrant Song” cover. Quite possibly this Led Zeppelin classic sows the very seed of Viking Metal and Gotthard bows before the masters gracefully with this gratifying enough tribute.
43. Susperia’s cover of Death’s “Lack Of Comprehension”
The second and last Death cover in the list. This time Susperia emerges from Norway and finds a place comprehensibly with “Lack Of Comprehension”. German metallers Obscura deserves an honorary mention as well for their own praiseworthy cover of the song (they did an even better job with “The Flesh and The Power It Holds”). While I like the vocals of both Athera and Kummerer, the apt intro, the solo maintaining the feel of the song without trying too hard to stand out and slightly better sounding drums with bit more crumbling impact earns Susperia my vote.
44. Marduk’s cover of Celtic Frost’s “Into The Crypts Of Rays”
A fitting tribute to the Swiss extreme metal act Celtic Frost (once known as the mighty Hellhammer) by the Swedish Black Metal force. Marduk totally lives up to their reputation with this brutal rendition honoring the colossal trail-blazers. For more Celtic Frost covers you may want to check out the album Order Of The Tyrants (look out for Dimmu Borgir’s Nocturnal Fear), among other tribute albums (In Memory Of Celtic Frost, Morbid Tales).
45. Testament’s cover of Queen’s “Dragon Attack”
I love this Queen song for the tasty bass of John Deacon mainly. When I found this cover in Testament’s smashing Dark Roots Of Earth album I was astonished. I never imagined “Dragon Attack” to sound like this. Chuck Billy is the ferocious dragon here and his powerful flaming voice does incinerate. Their rendition is merry yet heavy. Gene Hoglan’s solid drums, Greg Christian’s tight bass and Alex Skolnick’s slick solo all make this cover an absolute pleasure!
46. Pantera’s cover of Poison Idea’s “The Badge”
Angry tough guy Phil Anselmo takes on the responsibility to voice Poison Idea’s indignation and Pantera’s vehement music is the spitfire’s protest resulting in massive impact. Given the musical direction Pantera adopted in the 90s, this cover now seems inevitable, and apposite.
47. Quiet Riot’s cover of Slade’s ”Cum On Feel The Noize”
Quiet Riot covering Slade. Quite naturally their ”Mama Weer All Crazy Now” cover was another contender. But this one from the famous Metal Health album finds a place here. It’s funny when you think how much reluctant both Kevin DuBrow and Frankie Banali were to do this cover as they never really liked this song. So much so that they intended to cover it as poorly as possible to get it rejected. So it was never a tribute to Slade, rather an obligation under label pressure. Still the cover ranked #5 in “US Billboard Hot 100” while the album Metal Health hit #1 spot of “U.S. Billboard 200”. Well something must have gone right. May be you can listen and pin point what exactly it was.
48. Dimmu Borgir’s cover of Twisted Sister’s “Burn In Hell”
While their Bathory cover of“Satan My Master” is nothing short of swell, this Twisted Sister cover is even better and splendid from start to finish. Another one of those magnificent covers which I seem to enjoy more than the original. I wish this one was there in the Twisted Forever tribute album instead of The Step Kings’ version (the first few moments of which, somehow, reminds me of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”).
49. Marilyn Manson’c cover of The Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”
Everyone knows the classic by The Eurythmics unless he has been living under a rock. And Marilyn Manson takes the timeless tune and does his thing just fine with it. The guitar makes you feel like you are running hopelessly through an ominous maze being chased by something eerie. Totally dig the transformation of “Sweet Dreams” into a nightmarish feel. He shocks you. He rocks you. His uncanny presence seems to linger even after the music has died down for quite some time.
50. Nirvana’s cover of Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz”
And with this song we come to the end of our list. This Shocking Blue cover by Nirvana is much more imposing than their David Bowie cover (“The Man Who Sold The World”). While a vast majority of fans tend to highlight only how great the grunge rebel Kurt Cobain was every time a Nirvana song is discussed and sometimes Dave Grohl’s behind the drum-kit works get rightly appreciated and admired, I hope for this one at least the trippy-as-dope bass of Krist Novoselic would find adequate accolades.
Of course there are dozens more fantastic covers that have been recorded with more coming out every day. Who knows, there may soon be a Part III. In the mean time, sound off below with cover versions you think should be on this list.