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GD's Top 10 Best Metal Covers Of Non-Metal Songs

29/03/10  ||  Global Domination

Introduction by Daemonomania: Yes, this is another Top Ten list from the hardworking and quite attractive GD staff. Yes, your favorite band/song is nowhere in sight. Yes, you can tell us just that on our forums. And yes, we will immediately, bestially mock your weak opinions. See you there!

This list represents a rare ceasefire in the eternal battle of metal vs. everything else. On one side you have the greatest, most intelligent and socially responsible music ever. On the other, mostly shit. But metal is kind enough to step down from its lofty pedestal and grant non-metal a bit of legitimacy. Witness the ten cover songs below – each can be viewed as a kind gesture by our favorite genre to fix up some horrifically executed tune without blastbeats and growls. You can thank us later.

Napalm Death: 10. Napalm Death: “Nazi punks fuck off” (Dead Kennedys cover)

In 1981, when Jello and the boys found out that among their fans there was a nascent wave of fascists and neo-Nazis, decided to take a stand and show these guys their unhappiness about this fact. So, they wrote and recorded this little song, which clearly displays their sentiments about the case. Surprisingly, the song was recorded by none other that Martin Hannet, the guy who recorded Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer” and the band found it overproduced… (here’s a “less overproduced” version of the song, with Jello explaining some shit).

Anyway, 12 years later, one little band from England, some Napalm Death, who harbored the exact same feelings towards neo-Nazis, felt that it was time to renew this eloquently-put thesis towards a certain type of human beings. Now, since these Napalm Deathers play grindcore, it is logical for anyone to deduce that they would give the tune the extreme makeover. Well, they DON’T! Seeing as the song is pretty brief, all the do is add a bit more a’ noise, Barney growls – while Jello just shouts – and the whole thing sounds as cute as a rabid pit-bull. It’s a deserving cover of a historic song and it’s just as it should be. And you should love it. Unless you’re a Nazi punk. You ain’t, are you?…


Xentrix: Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr. cover 9. Xentrix: Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr. cover)

If that song sounds strange
from your VHS
Who ya gonna call?
Fucken Xentrix

If the synthie’s weird
and it don’t sound good
Who ya gonna call?
Fucken Xentrix

An invisible man
singing kinda gay
Who ya gonna call?
Fucken Xentrix

Thrashin’ catchy eighties soundtracks up makes me fucken feel good! And in case you’re wondering: No, they ain’t afraid of no ghosts.


Type O Negative: Cinnamon girl (Neil Young cover 8. Type O Negative: Cinnamon girl (Neil Young cover)

I sometimes sit and wonder how long it took the Type O fellows to get this cover done. Neil Young is one to be oft covered, as he’s been around long enough and wrote so many damn songs someone’s grown up with. Neil Young has his deserved hits and classics whether or not you like this Canadian that thinks he’s a “Southern man”. “Cinnamon girl” is one of his better songs, to me, and I think Type O scored the big one with their version.

The original, dating back to 1969, is extremely simple and upbeat, and in a weird way so is Type O’s. The guys in Type O, however, add in a little bit of embellishment when it comes to the instrumental pieces like with the guitar and bass. The added drums and keyboards at the beginning work so well it’s not even funny — and there were no keyboards in Young’s song. The one thing that’s been taken away from the original is the harmonized vocals, which frankly is quite fine, but there’s that bit of me that wishes Peter and Josh sang in harmony. Maybe they did and it sounded like shit, or they just didn’t want to even attempt to emulate Neil Young so exactly. And that is fucken fine by me. Original covers are almost always better than a carbon copy. If I didn’t know Neil Young created this song, I’d have been none the wiser and figured Type O crafted one fine damn tune.

The best thing about this recording: it’s on Type O’s best record ever, and fits it like a muthafucken glove. Seriously, I love the original and this cover is nothing but an improvement. It’s one of my favorite covers I’ve ever heard.


Children Of Bodom: ...Oops, I did it again (Britney Spears cover 7. Children Of Bodom: …Oops, I did it again (Britney Spears cover)

If ever there was a cover song that was the living definition of “taking the piss”, this is it; although Finnish guitar-wankers Children Of Bodom had already jumped the shark with their own music by the time they recorded this, at least they were still good for a fucken hilarious cover of a sugary pop hit. Take out the ultra-plastic, Nerf-soft music of the original, as well as Brit’s incessantly-annoying cooing, replace it with some solos and Alexi Laiho’s angry-dog yipping, and tauntingly retain a Britney sound-alike to make it sound closer to the original just for the fuck of it, and you have Children Of Bodom’s “…Oops, I Did It Again”. Seriously, this cover’s a fucken blast to listen to, so just go do it already!


Voivod: Astronomy domine (Pink Floyd cover 6. Voivod: Astronomy domine (Pink Floyd cover)

If one hasn’t heard the original, one’s a broom. “Astronomy Domine” is one of the best psychedelispaceacid ditties that early Floyd composed and it’s one scary motherfucker (how the fuck Syd Barret plays his guitar? He whacks it, or something?…). Barret was at the peak of his creative period –a few months later, helped by LSD, he would sadly lapse into psychosis…- and the band was trying shit that were great and original and mind-altering and the song, even though much more “normal” that the other Pink Floyd material of the time, is majestic, scary, imposing and progressive at the same time.

It seems like natural selection for Voivod to cover this particular song: already deep into prog experimentation, these left-brained Canuck thrashers went the deep end with 1989’s “Nothingface” record –which contains the song- and took their chances into covering one of the best ‘60s songs. They don’t change it much, but add more crunch to it, more ominous guitarwork, more nasty vocals (even the harmonies sound threatening) and a dash of metal-informed dementia to an already manic and mania-inducing song. It’s a cover that respects the original, while showing that Voivod makes it their own (Here’s the cover and here’s the original).


In Flames: Everything counts (Depeche Mode 5. In Flames: Everything counts (Depeche Mode)

A few of the cover songs on our humble list here actually had good original versions, but not so with this one; just listen to Depeche Mode’s version of “Everything counts”, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Their version is pretty much the definition of dated, gratingly fluffy, 80’s synth pop, and I think I just grew a fucken vagina from hearing their sugary, silly-ass, preschool-tailored version! A dose of some old school In Flames was just what the doctor ordered in this case, since they did away with all the xylophone/flute/Fisher-Price synthesizer crap of the original, and replaced it with a faster tempo, catchy, crunchy, vintage melo death riffing, semi-growling from Anders Fridén, and a much more aggressive, energetic chorus, rendering this version basically unrecognizable when put next to the original, which is a very, very, VERY good thing. So, enjoy this tasty little surprise that In Flames gave to us, and be thankful for being able to retain your manhood as you do so.


Anthrax: Got the time (Joe Jackson cover 4. Anthrax: Got the time (Joe Jackson cover)

Stick a fork in Anthrax, they’re done. They have not released anything worth listening to since “Sound of White Noise”. Still, before they shit themselves off the pot the ‘Thrax did put out some quality, genre-defining even, thrash classics. In 1990 they decided to really mix things up and cover a track by English singer Joe Jackson on the “Persistence of Time” album. While not the most technical or intense Anthrax song ever, “Got the time” earns a spot on this prestigious list by sounding 100% unique and original, especially in the guitar department. Before he became a 21st Century Max Hedrom, spouting out useless pop knowledge on 25,000 different VH1 clip shows Scott Ian could play a solid 2nd fiddle and his surf/thrash riffs on “Got the time” are excellent.

Anthrax truly made Jackson’s song their own. It’s pretty fucken catchy too and is always a hit in concert. Fuck, how many people really know this is even a cover song? While each track on this list is originally non-metallic few (except for the Britney Spears piece of shit… er I mean cover) cross as long a distance as “Got the time”. A great, memorable song completely different yet still connected to the original: at least Anthrax got a few things right. Now, let’s talk about the rapping…


Metallica: Whiskey in the jar (Thin Lizzy cover 3. Metallica: Whiskey in the jar (Thin Lizzy cover)

If your ears are way too keen on modern shyte, you might find it hard digesting the original Thin Lizzy recorded back in the stone age (uh, the 70s). However, there are indeed a pitiful few—alright, fuck it, this is one of a kind in all metaldom—songs in our music universe that so artfully blend ripping guitars with Irish folk crap. While Blackmore’s Night comes rather close, those cosplay Renaissance bards aren’t Irish and more importantly, “Whiskey In the Jar” is no fucken way comparable to Blackmore’s Night. Its balls are too huge. Excuse us, Richie.

Just listen to the muthafucken lyrics. What’s it about? A highwayman. He robs some dude at gunpoint/rapierpoint, then gets double crossed by his dame and rots away in jail, dreaming of unholy vengeance. Now how’s that for tr00 crime circa uh, 17th century Ireland? Jaysus-Joseph-and-doggie-style-Mary.

However, the “Whiskey In the Jar” at hand is a 1998 redux by Metallica featured in their immense two-volume covers orgasm “Garage Inc.” Released a year after the ‘Talliboys finished unloading their Load albums and followed by the torturous run up to that epic masterpiece, St. Anger, “Garage Inc.” is a mighty fine collection of previous covers, new covers, and strange rarities. (If HailandKill remembers correctly there’s a country ballad included.) But foremost among its excellent cuts, since it is very much an excellent covers album, is this glorious rendition of “Whiskey In the Jar”.

Now blessed by latter-day production, the 90’s Metallica treatment of hella fat guitars, James’ impressionable voice (he sounds grrrrrreeaaat!), and a glittering solo from Kirk that more than pays homage to the original; “Whiskey In the Jar” gets dusted off and grows back its chest hair. Wicked, majestic, soaring, whimsical, passionate. You just wish so fucken hard these same qualities carried over to the Metallica studio albums that followed. Well fuck no.

Here’s one last ‘fuck’ word for the fucken road. Aye.


Volbeat: I only wanna be with you (Dusty Springfield cover 2. Volbeat: I only wanna be with you (Dusty Springfield cover)

I fucking hate how steeply Volbeat dropped off their tower of quality with their third release. Goddamn, what a snoozefest. However, before that were two albums de quality excellento. “The strength/the sound/the songs” was the first of the two, and contained this awesome piece of revamped classic rock and roll.

The fun thing is, what it started off as was hardly rock and roll to begin with. Dusty Springfield wasn’t known for going down Elvis lane, and I don’t mean eating herself to death. It was a light little pop song, but in the hands of Volbeat, the butterfly got a big-ass motorcycle under its butt and a handful of shoeshine in its hair. The light, cheerful feeling of the original has been retained, but with the increased pace, Poulsen’s fucking fantastic Elvis-ish voice and the massive wall of guitars, this song has improved about twelve fucking kazillion times after its make-over.

Another small factor contributing to its quality is the fact that it’s actually been made with respect for the original artist. Many pop-to-metal covers take the piss out of the original artist (and let’s be honest, cunts like Britney deserve to be ridiculed, though they make it too damn easy) but Dusty deserves more credit than that in my opinion. Volbeat’s version is just shittons more fun to listen to, but they get bonus points for accomplishing this without going for a cheap gag like some artists (coughCOBcough).


Motörhead: Louie Louie (The Kingsmen cover 1. Motörhead: Louie Louie (The Kingsmen cover)

Never in the history of music has there been a more perfect pairing than the Kingsman’s “Louie Louie” and Motörhead. Why do you ask? Because no one can understand a fucking thing that is said in that song besides the title words and no one can understand a fucking thing iconic Motörhead frontman Lemmy says… ever. I don’t know what brand of Columbian pixie dust Lemmy was putting up his nose in the late 70’s when Motörhead recorded this gem, but I want some. Fuck, there is probably enough residue left on his mole to getting a little zinked. Sadly, I’ve danced with the white lady on worse mediums. White line fever is a hell of a disease…

“Louie louie” is surprisingly toned down for Motörhead and I think you can actually make out more of the words in their version! Honestly, I think we picked this more on novelty that the incredible badassness of the song itself. Either way, it’s a winner. It’s catchy and distinctly Motörhead.If you have ever been blessed enough to see Motörhead live you know Lemmy usually (if he’s sober enough) starts off with “we are Motörhead, and we play rock and roll!!!”. Classic rock and roll this cover surely is… as Yoda would say.

For over thirty years Motörhead has stayed true to their blues and rock roots and nothing represents this better than “Louie Louie”: a stripped down, no frills cover of an early (but goofy) rock hit. Since everyone and their whore mother has covered Motörhead over the years, and none have done better than the original, NONE!!! (You hear me Smalls, this is your pet-peeve fanboy list anyway!), it is only fitting that Lemmy and Co. take top honors here. Oh baby, we gotta go…