Everyone knows that once music gets a hold of your soul, it never lets go. In some instances, once you settle into your skin, things get a bit distant from one another: yesterday you were on the Backstreet Boys, now you’re on Darkthrone. But every once in a while, these separate and wildly different worlds come together, and metal bands covering songs one would place well outside their comfort zone.
This is a list of some of those covers that excel at doing both what the band does best, and do the originals justice… in some shape or form. So here, for your entertainment, a gallery of mutations:
Children of Bodom – Oops! I Did It Again (Britney Spears Cover)
One of metal’s cornerstone pop covers is this rendition of the Britney Spears hit. This was obviously done for the humor of it, and the approach is fittingly light-hearted. Plus, there is a magnificent solo involved, and the way the song is conveyed makes you want to hear more songs like this from the Bodom boys… or, maybe not, but what’s clear is that this rendition is hugely entertaining.
Graveworm – Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover)
You have to hand it to Graveworm for taking one of the most annoyingly persistent songs and giving it their own flair, complete with riveting double bass work, tremolo picking and raspy growls. An improvement beyond the telling of it, it takes the sad, borderline sappy atmosphere and transforms it into pure graveyard sorrow, not by covering the song, but by doing both it and themselves justice.
Machinae Supremacy – Gimme More SID (Britney Spears Cover)
Machinae Supremacy are no strangers to pop covers. Over the years, they’ve covered songs by Lady Gaga, Mel C and Bomfunk MC’s. What makes Gimme More SID different is that it was featured in their 2008 release, Overworld. Replacing ad-libs with Japanese praises of the band, with a blazing solo and full-on danceabilty, this one takes the cake because it keeps a hard-knocks attitude even when doing a dance hit, and the chorus has that brief SID burst that frames it quite nicely.
Firewind – Maniac (Hall & Oates Cover)
How would you like to insert some high-energy, keyboard-laden metal into Flashdance? Firewind has heard your cries and delivered. It’s rather straightforward, with the requisite blazing solo of course, and aims to capture the original rather than to deliver a rendition of it that’s far outside what the song used to be. Firewind keep the original feel while injecting a healthy dose of metal onto it, so break out legwarmers, put this on, and get ready to dance.
To/Die/For – In the Heat of the Night (Sandra Cover)
This gets ahead of the other covers they have done (including a very nice rendition of the Pet Shop Boys’ “It’s A Sin”) because it was released as, in true pop fashion, a single. Had a music video and everything. Thing is, if it was desolation they were going for, they hit their mark. This version is cold, lonely and desperate – better suited to a random, one-night encounter than the disintegration of love itself, but doubly detached and isolated. In short, parting is such sweet sorrow.
HIM – Wicked Game (Chris Isaak Cover – Razorblade Romance version)
Some argue that this cover song was what made HIM’s name in the music community first, before Gone with the Sin or Join Me. Debatable, but what is clear is that this rendition was wildly popular. Also, the band did not one, but two covers of the song, so once in their debut and once again in the monumental Razorblade Romance, you can hear how the world is going to break your heart.
Lacuna Coil – Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode Cover)
Actually, this song is one of the go-to tunes for a cover rendition, mostly because it just works. All you need is to stick to template. However, this rendition takes the cake because it marks pretty much the only instance since Comalies that Lacuna Coil delivers a cut very much in line with their sound of a bygone era. The duet style chorus is to die for.
Turisas – Rasputin (Boney M Cover)
Oh, what? You think there can be no improvement on Boney M’s classic tune about the world’s biggest mystery, the extremely well-endowed mujik, the secucer of czarinas, the one and only Rasputin? That may be the case, which won’t stop Turisas from giving the song a once-over with danceable, violin-laden, fist-into-the-air results. Both faithful to the original and filled with flair, this one is comparable to the classic in all the best ways.
Limp Bizkit – Faith (George Michael Cover)
While we can certainly question whether or not Limp Bizkit actually belongs on a metal list, what we cannot question is the fact that this cover is fun with a capital F. Taking the George Michael classic and then turning it into an unrestrained burst of crunchy guitars, and turning the chorus into Fred Durst screaming that he’s gotta have faith, all leading up to a conclusion that is just hilarious, perhaps unintentionally, which makes it even funnier. Are you not entertained?
A Perfect Circle – Imagine (John Lennon Cover)
Leave it to A Perfect Circle to take a song that conveys hope, appeals to the better nature of humanity, urging them to imagine and so make possible a better world, all things bright and beautiful, and turn it into a suicidally depressive, tense, nigh-apocalyptic hellscape of a song that features very little in terms of instrumentation (just like the original) and is made even more hellish by it. This cover, though not metal by any stretch of the imagination, is here because it represents the spirit of metal, and because it’s just one massive downer of a song, man.