It’s been busy times for Detroit’s Child Bite. The band has been writing new songs in anticipation of hitting the studio with Philip H. Anselmo down in NOLA later this year. Then there’s the fact that the group will appear on the upcoming musical “supplement” to the Morbid Tales! An Illustrated Tribute to Celtic Frost comic (which features our very own brilliant Bruno Guerreiro) with their take on “The Usurper”, featuring none other than their soon-to-be producer on vocals. While you can pick up the tribute album from Corpse Flower Records this Spring, Shawn Knight managed to escape from writing and demoing to tell us about some of his favorite covers. We’ll let the vocalist take it from here. “I was a 12 year old boy when the 1990s rolled around, the perfect age to begin my descent into punk, hardcore and metal. I wasn’t lucky enough to have parents schooling me on Sabbath and Zeppelin–the soundtrack to the house I grew up in was mostly smooth jazz (fuck you, Sade).
I first learned about the classic hardcore bands from my friend’s siblings since all of my friends were just as in the dark as I was. I remember receiving a Dead Kennedys/Circle Jerks mixtape from a buddy’s older sister (for years I thought all of the songs belonged to one band). A different friend’s older brother gave me my first Misfits 7″ and schooled me on the various incarnations of Black Flag.
My introduction to metal came from much more commercial sources, particularly MTV. Riki Rachtman had just joined Headbanger’s Ball, which I watched religiously. Metallica’s Black Album was huge and ended up being my first CD purchase (I didn’t even own a CD player but my dad had one. I would dub my CDs to cassette so I could listen to them on my Walkmen when taking the bus to school).
I joined the Columbia House CD club (remember that scam?) and would order new releases based on if the band name sounded familiar or if the album cover looked cool. I started with the Big Four and worked my way deeper from there.
So even though siblings of friends introduced me to Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys, I have some of the biggest names in metal to thank for exposing me to the lesser known players in the genre. I used to think of cover songs as filler, but now I realize they’re not only a way to pay tribute to your heroes but to educate a younger generation about bands that they might not stumble across otherwise.
Without further ado, here are some of the best underground hardcore/crust/punk bands that the biggest names in metal introduced me to in the ’90s:”
Anthrax’s “Protest and Survive” (from 1991’s Attack Of The Killer B’s/originally by Discharge)
The first Anthrax record I checked out was Attack of the Killer B’s, probably due to the fact that “Bring The Noise” was on it and was a huge hit at the time. I’m not much of an Anthrax fan (I’m more of a S.O.D. guy), so it’s no wonder I always liked this song more than the rest–it wasn’t their track and it had Scott Ian on vocals instead of Joey Belladonna.
Metallica’s “So What?” (b-side to 1993’s “Sad But True” single/1999’s Garage Inc./originally by Anti-Nowhere League)
Metallica has always done a great job repping lesser known bands, starting with Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?” and then of course with the classic Garage Days Re-Revisited EP. “So What?” was the b-side on the “Sad But True” cassingle and featured some of the most depraved lyrics my young ears had ever heard (besides GWAR). Ironically, the original version was first released as a single b-side as well.
Nailbomb’s “Exploitation” (from 1994’s Point Blank/originally by Doom)
By the mid-’90s, I was a big Sepultura fan, so of course I quickly snatched up Max Cavalera’s new side project. This was a time of electronic experimentation for many extreme metallers (see also Meathook Seed’s debut album!) and Max’s collaboration with Alex Newport is an excellent example of said experimentation done correctly.
Pantera’s “The Badge” (from 1994’s The Crow OST/originally by Poison Idea)
The ’90s were also a time of awesome soundtracks and compilations. Along with Judgment Night and that Beavis & Butthead comp, I remember The Crow soundtrack standing out. As with Nine Inc Nails and Rollins Band, Pantera also contributed a cover song. Their version of “The Badge” stays true to the original, all the way down to the Taxi Driver movie samples.
Slayer’s “Disintegration/Free Money” (from 1996’s Undisputed Attitude/originally by Verbal Abuse)
I always thought it was awesome that Jeff Hanneman had a Dead Kennedys sticker displayed prominently on his guitar. Upon seeing that, I could hear the connection between his tremolo picking and that of East Bay Ray, which helped me blur the lines between extreme metal and punk (and surf, for that matter). Slayer has a history of recording hardcore covers that includes a trilogy of The Exploited songs (featuring Ice-T!), but the five Verbal Abuse covers on Undisputed Attitude are an even more underground tribute to the genre that inspired them to play fast.
1983 Original Pt.1:
1983 Original Pt.2:
**For past Decibrity entries, click here