** When it comes to cover songs, most are spirited, if terrible renditions of the original. Whether it’s the performance, the vibe, or the band doesn’t have the right set of notes, something is usually off. Most times, way off. Well, I’ve picked five covers (there are more, trust me) that are executed with the proper amount of denim, leather, Satan, and spikes. Again, there are more, but these five hold a special place my dark little heart and warped mind. Let’s rage!
5. God Dethroned – Evil Dead
Dutch death metallers God Dethroned are no strangers to the works of Chuck Schuldiner and company. For the group’s fourth album, mainman Henri Sattler devised a devious cover of Death’s “Evil Dead”. The original is untouchable. Let’s get that out of the way first. It’s a legendary cut from Death’s halcyon days. But God Dethroned’s cover rips, too. God Dethroned capture Death’s savage qualities while also speeding up the tempo with a slight blastbeat. When God Dethroned go into the chorus it’s something out of death metal dream. One wonders what might’ve happened had Chuck implemented blastbeats into Death. Then again, we like Death the way they are (or were). Still, give this hair-raising, bone-crushing cover a listen. Turn it up!
4. At the Gates – “Captor of Sin”
(Early) Slayer and AT the Gates. This is a can’t-go-wrong combination. At the Gates were influenced highly by the California natives/thrash gods, and it shows on this cover of “Captor of Sin”. Like Slayer, the Swedes rip through this ’80s thrash classic like it’s the last song they’ll ever play. The conviction on display is unparalleled, as if At the Gates had written this song themselves. Maybe between With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness and Terminal Spirit Disease, then the Alf-isms were in the process of exorcism. Rage this Slayer cover by doing it right: only 11 is real!
3. Dissection – Elizabeth Bathory
Back in the ’90s many first-timers to Dissection’s untouchable blackened death thought (without a doubt) “Elizabeth Bathory” was a Jon Nödtveidt original. Well, it wasn’t. Dissection seamlessly integrated the Tormentor cover into Storm of the Light’s Bane as if it was their own. Spiritually, it probably was in Jon’s dark heart, but the original dates back to Tormentor’s 1989 Anno Domini demo. There are few covers as potent, viable, and expressive. If you’re true, you have the cover on the shaped CD EP, Where Dead Angels Lie. Plus, that includes a list-worthy cover of Slayer’s “Antichrist”. Seek it out on eBay.
2. Sepultura – “Orgasmatron”
Sepultura in 1991 was un-fucking-touchable. They were thrash’s new prince. When the single “Dead Embryonic Cells” hit (record stores and radio — remember these relics?), it was all over for most bands vying for a similar spot below the Big Four, though Sepultura were always better, in my opinion, than Anthrax, who issued time and again uneven (and even silly) albums. Anyway, the B-Side to Dead Embryonic Cells was a Motörhead cover for “Orgasmatron”. Hearing Sepultura cover Motörhead was a cool moment, but also hearing Sepultura slow down the tempo, hit a massive groove was altogether precient. Did this lead to Roots? Who knows?! There are thousands of Motörhead covers. Few are as powerful, inspirational, and amazing as Sepultura’s treatment of “Orgasmatron”.
1. Slayer – “Dissident Aggressor”
What is there to say? Slayer covering Judas Priest. Truth be told, most didn’t know “Dissident Aggressor” was a cut off of Judas Priest’s classic Sin After Sin. Well, in my circle of friends they didn’t. We were skateboarding thrashoholics and Judas Priest (by 1988) weren’t the coolest band on the planet; though Screaming for Vengeance was played at high volumes on the regular in a certain friend’s basement bedroom. What makes the Slayer cover so real is that it’s not too different from the original. Sure, Araya’s tortured wails and screams set the two apart, but the feel was there. The war-themed lyrics for this obscuro track was also perfect for South of Heaven. Play “Dissident Aggressor” on repeat to tear your soul apart.
** Now, that I’ve posted my five favorite covers. What are yours?