overground scene

best cover songs ever

There are two kinds of cover songs. Those that are made by artists who really wished they had written the song themselves, so they stick to the original, and those that are made by people who see an unexploited potential to the song and adjust it to their own style. In the latter case, the song is seen from a different viewpoint. I generally don’t like radical changes. I want to understand which the original song is. But I think I appreciate it when the cover is different from the original and sounds like it could be written by the cover band. Anyway, here we go

1. Spiritual Law – Slayer

The undisputed attitute album by slayer is a goldmine of awesome covers. Even though I absolutely adore all the punk bands that slayer cover and I think that some of the albums included in this cover album are monuments of hardcore, I think that slayer have managed to take these songs to a new level of awesomeness (maybe except ‘Richard hang himself’)! Spiritual law was originally recorded by D.I., one of the best californian punk bands (here’s a video of the original). I have it on their second full-length (horse bites, dog cries) but I think it exists in their first album as well. The way slayer play the break in the middle of the song, is how the break was suppossed to be played. Stunning!

2. Verbal Abuse – Slayer

As I mentioned before, all songs that slayer have covered are awesome. My second favorite is this one, together with Mr. Freeze, by Dr. Know. This song is one of those cases where the original has a shitty production, which eventually destroys the energy of the “composition”. Anyway, I think that slayer really nailed this one! Pure thrash/punk attack. LISTEN TO MEEEEEEEEE!

3. Third Uncle – Μωρά στη Φωτιά

Mora sti fotia is a rock band from Greece. This cover is from their first album, released in 1989. Even though the original by Brian Eno and Bauhaus would be logically extremely difficult to be surpassed, I think this cover actually does. The major asset of Bauhaus, is the voice. Even though the singer of Mora sti fotia has a totally different voice and does not even try to imitate the singer, the result is unique. The song assumes a new form. While the original is pretty static, this one has many alteration, mainly driven by the singer. The ending is astounding.

4. Lowlife – Napalm Death

Just like slayer, when Napalm death get their hands on something they tend to refine it. Cryptic slaughter, to which this song belongs, were apparently GODS and ahead of their time. Their first album, “Convicted”, was by far their best. It would not be a hyperbole to say that most grind-death and grindcore bands of the late 80s and 90s, were just a more distorted-brutal version of cryptic slaughter. The music is the same, the equipment and production are different.

5. Night of the vampire – Entombed

One of the best cover song ever! Pretty close to the haunting  original by Roky Erickson, which is awesome! I have even listened to it live in Athens in 2001!  It owes much to  Petrov’s awesome vocals!  But in general, Entombed have made some of the best covers ever. What about Black Juju by Alice Cooper, or Scottish Hell by the GODS Dead Horse!

6. Xavier – Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is among the few revolutionary bands of the 90s. The ones that are responsible for paradigm shifts! This is a song taken from a magical Dead Can Dance album. Paradise lost are undeniably influenced by DCD and it really makes sense covering this song, which could indeed be writen by paradise lost. Even though I think that without the electronic sounds it would be even better, it is still perfect. Mackintosh’s solo at the end adds an essential paradise lost element which, I think, makes the song complete!

7. Johnny wasStiff Little Fingers

I still have not listened to the original song by Bob Marley. However, knowing how Bob Marley usually sounded I think this should be quite altered. The first SLF album is among my all time favorites. This cover song is among the reasons why I love this album so much. Inside the raw energy and paranoia of the album, this song is an island of calmness and desolation. The ending is compelling.

8. Palisades Park – The Ramones

Originally sung by Freddy Canon, but who am I to know… Satan bless youtube! The Ramones of course are the ultimate gods and have done some of the best covers. This one is my favorite. I simply love it. I love it even better in Loco Live when they play it hellafast.

9. City Slang – Hellacopters

I have put here the original because I could not find a decent video with the Hellacopters. Hellacopters have done some of the best cover songs ever as well. Even though in other covers their personality shines through more, like ‘A house is not a motel’ by Love, or ‘Rescue’ by Dead Moon, this one is my favorite because first of all it introduced me to Sonic’s rendezvous band and secondly, because it is the Best song ever written! Period.

10. Circle of the tyrants – Obituary

This one is an alltime favorite. Obituary cover Celtic Frost and do them justice. The production of  ’emperor’s return’  is pretty shitty in relation to the fantastic production of  ‘morbid tales’. But here,  with Tardy’s monstrous voice and Burns’s monstrous production, this song won its rightful place in the history of death metal. Here’s the original.

11. To France – Blind Guardian

This song has always been among my favorite covers. A non-metal song by, probably, the most important heavy metal band of the 90s  (together with ‘Rage’). The highlight is of course Kursch’s unique vocals. His voice is one of the most beautiful and versatile voices ever, and as far as I’m concerned, no matter what he sings it will probably be better than the original.

12. Drug me – Sepultura

A cover song with a lot to say about the origins of death metal. This is a cover that sticks to the original. The difference is in the speed which is slightly faster and the distortion in guitars and vocals. One of the most pulverising covers ever!!! It reminds us all that both Dead kennedys and Sepultura are GODS!

13. Zero the Hero – Cannibal corpse

Another cover song about the origins of death metal. BLACK SABBATH! Zero the hero has the ultimate heavy riff and wicked atmosphere which later on became ubiquitous in death metal. This version is sick. I love the emphasis in the lead guitar in the beginning! Barnes’s vocals are unfortunately of the “Tomb of the mutilated” period, hence are as gutural as it gets.

14. Forward to death – Nomeansno

Nomeansno in this acappella version of forward to death, not only show they are gods but also a hoot! One of the most crazy, twisted songs off the first dead kennedys album covered by the most crazy punk band ever.


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