Friday, November 27, 2015

Thoughts from a metal mind: Why you should never do a cover album

Covers is one of the most useless things that exists in the music universe. Bands and artists may say that they cover a certain song because this band inspired them to become who they are today, or because they think they can make it better. I call bs on that. As I see it, cover tracks are just an excuse to fill out empty space in a record when you are completely out of ideas. And it does not get better when you decide to make a full album of covers. Several huge artists, like Metallica, Children of Bodom, and HammerFall, have released a cover album, probably just to make extra cash. How can someone be this stupid?

The thing that bothers me with covers is that unless you transform the song from one genre to a completely different one, it is bound to fail. Often when a metal band covers another metal band, it sounds more of a lazy copy of the original. I am a firm believer of bands that decides to do a cover of a song, and transform it to something one could easily see in their own discography.

Unfortunately, when you do a whole album of covers, bands tend to cut a lot of corners, and put in the classic copy-paste method instead. Up to this date, I have not found one cover album I have fully liked. The best one I have listened to is the tribute album to Ronnie James Dio that was released a year ago, but that was a whole bunch of bands involved, not one single band, so I count this as a tribute album instead of a pure cover album.

The newest guy who has done this stupidity is Glenn Danzig. Today he released "Skeletons", a album filled with cover of songs by Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Aerosmith, and even Elvis Presley. I took a quick listen to the cover of "N.I.B.", then I stopped, and turned off Spotify. It was that awful. It sounded so sloppy that it feels like Danzig was doing a tax report while recording this. I gathered my courage, and gave the other songs a fighting chance, but to no avail, they were no good. I got a lot of respect for what Danzig has done (both in the Misfits years, and the Danzig years), but this is below his dignity. Also, if you wonder what kind of a rating I would give this album, I can say that it would be below 4, but I will not give a exact rating since I do not rate cover albums.

Ultimately, it is better to put your effort into making new music instead of looking back to the past, and try to fix something that is not broken. Find other ways to honour your favourite bands, like wearing a T-shirt from them when you play live. Do not waste time and money on something that has a 99% chance of being ridiculed and hated. That is my advice bands, take it or leave it.

Some good covers

Disturbed - Land of Confusion (Genesis)

Without a doubt the most famous cover made by a metal band, and there is no question to why this is so. Disturbed did a great job in transforming this classic 80's rock song (whom does have one of the best music videos ever made) into a modern Disturbed track with metal riffs, Ten Thousand Fists mentality, and some rah-ah-ah.

Machine Head - The Sentinel (Judas Priest)

When I first heard this song on "Unto The Locust", I had no idea that Judas Priest was the original writers of this fantastic song. The songs are quite similar, but Machine Head does put their own, modern touch to it, making it one of the highlights on one of their best albums up to date.

Megadeth - These Boots (Nancy Sinatra)

Okay, sound wise, it may not be too pleasing, but it is a fun cover from the band's first album, "Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!". The fact that the original writers took offense to this cover and threatened to sue Megadeth for the altered lyrics is just hilarious.

Metallica - Mercyful Fate medley

This is how you pay tribute to a fellow band! This medley features some of the most classic Mercyful fate songs, and bakes it all in to a meaty 11 minute extravaganza. Hearing "Into The Coven", "Evil", "Satan's Fall", "Curse of The Pharaohs", and "A Corpse Without A Soul" all together is just metal candy for your ears. Metallica tried to recreate the magic in a Dio tribute record, and while it was good, it did not match this one.

And some bad ones...

Anthrax - Got The Time (Joe Jackson)

Somehow, this cover has had a steady spot in the band's set list (together with Trust's "Antisocial") ever since it was released. It sounds decent, but when you listen to the original, you will soon realize that all Anthrax did was to add some heavier guitars.

Five Finger Death Punch - Bad Company (Bad Company)

I actually think this cover is not THAT bad, but compared to the original, it is not very good. But what I hate most about it is that about 80% (or possibly more, I am no statistician) of the FFDP fan base thinks that this is a original song, and that Bad Company made a cover of it. Sure, that fan base probably has a average age of 16, so how should they know, but it is still dumb, nonetheless.

Avenged Sevenfold - Walk (Pantera)

Ctrl+c and ctrl+v from start to finish, not a worthy tribute to one of the most influential bands of all time

Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes (The Who)

It disgusts me that these metal wannabes got some of their biggest success from this very cover. I can still hear this song on the radio from time to time, which just sickens me. I am thankful that these guys are a non factor in the metal (and rap) community today.

Do you agree with me? Give me your opinions of covers, are they worthless use of space or a chance to honour influences of the band? Also, name some covers that you love or hate. Do it on the comment section below, or do it on twitter (@FATGreviews).

Stay Metal
Robert "Sharkruisher" Andersson

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