Everyone loves bands that play cover songs. Ever since there have been bands, there have been other bands, who come after and cover them live and on record. Not only did some of the greatest rock musicians of all times begin their musical careers by playing someone else’s tunes, many bands have hit it big by playing covers. But the point of a cover song is to either pay tribute and respect to the artist you’re covering while also giving it different interpretation and make it unique. Creativity and thinking outside of the box is what make’s a cover great, and even bring more excitement back to the original song. The case is no different when it comes to heavy metal. Here are 20 of our favorite cover songs, done by heavy metal bands.
“Land of Confusion” by Genesis
Whether you]love or hate this nu metal band, there’s no denying that any band who covers the iconic song ‘Land of Confusion’ by Genesis is worth a listen. Disturbed’s version of the 1986 hit is catchy and reminiscent of the original; vocalist David Draiman actually sounds like how Phil Collins would sound like if he were in a heavy metal band. Disturbed’s cover brings flair and sense of fun, hope and urgency that is sometimes forgotten among heavier bands.
19.Six Feet Under
“TNT” by ACDC
This ACDC classic song is given a new life with a death metal make over. Admittedly, it is kind of silly given the evil cookie monster grunting death metal vocals of throat shredder Chris Barnes. But deep down you gotta give Six Feet Under, and Barnes credit for not giving a fuck what people think and going against the grain with his collection of cover songs, in their album Graveyard Classics, from 2000. If ACDC were a death metal band, you can imagine it might sound like this.
18.Coal Chamber featuring Ozzy
“Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel
Coal Chamber took a darker approach to this classic Pete Gabriel tune from 1982. It as released on the band’s 1999 album, Chamber Music, before they broke up. The musical vibe is slighty heavy and sounds like ’90s nu metal of the time. But the kicker, is Ozy’s truly one of a kind vocals which bring this song all together and make it memorable to listeners.
17.System of a Down
“Riding on the Metro” by Berlin
This LA-based band started out from the underground metal scene in Southern California at the time, and became mega superstars, as they came up in a decade ruled by Ozzfests, and mainstream radio airplay, with the hit album, Toxicity, 2000. This cover is from 1981 and the LA based ’80s New Wave band Berlin. With vocalist Serj Tankian’s talent and unmistakable voice, this song is given a haunting new interpretation that fans of the ’80s hit and fans of hard rock will enjoy.
“Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen
German thrash metal pioneers Sodom created a cover of thee 1963 hit song Surfin’ Bird, by the band Trashmen. This extreme metal version is a fast number guaranteed to induce head banging. This is a humorous speed metal tune, which covered a song made famous by so many musicians including the the Ramones and even Peter Griffin from Family Guy.
15.Cradle of Filth
“Hallowed Be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden
British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth display the perfect way to show the deep impact of classic old school metal’s sound in the extreme metal world, of thrash death and black metal. In this impressive track from 2002, lead singer Dani Filth wails his way through this classic Iron Maiden epic, and the sounds are parallel, with just a bit more evil sounding nuances.
“Nazi Punks Fuck Off” by Dead Kennedys
This fast, angry and pulsating cover of is originally performed by the Dead Kennedys as an overt attack against racists. Napalm Death decided to pay homage to these Bay Area punk legends and take their own stance against Nazis and racists. Fans of the UK grind core band love it, as this song has become a staple of Napalm Death’s live set and rabid fans in the pit always go apeshit.
“Holy Diver” by Dio
This cover immediately jumps out at you with the heaviness and sharp guitar riffs, evoking the original. But adding to its epic proportions, Killswitch Engage do it justice with the powerful and intense vocal performance of former singer Howard Jones, which adds depth and soul, making the song perfect tribute and Eulogy to the fallen, legendary heavy metal singer.
“Orgasmatron” by Motorhead
Check out this cover tribute to one of the loudest bands on the planet by these Brazilian heavy metal masters in 1991. The speed, fury and attitude of the song were captured by the velocity of the drums and range of the guitar riffs. The vocals were more aggressive and harsh than the original version, but the song clearly shows why so many heavy metal bands were influenced by the great Motorhead.
“Message in a Bottle” by The Police
This cover was released in 1999, and is a thunderous version of the classic song by the Police. Rob Flynn and company delivered a song that had rhythm, harmonies melodies and still kept a level of aggressiveness that took talent and creativity to create.
10.Lemmy Kilmister and Wendy O Williams
“Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
Lemmy Kilmister(RIP) was such a talented lyricist, vocalist, bass player and song writer that he wrote many songs, both music and lyrics for some of the greats in hard rock and heavy metal. But, this emotional and intense cover of the classic song by country singer Tammy Wynette along with the late singer Wendy O Williams highlights the talent and musicianship by both singers.
"Pain Killer” by Judas Priest
In this cover tune, a legendary death metal band remakes an iconic early metal band, with so much success and intensity. Using more speed and heaviness, the late guitarist mastermind behind the music of DEATH, Chuck Schuldiner’s talent as a guitarist shies through on this mesmerizing cover of one of Judas Priest’s classic songs.
8.Children of Bodom
"Oops I Did It Again” by Britney Spears
OK so this is an odd one, and COB should get some points for being extra creative and thinking outside of the box. Whether you dig Ms. Spears hit pop song, this is an interesting take on what a cover song means. Truly innovative, even if you’re not a fan.
"Abolish Government” by TSOL
In this cover, Slayer gave fans the perfect way to show how in some ways, ’80s hardcore punk was at least partially responsible for the band’s thrash metal legacy. The fast, anti-authoritarian message and sped up sense of political angst, rage is why Slayer chose to cover this song, and it fits well in both lyrics and music.
"Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors
This is a fun, classic, ripping and demented version of the Doors song. Good old Uncle Al and his band always bring the psychotic mix of industrial mechanical metal, and this interpretation is heavier and a bit darker but just as rocking and soulful as the original. Jim Morrison would be proud at what Ministry produced.
5.Type O Negative
"Summer Breeze” by Seals and Crofts
This beautifully crafted song originally from 1972, is remade by Type O Negative, and has an invigorating and macabre passionate vibe, that Peter Steele’s vampiric vocals truly convey. It is dark, and full of passion, love doom and gloom, everything Type O Negative stood for.
"Cars” by Gary Numan
LA-based industrial metal titans Fear Factory released this cover of the 1979 song by Gary Numan, and got a lot of radio airplay and critical acclaim. The track was the prefect hybrid of machine like synths and sounds from the ’80s and the heavy approach that Fear Factory is known for. This cover was groovy enough to dance to, while still retaining an underlying sense of metallic sounds and wavelengths.
"School’s Out” by Alice Cooper
This cover is a real life example of when shock rock pays tribute to shock rock. From 1972, this classic iconic song became the anthem for students all over the world celebrating summer vacation or graduation. Almost two decades later, our favorite mutant band of head banging aliens decided to show a similar love for rebellion by reinterpreting the song for a new audience. The result, a renewed interest in shock rock from the present past and future.
"Diamonds and Rust” by Joan Baez
One of heavy metal’s earliest, and most important bands covered a rock song, and took their version to become bigger than the original to some metal heads. There is no denying that lead singer Rob Halford is a metal God. With Judas Priest, the level of musicianship is at a top notch level, and the 1974 song by Baez releases the band’s ability to deliver a beautifully written song and give it another level of complexity. In some instances, Judas Priest have performed the song live in a more acoustic setting, paying homage to Baez’s song.
"Am I Evil” by Diamond Head
This is the most successful cover of all of heavy metal. Metallica’s cover of the classic Diamond Head song eventually made the original band’s version more famous than it would have been otherwise. The song is now a recognized heavy metal anthem that will live on as an emblem of the music and its culture. The song has been immortalized, and Metallica is preserving the legacy of "Am I Evil” to this day with the occasional live performance, and with the special and extraordinary jam session live on stage, at the Monumental Big Four concert, featuring Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer and Metallica.