After having rediscovered the delights of Six Degrees Of Black Sabbath, and while I was rocking out to the new Sabaton album, I started thinking about the influence that older bands can have on developing artists, and how this influence has been expressed numerous times in cover versions. These have either been faithful reinterpretations or off-the-wall re-inventions, with ever more covers emerging on a daily basis. By the time the cover of “Twilight Of The Thunder God” hit my eardrums, I challenged myself to find, without too much research, a chain of metal artists who have been covered and covered in return, ending with the almighty progenitors of metal themselves, Black Sabbath.
Van Canto -> Sabaton
First up, a relatively easy jump backwards to make. After performing as backing choir during Sabaton’s World War Tour, Van Canto invited vocalist Joakim Brodén to guest on his own song with them, and so the epic “Primo Victoria” was reborn in a very different light. The song is a fun listen and completely in the style of Van Canto, one of the many well-executed covers they have released.
Sabaton -> Amon Amarth
The song which started this journey off. I was skeptical about how a power metal band was going to reinterpret the now-classic Swedish melodeath track “Twilight Of The Thunder God”, one of my favorites of their catalogue. As it turns out, the band had a knack for turning the growls into convincing clean lines, and the guest appearance of producer Peter Tägtgren in the bridge adds the extra weight before a well-executed solo. Definitely worth spinning this, and loudly at that.
Amon Amarth -> System Of A Down
The Swedish Vikings have a number of covers under their collective belts, including Possessed, Accept and even Sabbath themselves, but personally I find their version of SOAD’s “Aerials” the odd one out in the list, from the familiar opening bass riff to Hegg’s very familiar grunt. Think what you will of the brief bit of singing that occurs, but Amon Amarth put their signature stamp on a song completely out of their usual style, and it’s worked well for them.
System Of A Down -> Black Sabbath
Picking a SOAD cover is not easy, especially given there are gems including Wu-Tang Clan‘s “Shame #8“, Berlin‘s “Metro” and a bizarre Pink Floyd rendition, however it’s their markedly sped-up cover of “Snowblind” which works the best in their quirky style – although I can imagine diehard Sabbath fans rebelling quite strongly against it. Still, nevertheless, it’s worth a listen.
Black Sabbath – The Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation/Crow
Proof that even the mighty Sabbath had humble beginnings and felt it necessary to pay homage to their blues background. I find it impossible to choose between the two cover songs on their début self-titled album, both reinterpretations of great bluesy tracks showcasing the instrumental abilities of all the members. While “Evil Woman” remains relatively faithful to Crow’s version (except for the saxophone), “Warning” has been stretched to three times its original length, with added blues, and also contains the classic ‘reinterpretation’ of the central lyrics: “I was warned about you, baby” remodeled as “I was born without you, baby”. Both are utterly fantastic covers and originals, so listen to the covers here and then hunt the originals out on YouTube.