The world of dance music has been stealing (or 'borrowing') from the pop and rock scene for ages. Just think about some of those horrible, soulless dance versions of songs like 'Sweet Child O'Mine' (by Milk Inc), 'Billy Jean' (by Crew 7) or Britney's mind numbing adaptation of 'I Love Rock 'n Roll' which was already a cover to begin with. Well, rockers and metalheads sure know a thing or two about remaking old songs as well, often with quite interesting results. Here are fifteen electronic songs, turned into rock and metal anthems.
We kick things off with a band that has dedicated two entire albums covering eighties new wave and electro songs. Out of these 'Werk 80' albums, we picked Visage's 'Fade To Grey', initially a dreamy electronic pop song, now turned into an absolute dark dancefloor filler. Once starting out as a death metal band, Atrocity has been going to a lot of changes throughout the years, this cover project being just one of the many incarnations, but a damn good one if you ask me.
Suicide, the duo of Alan Vega and Martin Rev recorded this song way back in 1977 with primitive electronics and drum machines. This, and other songs, made them responsible for an entire wave of industrial and noise music. Enter industrial metal horde Bloodstar, who recorded a harsh cover version for their album 'Anytime Anywhere' on a compilation by Roadrunner Records. It's actually this song, that started my fascination for metal covers.
Good ol' Rammstein and their shenanigans. The first song I heard them cover was one by the Ramones, and I remember thinking "I hope they never do that again". But, Rammstein never listens to me so they went on covering other stuff, including this awesome version of Kraftwerk's 'Das Modell'. Speaking about dancefloor fillers... By the way, don't mind the video, it's not the official one. In fact, YouTube muted the music on the official video. Weird asses...
Hah, you were expecting fifteen metal songs, weren't you? But I never said that, and besides, I can't go through this list without paying my respects to "the man in black". His greatest cover of all time was probably Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' but since that's not really an electronic song, I decided to go with 'Personal Jesus' from Depeche Mode. To be honest, I think Cash made an absolute classic of this one, one I like more than the original.
Of course, we have to include this ugly dude in this article. Although Marilyn Manson has never been very high on my favorites list, this song is a smasher. Originally recorded and performed by Eurythmics, 'Sweet Dreams' has been getting a lot of people on their feet, regardless of the genre they usually listen to. Well, perhaps some people still prefer the original version over Manson's creepy, somewhat over-the-top performance.
A friend sent me this one, a metalcore version of The Prodigy's 'Omen'. Although I prefer the original, it isn't hard to see why a metal band would cover this hit. After all, it is already a pretty damn heavy tune, perfectly suited to throw in some distorted guitars . A little research brought me to Polish band Messa, who play "rock 'n core". All fine by me since this is quite a nice cover version.
Nadja's cover album is an amazing piece of work which includes some of the greatest covers I've ever heard. My favorite one on that album is Slayer's (Dead Skin Mask' but for this list I have to go with the megahit by Norwegian synthpop act A-Ha. Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff surely turned this song into an immersive whirlpool of drones, much like we're used to form Nadja.
Another one of my favorite covers comes from American "dead pop" band Orgy who added their industrial metal over New Order's megahit 'Blue Monday'. This cover version too had been a constant at parties, at least the parties I went to and dj'ed at over the years. It's actually still one of my all time favorite covers.
English extremists Cradle Of Filth have been no strangers to covers, but when this appeared on their 'Thornography' album, I looked at my speakers in sheer disbelief. Not only because the original is a simple synthpop song, but mostly because Dani and co turned it into something filthy, nasty and quite sexy. I never liked the original and I'm not going to say that this is my favorite Cradle Of Filth track but still worth mentioning here.
Of course, the punk rock scene has been barking out cover versions ever since pop songs became silly enough to make punk rock covers of them. Hell, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes thrive on that sort of things but this blasting gem by punk heroes Offspring shouldn't go unnoticed in this list. Not that is a prime example of musical ingenuity but hey, I prefer an Offspring moshpit over an Aqua dancefloor anytime.
Belgian metal act Manic Movement recorded this blasting version of Anne Clark's 'Our Darkness' for their 2001 album 'Future Dreaming Self'. I didn't know that before I saw them at Graspop a year later but I did know and love the original. So when it started slamming through the speakers, I was ecstatic and it kept going heavier and heavier. Maybe you can even see me in the audience on this video. I had long hair and wore a black t-shirt, shouldn't be that hard to spot me, right?
This English band seems to promote themselves as a "wedding-band" but they also play parties and festivals. On their YouTube channel, they published all kinds of cover songs, mostly with a tongue-in-cheek folk rock atmosphere or, in this case, tuning the whole thing in a joyful reggae tune. If Mister Kanish proves anything, it's the fact that cover bands can be original and entertaining enough to become something that people want to see. If they're touring and coming over to Belgium, there's a big chance I go see them. It'll be fun.
"Death in Rome is a Neofolk Group covering pop songs", that's pretty much all there is to say about these guys. Mind you, Neofolk usually isn't really overloaded with humor so this one is a bit of a surprise. In my research for this article, I've searched far and wide to find somewhat decent versions of old techno tunes. Apart from a bunch of metal, punk and grindcore songs, there wasn't that much original to find, except for Death In Rome. The bandname is a composition of the bands Death In June and Rome, and why not claim that the 'In' stands for Sol Invictus? Anyway, this is a brilliant cover and they have many more if you're willing to listen.
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Come To Daddy (Aphex Twin)
Several years ago, at a festival in Belgium, I was strolling around the terrain which brought me near the stage where The Dillinger Escape Plan were performing. I didn't really care about the band as I've never really been a fan of math core or whatever it is that these guys play(ed). However, suddenly they kicked of this bloody intense Aphex Twin cover. I was amazed, since I thought it was physically impossible to drum this thing. But look, here it is.
'Der Mussolini' by German electro act DAF is one of the best electronic songs to turn into a pounding metal song, as also proved by Atrocity. Yet, Swiss thrash metallers Coroner beat them to it and released this moshpit inducing piece of music in 1995 on their penultimate album 'Coroner'. It still is one of my favorite cover versions, although I prefer Coroner's own songs. Still, I secretly hope I get to watch them doing this song live.
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