Friday, 14 March 2014

Don't worry, I've got this covered!

Now, apparently. This is my fortieth entry on this blog. This is not by any means the first blog I have written. I used to keep one called Judas Disciple and another called Mind of the Buddha. The former was in Icelandic and the latter in English. Both pretty much died because (A) I couldn't be asked any more and (B) Social Networks took over. I returned back to blogging for two reasons. (1) I enjoy writing (2) because I wanted to hone my writing skills. So the general idea here is just to write. Whatever I feel like, mostly as people have no doubt noticed is that I like to write about music. Do I think that my opinion matters to anyone? No not really, but I don't see why that should really matter either. Do I have anything to add to discussions that are heavily covered? Yes I do. It might not be read always because people have this conception of me that I only ever write about heavy metal music, which is not always true. Yes I do like heavy metal, and it does make up bulk of what I listen to, yes I've written about Queensryche, twice. I've written about Iron Maiden, twice. I've written about Sepultura, twice. I've written about Disillusion, twice. But I'd like to think that my taste is a bit more eclectic then that. The focus for this entry is again on music.  But this time it is in slightly different format. For some reason, and I can't really put my finger on why or when it started, I have always loved cover songs. Not sure what it is, but there is something so deliciously great about a well played cover song. But then again when there is something absolutely horrible when you hear a cover song done really really really badly. But then you hear some real corkers like Tori Amos doing Raining Blood by Slayer!

That is how a cover song should be done. The artist covering the song should make it their own, while still keeping a thread that just about hints at the original version. Like Nevermore doing Sound of Silence. I personally never really realized how dark those lyrics are until Warrel Dane sang them:

But they are not the focus of this blog. No the focus is on those bands that make it their business to make wacky cover songs, especially from Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. No I am not talking about something as generic as classically changed songs that has been done to death since Apocalyptica started doing their Metallica covers. No these are something else.

Hellsongs - Dirty Swedes
Hellsongs. These guys are from Sweden and have chosen to focus on doing lounge versions of famous heavy metal songs. They have consisted of three players, two of whom have stayed the entire time. The Keyboardist/vocalist Johan Bringhed and banjo/guitar/vocalist Kalle. They've had three female singers since their formation in 2004, My Engström-Renman. I've liked them since their first album 'Hymns in the Key of 666'. I've always enjoyed their rather exuberant and playful way that they convey so well through their songs like Symphony of Destruction, The Trooper and Seasons in the Abyss. I always feel that little bit happier whenever I've listened to them. The last album I listened to in full was 'Minor Misdemeanors' where you can enjoy summer and sunlight versions of Heaven Can Wait, Welcome to the Jungle and Youth Gone Wild. The main reason, besides their obvious enjoyment of playing, these song work is because these guys are amazing musicians.

 Since then they've added electric guitars and drums, which I'm a little skeptical of but since I haven't listened to it yet I'll reserve judgement. But in the meantime I'll just swing my hips to the one's I have heard.

Combo De La Muerta, is an Italian band who chosen to cover songs in sort of Latin-Jazz-Mexican way. Unfortunately it would seem that they've quit since they published their only album 'Tropical Steel' in 2008 but it is a corker of an album. Here you can enjoy Breaking the Law, Peace Sells and South of Heaven. They manage to make these songs fit into a very smoky atmosphere, these could be played during the festival in Rio or maybe during Dia De Muertas. These songs are one some level extremely sensual and do make you want to learn how to salsa. Or maybe eat some salsa, or guacamole with popplers. And again as with Hellsongs these songs work because these guys are amazing musicians and obviously love the songs that they are playing.

Van Canto
Van Canto are probably the strangest band on here. Playing something they've chosen to call Hero metal A Cappella. They hail form heartland of power metal that is Germany and have been playing since 2006. This band consists of 5 vocalists, and one drummer. 2 doing the actual vocals whereas the other three replace the guitars and bass. Majority of their work has actually been based on their own original music. But they've received the biggest attention when they've covered Metallica (So they've got similar history to Apocalyptica). They've done Battery and Master of Puppets. But they've also covered Fear of The Dark, Wishmaster, Kings of Metal and Final Countdown They're control of their larynx is amazing to behold, but the star of the show has to be Dennis Schunke who has to be one of the best vocalists I've heard in a long time, could easily be one of the best vocalists going at the moment. If you don't believe me just listen to Kings of Metal again. And like Apocalyptica it might have started out as just another pet project to have fun with, it has now snowballed into something slightly bigger and they are well worth a listen in their own right not just as a cover band.
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