The history of metal bands covering pop songs is a long and sort of silly one, when you think about it, mainly in that the end results are typically treated with disdain by listeners on both ends of the spectrum. Most metalheads typically tend to view these covers as the fame-grabbing, totally not kvlt abominations that they are, and it’s not like pop fans are kept up at night wondering what their favorite songs would sound like with death growls and blast beats thrown into the mix, either.
The latest attempt to cross these diametrically opposed genres comes from Leo Moracchioli, a Norwegian rocker known for his metal and acoustic covers of popular songs which can be found on his YouTube channel, Frog Leap Studios. In either an attempt to cash in on one of the most popular movies of the past few years or simply pay tribute to it, Moracchioli recently uploaded a cover of the smash hit “Everything is Awesome” from 2014’s The Lego Movie.
Combining the relentless enthusiasm of Andrew W.K. with the butt-rock beats of Five Finger Death Punch, Leo’s “Everything is Awesome” cover, with all due respect, is about as pleasing to the senses as a fart-powered harmonica, and joins an ever-growing list of cringe-inducing metal covers that make it increasingly hard for metal fans like myself to show their faces in public (an issue that we already have enough trouble with in the first place). Let’s take a look at a few other examples…
Disturbed – The Sound of Silence
Yes, the band best known for superimposing Scatman John “lyrics” over open note chug patterns (Ooo wah-ah-ah-ah!!) had the audacity to release a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s most beloved tune, and because we are a country that regularly rejects Kobe burgers in favor of sh*t sandwiches, they have actually been rewarded for doing so. Not only has this overly serious, yarl-filled bastardization received over 100 million views on YouTube, but its creators (whose names shall not be mentioned) even got the chance to play it for millions more on Conan back in March. The sound of silence? More like “the sound of me jamming a flaming ginsu knife into my ear and praying for silence,” amiright?!!
Five Finger Death Punch – House of the Rising Sun
For those of you who might not be familiar, Five Finger Death Punch is a band that combines all the most cliché and groan-inducing things about metal culture (face paint, mohawks, and more skull tattoos than the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally) and pairs them with songs that adhere to all the worst stereotypes about being an American (their song “American Capitalist,” for instance, contains the lyric “I’ve got a kill ’em all, Give a sh*t, License to hate”). Having already amped up the suck of Bad Company’s self-titled 1973 hit to 11 before, the self described “Blissful yet f*cking devastating” rockers released a cover of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” on their 2013 double album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, and if you can make it past the three plus minutes of agro badass nonsense in this video before the song even begins then you are a much more tolerant person than I.
Amyst – Rolling in the Deep
You’d think that simply listening to a singer with the insane vocal range of Adele would dissuade and/or intimidate most bands from even attempting to cover her, in the same way that you don’t see too many modern artists attempting to recreate the Sistine Chapel. But then again, you’re likely not one of the five haircuts above known as Amyst, who apparently listened to Adele’s breakout smash hit and decided that huffing down a tank of nitrous (mixed with helium, in the singer’s case) and blowing out their sphincters would be the best course of action. In the end, I guess you could say it worked, as it was one of the rare metal covers that we actually got to watch the pop artist react to in real time.
Korn – Word Up
Fact: Jonathan Davis has always sounded, and will always sound, like a baby weasel discovering ecstasy for the first time before having its testicles danced upon by the Grape Stomp Lady.
Whether it’s out of to my fierce dedication to metal or my insistence to never leave an audience on a sour note, I’ve decided to wrap things up with one of the finer examples from the metal-pop crossover genre: Drewsif Stalin’s cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” As far as metal covers go, it’s a pretty fantastic take on what was easily one of the most played-out songs of 2014, featuring some djenty riff patterns and a handful of beautiful harmonies that help it stand apart from Cyrus’ original while not doing it a disservice in any way. Stalin has become pretty notorious over the years for his powerful covers of everyone from Katy Perry to Lil’ Jon, but this cover (featuring the lovely Nikki Simmons on vocals) may be his crowning achievement, and actually won a cover contest on RyanSeacrest.com. It just goes to show that in the metal industry, even validation comes at a cost of your street cred.