Six Truly Great Death Metal Covers

Death metal has a genre has a history of doing covers songs, but they're mostly all novelty songs. It's become a played-out gimmick to take any pop song, speed it up, play it on highly distorted guitars, and gutturally scream the lyrics. That's been done.

What's less common is a great death metal cover of any given song that isn't just silly. That's harder to find, but it does exist, and there have been some truly awesome ones from some of extreme metal's biggest names.

Cannibal Corpse, "Zero the Hero" This one was a weird choice, given that it was a Black Sabbath song off their Born Again record, their only one with Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan. Neverthless, Born Again is a highly underrated record; apparently the guys in Cannibal Corpse knew that, because they dug out "Zero the Hero" around the time "Hammer Smashed Face" was getting big.

The Acacia Strain, "Seasons in the Abyss" The idea of Slayer being covered by a death-metal band is just so obvious, but the Acacia Strain take this song -- one of Slayer's more melodic -- and amp it up to be heavy as fuck. The results are, unsurprisingly, awesome.

Death, "Painkiller" The best part of Death's version of Judas Priest's thrashiest song is that Chuck Schuldiner's Rob Halford impression is amazingly spot-on. It's also a fairly faithful cover musically, not really adding any death-metal heaviness, but that's okay because it still kicks ass.

Napalm Death, "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" It's always fascinating to me to hear metal and punk cross over, and here Napalm Death exhibits a fantastic take on the Dead Kennedys' classic rebuke of white supremacists in the punk scene. The message is not lost on the metal scene, which by the time Napalm Death came along had developed its own skinhead segment.

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Arsonists Get All the Girls, "Masters of War" At first Arsonists Get All the Girls' take on the Bob Dylan classic sounds like it's going to be fairly faithful, but the experimental deathcore band makes their own mark on the song quickly. It's probably not the weirdest in the history of Bob Dylan covers, but it's definitely up there.

Strapping Young Lad, "Zodiac" SYL's take on the Melvins' "Zodiac" takes the production to a higher level and enhances all the song's best qualities. I hesitate to say SYL's version is better, but it is.


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