When it comes to covers, I look for 2 things when I come to if I will enjoy a band covering a song. 1.) Is it a new spin on a song or is it a heart felt note to note remake? 2.) Does it give the original justice? If both of those are yes, then odds are I will enjoy it. If it's at least one of those two, I still may enjoy it. These 10 covers I found to combine the best elements of what I look for in a cover song. Some are beyond unique, some are straight up remakes, but all of them have my heart!
10.) Tribulation- Pay The Man (The Offspring cover) Melancholia EP
FFO- Black Metal, Occult Rock, Psychedelic
This band has been on the rise for a few years now and they are continuing to build a solid fan base in the states. with the release of their latest EP, Melancholia, the band showcases a nearly note for note remake of the Offspring song, Pay The Man. Obviously the vocals are quite different, but the mood and atmosphere are the same. Very mystical. To the outside listener, it seems like a crazy idea to do, but it totally works!
9.) Fountainhead- Model Man (King Crimson cover) Reverse Engineering
FFO- Progressive Metal, Technical Metal
Ex-Obscura guitarist, Fountainhead, released his first LP (3rd solo release) this year with Reverse Engineering, the final track is an amazing remake of the song Model Man by King Crimson. The vocals and down tuning have a Alternative, Progressive Rock feel to them ala Tool/System Of A Down, to beef up the heaviness of an otherwise, not heavy song. Fountainhead completely makes this his own and does a killer job of it.
8.) Bykürius- Wild Child (W.A.S.P. cover) Our World Blackened
FFO- Raw Black Metal covering Classic Metal Songs
The band name alone proves how seriously you can take the band. This album is filled with classic metal covers done in a raw, symphonic black metal way. Wild Child in particular really shows how to make a song your own. Again, it's meant to be taken as seriously as you can normally take tr00 kvlt black metal, as in you can't. Enjoy it for laughs, giggles, and some actually really good musicianship.
7.) Crystal Lake- Wide Eyed (The Ghost Inside cover)
FFO- Melodic Hardcore
While I will admit I am far from an expert in this genre, I really do appreciate great hooks and melodic hardcore is filled with it. The Ghost Inside is arguably one of the best known bands in the genre, and they suffered a major accident last year that resulted in drummer Andrew Tkaczyk losing his leg, among other injuries within the band. Japan's Crystal Lake did a cover of TGI's Wide Eyed and is giving all the proceeds to the band to help pay for medical expenses. The Ghost Inside is also doing one final tour before closing the books. This song is made for a great cause, of course I gotta put it on this list.
6.) Jorn Lande- There's Something Going On (Anni-Frid Lyngstad of Abba cover) Heavy Rock Radio
FFO- Power Metal, Classic Rock, Hard Rock
Jorn Lande has put out another stellar covers album and this one is filled with many great radio hits and some more obscure tracks. This track in particular is a fantastic display of making a song heavier, yet keeping it just as poppy and fun. Jorn's voice is just perfection.
5.) Perihelion Ship- Hangar 18 (Megadeth cover)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
You may remember this band name from my Best Epics list. The Progressive Death Metal band took their skills and decided to cover the classic Megadeth track, Hangar 18. What was the one thing missing from the original rendition, you ask? KEYBOARDS! Filling in as another guitar of sorts, the keyboard shine through and make this song the evil Dark Purple meets Opeth track you always wanted. Such killer stuff.
4.) Allegaeon- Subdivisions (Rush cover) Proponent for Sentience
FFO- Progressive Metal, Technical Metal
The first Allegaeon song to feature all clean vocals, their rendition of Subdivisions is almost a straight up cover with some key note differences in the drums and tuning to match the band's style. A phenomenal cover that really pays tribute to one of the greatest bands on Earth.
3.) Anaal Nathrakh- Powerslave (Iron Maiden cover) The Whole Of The Law (bonus track)
FFO- Black Metal, experimental, the apocalypse, and occasional clean vocals
This is the most 'WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?' cover I've heard this year. But as a die-hard fan of the band, I went into this with an open mind and fell in love. to the classic metal fan, the only part you will appreciate is the solo section which is a beefier metal version of the original. The rest of the song is absolute chaos. This is not for everyone, but if you dare venture, this is one hell of a journey known as Anaal Nathrakh covering Powerslave.
2.) Oceans Of Slumber- Knights In White Satin (The Moody Blues cover) Winter
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
For the most part, this is a straight up, but heavier version of the original. Just as somber and melancholic. The solo section through the end of the song is where the song really starts to pick up and get chaotic. Bet you didn't expect a Moody Blues songs to have blast beats and for it to make sense! It's one of those tracks you just have to go in with an open mind if you love the original. This is magnificently well done and gives the intention of the song a whole new perspective.
1.) Devin Townsend- Transdermal Celebration (Ween cover) Transcendence
FFO- Progressive Metal
To be 100% honest, I have no idea this was a cover when I reviewed the album a few months back. I thought this was just a nice, happy Hevy Devy song. It wasn't until it was pointed out to me that it was a Ween song that I realized it was a cover. This keeps the spirit of the original alive while making it completely his own (and almost 3 times the length). This song makes you want to stand up with joy and celebrate life, and let's face it, we need that right now.
Coming Up Next- That Drummer Guy's Top 100 Albums of 2016 Part 1: The Honorable Mentions
There's not really too much to comment on this list as they are live albums. That said, everything listed here is completely solid and worth checking out.
Avantasia- Avantasia Live (Ghostlights Bonus CD)
Circus Maximus- Havoc (Bonus Live CD)
I would have included these in the main list, but as they are bonus discs, it doesn't really seem fair. But they are both stellar.
5.) Steel Panther- Live From Lexxi's Mom's Garage
FFO: Comedy, Glam Rock, Acoustic
A fun live acoustic Steel Panther show. This is sure to make your glam loving significant other scream for joy, then leave you for Steel Panther.
4.) Seventh Wonder- Welcome to Atlanta Live 2014
FFO: Progressive Metal, Power Metal
Seventh Wonder performing the landmark album, Mercy Falls, at ProgPower 2014 in Atlanta with a special Best Of set & a couple studio tracks at the end. Magnificent album and magnificent recording.
3.) Leprous- Live At Rockefeller Music Hall
FFO- Progressive Metal
The double disc live album is a live recording of the band's hometown show in Oslo, Norway from June 4th, 2016. Such an incredible band performing a nearly perfect setlist with outstanding quality production.
2.) Primordial- Gods To The Godless (Live At Band Your Head Festival 2015)
FFO- Black Metal, Pagan Metal, Celtic Metal
Primordial performing an 80 minute set at 2015's Bang Your Head Festival, featuring a fantastic setlist, stunning production and no pressure as the band didn't realize the show was recorded.
1.) Pain Of Salvation- Remedy Lane (Re:mixed & Re:lived)
FFO- Progressive Metal
Disc 2 of this release is Pain Of Salvation playing Remedy Lane in it's entirety at ProgPower USA 2014 in Atlanta, GA. Yes, the same festival Seventh Wonder recorded their live release this year. One of the greatest Progressive Metal albums laid down to record being performed live and giving Daniel Gildenlow the inspiration to revisit their Metal roots with their upcoming album, In The Passing Light Of Day. Superb!
Next Time: That Drummer Guy's Best Covers of 2016
This is a first for me, showing off the best EPs of the year. Usually I make such a fuss about LPs that you lose sight that for the crowds who want something 40 minutes or less; (yes, a debatable number, but I'm sticking with it) there is so many good releases to check out. I narrowed it down to 20 EPs that are not just one song (as some of those are already covered in my last article). So let's get crackin'!
20.) No Funeral- Misanthrope
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal
The Minneapolis based band released their first EP and it is a stunning piece of work. Not meandering nor dull, there is a lot of variation in the band's sound that makes this release something to keep your eye out for if you want something brooding and heavy.
19.) Agoraphobic Nosebleed- Arc
FFO- Sludge Metal, Doom Metal
The first of 4 EPs showing off the other sides to the band's original sound, this explores the doomy and gloomy side of Katherine Katz. all three songs showcase a grand array heaviness without any feelings of boredom or wanting to skip to the next track. It's what you want in a doom album.
18.) Tombs- All Empires Fall
FFO- Black Metal, Post Metal
Continuing to explore more of the Black Metal elements of the band's sound, Tombs created an epic 5 track display of horror that fills the senses with despair. The music is a great mix of Black and Post Metal, not done in the way of the likes of Deafheaven.
17.) Voivod- Post Society
FFO- Thrash Metal, Punk, Progressive Metal
The legendary Canadian metal band is back with a brand new EP filled with a couple songs released in the last couple years and some new tunes. The classic Voivod sound people know and love is fully intact.
16.) Krallice- Hyperion
FFO- Black Metal, Progressive Metal, Post Metal
The underground legends of experimental black metal returns with 3 new tracks of mind-bending epics that explore everything the band is capable of doing. A raw production, but magnificent songwriting.
15.) Grailknights- Dead Or Alive
FFO- Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Superheroes
Showcasing everything that we know and love about superheroes, this legendary band of misfits in masks and costumes are back with a new nice collection of new songs and an AMAZING cover of all your favorite Cartoon Hero themes. Just super fun music.
14.) Affiance- Gaia
FFO- Progressive Metalcore, Mostly clean vocals
Affiance is one of the most underrated bands that are currently active. Their latest EP continues to show why they deserve to be one of the best known bands in the genre. Great musicianship, soaring vocals, and a great display of power & aggression.
13.) A Blue Fire- A Blue Fire
FFO- Steven Wilson inspired Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock, Dream Pop
This Danish duo's second release is spellbinding in it's ethereal sound. All 4 tracks take you on a dark and lonely journey with a bleak and mesmerizing soundtrack along the way.
12.) Gus McAuthur- Chapter 1: Hysterics
FFO- Progressive Metal, Experimental
This amazing debut release from these California natives is an innovative sonic blast of genres that creatives an epic adventure for the listener. Sensational vocals, killer songwriting and a new way to look at genre bending. With many more chapters to come, the history of Gus McAuthur is only being introduced and he's got quite a story to tell.
11.) Skeletonwitch- The Apothic Gloom
FFO- Blackened Thrash Metal
A watershed release for the band, many have given up on the band after vocalist, Chance Garnette, left the band, but when you give the former Iron Thrones frontman Adam Clemans a chance to take the stage, he absolutely delivers! The music is absolutely fantastic and the production is top notch. The next release from the band will blow people away, this definitely proves what the band is capable of.
10.) Protest The Hero- Pacific Myth
FFO- Progressive Metal
One of the very first bands to take successful advantage of Crowd Sourcing campaigns; Protest the Hero came up with the first, well known, idea to have fans pay a monthly fee to hear brand new material first as the songs were being written. Now that the EP is complete, it is available for all of us to enjoy. The songs sound so natural and refreshing. A great spin on their already innovative style.
9.) Seven Kingdoms- In The Walls
FFO- Power Metal
This Florida Power Metal band has been a part of the metal scene for quite some time and have been usually under the radar, that is starting to change with their brand new EP. The lead track is all the example you need of how to write a phenomenal Power Metal song. Beyond magnificent!
8.) Watchtower- Concepts Of Math: Book One
FFO- Progressive Metal, Math Metal
The band's first release of new material since 1989, the band returned this year with a jaw dropping display of songwriting. This release just melts your mind trying to comprehend everything going on as you hear. If you are a musician and you think you've mastered everything you can do on your choice of instrument, put this album and prepare to eat humble pie.
7.) Ghost- Popestar
FFO- Occult Rock
Ghost has exploded since their humble beginnings. Since the release of their latest album, Meliora, the band went from small venues to headlining many stages on huge festivals. While the band begins worth on their 4th release, they've released a new EP, Popestar to keep us satisfied. One new track and 4 covers makes this fun, dark, and evil EP a radio sensation! It still feels very weird saying Ghost is on Top 40 Rock Radio.
6.) Celestial Ruin- Pandora
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal
This Canadian quartet came up on my radar this year and from the instant I hit play, I was floored. This is how you make Symphonic Power Metal with real emotional power. Magnificent doesn't even begin to describe it, just check it out if it's up your alley.
5.) Scour- Scour
FFO- Black Metal
The all-star Black Metal group fronted by Phil Anselmo blows everyone away with their 13:49 length apocalyptic debut. Some of the finest work Phil has ever done and the music is exactly how Black Metal with ethereal overtones is meant to be.
4.) Candlemass- Death Thy Lover
FFO- Classic Doom Metal
The foundation of what we know as Doom Metal (well, besides Sabbath) returned from the depths to bring us a brand new 4 track EP with new frontman, Mats Leven. The classic Candlemass sound you know and love is in top form. While many have their own favorite frontman of the band and with that, makes fans picky of which eras they can enjoy; when you look at this EP with a new perspective, it will rock you to the core.
3.) Steven Wilson- 4 1/2
FFO- Steven Wilson
This collection of material that didn't make Steven's latest albums, Hand. Cannot.Erase., is a prime example of how the man can do no wrong. There is a live version of Porcupine Tree's Don't Hate Me thrown in for good Measure. The world can't wait to see what is in store for album five. This will help ease the pain of waiting.
2.) Gruesome- Dimensions of Horror
FFO- Death's debut album Scream Bloody Gore
The welcomed original tribute to the legendary Death Metal band, Death, Gruesome is back with their second release (technically a mini album, but let's call it an EP for record's sake). The band perfectly captures Scream Bloody Gore with their own original songs. Death worshipers like myself will be floored with this release and all the upcoming material Gruesome has to offer.
1.) Wings Denied- Voyager
FFO- Progressive Metal
Having received this album MONTHS before the initial release, I had a very long time to be able to digest this album track by track. This is some of the most well written modern progressive metal tracks laid down to record. I said in the past that the band's first album, Mirrors For A Prince was the band's Images and Words. If that's the case, this is the band's A Change Of Seasons (If that was split into different tracks and not related lyrically). The band is busy working on new material for their net release. I have a feeling we will be stunned by what they have to offer.
Next Time On: That Drummer Guy's Best Of 2016 Lists: The Top 5 Live Albums of 2016
So It Begins...
My favorite time of year is back again. Not just the holiday season, not just the fact that snow is coming and unwillingly can't help but listen to the most depressing Black Metal you can find for 5 months. It's the end of the year where I can show off the best music of 2016. I'm going to be doing this differently than other years. Simply due to That Drummer Guy's rise in popularity, I had to scale down the albums I listen to and Make a Top 100 Albums of 2016 list, BUT with that comes many other lists, including this very first one. THE TOP 10 EPICS OF 2016. For an epic to count in my eyes, your track length has to be over 10 minutes in length, and these definitely fit the mold that I've put in place. So let's get started countdown style!
10.) Gorguts- Pleiades Dust (Pleiades Dust)
FFO- Technical Death Metal, Orchestral
This 33 minute lone track is an absolute monster. It can haunt your dreams with morbid visions. The song is based off of House Of Wisdom, a library located in the Middle East that was destroyed in the 13th century, believed to have had all the knowledge of the world inside. Musically, it runs all over the map, from intense brutal death metal or very intricate orchestral movements. For a great history lesson and an intense musical journey, check this one out!
9.) Anderson/Stolt- Know... (The Invention of Knowledge)
FFO- Progressive Rock
While there is only 4 songs on the album, this is the lone song that is made up of just one track. Jon Anderson and Roine Stolt created an amazing album and this final track was a perfect send off to said album. The majority of the song is very casual and laid back. The real high point of the song is Jon's emotional vocals. The second half of the song, things start to pick up speed a bit for a phenomenal ending to the album. This song will make and classic prog rock fan smile with glee.
8.) Perihelion Ship- A Rare Thunderstorm In Spring (A Rare Thunderstorm in Spring)
FFO: Extreme Progressive Metal, Keyboard Driven Progressive Metal
One of my favorite discoveries of the year from a relatively unknown band (only 248 likes on Facebook as of right now). This Finnish debut album is filled with such memorable movements, but the highlight is the 21 minute title track. This song captures everything you could love about progressive Metal. Very Opeth style moments mixed with mellotron, Blind Guardian style cleans and everything that can be explored in the realms of progressive metal and death metal. If these guys catch on, they are going to flourish huge. Give this song, in particular a shot.
7.) Vektor- Recharging The Void (Terminal Redux)
FFO- Hyper-speed Thrash, Progressive Metal, Death Metal
Vektor is really starting to gain momentum this year and Terminal Redux is the perfect album for that to happen. The albums reaches territory it hasn't hit before, but with the final track, Recharging the Void, The band explore the epic side of their sound. From brutal blast beats to some oddly calming clean guitar and clean vocal/choir moments (Very Devin Townsend inspired). This final track showcases everything the band is possible of accomplishing. I can't wait to see where they go from here.
6.) Redemption- At Day's End (The Art Of Loss)
FFO- Progressive Metal
Having yet to ever put out anything but superb albums, Redemption did it again with The Art Of Loss. In particular, the colossal 22 and a half minute song, At Day's end, perfectly captures the band's intensity, emotional, and melodic sides that fans know and love. It has a little bit of everything for everyone. Ray Alder's voice really shines throughout as well. Overall, an amazing piece of music.
5.) Fates Warning- The Ghosts Of Home (Theories of Flight)
FFO- Progressive Metal
Fates Warning is back with arguably their best album ever! The band sounds more inspired than ever, and a great example of that is the ten and half minute song, The Ghosts of Home. From some of the most majestic mellow segments to some of the most crushing riffs laid on a FW's album; The band really showcases their extreme talent and musicianship. This is a perfect lineup, perfect, album, and this song is a perfect epic!
4.) Haken- The Architect (Affinity)
FFO- Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal, Electronic
Haken continues to be one of the finest prog bands in existence. With all this talk of showing off everything a band is capable of; Haken absolutely does that in the course of this 15 minute epic. The intro alone goes from brooding to brutal to proggy, to happy. While Visions is still considered the best Haken album, The Architect may be the band's finest epic to date.
3.) Witherscape- The Northern Sanctuary (The Northern Sanctuary)
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
Dan Swano can't ever do wrong, ever! A clear example of that is Witherscape's 2nd album, The Northern Sanctuary. The concept album wraps up, story wise, with the title track that explore so much melodic and harmonic moments while giving an amazing nod to Opeth's Deliverance (When you hear it, you'll know what I'm talking about). Capturing everything a person can love about Swano is covered in this nearly 14 minute epic. If you want emotionally powerful progressive death metal, Witherscape is the band for you.
2.) Avantasia- Let The Storm Descend Upon You (Ghostlights)
FFO- Epic Power Metal
Tobias Sammet's crowning achievement is Ghostlights, mark my words. While I'll save my other thoughts for another list you'll all be wondering about, I will say that the second song on the album the little over twelve moment song, Let The Storm Upon You, is a perfect epic. So emotional power that takes you through hell and back. Along with Tobias; Jorn Lande, Ronnie Atkins and Robert Mason add their magnificent vocals to this song. A purely magical power metal journey, you gotta check this out.
1.) Insomnium- Winter's Gate (Winter's Gate)
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Insomnium is one of the most underappreciated bands in Metal today. While many enjoy some melody in their metal, from the dark point of view, it's hard to find anyone who can do it better than Insomnium. Winter's Gate is the 40 minute epic that explore the story of viking forging their way to new land by going through a treacherous winter. This epic does not feel like it is 40 minutes long (physical album 1 track, digital and streaming broken into 7 pieces), it goes by so quickly and really gets you invested in the story. And if you wonder while it sounds so magnificently mixed and mastered, that is all thanks to Mr. Dan Swano adding his mixing and mastering skills. A grand adventure of a story with amazing music and pure unadulterated power. Seriously, give this one a shot, especially if you have yet to hear of the band.
That's it for That Drummer Guy's Top 10 Epics of 2016. Join me next week as we explore more of what 2016 has to offer!
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.