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Ecstatic Ephemera: Under Covers
A mixed bag of pumped-up compositions and alt reimaginings.
Synchronicity is a crazy thing. Psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) described the phenomenon as “circumstances that appear meaningfully related yet lack a causal connection.” In other words, coincidences.
Earlier this week, I saw that metalcore OGs Evergreen Terrace had announced a tour Down Under for later this year, which made me reflect on seeing them many years ago and how time works. A few days later, a good friend of mine sent me a Spotify link to the band’s 2004 covers album Writer’s Block, and I felt deep pangs of nostalgic revelry on an almost cellular level.
So, here’s a list of cool covers and assorted alternative reimaginings in the semi-spirit of synchronicity. Enjoy!
Evergreen Terrace – “Mad World” (Tears for Fears)
It’s incredibly difficult to pick the best tracks fromWriter’s’Block. It’s easily my favourite Evergreen Terrace record, and the tracklist is stacked with quality cuts. So, I cheated and picked two. (Not sorry.) The band’s violent yet catchy reimagining of this Tears for Fears banger is a nostalgic time capsule to watching Donnie Darko on DVD at midnight and thinking about time travel.
Four Year Strong – “Semi-Charmed Life” (Third Eye Blind)
Knocked Loose – “Slings and Arrows” (The Warriors)
Having nothing to prove, one might expect Kentucky bruisers and scene figureheads Knocked Loose to not see the point in covering a track from a group that exists as a direct sonic influence and label contemporary. Then again, one could also listen to “Slings and Arrows” and immediately sense that covering The Warriors is a perfect fit for a band this heavy and downright imposing.
The Get Up Kids – “Close To Me” (The Cure)
Pallbearer – “Love You to Death” (Type-O Negative)
Pallbearer are easily my favourite doom band of all time. So hearing the Little Rock quartet cover the second single from 1996’s October Rust and arguably the horniest track in the Type-O Negative back catalogue (a bold claim, I know) is truly something special. The track is long, winding, and hypnotic, with an eerie melodic undercurrent that plays out like the welcome kiss of death.
Carpenter Brut – “Maniac” (Michael Sembello)
These Arms Are Snakes – “Heart-Shaped Box” (Nirvana)
While everyone always wants to talk about Nevermind in the neverending Nirvana discourse, the wildly successful In Utero still has a not-so-secret stash of sad boi deep cuts. Post-hardcore luminaries These Arms Are Snakes put a cerebral, serpentine spin on “Heart-Shaped Box,” lending Kurt Cobain’s lyrics about media perception and love (no, not that Love) a darkly esoteric verve.
Between The Buried and Me – “Kickstart My Heart” (Mötley Crüe)
Turbonegro – “Suffragette City” (David Bowie)
While Norwegian rockers Turbonegro are perhaps best known for their party-tinged deathpunk sound, 1998’s Apocalypse Dudes (incredible title) saw their early flirtations with sonics and aesthetics of glam rock. That’s what makes their peppy cover of Bowie’s powerful, groovy anthem endearing, and the loss of the iconic frontman Hans “Hank von Hell” Husby in 2021 (RIP) hit harder.
Thou – “Them Bones” (Alice In Chains)
Killswitch Engage – “Holy Diver” (Dio)
By the mid-2000s, Massachusetts metalcore giants Killswitch Engage were at the height of their career, coming off their first Grammy Award nomination and the Platinum certification of 2006’s As Daylight Dies. So what do you do when things look good? Have fun with your success. Enter “Holy Diver,” the band’s electric reimagining of Dio’s famed sci-fi/fantasy rock operatic. All hail the mighty riff.
Mariachi El Bronx – “Only The Lonely” (Roy Orbison)
Gunship – “Time After Time” (Cyndi Lauper)
UK synthwave legends Gunship took their 80s worship and love for neon glitz to the next level by jazzing up a bonafide Cyndi Lauper classic on their second LP. It’s a little bit of a slow-burn compared to the rest of the album, but the track stays true to the spirit of the original and effortlessly channels the nostalgic vibe.
Hatebreed – “Set It Off” (Madball)
Mastodon – “Orion” (Metallica)
“Ensuring that dedicated fans would not be left out in the cold during the creative stalemate of a global pandemic, 2020 saw another Mastodon compilation LP release. Cheekily titled Medium Rarities, the release celebrates the band's 20-year milestone by bringing together 70 minutes of previously unreleased live versions, bonus tracks, instrumentals, standalone originals and a slew of eyebrow-raising covers — further adding to the quartet's versatility and prolific output… Mastodon's cover of Metallica's legendary instrumental "Orion" (from Master of Puppets) is faithfully rendered with just enough sludge metal kick to make it their own.” (Grammy.com)
Evergreen Terrace – “Stars” (Hum)
Stream the full playlist on Spotify below: