The 10 Greatest Metallica Covers
  • TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014

  • Posted by: Anthony Toto

The METAL in Metallica is marching on with an amazing tribute to the trailblazing frontman Ronnie James Dio. Simply stated, everything is kicking ass in the Metallica camp right now.

Coming fresh off the positive response surrounding its newest track "The Lords of Summer," Metallica just released a medley of Rainbow tracks which were originally sung with the erupting command of Ronnie James Dio, all done in a single song.



For those unfamiliar with Rainbow, the band featured Dio on vocals and Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple on guitar. The medley features three tracks off Rising — "Stargazer," "The Tarot Woman," "Kill The King" — and one track off 1978's Long Live Rock N Roll called "A Light In The Black."

Metallica's "Ronnie Rising Medley" is set to appear on the upcoming Dio tribute album This Is Your Life, which features an all start cast of musicians from bands like Judas Priest, Motorhead, Scorpions, Anthrax, and Slipknot. Ronnie James Dio tragically passed away in 2010 after a battle with cancer and the album's proceeds will be donated to Ronnie's charity 'Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.'

Aside from creating one of the most renowned catalogs in the history of heavy metal, Metallica's "Battery" power is unlimited when it comes to cover songs. Deep within its musical DNA, honoring Diamond Head, The Misfits, and Motorhead is as much of a Metallica pastime as America's love for baseball. No Metallica rendition sounds like the original as they convert other artists' work into a guaranteed barrage of full metal veracity. The band released a double album of covers called Garage Inc. in 1998 with its second disc comprised of tracks from its $5.98 EP Garage Days Re-Revisited from 1987.

To keep the Metallica covers spirit alive after hearing the amazing tribute to Ronnie James Dio, here are the 10 best that the legendary group has offered.

10) "Breadfan" Originally by Bungie

Breadfan is the equivalent of a full-fledged Metallica thrashthon. Seriously, if Breadfan were one James Hetfield's muscle cars, it would be pulled over for excessive speeding and a deafening muffler. Packed with the best riffs off the entire collection of Garage Inc., the groovy punch of the guitar is ferocious for headbanging purposes. The middle-bridge is straight out of a Master of Puppets-type of buildup as its clean guitar harmonies and orchestral leads fire into a devastating climax of plummeting thrash metal. Out of all the band's covers, this sounds the most like a true 'Metallica' song as it's really hard to tell that someone else penned it.



9) "Crash Course In Brain Surgery" Originally by Budgie

If brain surgery was performed by hitting a hammer over your head, Metallica would be the world's most sought after surgeons. Jason Newsted's in-your-face bass intro kicks into an onslaught of gritty, palm-muted riffs that hit and rest like a rapid heartbeat. In terms of studio production, this cover is one of Metallica's most rounded efforts as every instrument is equally audible. In fact, I'd rank this as one of Jason Newsted's best performances during his tenure in Metallica. Known for turning down the bass knobs on Newsted during the recording sessions, his youthful innocence propelled his performance and allowed fans to accept the replacement of Cliff Burton. Metallica fans see through bullshit and recognized Newsted's full-fledged commitment in growing the legacy of Metallica.



8) "Helpless" Originally by Diamond Head

Sometime during the planet's formation, fate determined Metallica would deliver killer renditions of Diamond Head that were filled with ruthless aggression and punk-esque rage. Packed with a tear-worthy Kirk Hammett guitar solo and some of Lars Ulrich's best drumming, I just picture concertgoer's stage diving during the tail end of the Damage Inc. tour while fans piled atop each other to scream "Helpless!"



7) "Stone Cold Crazy" Originally by Queen

Covering any Queen track or Freddie Mercury performance leaves a huge pair of shoes to fill as well as expectations to fail, yet the brilliance of James Hetfield lies in his confidence to tackle any track or style. Instead of trying to duplicate Queen, how could they make "Stone Cold Crazy" fit Metallica? That is why Metallica succeeds at interpreting other artists' songs. "Stone Cold Crazy" maintains the upbeat fun of Queen's performance yet Metallica paints it with a fast coating of gnarly thrash.



6) "Turn The Page" Originally by Bob Seger

Loyal metalheads, don't scream or complain! For all the right musical reasons, this cover is one of Metallica's most successful singles to date. "Turn The Page" is a bare-bones outpouring for James Hetfield. Capturing the innocence of Bob Seger's songwriting, Metallica's modern edge provided an additional layer of delicacy and crunch to Seger's feeling of loneliness. This is one of Metallica's heaviest performances in terms of putting its heart out on display. For the greater good of metal, this track caught the ears of listeners beyond those of the typical metalhead resulting in a musical crossover not usually afforded to metal acts.



5) "Die, Die My Darling" by The Misfits

Cliff Burton's love for The Misfits taught Metallica integral lessons about delivering music with a similar riotous punk demeanor as Danzig and Doyle. Covering The Misifits once again in 1998, the 10-year gap since Garage Days Re-Revisited showcases Metallica's maturity as performers yet the snarl remains ugly in capturing the mean attitude of Danzig and company. An additional lyrical line should say, "How hard could we hit our instruments and listeners?" As if Hetfield shouting, "Die, Die, Die" weren't metal enough?



4)"Mercyful Fate Medley" ("Satan's Fall," "Curse of the Pharaohs," "A Corpse Without Soul," "Into the Coven," and "Evil") Originally by Mercyful Fate

All Hail King Diamond! With a tribute befitting the presence of a king, Metallica's "Mercyful Fate Medley" brought them back to metal after dabbling with the bluesier sounds of Load and Reload. Instead of trying to match the greatest falsetto in metal history, Hetfield's own interpretation of King Diamond resulted in some of his best vocal work to date. Just like the "Dio Medley," Metallica never peaks during this powerhouse performance. In terms of guitar tone and riffs delivered with authority, this medley is equivalent to a full-fledged punch in the face.




3) "So What?" Originally by Anti-Nowhere League

If there were a red button for instant circle pit, this cover would result in an explosion. Raunchy lyrics atop James Hetfield's signature growl, adult authorities everywhere would rinse their mouths after hearing the foul language of this track. In fact, Metallica fooled MTV in 1996 when they played this track at the European VMAs. Imagine how the producers felt when Metallica didn't stick to the script? You know what Metallica probably said? "So Fucking What?"




2) "Last Caress/Green Hell" Originally by The Misfits

Metallica's two-for-one Misfits package encapsulates the unrelenting spirit of young 20-somethings who did everything under their own terms and never followed anyone else's rules. Glam Metal? Hair bands? Music videos? Alcoholica would just blow those bands off the stage. Metallica included the price $5.98 on Garage Days Re-Revisited to ensure record stores wouldn't rip off their fans. In fact, the original cassette included a promotional sticker that said "If they try to charge more...STEAL IT!" Shortly after his passing, Cliff Burton must have looked down proudly when his brothers covered his favorite band as he damn right taught them well.



1) "Am I Evil?" Originally by Diamond Head

The definitive Metallica cover "Am I Evil?" is as much a part of this band's DNA as anything off Kill 'Em All forward. "Am I Evil?" harkens the band's humble beginnings in San Francisco and Old Bridge, New Jersey. "Ami I Evil?" still remains a concert staple allowing Metallica to constantly pay tribute to their New Wave of British Heavy Metal heroes, Diamond Head, by showcasing their influence to worldwide audiences.

The musical structure of "Am I Evil?" helped Metallica formulate the backbone of thrash metal as its monstrous riffs are played and sung with the band's signature aggression. When James Hetfield shouts, "Am I Evil? / Yes, I Am," does it get anymore metal?

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