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10 Metal Covers of Non Metal Songs

by ianz09
fact checked by Alex Hanton

There are many genres of music and, as a result, many fusions. We have all heard of the rap-rock hybrids emerging today. There are also country-rock, techno-rock, techno-rap and, in a shameless act of contradiction, country-rap. While the fusion of musical genres continues to evolve and extend, we are also being treated to a different kind of musical fusion: cross genre covers. A good many of us are aware of Johnny Cash’s gentle acoustic cover of metal band Nine Inch Nails’ song ‘Hurt’. But, the metal bands of the 2000’s have been hard at work on their own cross-genre songs. Here are ten songs from my favorite genre of music, and their tributes to bygone bands and songs. Tell us how the covers stand up to their original counterparts in comments!


The Sound of Silence – Disturbed (metal cover) ♫ Powersong

Original: Tears for Fears
Cover: Disturbed

Their 2000 album The Sickness was Disturbed’s debut album, and contained their first hit ‘Down With the Sickness’. The popularity of the single overshadowed the album’s solitary cover, Shout. Originally released in 1984 by British pop rock duo, Tears for Fears, Disturbed’s rendition manages to stay true to the format and feel, while making the song their own by adding an edgy grit to it. [Watch the original here]


Word Up!
Korn – Word Up

Original: Cameo
Cover: Korn

1986 saw the release of funk/R&B group Cameo’s Word Up!, an upbeat and energetic piece of music. Cut to 2004, and nu-metal founders and 90’s metal powerhouse, Korn, released their genre-bending cover. Korn is known for blending elements of hip-hop into their heavy and melodic metal, but an out-and-out cover of an (old) song wasn’t something Korn did often. But they stayed true to the feeling and setup of the original track, and, like any good cover, also put their own style into it. [Watch the original here]


Shame – System of a Down

Original: Wu-Tang Clan
Cover: System of a Down

[WARNING: offensive language.] Wu-Tang Clan has always been notorious for their attitude and their antics. Like any good gangster rappers, they weren’t afraid of pissing people off, disrespecting women or not listening to the police. In 1993, the Wu released Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), which included the subject of this list item, the track Shame On a Nigga. System of a Down is a band notorious for implementing ambiguous meanings into their songs, harassing interviewers and refusing any explanation of their songs’ meanings. The seemingly unlikely cover came into existence in 2000, featuring RZA and substituting Ol’ Dirty Bastard with Serj Tankian. [Watch the original here]


Renegades of Funk
Rage Against the Machine – Renegades of Funk

Original: Afrika Bambaataa
Cover: Rage Against the Machine

The 80’s were a good decade for coverable music, as evidenced by 1983’s Renegades of Funk. The 2000’s were also a good decade for covers of 80’s songs, as evidenced by 2000’s RATM cover. Rage Against the Machine opted to take out the synths, and replace them with Tom Morellos signature funky guitar riffs. Both are immensely catchy. [Watch the original here]


The Metro
system of a down metro

Original: Berlin
Cover: System of a Down

I hate to hit you guys with more SoaD already, but this their last cover on this list. Along with Renegades, 1983 also brought us Berlin’s The Metro, a love song about meeting a soldier on a train. System of a Down, breaking barriers once again, chose to cover this in 1997 as one of their demo songs, so it can be said that Berlin helped get these guys famous (System of a Down released their debut self-titled album in 1999). [Watch the original here]


Sweet Dreams
Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams

Original: Eurythmics
Cover: Marilyn Manson

Again with ’83! This incredibly popular song still gets regular airplay on radio stations to this day. It was a given that it would be covered, but the synthy pop tune probably wasn’t anticipated to be turned into a slow, creepy rock song by a band named after sex symbols and serial killers. But then again, stranger things have happened. [Watch the original here]


Land of Confusion
Disturbed – Land of Confusion Official Music Video

Original: Genesis
Cover: Disturbed

Moving forward to ’86, the pop-rock trio Genesis (for the younger crowd who may not know, you will recognize Phil Collins singing) released their political commentary and satire, Land of Confusion. In the midst of the Cold War and the Reagan era, such a piece was widely accepted and loved. And in 2006, in the midst of the Iraq War and the Bush era, the satire, again, becomes relevant, but this time it is brought to us by Disturbed. When listened to separately, the songs sound nothing alike, but when listened to back to back, the similarities between Phil Collins’ and David Draiman’s voices is somewhat eerie. Besides the obvious exchange of guitar for synthesizers, this cover is probably the most true to it’s original version than any other on this list. [Watch the original here]


Another Brick in the Wall
Korn – Another Brick In The Wall (Pink Floyd Cover)

Original: Pink Floyd
Cover: Korn

It is hard to cover 3 songs in one, especially songs so beloved and popular, but Korn rose to the challenge and put their best foot forward. Pink Floyd’s opera, The Wall, was a huge hit for the band, and boasted the songs Another Brick in the Wall Parts I, II, and III. Instead of covering them separately, Korn combined them into one (long) song. It is hard to cover the original, but my respect goes to Korn for trying to cover this classic, and, hopefully, the Floyd fans can respect Korn for paying tribute to one of their influences. [Watch the original here]



Mushroomhead – Qwerty

Original: Seal
Cover: Mushroomhead

Soul artist Seal has many soothing melodies in his arsenal. Mushroomhead, a masked Cleveland metal band, has a lot of aggression in their arsenal. Not quite a match. But, as the last track on their sophomore major-label album XIII, Mushroomhead stops the show with their energetic rendition (I can also vouche for this being a literal show stopper. It was the last song in their set list at the concert I attended). Now, some may say Alanis Morrisette’s cover was better, but this list is about metal covers! Seal’s original track is soothing, sweeping and somewhat inspiring. Mushroomhead throws in aggressive, yet upbeat, verses and some mean double bass kicks in the chorus. One of these two versions will definitely be stuck in your head. [Watch the original here]


Smooth Criminal
Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal (Official Music Video)

Original: Michael Jackson
Cover: Alien Ant Farm

As many mourned the passing on the late King of Pop, endless tributes began to pop up. Most of us tried to forget the endless, and sometimes cruel jokes, that were made, the controversy from a few years back, and tried to respect one of the most influential musicians of all time. But, in 2001, long before his death, his greatest tribute was brought forward. The 1988 song, Smooth Criminal (think anti-gravity lean), was covered by a small time rock band from Riverside, California. Not only was it a catchy and well done cover (with a Grammy nomination to boot), the video contained references to many of Jackson’s most popular songs, videos, quirks, and fans. Here is the full list from Wikipedia. [Watch the original here]

fact checked by Alex Hanton