I have nothing against heavy metal as a genre. Some of my favorite songs are by metal bands. When you get into the sub-genres of metal, though, you can lose me a little. Death metal, speed metal, thrash metal, speedcore, thrashcore, it all begins to sound a little like those dirty little magazines you could get confiscated at Dover customs when returning from France. In a recent post on her blog concerning cover versions, my friend Marissa made note of a band called Northern Kings who play a kind of doomy symphonic metal, which in itself, done right, has the potential to sound amazing.
In researching this band I happened upon some videos of songs they covered for their last album, Rethroned (in stores now, kids!!) which in fact appeared to be an album purely of cover versions. Or, as my Mum used to say, "How we would have done it if we'd thought of it first".
Firstly of all, there are some songs that just should not be touched, period. There are some that should not be touched by hairy bearded caterwauling and grunting men with grungy guitars and caveman drummers. Unfortunately for Northern Kings, they are precisely that type of band and they somehow managed to pick a crop of songs that are of the kind that shouldn't be messed with. Either this is some staggeringly bad decision-making on their part, or they are just crap. I fear the latter to be true. I have yet to hear a song they did that isn't a cover, in fact. Some of their poor choices include:
I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight
Kiss From A Rose
Don't Stop Believin'
I Should Be So Lucky (by Kylie!!)
A View To A Kill
In The Air Tonight
Ashes To Ashes
Brothers in Arms
We Don't Need Another Hero (seriously!)
The Training Montage from the movie Rocky
I trust you'll agree that, for a band that sounds like Metallica and the London Symphony Orchestra meets Korn and Guns'n'Roses, without the talent, these are indescribably bad choices. All great songs, in their own right, but even a great song played by a bad band sounds like a bad band. Even when their choices steer towards the region of rock, such as their rendition of Don't Bring Me Down by ELO,