Black Sabbath’s concert Blu-ray, Black Sabbath: Gathered in Their Masses comes out today, and in honor of the godfathers of metal, I thought I would pick our favorite covers of their songs.
I chose to take a look at covers of Black Sabbath songs rather than Black Sabbath songs themselves. I did this because we’ve all heard the Black Sabbath catalogue, but most of us haven’t heard the Sabbath tracks recorded by at least 100 other bands. So if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Sabbath has been flattered a lot by metal bands, and more, over the years.
I found a lengthy list of artists who have covered Black Sabbath songs at the CoverProject.com, and turned to Spotify to find as many of them as possible and composed a Black Sabbath Cover Songs Spotify Playlist, 90 songs deep.
I then whittled it down to a Top 10 Covers of Black Sabbath Songs List and here’s what I came up with:
(Song title links go to videos of the cover songs on YouTube, album title links go to Amazon where you can pick up your own copy.)
Album: What a Joke (1991)
What a joke is right. Who would have thought a Christian, metal band would ever make a Top 10 Black Sabbath list? I think their cover of After Forever is slick work.
Pantera recorded a number of Sabbath tunes, but they really captured the spirit of Sabbath and managed to put their stylistic stamp on it too.
8. Giant Sand
Song: Iron Man (No available YouTube Link) from the Black Sabbath album Paranoid (1970)
Album: Cover Magazine (25th Anniversary Edition)(2001)
Did somebody leave the water running? No, really. Do you hear water running? This made my list for originality alone. There were quite a few covers of Sabbath songs from unexpected genres. Several converted Sabbath songs into arrangements for strings, horns, piano, and a dozen other traditionally non-metal instruments.
7. The Fartz
Album: Because This Fuckin World Still Sucks (1998)
I’m a sucker for a decent punk song.
6. Adrenaline Mob
Album: Coverta (2013)
This is how the pros do it. The resumes say it all.
Rusell Allen (Vocals) Symphony X, Allen-Lande (with Jorn Lande of Masterplan), and he tours with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Mike Orlando (Guitar) has worked with Zakk Wylde and Bumblefoot
Mike Portnoy (Drums) has been involved with Dream Theater, Transatlantic, Liquid Tension Experiment, OSI, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Flying Colors, Bigelf, and The Winery Dogs
And on this Sabbath Cover
Rich Ward (Guitar): Stuck Mojo, Fozzy, and Sick Speed
They’ve been around, and know how to play.
5. Pride and Glory (Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society)
Album: Kings of Damnation: Era 1998-2004 (2005)
Love the way Zakk and the Pride and Glory lineup bluesed up The Wizard. While it’s on a Black Label Society album, this live track is credited to the Pride and Glory lineup.
Album: The Law (1992)
I was hooked as soon as I heard the first few notes. Slow, deep, and hard. That would be a good name for an album for somebody wouldn’t it?
3. Cavalera Conspiracy
Album: Blunt Force Trauma (2011)
A song about radiation and destruction is perfect fodder for growly-voiced metal singers and crunchy sounding bands they front. A lot of death metal bands have tried their hands at Sabbath, and this was one of the best efforts from that corner of the metal community.
Album: We Love ‘Em Tonight (Live at Tipitina’s) (2007)
This track blew me away. Galactic treats it’s Black Sabbath cover to a twist of jazz, soul, metal, and blues, as only a New Orleans band could.
Album: Temporal (2012)
Hand of Doom is one of my favorite Sabbath tracks and Isis played it like a band possessed.
Close calls: These tracks almost made my Top 10:
Album: 1 + Dog Days (2004)
Album: Witching Hour (2003)
Album: Cross Roads (2011)
Album: Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath (1994)
Artist: Type O Negative
Album: Origin of the Feces (1992)
Don’t like my list? Judge for yourself. Here is a Spotify Playlist of 90 covers of Black Sabbath songs: