The 2020s has truly been the decade of the cover song, whether it's from a worldwide band like Ghost or a YouTuber with a mic and some home gear. It takes special talent to inject new life into a classic song, and these artists succeeded at the highest level.
In this list, you'll find metal covers of non-metal songs, softened versions of metal classics, and metal-on-metal power-ups. They all deserve to be blasted, so turn up your speakers and check out these 10 phenomenal covers.
Ghost – “Jesus He Knows Me” (Genesis)
No band makes more addictive covers than Ghost, and “Jesus He Knows Me” was another brilliant choice from Tobias Forge. The Genesis classic from 1991 is all about religious hypocrisy and how power corrupts even the most pious among us — perfect subject matter for the Swedish occultists to cover. “Just do as I say, not as I do.”
Poppy – “Spit” (Kittie)
Kittie’s ferocious nü-metal anthem “Spit” was always a banger, but its production never really did the song justice. Enter, Poppy. With a killer break beat, top-notch mastering and a vicious vocal performance, Poppy’s version of “Spit” feels like the final form of this turn-of-the-millennium cut.
Voice of Baceprot – “Killing in the Name” (Rage Against the Machine)
Indonesian rock/metal trio Voice of Baceprot possess talent far beyond their years, and they’re one of the few acts to actually reign in the power of Rage Against the Machine. “Killing in the Name” is a deceptively tough song to cover, but VoB nailed it, even adding some tasty instrumental interludes before the track’s iconic outro.
Carrie Underwood – “Mama, I’m Coming Home” (Ozzy Osbourne)
A country star covering a heavy metal ballad makes all the sense in the world. Carrie Underwood and her powerhouse band brought a softer edge to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” but this cover feels just as big as the original. This 2023 live performance on The Howard Stern Show should be mandatory viewing for anyone looking to record a killer cover.
Claudio Sanchez, Bill Kelliher, Les Claypool, Danny Carey, Steve Brodsky and Gwarsenio Hall – “Anthem” (Rush)
Hails to the good folks at Two Minutes to Late Night for giving us this quarantine content during the height of COVID. Like a rock ’n’ roll Avengers, members of Tool, Primus, Mastodon, Coheed & Cambria and Mutoid Man joined forces for a flawless cover of Rush’s “Anthem.” Epic isn’t even the word.
Will Ramos – “Chokehold” (Sleep Token)
Wait, this dude can sing too? Lorna Shore’s Will Ramos is already one of the greatest guttural vocalists ever, but his clean singing on this cover of Sleep Token’s “Chokehold” is unbelievable. This somehow lives up to the hype of both Ramos and Sleep Token, and that’s no small statement.
Fit for an Autopsy – “Walk With Me in Hell” (Lamb of God)
This is the best meat and potatoes you’ll ever taste. Fit for an Autopsy changed almost nothing about Lamb of God’s legendary “Walk With Me in Hell,” but they did up the heaviness and production value. It’s a bullseye of a cover that pays tribute to one of the definitive metal cuts of the century.
The Hu – “Sad But True” (Metallica)
When The Hu broke out with their own brand of heavy metal, rock ’n’ roll and traditional Mongolian folk music, it felt like a pivotal shift in world music. Every move after The Gereg seems to have been the right one, including this bad ass cover of Metallica’s “Sad but True.” James Hetfield’s lyrics sound even heavier in Mongolian!
Alex Terrible – “BFG Division” (DOOM)
This is more of a reimagining than a straight-up cover. Slaughter to Prevail vocalist Alex Terrible took the instrumental genius of DOOM composer Mick Gordon and threw brutal gutturals on top of it. Gordon had already given the boss music to the Doomslayer himself, but with this cover, Alex Terrible leveled it up to God Mode.
Dan Vasc – “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” (Belinda Carlisle)
This one’s just too fun to leave off. YouTuber Dan Vasc has brought thermonuclear levels of power to some of the most unlikely metal covers ever, and this version of Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” is just unreal. Vasc’s voice was built for big choruses like these, and this song was made for a killer metal cover.