From time to time, bands like to give props to their influences in the most entertaining way possible—the cover. It’s particularly great when one of your favorite current bands covers one of your favorite classic bands. Whether with a fresh, modern twist on a psychedelic seventies track or with something more analogous to the original, these covers give us new perspective on the songs we’ve been hearing for decades. With that in mind, here are my top five favorite modern covers of classic progressive songs:
- SHADOWS FALL covering “Welcome to the Machine” by PINK FLOYD
Pink Floyd is one of those bands that invariably influenced modern progressive music, and therefore gets referenced and covered a lot, and I’m not complaining. Here’s what it sounds like when one of the original metalcore bands covers one of the original prog rock bands.
- NEVERMORE covering “The Sound of Silence” by SIMON & GARFUNKEL
Okay, so technically this is a power metal band covering a classic rock/folk group, but I feel both acts have crossover appeal with prog fans. Mostly, I just like seeing a classic transformed so thoroughly, where basically only the lyrics remain. Plus they added the line “System check—neon black” to the lyrics, an obviously much needed addition that was blatantly lacking. I don’t know how they missed that. Inexcusable oversight.
- OPETH covering “Would” by ALICE IN CHAINS
This is the cover I chose that is closest to the original, perhaps ironically, considering it’s a progressive death metal band covering a grunge track. I just really enjoy Mikael Akerfeldt’s vocals on this one, and the production on the guitars.
- ALLEGAEON covering “Subdivisions” by RUSH
Like Opeth’s “Would,” this one stays pretty true to the original. It’s just heavier, plain and simple. It’s a modern rendition of a classic prog song. They didn’t throw in the death vocals that Allegaeon almost exclusively use on other tracks. It was clear that Riley McShane wanted to capture the flourish of Geddy Lee’s vocal style on this one. Good times.
- MISERY SIGNALS covering “Us and Them” by PINK FLOYD
You didn’t think there would be only one Pink Floyd track on the list, did you? If it wasn’t this one, I might have picked Between the Buried and Me’s rendition of “Us and Them,” which is excellent as well. Honestly, Misery Signals is a band I don’t listen to beyond this cover, and much of the production is more digital than is preferable, especially with the drums, but I love how they transformed the song. “Us and Them” may be my favorite track of the entire era, and it’s neat to see a very modern, heavy, but still progressive version of it. They leave a lot of the pretty parts pretty, but add a lot of punch, including some great death vocals that deliver the drama of the song in a whole new way. They also put in some really cool key changes that weren’t in the original. Kudos to them. But do check out that BTBAM cover as well, if you haven’t heard it.
So that’s my list. I had a lot to choose from, and these are my five. I’m sure I missed something worthy, so let me know what that is. As always, I’d love to see your list.