The 10 best Black Sabbath covers
The best of everything, every day on TeamRock.com
Any band worth their salt has cranked out a Sabbath cover at soundcheck or in the sweaty confines of a rehearsal room. Some bands didn't stop there though, as these 10 brilliant covers will testify...
SUCK – War Pigs
Recorded in 1970, this is the first cover of the Sabs' protest classic later tackled by Faith No More, Sacred Reich, Foo Fighters, Bathory, The Acacia Strain and Flaming Lips. South African proto-punk headbangers Suck only existed for eight months, but they managed to bang out one wild and raw LP of well-chosen heavy rock covers. Their vicious jam of War Pigs zeroes into the song's dark heart, and the singer's chanting of the outro riff later become an audience participation staple wherever the song is played.
SEPULTURA – Symptom Of The Universe
The Seps were an unstoppable force in the prime of their lives when they cranked out their definitive blunt thrash take on this machine-gun-riffed classic, a deeply satisfying showcase for the tom-roll capabilities of Igor Cavalera. With their feverish take on Motorhead's Orgasmatron and their sludgy stomp through Celtic Frost's Procreation Of The Wicked, the young Brazilians seemed to make a habit of totally nailing well-chosen covers.
GODFLESH – Zero The Hero
Typical: you wait ages for a cover of Zero The Hero then two come along at once. In 1992 Cannibal Corpse also dug up and molested the corpse of this Gillan-era riff monster for their Hammer Smashed Face EP, but Godflesh did the most persuasive job of making it their own; unsurprising, since they hail from the same bleak industrial Birmingham milieu as the Sabs. Justin Broadrick drew out the cold, mechanical sheet-metal crawl from Iommi's riff, burying the chorus in reverb and feedback, shrouding the song in black clouds and Stalinist concrete.
**THE CARDIGANS – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
**There are ripping versions by metallic bruisers Anthrax, Amon Amarth and Today Is The Day, but with the cutesy breathy vocals, the subtle, crafty rearrangement and the summery burbling vibraphone, Swedish pop sensation The Cardigans . It's a shame Nina wimps out of the "You bastard!" bit, but this is no ironic novelty choice; The Cardigans went on to do an equally triumphant rendition of Iron Man and a quirky a cappella Mr Crowley, so their devotion to Ozzy is sincere and without question.
PANTERA – Planet Caravan
There's no shortage of Pantera Sabbath tributes; they cranked out creditable covers of Hole In The Sky and Electric Funeral, both among the heaviest of Sabbath's early metal. But it's this winsome and hushed astral jam that takes the crown, an unexpected choice of single for the band in 1994, and a welcome breather from the aggro extremity dominating Far Beyond Driven. Planet Caravan's quirky, mellow, blissed-out vibe was particularly effective live, especially when it wrong-footed and annoyed the psyched-up skinheads in the pit.