We’ve told you before about unlikely covers by metal bands that totally rocked, but what about covers of classic heavy metal songs classics that totally don’t? Wait, let me rephrase that. What about covers of classic heavy metal songs that completely re-imagine the originals and deliver them in a totally unique, often amazing, however, definitely non-metal manner? Ever wonder what Slayer’s “Raining Blood” would sound like if it was played on a banjo instead of guitar? How about a ‘60s soul version of a Black Sabbath song, complete with pleading vocals and a horn section? Trust us, it’s amazing. And did you know that Mariah Carey covered Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ On The Heartache”? We sure didn’t, but actually, it’s pretty cool. No, seriously. Check out our list of 15 crazy covers of metal classics. Even if you hate them, you’ll still want to hear them.
Rob Scallon “Raining Blood” (originally by Slayer)
This talented multi-instrumentalist has posted a series of “Metal on instruments that aren’t metal” videos on Youtube but his banjo version of one of Slayer’s heaviest numbers takes the cake.
Charles Bradley “Changes” (originally by Black Sabbath)
The 63-year old soul singer recasts the Sabbath ballad as a pleading, horn-laden soul epic, and the results are truly devastating. Hear singer Charles Bradley talk about how his late-in-life career took off and check out his awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “Changes.”
Rodrigo Y Gabriela “Orion” (originally by Metallica)
This Mexican flamenco duo cite many metal artists among their influences, and you can hear their affection for the genre on this version of the early Metallica instrumental.
Hayseed Dixie “Ace Of Spades” (originally by Motorhead)
These pickers have made a career out of high-speed bluegrass covers of hard rock and heavy metal songs and here take on Lemmy’s ultimate badass anthem.
Mariah Carey “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak” (originally by Def Leppard)
Who knew Mimi liked to rock? An avowed Leppard fan, Carey recorded her version of their early hit for the 2002 album Charmbracelet, which was produced by American Idol star Randy Jackson.
The Cardigans “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (originally by Black Sabbath)
This Swedish alternative pop band have made a habit of covering Black Sabbath over the years. Their debut album featured this number, from the Sabbath album of the same name, and they have also covered “Iron Man” and “Changes.”
Johnny Cash “Rusty Cage” (originally by Soundgarden)
One of the better known cover versions on this list, The Man In Black often went into uncharted waters, covering the unexpected on his American Recordings album series.
Paul Anka “Black Hold Sun” (originally by Soundgarden)
Another Soundgarden cover is this grunge-goes-lounge treat by the famed crooner which is surprisingly enjoyable.
Pat Boone “Crazy Train” (originally by Ozzy Osbourne)
This big band version of the Ozzy classic is from Boone’s heavy metal covers album No More Mr. Nice Guy, and was featured as the theme song for The Osbournes TV show.
Richard Cheese “Welcome to The Jungle” (originally by Guns N’ Roses)
The aptly-named Cheese is well known for his hilarious lounge lizard send-ups of classic heavy metal songs and here takes Guns N’ Roses’ breakout hit.
Apocalyptica “One” (originally by Metallica)
This Finnish string quartet made their name with chamber music versions of Metallica songs, though in recent years have recorded originals with guest vocalists such as Slipknot’s Corey Taylor and Max Cavalera of Soulfly.
Harptallica “Master of Puppets” (originally by Metallica)
Yet another testament to how easily Metallica’s metal majesty can be easily translated into classical music, this female duo specializes in versions of the band’s songs played on the concert-grand pedal harp.
Combo De La Muerte “Breaking The Law” (originally by Judas Priest)
Breaking the rules on how to play a metal song is this Italian band, whose music combines elements of surf, noir and Latin jazz.
Hellsongs “Symphony Of Destruction” (originally by Megadeth)
This self-described “Lounge Metal” band hails from Sweden and have remade many metal anthems as upbeat acoustic numbers. How much would this piss off Dave Mustaine?
Slaughter Of The Blugrass “Twilight Of The Thunder God” (originally by Amon Amarth)
Fellow Swedes Slaughter Of The Blugrass turn their attention to acoustic covers of metal’s most extreme acts. Hear the strum the metal out of this song by Viking metal overlords Amon Amarth.