Received wisdom dictates that you don’t fuck with the classics. You wouldn’t take the Mona Lisa down and spray her with some fake tan! You wouldn’t rewrite Oliver Twist to give him an iPhone! You wouldn’t take Star Wars and add ridiculous CGI 20 years later… unless you’re George Lucas.
So, when bands re-record their classic material, it’s often a confusing and dangerous move. That’s why it’s so impressive when the results are killer. Here are 10 occasions the second time retained the charm.
Faith No More – We Care A Lot (1987)
The title track of Faith No More’s first album became the most famous song of the Chuck Mosley era, but the version you know is most likely their second attempt at it. Two years after their 1985 debut, FNM released Introduce Yourself (a far better album overall) and included a new version of We Care A Lot, which has got much more kick to it. It also gave the band their first taste of chart success, reaching 53 in the UK and 40 in New Zealand.
Iron Maiden – Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter (1990)
You all know the story of this one, right? Bruce Dickinson contributes a rather daft track to the Nightmare On Elm Street 5 soundtrack in 1989, Steve Harris likes it, decides to get Iron Maiden to re-record it a year later for No Prayer For The Dying, then it becomes their only UK number one single. If we had to pick one, the Maiden go at Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter is clearly superior but, still, don’t sleep on Bruce’s version.
Suicidal Tendencies – War Inside My Head (1993)
You’d be a mad bastard to think you can piss off Mike Muir and not have him do anything about it. Suicidal Tendencies’ debut album was released on the tiny Frontier label in 1983. A decade later, with the band having long since moved on to pastures new, Muir was getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of royalties from the label. So, he decided to re-record a bunch of songs from that era for the Still Cyco After All These Years album. Legendary tracks like War Inside My Head sound far more melodic and tighter than their original incarnations. Although different, both versions are vital.
Murderdolls – Dead In Hollywood (2002)
Wednesday 13’s first band, cult horror punks Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, had some cracking songs. It was when Wednesday formed Murderdolls with Joey Jordison that his tunes really took shape though. The finest re-imagining of one of his compositions is Lost In Hollywood, which became the more recognised Dead In Hollywood, one of the big hit singles from Beyond The Valley Of The Murderdolls. Listen to the rather flat original and marvel at the banger it grew into.
Anthrax – Caught In A Mosh (2004)
This is going to be a matter of personal preference. When Anthrax decided to re-record a bunch of their classics with John Bush for the The Greater Of Two Evils album in 2004, a sizeable section of the fanbase were delighted. Joey Belladonna may well have been in the band for the majority of Scott Ian et al.’s career highs, including magnum opus Among The Living, but John Bush has got a hell of a set of pipes on him. Hearing those gruff tones brought to Caught In A Mosh is everything we ever dreamed it would be.
Twisted Sister – I Wanna Rock (2004)
When Twisted Sister decided to remaster and re-release their entire back-catalogue in the ’90s, they discovered that Atlantic Records could block any release of 1984’s standard-setting Stay Hungry. So, on the album’s 20th anniversary, Dee Snider and friends decided to take matters into their own hands and release the Still Hungry album, consisting of re-recorded songs, correcting the mistakes they believed were made on the original versions. The grittier take on I Wanna Rock suggests it was a good idea.
Sick Of It All – Injustice System (2011)
Sick Of It All are one of the greatest hardcore bands of all time. Go back to their iconic 1989 debut album Blood, Sweat And No Tears and you’ll hear some of the best hardcore tunes ever written. However, they may not be delivered with the ferocity you hear at their live shows. So, in 2011, the band decided to re-record a bunch of their oldies on the XXV Nonstop album. When it comes to songs from the latter days it’s fine, if unessential, but hearing a beefier version of such early and scrappy material as Injustice System is pure dynamite.
Tool – Opiate2 (2022)
Tool’s 1992 debut EP is great, even if it’s not truly representative of how the band sound now. It’s something Maynard James Keenan and co. themselves highlighted on the 30th anniversary of Opiate by recording a new version of the title track. It adds an extra 90 seconds to the song (classic Tool) and makes everything just that little bit sleeker and cleaner than the original. Ultimately, they’re both brilliant.
Cavalera – Troops Of Doom (2023)
Fair play to Max and Iggor Cavalera: the pair are still capable of diving all the way back to the very start of their careers and matching the savagery of their teenage selves. The recently re-recorded Cavalera versions of the first two Sepultura releases, 1985’s Bestial Devastation and 1986’s Morbid Visions, are possibly even more brutal than the originals. Take a listen to the destructive redo of Troops Of Doom for proof. Killer.
Thrice – Under A Killing Moon (2023)
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their flawless The Artist In The Ambulance, post-hardcore legends Thrice released the Revisited re-recording in 2023. It was a move with no room for fuck-ups, as there’s a hardy collective of fans that love that album more than their own grannies. Luckily, the band did a stellar job, especially on Under A Killing Moon, for which they roped in Architects frontman and Thrice obsessive Sam Carter. The end result sounds as class as that idea seems on paper.