The Top 10 best Matt Heafy cover versions

Matt Heafy of Trivium
(Image credit: Gina Wetzler/Redferns)

Trivium’s Matt Heafy has never been shy about wearing his influences on his sleeve. From talking up At The Gates and Death in early interviews to guesting with Korn at Download Festival back in 06, he has proven time and again to be a devout disciple at the altar of heavy metal. But his love for all things metal best manifests itself in the ever-expanding list of songs he’s covered down the years, both with Trivium and on his Twitch channel. And it's not just heavy songs either - he’s dipped his toes into the worlds of grunge, alt-rock and pop. That in mind, we present you the 10 best songs Mr. Heafy has graced over the years…

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10.  Hammer Smashed Face (Cannibal Corpse cover)

It’s not the only song Matt has reinvented through the acoustic medium (Dragonforce’s Through The Fire And Flames came this close to making the list), but his take on Cannibal Corpse’s gore-spattered death metal classic stands out as a bizarre highlight. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Matt plays it almost entirely straight, which only serves to make the overall effect even more disconcerting. Who said you needed distortion to turn stomachs?

9. Executioner’s Tax (Power Trip cover)

A touching tribute to late Power Trip frontman Riley Gale as part of Trivium’s The Deepest Cuts stream, the band’s cover of Executioner’s Tax proved two things. First, that while they may now be considered metal icons in their own right, Trivium aren’t above paying their dues to the exceptional talent still coming up in the scene. Second, that Executioner’s Tax is a lightning-bolt-in-a-bottle metal anthem. Trivium’s thundering take on the track maintains the colossal groove at the heart of the track while Matt dredges up his best guttural roar to drive home just how satisfyingly heavy it is.

8. Davidian (Machine Head cover)

It’s every teenage metal fan's dream to get up on-stage to sing with their favourite band. And as the ultimate teenage metal fan Matt achieved just that (and more) when he appeared not only on the Roadrunner United studio album, but later sang at a special celebratory show in New York on December 15 2005 – just over a month shy of his 20th birthday. Fear Factory’s Replica showed just how much presence the (then) newcomer had, but it was the utterly blistering cover of Machine Head’s Davidian alongside Vision of Disorder/Bloodsimple vocalist Tim Williams and Robb Flynn himself that showed Matt could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best in the business.

7. Harvest (Opeth cover)

Dressed in a Bathory cut-off and sat on a lone stool in a corridor, Matt belts out a faithful and soulful cover of Opeth’s Harvest that will send chills up any fan’s spine. Matt taps into the essence of the song whilst infusing his own vocal spin on the song to show that not all faithful covers need sound like karaoke. Multiple versions of this cover exist online, but while the guitars may sound clearer on the more recent Twitch version, the song never sounds so effortless as on its first airing.

6. Hell’s Bells (AC/DC cover)

What if Hell’s Bells had been written by Black Album-era Metallica? That’s almost exactly what we get with Matt’s acoustic take on the AC/DC classic, the guitar and vocal evoking more than a shade of Nothing Else Matters, albeit without all those namby-pamby feelings. Trivium had been covering the song as far back as their European tour in 2008, but it's thrilling to hear Matt strip it right down to the bones for an entirely new take, though some brilliant Brian Johnson shrieking does surface towards the end.

5. Slave New World (Sepultura cover)

Served up during early Trivium gigs - notably at a 2005 show at London’s tiny Barfly club - the band resurrected their cover of Sepultura’s Slave New World in 2011 for the In Waves deluxe edition. More recently, Matt guested with Seps themselves as part of the Sepulquarta series, lending his roars to a re-recorded version that, while recorded in isolation, packs all the thrashy groove that its original did almost 30 years earlier. Collab on the next album? We can but hope.

4. Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover)

We’ve heard plenty of covers where Matt strips a metal song back to its bare essentials for an acoustic rendition, but what about when he goes the other way? Trivium’s cover of R.E.M. mega-hit Losing My Religion pumps the early 1990s classic full of steroids, maintaining the core melody whilst building its guitar line atop a thundering drum-beat. It marked the point where the band were no longer limited to sticking purely to the harder edges of rock and metal.

3. Under Pressure (Queen cover)

While Matt has covered plenty of songs unplugged style on his Twitch channel, they’re largely been delivered in a Man In Black-goes-metal style. One anomaly is his take on Queen’s Under Pressure, which swaps seriousness for the full-on anthemic glory of the original.Here, Matt indulges the full pomp in both guitar technique and vocal styling to channel his very own take on Freddie Mercury, right down (up?) to the elongated high notes. Full band version next, please.

2. Master of Puppets (Metallica cover)

At the start of their career, Trivium were being hailed as ‘the next Metallica’ – something that ultimately proved to be a deadweight around their necks. Their cover of Master Of Puppets plays things straight, speeding things up ever-so slightly to deliver thrash metal perfection re-tooled for the post-millennial generation of newbie metalheads just discovering who the masters were.

1. One More Light (Linkin Park cover)

Context is everything. Matt tackles his rendition of the final single to be released by Linkin Park before Chester Bennington’s untimely passing with a stripped-back sobriety that carries enormous emotional weight. From the gentle, fragile notes of the guitar to his powerful vocal performance, every element of this cover is beautifully balanced, perfectly communicating the tragic story behind its existence. The line ‘Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there’ feels especially foreboding given the circumstances. There have been many covers of Linkin Park songs, but this is one of the greatest.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.