Black Sabbath are one of the architects of metal, and their second album, 1970’s Paranoid, is a touchstone for every band that followed. The influence of those eight tracks cannot be understated, but to understand just how far reaching the Church Of Sabbath extends, check out the varied artists that have attempted to pay homage to those classics throughout the years.
Faith No More – War Pigs
Possibly the definitive Black Sabbath cover, San Francisco mavericks Faith No More are one of the few bands that can lay claim to being within touching distance of Sabbath’s influence on music. On their legendary breakthrough third album The Real Thing they covered Paranoid’s opening song faithfully, all as a means of teasing true metal guitarist Jim Martin. We still don’t quite get the joke, but, whatever, their cover rules all the same.
Type O Negative – Paranoid
There have been some utterly shit covers of Black Sabbath’s signature anthem over the years; stand up Weezer, Inspiral Carpets, Soft Cell and Big Country. Rather than decimate your ears listening to those woeful efforts, why not stick on New York goth icons Type O Negative’s version instead. Peter Steele and co. famously were a unique meld of Beatles melody, Sabbath heaviness and their own sardonic sense of humour, and they turn the song into an achingly beautiful, seven minute-plus doom epic. As idiosyncratic as ever.
Pantera – Planet Caravan
Pantera’s 1994 album Far Beyond Driven is a benchmark in metal culture, being, without doubt, the heaviest album ever to top the US Billboard charts. What often gets overlooked amongst the brutality though is this truly excellent, and at the time shocking, cover of Sabbath at their most blissed out, Planet Caravan is expertly reconstructed here, with Phillip Anselmo’s, as yet unheard, whiskey-soaked croon and Dimebag Darell’s magical tone making it sing just like Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill did all those years before.
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Ministry – Iron Man
Another undoubted classic in the Sabbath cannon, which means everyone from Metallica to The Cardigans, via NOFX, Cancer Bats, Busta Rhymes, The Replacements and Therapy?, have had a go at the song. We’ve gone for Uncle Al Jourgensen and his Ministry cohorts here, mainly because, on their 2010 covers album Undercover, they actually decided to do something new with it. That something happened to be turning it into a massive electro acid trip, it hurts after a while, but you can’t deny that its levels of antagonism are impressive.
Cavalera Conspiracy – Electric Funeral
Max Cavalera has a history of paying tribute to his favourite bands, the former Sepultura/current Soulfly main man has covered legendary collectives such as Motörhead, Discharge, Celtic Frost and more over the years. So, he wasn’t going to be scared to give a Sabbath classic a go (for the second time in his career actually) when his Cavalera Conspiracy released their sophomore record, Blunt Force Trauma, in 2011. The bonus tracks recorded for the album include this brutally painful retread of the awesome Electric Funeral, and frankly it is as good as that sounds on paper.
Orange Goblin – Hand Of Doom
Let’s be honest, if there is any British band of the last 20 years that have any right to cover Black Sabbath then it must be London stoners Orange Goblin, a group that are clearly cut from the Sabbath cloth. They didn’t take long to get right to that either, with this straight but irresistible cover of Hand Of Doom featuring on their 1997 EP Nuclear Guru, before being included on their second album Time Travelling Blues a year later.
Jazz Sabbath – Rat Salad
Probably about time we gave some credit to the people who really wrote these classic metal songs, right? Jazz Sabbath formed in 1968 and were all set to release their debut album, which featured this little ditty as well as a few others you might know, before pianist Milton Keanes suffered a heart attack and the album had to be put back… by which time Black Sabbath had stolen all of their songs. That’s their story, their sticking to it, it’s obviously a cheeky little joke, but Rat Salad sounds quite good reimagined as a jazz lite number, so we’ll humour them.
miRthkon – Fairies Wear Boots
miRthkon were an avant garde rock band from Oakland that namechecked the likes of Frank Zappa, Slayer, Stravinski and Meshuggah amongst their various influences. No one really remembers or mentions them now, but amazingly they’re the most high-profile band to have covered the closing song on Paranoid, they turn it into an incredibly bizarre brass led stomper, which has just about enough of the original left in it for you to be able to tell what it is they are covering. Is it good? Not sure. Is it mental? Yeah, crackpot. Judge for yourself…
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