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NoCleanSinging Discusses Pros And Cons Of Cover Songs

Photo of Iron Maiden

Band Photo: Iron Maiden (?)

NoCleanSinging.com has posted an editorial online on the pros and cons of covers, after hearing the Anachronaeon cover of Iron Maiden's "Wasting Love." An excerpt from the editorial can be viewed below.

Song covers that just faithfully reproduce an original song don’t add anything. Why would anyone listen to a reproduction when you can listen to the original? That point seems inarguable. So, if a cover needs to be different from the original to be worth hearing, what makes a cover succeed and what makes it fail?

I think the answer depends to some extent on the popularity of the original song and how you, as a listener, feel about it. If it’s a great song, a well-remembered song, the kind of song that welcomingly unfolds in your head as soon as you hear the first few notes, then a band that alters that song in a cover is playing with fire. I think for a cover of that kind of song to work, the cover band almost has to change it dramatically. Making minor alterations around the edges can be jarring — you mind is playing one thing in your head from memory, and here and there the cover recording is doing something else that you’re unlikely to hear as an improvement on the original.

On the other hand, changing a beloved original song in dramatic ways can be equally off-putting — or it can be a wonderful surprise. It all depends on whether the cover song can stand on its own as something interestingly different, on whether the cover band has found something in the original that it can run with, maintaining a connection to the original but spinning out a variation that can stand on its own two legs as a good piece of music. There’s no formula for how to do this.

Two covers I’ve heard recently (and written about) jump to mind as examples of what works. One is Amon Amarth‘s cover of System of A Down‘s “Aerials”, which appeared as a bonus track on Surtur Rising. Another is Torture Division‘s cover of a Mastodon song called “Iron Tusk." Both songs imprint the cover band’s own particular style on the original, creating something different and good, without completely losing connection with the originals.

For additional info on Anachronaeon, you can check out our review of the band's album "The Futile Quest for Immortality" here, or navigate over to our interview with the band at this location.

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10 Comments on "NoCleanSinging Discusses Pros And Cons Of Covers"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Islander writes:

Hey, thanks for re-posting this. We do appreciate it.

# May 3, 2011 @ 7:46 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Waste writes:

Talk about a biased website. Way to corner yourself in a niche market of jerks who think the majority of clean singing in metal sucks.

Sorry, but I prefer reading about metal bands from an unbiased standpoint. Rather than being force fed the ideals of a couple p***ed off sub-genre nerds.

Make sure you read their about, or rather "rules" page so you know exactly whats right and wrong!

# May 3, 2011 @ 7:57 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Fuck_A_Name's avatar

Member

3. Fuck_A_Name writes:

^it's a commentary on the b**** singing that's been bringing down alot of genres of metal lately. Ive seen this site cover a few bands with clean singing in it, but when it was put to good purpose, ala opeth

These are the bands first four rules:
1.Almost all “popular” music sucks.
2.Metal doesn’t suck, unless it’s metal with clean singing, which mostly does suck.
3.Some metal with clean singing doesn’t suck, but that’s an exception to the rule.
4.Some metal with no clean singing also sucks, but that’s also an exception to the rule

Like you said, they think a MAJORITY of metal with clean singing sucks. Given the fact that everybody and their grandmother can start a band these days, and statistically, most people cant sing that well, I dont see how this is close-minded. This is right on point. It's just a matter of the fact that the website is trying to take a stance against metal that utilizes bad clean vocals and gets away with it because its popular.

In the article the guy says he loves the original Iron Maiden song becasue of the epic, melodic clean singing.

Maybe if you wernt so close-minded you could actually think for a second, and analyze argumental points and context.

# May 4, 2011 @ 1:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
4. SomeoneHandHimATissue writes:

^ awww his vagina is showing lol

# May 4, 2011 @ 5:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Fuck_A_Name's avatar

Member

5. Fuck_A_Name writes:

^awww his comment is generic and stupid

# May 5, 2011 @ 1:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. sOlAmE writes:

I have to chime in after reading this.

Close minded? Seriously? After trying to tell people what's good and bad as far as clean singing in metal?

Who the hell are you to say what bad clean vocals are? That's a stupid and arrogant statement to make. Tom Waits sounds like a f***ing diseased monster, but he's one of the most inspiring musicians in our history. Bob Dylan sounds like a cat with a frog in his throat, but he inspired millions of people.

When it comes to metal, the popular thing to do is play blast beats and scream nonsense over it. Thus explaining the thousands of copycat bands out there who all sound the same. You know what though? Who gives a sh**? That's up to the musician, not arrogant pricks who want to dictate what they think is good or bad.

Pardon the f*** out of me. I guess I have to go through my record collection and weed out the people who can't properly sing clean and throw them out.

I hope all the metal bands reading this are paying attention. Apparently we really need to take a stand against the travesty that is singing in metal. Man, I never would think of such a thing. At least the genre itself didn't spawn from a band with a frontman that was never trained to sing or hit every note but sang anyways. Oh wait that was Black Sabbath!

I agree it's a commentary, but I also agree with the statement above that it's a commentary by a bunch of annoying genre nerds. Who took a bad idea for a webpage and made it worse!

# May 5, 2011 @ 2:16 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Ideeotzzzz writes:

I have to chime in after reading this.

Close minded? Seriously? After trying to tell people what's good and bad as far as clean singing in metal?

Who the hell are you to say what bad clean vocals are? That's a stupid and arrogant statement to make. Tom Waits sounds like a f***ing diseased monster, but he's one of the most inspiring musicians in our history. Bob Dylan sounds like a cat with a frog in his throat, but he inspired millions of people.

When it comes to metal, the popular thing to do is play blast beats and scream nonsense over it. Thus explaining the thousands of copycat bands out there who all sound the same. You know what though? Who gives a sh**? That's up to the musician, not arrogant pricks who want to dictate what they think is good or bad.

Pardon the f*** out of me. I guess I have to go through my record collection and weed out the people who can't properly sing clean and throw them out.

I hope all the metal bands reading this are paying attention. Apparently we really need to take a stand against the travesty that is singing in metal. Man, I never would think of such a thing. At least the genre itself didn't spawn from a band with a frontman that was never trained to sing or hit every note but sang anyways. Oh wait that was Black Sabbath!

I agree it's a commentary, but I also agree with the statement above that it's a commentary by a bunch of annoying genre nerds. Who took a bad idea for a webpage and made it worse!

# May 5, 2011 @ 2:23 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Fuck_A_Name's avatar

Member

8. Fuck_A_Name writes:

You also dont get it. Slayer and metallica cant sing like say, halford or dio, but they used their voices well. Same with ozzy. Kids these days try to sing in that beautiful melody style, but unlike d***inson or halford, they pay no attention to pitch, key, tone or anything thats used to judge such singing. THATS why a site like ncs exists, to weed out the trash from bands that actually care about making worthwhile songs. Im currently rocking the f*** out to protest the heros newest release. Not a scream to be found on the tech-metalcore album, but holy f*** can this guy sing. Listen to them and then listen to all that remains. See the difference?

# May 5, 2011 @ 10:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Fuck_A_Name's avatar

Member

9. Fuck_A_Name writes:

I also cannot stress enought that IN THEIR RULES, they say they arent really against clean singing. It's a stance they take. They support Amorphis, Opeth, mastodon, and I just saw an article on Soilwork on their site very recently. Theyre just against the very thing I was just ranting about. Genre nerds? Or just people who actually give a sh** about music?

# May 5, 2011 @ 11:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

10. Cynic writes:

Well I have to chime in after reading your comment. You're pretty much judging a book by it's tongue in cheek cover.

It seems to me it's a website covering extreme metal, and therefore the name is just something provocative to both display that and provoke people like you who have a lack of sense of humor and dismiss them without actually reading the fact they don't actually have a no clean singing rule.

# May 5, 2011 @ 5:16 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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