Review Summary: It's punk bands covering metal songs for crying out loud. How could it not be good?
Was there ever a better idea conceived by man to have punk bands covering metal songs? Sure, running water and sliced bread were good ideas, but the first and arguably best entry into the “Punk Goes…” series is nothing short of sheer genius: An assortment of ska/punk bands breathing life into their favourite metal numbers. While most cover albums are usually half-assed and gimmicky, Punk Goes Metal
has so many quality tracks and such a great sense of fun that it still remains a pleasure to listen to a decade after its initial release.
What’s impressive about Punk Goes Metal
is that a lot of covers do the original songs justice. Already great songs like “My Michelle”, “Talk Dirty to Me”, “Looks That Kill” and “I Don’t Know” are still enjoyable and are fun to listen to with new production values and vocalists. All songs don’t just get a punk remake, either: although you may not prefer them to the originals, the ska versions of “Harvester of Sorrow” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due” are unique and fun to listen to in their own right. Punk Goes Metal
offers plenty of covers that are very similar but as enjoyable as their originals, and it’s all up to your preferences as to which version you enjoy better.
Not only will you be hard pressed to find a bad song on this compilation album, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many covers actually succeed the quality of their originals. Cheesy hair-metal ballads like “I Remember You” and “Heaven” get a pleasing punk rock makeover, while the slower, drudging “Breaking The Law” and “Youth Gone Wild” get a much-needed swift kick in the bum and become 20x more enjoyable. Ten Foot Pole even takes the five minutes of “Love Songs” and condenses it into a better two minute version, offering a refreshing and enjoyable take on a meandering love ballad.
And for me, there are a couple of covers that I deem much better than the already great originals. Dynamite Boy’s “TNT” is way more energetic than AC/DC’s original, while Bigwig’s ridiculously good rendition of Slayer’s “War Ensemble” is just as powerful, but has better production and a fun, quirky jazz breakdown. The most impressive outing here, however, is Strung Out’s cover of Ozzy’s “Bark At The Moon”: The tempo is ramped up considerably, the riffing is intense and the guitar solos are blistering. After hearing the Strung Out version, you’ll just go back to the original “Bark At The Moon” and just laugh by how lame is sounds.
So, baring some strange additions (ie. “Why Rock?” and “Sexual Abuse”, which are average covers of songs no one has heard of), Punk Goes Metal
has plenty of fun punk and ska covers of recognized, cherished metal songs. It’s a shame that the series couldn’t keep up this kind of quality, but it’s good to know that, at the very least, they started out with the right idea; actual punk bands covering actual metal songs is a formula that can’t miss, and fans of either genre should absolutely check it out.