Today for your headbanging pleasure, I’m excited to bring you yet another post about metal bands covering the music of other bands. So far, we’ve featured a post on metal bands covering the Beatles‘ songs, and metal bands covering songs by metal gods Judas Priest. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my life as a headbanger, it’s that metal fans are not one-dimensional when it comes to the kind of bands and jams we are into.
I guess to a degree; it’s kind of like the “guilty pleasures” thing where you get someone wearing a Motörhead t-shirt to admit they also own a copy of Duran Duran‘s Rio. Coincidently, both bands released albums in the same very metal year of 1982 (Motörhead/Iron Fist). I should know, I am that metalhead.
Anyway, this confessional brings me to the topic at hand–metal bands that have taken on songs from the catalog of Duran Duran, a band that happens to hail from Birmingham, England, the birthplace of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
Deftones (Sacramento, California) “The Chauffeur”
To start things off, let’s check out not one but two metal covers of the Duran Duran songs “Night Boat” (1981), and quite possibly my favorite Duran Duran song (if making such a choice is possible), “The Chauffeur” (1982), by the Deftones.
If there were one cover album that would fully support my intro to this post above, it would be Deftones‘ 2011 compilation record, Covers. On it, Chino Moreno and his bandmates take on songs from the Smiths (“Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”), The Cure (“If Only Tonight We Could Sleep), and Duran Duran‘s “The Chauffeur” which was also featured on the soundtrack for the film Drive. The songs on Covers first appeared on Deftones‘ 2005 album, B-Sides, and Rarities.
The album also included another Duran Duran cover, “Night Boat.” Traditionally, the Deftones have wrapped each recording session by recording one of two “fun” covers agreed upon by the band. According to Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham, they collectively enjoyed “catching people off guard” by covering songs their fans would never expect. Such as British chanteuse Sade‘s hit “No Ordinary Love.” Lets’ take a listen to Chino stepping into Simon Le Bon’s shoes.
Smashing Pumpkins (Chicago) with Simon Le Bon on vocals: “Night Boat”
The next cover in this post has Simon Le Bon stepping into Billy Corgan’s shoes to perform a version of “Night Boat” in London along with the rest of the Smashing Pumpkins in 1998. It’s a dark, thunderous cover of the already moody song, and with Le Bon at the helm, it’s impossible to fault.
Now, let’s expand internationally into bands who have made Duran Duran‘s songs metal with nothing short of a fucking fantastic cover by Portuguese band Ramp covering the band’s very first single, 1981’s “Planet Earth.”
Ramp (Portugal): “Planet Earth”
In 1988, Ramp came up with their odd yet metal-sounding name using each of their first names’ first initials. By 1989 they were opening shows for metal pioneers Coven. A few lineup changes later, Ramp was opening shows for Sepultura when the Brazilian band came through Portugal. Other gigs with Motörhead, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Slayer and more would keep the band busy through the 90s.
In 2005, Ramp put out an EP containing their cover of Duran Duran‘s “Planet Earth.” Without question, Ramp‘s version of “Planet Earth” is Metallica-esque–and the band (who appears to still be active) does the deep Duran Duran cut proud, and then some.
Diablo (Finland) “A View to a Kill”
Also known as the Diablo Brothers, the Finnish band Diablo has been cranking out heavy metal jams since 1999, releasing their most recent single, “The Extinctionist,” in 2020. Inspired by Metallica (who they have opened shows for), Death, Testament, and Slayer, in 2006, they released their fourth album, Mimic 47.
The B-side to the first single from the record, Eternium, is a cover of Duran Duran‘s theme for the fourteenth James Bond film, 1985’s A View to a Kill, and it’s so heavy it hurts. In a good way, of course.
Northern Kings (Finland) “A View to a Kill”
Since we’re in Finland, let’s talk about another Finnish metal band, Northern Kings, and their melodic metal cover of “A View to a Kill.” Formed by members of other Finnish metal bands (including Nightwish), Northern Kings got into the cover game in 2007 with their debut, Reborn containing versions of “Rebel Yell” (Billy Idol), “Ashes to Ashes” (David Bowie), and Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” (?), among others.
The follow-up to Reborn, 2008’s Rethroned, contained more covers, including “Take on Me,” the international smash by Norweigan band A-ha (which they performed at the Finland Eurovision Song Contest in that same year), and Duran Duran‘s “A View to a Kill.” Northern Kings‘ take on “A View to a Kill” even includes some of Monty Norman‘s original James Bond Theme used in nearly all of the Bond films.
Black Sonic (Germany) “Ordinary World
The next Duran Duran cover comes from Liechtenstein, Germany band Black Sonic (formerly Black Sonic Prophets). Their cover of “Ordinary World” can be found on the band’s only full-length record, 2009’s 7 Deadly Sins.
I love this cover for many reasons, including the fact that it’s somewhat faithful to the original and sounds like it could have been released in the hey-day of heavy metal during the glorious 80s.
Rust (Finland) “Ordinary World”
At this point, I’m guessing there is something Duran Duran flavored in the water in Finland (and in Germany for that matter) because here we have a third Finnish metal band putting their spin on a Duran Duran song.
This time it’s another moody yet metal version of “Ordinary World” that reminds me a little of the gloom that is Type O Negative with a side of grunge thanks to the vocal stylings of Mikko Herranen. Rust‘s version of “Ordinary World” was released as a single in 2004.
Atrocity (Germany): “Wild Boys”
The fifth album by German band Atrocity, Werk 80, is full of guess what? Covers of 80s music! Atrocity started as a death metal band back in 1985, but they have experimented with other metal styles through the decades, including industrial and symphonic sounds. During their pioneering death metal days in Germany, they covered one of Death‘s most epic tracks, “Archangel,” and the cover of their 1990 record on Nuclear Blast, Hallucinations, featured artwork by H.R. Giger.
So perhaps the idea of Atrocity covering David Bowie, Tears for Fears, and yes, Duran Duran might seem like a bit of a mind-bender. However, given the evolution of the band’s sound, it’s not all hard to conceive. Werk 80 did well enough on the charts that the band put out a second version, Werk 80 II putting their metal twist on songs by Depeche Mode and Simple Minds‘ smash, “Don’t You Forget About Me.” Which, after it appeared in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, would become synonymous with Judd Nelson’s loner/stoner character John Bender.
M.I.GOD: (Germany) “Ordinary World”
Nuremberg, Germany band M.I.GOD classify themselves as playing “sophisticated” metal. They’ve been around in one form or another for at least two decades. On their 2012 album, Floor 47, and like Liechtenstein band Black Sonic, they covered “Ordinary World.” Though they’ve been around for 20 years, I’m hedging a bet a lot of our Metal Injection readers may not be familiar with them.
I’m also betting that after hearing M.I.GOD‘s soaring cover of “Ordinary World,” you’ll want to fix that. I’ve featured a bunch of more-than-respectable Duran Duran covers in this post, and for me, this is one of the standouts when it comes to metal takes on Duran Duran‘s distinguished musical catalog.
Gaia Epicus (Norway): “Girls on Film”
Our second band from Norway, Gaia Epicus started out as Rått kjøtt sometime in 1992. After several name and lineup changes they officially became Gai Epicus in 2001.
Twenty years later, and after releasing a number of other covers including the 80s gem “Melt With You” by Modern English, Gaia Epicus tried on “Girls on Film” from Duran Duran‘s 1981 self-titled debut to see how it fits, releasing it as a single in September of 2020.
Bad Omens (California) “Come Undone”
Now, let’s get back to metal bands from the U.S. who love Duran Duran such as California band, Bad Omens. Bad Omens recorded their cover of another deeply moody Duran Duran track, “Come Undone,” for the 2020 deluxe reissue of their sophomore album, Finding God Before He Finds Me. What’s interesting about “Come Undone” itself is when Duran Duran guitarist at the time Warren Cuccurullo composed the song, he intended to pass it along to the band Bush so it could be sung by vocalist Gavin Rossdale.
When Simon Le Bon heard Cuccurullo’s early version of “Come Undone,” it became a part of their 1993 record Ordinary World and a regular part of their live performances. In getting back to Bad Omens, I have to tip my heavy metal hair to vocalist Noah Sebastian, who not only does a great job faithfully navigating Le Bon’s vocals but also those of Tessa Niles, who lent her alluring voice to the recording opposite Le Bon.
Adrenaline Mob (New York): “Ordinary World”
While we’re on the topic of “Come Undone,” let’s not forget the time that Halestorm vocalist Lzzy Hale joined forces with Adrenaline Mob to record the song in 2012 for their debut record, Omertá.
The song shows up on Adrenaline Mob‘s 2013 cover record Coverta.
Gothic Knights (Brooklyn REPRESENT!) “Hungry Like the Wolf”
If you love the metal sounds of the 80s, then you’re going to love the shit out of Brooklyn band Gothic Knights, who have been around since the early 90s-a a tough time for all metal bands due to the arrival of grunge. I mentioned Gothic Knights 1999 cover of Judas Priest‘s “The Ripper” on their album Kingdom of the Knights (with cover artwork by the great Ken Kelly (KISS, Manowar) in the massive Priest cover post.
For their 2003 album, Up From the Ashes, they recorded a version of Duran Duran‘s horny smash “Hungry Like the Wolf.” As I said, it’s got a raucous vintage Sunset Strip vibe, and I can’t get enough of the wild riffs flying from John Tzantis’ guitar.
Johnathan Davis (of California band Korn) “The Chauffeur”
I feel compelled to include Johnathan Davis‘ cover of “The Chauffeur” for a few reasons:
- Davis is metal.
- In the footage shot in Las Vegas in 2007, Davis begins the performance by telling the crowd that “The Chauffeur” is the greatest Duran Duran song ever.
- If you’ve never heard the story of Davis meeting his idol Simon Le Bon and how it relates to “The Chauffeur,” here’s how that went down:
“The first time I met Simon, we were in a bar in London called Browns,” recalled Davis. “I was shaking because I’m the hugest fan. He was like, ‘How old are you? Name some songs.’ And I was like, “The Chauffeur” is my shit. I love that song.’ We just hit it off and started hanging out that night. And then, a couple years later, my agent brought him out. He came to the Korn show, and then we went out to this pizza place in London, and we hung out all night, and it was the greatest night of my life.”
Lastly, I will ask you this (with a hat tip to DJ John Richards of Seattle radio station, KEXP); “What is your favorite Duran Duran song? And why is it “The Chauffeur?”
The last metal band that gets a nod for their love of making Duran Duran more metal is the Italian band, So Hate Is. The members of So Hate Is (a play on the phrase “So 80s”), are such big fans of Duran Duran that they devoted their career to covering the bands’ songs. According to So Hate Is, the idea to become a metal Duran Duran cover band came from their guitarist Ivo Ricci who loves Duran Duran and Megadeth equally, which sounds about right to me. Their first Duran Duran cover record, 2016’s Big Metal Thing Vol 1 is full of DD covers and, for some reason, Liverpool band Dead or Alive‘s instant classic from 1985, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).” You can listen to the whole thing on Soundcloud.