I love a good cover version. Whether it’s Denzel Curry’s incendiary take on Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Bulls on Parade’, the Melodicka Bros’ heart-wrenching rendition of System of a Down’s ‘BYOB’, or those Aussie Britpop lads the DMAs doing a damn fine acoustic version of Cher’s classic ‘Believe’. An artist covering a song by someone is a great way of one generation paying homage and showing respect and love to those that have come before.
My new favourite cover version is one that isn’t just crossing the generational divide, but a geographical and cultural one too. Music binds humanity together. Through fire and pain and destruction and death, music prevails. It’s one of the most magical, ineffable things that humanity has ever happened upon, bringing joy and light wherever it goes (well, unless it’s, like, Creed we’re talking about). This cover, of Metallica’s monolithic classic, ‘One’, played on a santur, is so hauntingly perfect it rattles my brain. The santur is a hammered dulcimer instrument that originated in the regions of what is now modern day Iran, with earliest records of it dating back to around 669 B.C, and its usage and form then spreading out and morphing throughout the Middle East and nearby regions. 1988’s ‘One’ is one of Metallica’s very best tunes, a mature and melancholy meditation on the horrors of war. Hearing it played on a santur just makes so much sense, its haunting message and hopeless rage sounding so at home on the instrument. I love it. Give me more.
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