Today’s song isn’t the first song I discovered through a heavy metal cover. However, unlike Gamma Ray’s “It’s a Sin,” Sepultura’s version of “The Hunt” was NOT the standout on its album. Sepultura was a band that always had good riffs, but never quite had the songwriting to put them all together, so by the time they sold out with 1993’s Chaos AD, I was pretty much over my Sepultura phase. Still, I dabbled with the album in my teen years (I even bought Roots…and then sold them both when I decided they were not nearly kvlt enough for my collection), and “The Hunt” was always an oddity…catchy as hell, but so poppy it pushed things a step to far on an album that was already walking a thin line when it came to accessibility. Hell, I didn’t even know it was a cover at the time, it was just the sawft catchy song that was giving my kvlt ass confused feelings.
Fast forward 25 years and I was finally ready to grudgingly admit that Chaos AD holds up pretty well (even if I still don’t want to listen to groove metal), and that “The Hunt” was good enough to try to track down the original. As it turns out, the original is rather draw-droppingly amazing:
One of Chaos AD‘s strengths is the intense drumming and propulsive grooves for each song, so it was pretty impressive to find that New Model Army’s original made Sepultura’s version (which was a straight ahead cover) feel rather sterile and lifeless in comparison. Ditching the stupid growled vocals is only part of it, the production and musicianship just feels immediate and propulsive in a way that will make anyone listening stop to take note. It’s the kind of song that will make people who have never heard it stop mid-sentence and say “hey, who is this?” It’s the kind of song that makes you want to shout right along with the epic climax. It’s the kind of song that any metal band on the planet would love to cover, but probably won’t out of fear of being emasculated by a poppy post-punk band.
In short, it’s my kind of song.