Now I am not a diehard fan, focusing pretty much on the Ozzy years and more recently Dio’s early 80s stint, but I’ve heard most of their stuff and found something to appreciate amidst some of the more questionable output. And being a fan of Sabbath, I’m naturally a reasonably big fan of both Ozzy and Dio solo, though again focusing primarily on early/classic output.
So there’s that.
Now I’m going to jump genre ships completely and bring up the Cardigans. Anyone who remembers them at all will likely only know the one song that made them one hit wonders in the mid 90s, Love Fool. And as much fun as that little slice of fluff pop is, it really in no way represents what the band was doing, especially early on. Their first three albums were basically what I would call “lounge punk,” combining elements of pop, jazz and metal into a laid back but engaging blend that sounds really like nothing else before or since (that I’ve heard anyway). The focal point for all of this was Nina Persson, whose cutesy voice and persona made the rather odd mix more immediately attractive; yet her presence was more than just a pretty face to look at, as she was equally part of the creative mystique that made their early albums so interesting.
You may or may not know that Sweden, where the Cardigans are from, is pretty immersed in metal – both dark and heavy. As much as I love Swedish bands of many types, their brand of metal is often way too black and foreboding for me. Anyway, having said that, it’s not really a surprise (at least I don’t think) that the Cardigans would pay tribute by covering some of the masters of metal not only live but on album. They are as follows:
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath – Iron Man
Ozzy Osbourne – Mr. Crowley
So brilliant are the Cardigans with their interpretation of these songs that anyone not familiar with the originals would assume it was just another quirky and cool tune of their own. Likewise, those even well versed in these dark classics would have to catch the occasional vocal melody or guitar lead and say, “Oh, wait a minute…RAWK!!!” Iron Man especially, with that instantly recognizable riff, is so far removed from the Black Sabbath version that it’s almost a completely different song.
This is seriously a wonderful mingling of traditionally opposing genres and, most importantly, what doing a cover should encompass; that is taking the song and completely making it your own. So thanks for this, Cardigans. Or as you would say in Swedish, “Tack!” And look out, kids…Mr. Crowley is done live and a cappella. I KNOW!!