Watch Matt Pike and Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan give Van Halen’s Unchained a heavy makeover

Mike Sullivan and Matt Pike
(Image credit: Two Minutes To Late Night/YouTube)

If there was one silver lining from the past 18 months – aside from the fact it saw an unprecedented number of players pick up the electric guitar for the first time – it would be the wealth of virtuosic virtual collaborations that have emerged from around the globe.

Now, despite in-person gigs once again becoming the norm, metal-themed talk show channel Two Minutes To Late Night has assembled yet another band of heavy metal heavyweights, calling upon Mike Sullivan, Matt Pike and Andy Hurley for a bedroom cover of Van Halen’s Unchained.

It’s Unchained, alright, but not quite as you remember it. Sure, the opening riffs are every bit as infectious as the original, though the somewhat visceral intro vocals are a hint of what’s to come. 

Indeed, by the time the first verse comes around, Hurley kicks things into overdrive, doubles the feel and takes the quartet in a far more metal-leaning direction.

Sullivan, seen donning his custom Dunable Gnarwhal model – and a tiny Frankenstein replica for the solos – delivers juicy gain-riddled tones aplenty, from his pounding opening riffs to the tap-heavy lead lines that crop up in the track’s latter half.

His fellow guest star Pike takes up frontman duties, and supercharges Hurley’s heavy metal-esque direction by taking David Lee Roth’s part and introducing the same guttural vocals that you’d expect to find on one of his High on Fire tracks.

It’s certainly an avant garde take on the rock ‘n’ roll classic, but it’s one that works pretty darn well. You can check it out in the video above.

Of the collaboration, Hall commented, “Of all the one-time super groups we've created – I bet you never expected this one!” 

It’s not the first time Two Minutes To Late Night has impressed with its all-star collabs, either.

Not only has the show recruited Bill Kelliher, Les Claypool and Steve Brodsky for an equally heavy cover of Rush’s Anthem, it’s also enlisted Nili Brosh, Izzy Fontaine and Alan Cassidy for an insane, guitar-driven ‘90s Club Mix medley.

Head over to Two Minutes To Late Night to browse its entire catalog of covers.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.