Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante has masterminded an astonishing run of all-star playthroughs during the lockdown period, including covers of Rush’s Freewill and a monster Run-DMC medley – now, for his latest effort, he’s recruited a few famous friends to perform the Soundgarden classic Rusty Cage.
Mastodon’s Bill Kelliher handles guitar duties on the track, while William DuVall has the unenviable task of tackling Chris Cornell’s vocals, as Benante and Metal Allegiance’s Mark Menghi bring the rhythmic thunder underneath.
The result is an impressively faithful cover, right down to Kelliher’s crunchy tone and that cheeky pre-verb on the vocals. No wonder it got the seal of approval from Soundgarden’s own Kim Thayil, who appears at the start of the video to give it his blessing.
Also, we can’t help but notice that Kelliher is playing a Gibson Les Paul, rather than his usual ESP signature model, in the clip – it could just be for tonal reasons, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
DuVall, of course, is no stranger to covering Soundgarden, as Alice in Chains performed Hunted Down and Boot Camp in tribute to Cornell back in 2018.
“I was a Soundgarden fan as soon as I heard Hunted Down,” Benante says in the video’s description. “I then heard the Fopp EP on which they had covered an Ohio Players song… and I was hooked.
“I saw them numerous times from 1988-89 to playing festivals with them a few years ago. I always thought they had ‘it’: they were tight but loose, up and down, in and out of tune, heavy and soft, always unique.
“We are celebrating the music they created with this version of Rusty Cage. When Bill, Mark, William and I decided to jam this one out it was because it moved us when we first heard it and dammit, it still does!”