CrazyEightyEight enlist not one, not two, but nine guest vocalists for ‘Killing In The Name’ cover

CrazyEightyEight, killing in the name of Rage Against The Machine covers.

I love Rage Against The Machine, and if you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you do too. Rage Against The Machine are one of modern rock’s most landmark acts; their extreme left-wing rap-rock tendrils spread long and far through so many different genres and demographics of music. As such, there have been many good Rage covers over the years. There’s also been some pretty bad ones. Of course, if there’s one band that could potentially do a cover of such a monumental song in the history of rock and political music justice, it’s CrazyEightyEight. A severely talented band whose very foundation was laid by producing some great cover songs. Although, in actuality, their take on what is arguably Rage’s biggest song comes up a little short.

Arranged by band mastermind Jarrod Alonge, and with vocalist Lauren Babic leading the charge, CrazyEightyEight have definitely put forth a faithful post-hardcore/metalcore cover of ‘Killing In The Name.’ Replicating the originals sense of anger, structure, riffage, guitar solo, and grooves but in a polished core methodology with some awesomely filthy bass tones to boot. Yet ‘Killing In The Name‘ is just one of those songs – much like ‘New Noise‘ – that doesn’t need to be covered anymore. It’s such a quintessential Rage track that any other recorded rendition of it is automatically a weaker facsimile. Plus, there are other great RATM songs that aren’t called “Killing In The Name” or “Bulls On Parade.” Despite most bands showing otherwise. Seriously, where’s all of the love and covers dedicated to ‘People Of The Sun,’ ‘Mic Check,’ ‘Freedom,’ ‘New Millennium Homes,’ or ‘Tire Me,’ to name a few? Anyway, I digress!

Regarding the headline, meaning the multiple guest vocalists angle, CrazyEightyEight have taken a somewhat odd approach. When looking at the list of featured vocalists – Marcus Bridge, Courtney LaPlante, Tyler Tate (Hollow Front), Jared Dines, Nathan Kane (Whale Bones), Mike Martenson (Boys of Fall), Linzey Rae (The Anchor), Jake Impellizzeri (Sleep Waker) and David Thompson (Nanashi) – you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d all have their own individual part within the larger song: showing what they can do best, each having their own time in the spotlight. Instead, in a very crowded fashion, what we get is all nine vocalists sharing the song’s final “fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me, motherfucker” breakdown section. Where, confusingly enough, not even half of these screamers can be distinguished from one another. It’s a mess. There’s zero interesting back and forth or dynamic taken advantage given such a range of vocalists. Doing what I first guessed would’ve taken more planning and work, though it would’ve perhaps reaped greater results. This is a letdown given not only their ability to create solid covers, but given the sheer amount of vocal talent they could play around with.

Sharing the track through their affiliated Boketo Media channel, and in light of recent Black Lives Matter protests sweeping America (and the world) against racial injustice and police brutality, the band notably linked to NAACP and stated that:

“Black Americans are over twice as likely to be killed by police than white Americans. Senseless hate crimes and incidence of coronavirus deaths spreading throughout African American communities display the continuance of systematic racism and privilege granted to white people in the US. We encourage you to educate yourself on these issues and make the decision to donate to a charity that effectively serves such communities. In the meantime, you can use this song to help yourself stay angry.”

Check CrazyEightyEight’s new rendition below now that their cover licence went through:

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