Whether it be punk or metal, it is impossible to understate the influence of Discharge on heavy music. Put simply, without them many of your favorite genres wouldn’t even exist. Thrash metal, death metal, grindcore, crust punk, D-beat (they invented that!), hardcore — all of them bear the Discharge stamp. Indeed, there’s a whole wave of bands, particularly in Sweden, who use the ‘Dis’ prefix in homage to these Stoke-On-Trent punks. Disfear, Disgust, Disclose, and even the tongue-in-cheek Dis Is Getting Ridiculous. As such, there are numerous bands who have paid their respects by covering their songs. Here are 10 of the best…
Machine Head – “The Possibility Of Life’s Destruction”
Never shy of showing their love of punk rock, Machine Head covered Portland, Oregon legends Poison Idea on their debut album, Burn My Eyes, and then continued the theme by offering up this blistering Discharge cover as a bonus track on their second album, The More Things Change. Awesome!
Metallica – “Free Speech For The Dumb”
Metallica covered two Discharge tracks on their Garage Inc. compilation of 1998, to open and close the record. (The other being “The More I See.”) Given Discharge’s minimalist approach to lyrics, Hetfield didn’t have many words to learn, but added a couple of F-bombs, just for good measure.
Anthrax – “Protest And Survive”
Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian has stated that he can think of at least 14 bands – including his own – who wouldn’t exist without Discharge’s classic debut album, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. It seems like an oddly specific number, but he backed his words by providing vocals for a raging version of “Protest And Survive,” released in 1991.
Soulfly – “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard”
“Feels good to be a motherfucking punk loser again,” says Soulfly and Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera at the end of this brilliant rendition of “Ain’t Ne Feeble Bastard.” Granted, he gets some of the lyrics wrong, but for raw attitude, it’s second to none. Soulfly also covered “The Possibility Of Life’s Destruction.”
Napalm Death – “War’s No Fairytale”
While most bands seem to lean towards the obvious Hear Nothing… album, Napalm Death chose a less polished early track from the Realities Of War EP for their second covers record Leaders Not Followers Part 2. It’s fair to say that without Discharge there would be no Napalm Death…or grindcore!
Prong – “Doomsday”
Let’s just take it as read that if you’re a metal band doing a covers album, then you need a Discharge track. Point in case, Prong’s Songs From The Black Hole of 2015, which opens with a blitzkrieg version of “Doomsday.” Not that there’s any other way to play it!
Arch Enemy – “Warning”
Another band to stray away from Hear Nothing… are Swedish melodic death metal outfit Arch Enemy – on their Covered In Blood compilation of 2019 – who elected to go for a later tune from the Warning EP, perhaps because it has a more metal edge than earlier Discharge material. It certainly does now!
Spirit In The Room – “Maimed & Slaughtered”
Proof, if it were needed, that it’s not just “traditional” metal bands who are inspired by Stoke-On-Trent’s finest comes with this bulldozing cover of “Maimed & Slaughter” by up and coming LA band Spirit In The Room. Admittedly, the band aren’t easily categorized, taking in everything from the Birthday Party to Refused, but this has to be one of their most brutal outings.
Neurosis – “Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing”
Long before emerging as giants of sludge metal, Oakland’s Neurosis were themselves a hardcore punk band, influenced by the likes of Amebix, Crass, and, of course, Discharge. On the hard-to-find compilation Discharged, we find them tackling the title track of the aforementioned debut album, and sounding, quite frankly, fierce as fuck!
Brutal Truth – “The Nightmare Continues”
Just when you thought Discharge couldn’t get any more savage, along comes New York grindcore merchants Brutal Truth with this vicious rendition of “The Nightmare Continues,” which clocks in at just one minute and 18 seconds, shaving 31 seconds off the original! As if it wasn’t already blunt and to the point.
Words by Mörat