If you regularly visit Metal Insider, or any metal website for that matter, then you already know MTV has been moving further and further away from the thing that it was essentially built on: music. But last week, MTV announced they were making an effort to return to its music roots. Part of their plan includes bringing back MTV Unplugged.
While the show (as made pretty clear by its name) focused on capturing musicians performing acoustic, stripped down renditions of their songs, metal and hard rock acts were no stranger to MTV Unplugged. From Alice In Chains to Ratt, Korn to Scorpions, many heavy bands appeared on the show at some point. But now that MTV Unplugged is coming back, we wondered… which metal and hard rock acts would we like to see on the acoustic performance show next?
With that in mind, we picked ten bands (some of whom who have performed acoustic sets often, while some have not) that have yet to appear on MTV Unplugged who we think it would be fun to see on the show. Check out our ten picks below.
10. Killswitch Engage
MTV Unplugged has given many artists the chance not just the chance to play acoustic covers of their hits, but also to completely reimagine their catalogue. Killswitch Engage is the type of band that has the potential to do just that if given the chance to appear on the show. In fact, the band has already proven they can with their stripped down rendition of “Always”. Jesse Leach’s voice is already packed with emotion, even on the fast paced, heavier songs. So imagine how beautiful his voice would sound on a stripped down version of songs like “Breathe Life” or… anything off of Alive or Just Breathing for that matter.
Check out the aforementioned acoustic version of “Always” here:
When Meliora was released last year, Ghost tried something new in their relatively-new career – they played a handful of acoustic shows at record stores. Did the band’s Satan-by-way-of-Scooby-Doo schtick work in an unplugged setting? It turned out that yes, it did. Papa Emeritus III is an engaging personality and the band’s got enough chops that they don’t need amplification and backing tracks to get it across. Their performances of “Jigolo Har Megiddo,” “Zombie Queen” and their cover of Roky Erikson’s “If You Have Ghost” had the enraptured crowd singing along. Not to mention the fact that a Satanic pope singing hymns to the devil on MTV is subversive as fuck.
Watch Papa and Ghouls’s entire acoustic tour stop in Seattle here:
Over the past 23 years, Clutch have transitioned from almost a hardcore band on their first album to a band that mines blues, rock and even country on their albums. Their last two albums, Earth Rocker and Psychic Warfare, have been more pedal to the metal affairs, but they’ve been able to ease up on the distortion and play as an acoustic band. A few years ago, a bonus version of Blast Tyrant came with an acoustic disc of some b-sides and classics like “Drink to the Dead.” They’ve definitely got the chops, and if they didn’t get the unplugged out of their system earlier this decade, there are a lot of people that might want to hear them do it now.
Watch Clutch perform a stripped down version of “Electric Worry” at Bonnaroo back in 2010 here:
As heavy as Baroness can get (and they can get pretty damn heavy), they’re also the type of band that knows when to turn it down and let somber moments take the lead. That’s why many of the quieter moments on Baroness’ entire discography prove to be just as powerful as its loud, anthemic riffs. It’s also why we’re always happy to catch frontman John Baizley pop up for intimate solo sets from time to time. We further bet that hearing even the heaviest tunes from the Purple album stripped down to just acoustic instruments would be just as awesome.
Watch Baroness’ acoustic take on “March To The Sea” here:
6. Royal Thunder
Sure, Royal Thunder are beloved for their heavy, Sabbath-like riffs and Mlny Parsons’ monstrous vocals. Yet the band has constantly proved that they are just as powerful sounding when the music is stripped down, whether through with their acoustic EP or last year’s Crooked Doors (which essentially is the hard rock equivalent to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, both in sound and lyrical inspiration). Many few bands are capable of pulling that off, but Royal Thunder do it so perfectly. Frankly, we’d listen to anything with MIny’s vocals on it, but an MTV Unplugged special would really be a special platform for the world to discover their talents (although we’ll admit it’s less likely MTV will be knocking on their doors anytime soon… Spinefarm Records, please make this happen!).
Watch Royal Thunder’s acoustic performance of “Time Machine” here: