EXCLUSIVE: Hear Chuggernaut’s Take On Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”

The self-dubbed “Massachusetts Regressive Metal” foursome are back at it again after their release of the debut EP First Batch earlier in the year, which we had the pleasure of premiering as well.

If you’ve been enjoying the EP so far (and if not, why not? It’s four bucks on Bandcamp!), here’s your first taste of something new from the band—which is actually something old. Chuggernaut have massive respect for one of the grandfathers of heavy metal music and, whatever opinions you might have about them, there are very few acts throughout time that have had the influence that Led Zeppelin touts.

You can grab Chuggernaut’s harder, more obviously chuggy cover of the Led Zeppelin classic “Kashmir” from the 1975 album Physical Graffiti right here, as well as a few words about recording the track and information about an upcoming show at Brighton Music Hall with Electric Citizen, Horisont, and Sun Drifter!

“Led Zeppelin has always been one of those huge influential bands for us,” says guitarist Dave Cohen. “Whether you are a fan or not, you can’t deny their innovation and tremendous influence in the world of heavy music, both in their songwriting and in their studio techniques. There’s this sense of live energy to their recordings; almost like you can hear the air that was in the room while they were tracking. More than anything, that was what we were hoping to capture in the studio.”

When Chuggernaut decided to record “Kashmir,” they understood that piecing together programmed drums, hyper-edited guitar and bass tracks, and over-processed vocals might get the music recorded, but it would miss the spirit, sound, and energy of Zeppelin entirely. Instead, they wanted to capture as much of that in-the-moment vibe as possible, so they drove down to Eyeland Studios in Providence, RI to make it happen.

The drums were set up in the 800-person capacity Columbus Theater and were recorded in full-song takes. In addition to the close-mics on the kit, producer Andrew Nault added room-mics half-way to the back of the hall, so that all of the reverb on the drum track could be the natural echo of the room as the part was being recorded.

For guitar and bass, the band’s full amp rigs were set up in the live room; two cabs per instrument and multiple amp heads for different takes. As with the drums, room mics captured each pass through the song at live volume and the sections were spliced together in the editing phase as if they were working with analog tape.

“I didn’t want to imitate Robert Plant’s phrasing exactly,” says singer Jeff Gard, “but like the other aspects of the track I tried to put my own spin on the vocals without losing any of the character of the original. We usually try to keep our vocals pretty raw, but with ‘Kashmir,’ we made an extra effort to focus on the attitude and delivery of each take, and worry less about how ‘perfect’ everything sounded. We feel great about the session. Andrew [Nault] did a phenomenal job producing the track and we hope we sure we were able to do the original justice while giving it our own distinctive character.”

If you’re digging what you’re hearing or reading, put your best costume on and head to Brighton Music Hall on Halloween (that’s October 31st) to see Chuggernaut play with Electric Citizen, Horisont, and Sun Drifter. Electric Citizen and Horisont carry a sleek ’70s vibe, so this cover in a live set is going to fit in nicely. You can grab information about the show here via Facebook and, if you’re in the area, tickets are a cool $13 if you’re feeling so inclined.

Oh, and did we mention that this cover of “Kashmir” is available to download for free via Bandcamp?

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