Metal Insider’s Top 10: Metal/Hard Rock bands we’d like to see on ‘MTV Unplugged’

Posted by on April 26, 2016

mtv-unplugged-logo-407x4075. Iron Maiden

Part of Iron Maiden’s appeal is how loud, over the top, and straight up electrifying they are live. But Iron Maiden has always been the kind of band that’s up for a challenge, and they’ve certainly got the technical chops to pull off a stunning acoustic set. Plus, an acoustic setting would provide a great musical backdrop for Bruce Dickinson’s voice. Whether they’d choose to reimagine some of their classics (like Steve N’ Seagulls kind of already has) or simply stick to their slower songs from their later catalog, it’s hard to imagine an MTV Unplugged session with Iron Maiden not being a blast.

Watch Iron Maiden perform one of their slower tunes, “Journeyman”, here:


4. Mastodon

With the possible exception of their two most recent albums, Mastodon hasn’t made a record that sounds remotely the same. The last piece of music we heard from them was the haunting “White Walker” from last year’s Game of Thrones Watch the Throne 2 mixtape. That was the most melodic song the band’s made, and near-acoustic as well. Since both Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher play guitar and the whole band with the exception of Bill Kelliher sings, it’d be fascinating to see what Mastodon would sound like if they stripped down some of their songs.

While we can’t find any video/audio proof of Mastodon playing acoustically, just imagine how awesome this would sound during an MTV Unplugged session:



3. Tool

Playing acoustically is probably the last thing Tool want to do right now, right under “finishing a follow-up to 10,000 Days.” However, an acoustic reworking of some of their catalog would be a nice stopgap on the way to the new album. Danny Carey is certainly ready to unplug, as you can hear by his use of the tabla on their last three albums. Granted, Adam Jones’ guitar tones and the bottom end of Justin Chancellor would be missing from an acoustic set, but the band’s got enough tricks up their sleeves that it would be compelling, and Maynard James Keenan’s voice is in a league of it’s own.

Just imagine how beautiful “Schism” would sound acoustically:


2. Opeth

Given the progression from death metal to ‘70s prog that Opeth have gone through over their career, an unplugged set would work phenomenally well for the band. Damnation and Heritage are almost acoustic as is, and some of the Pale Communion tracks could easily enough be reworked for an acoustic setting. You can’t get much more metal cred than Opeth, and Mikael Akerfeldt’s witticisms would make it a funny and personal set of tunes.

Watch Opeth perform “Demon Of The Fall” during an in-store acoustic performance here:


1. Metallica

Alright, so Metallica are no strangers to performing acoustic sets, mostly for charity benefits. Which is why we’re frankly surprised the band HASN’T already appeared on MTV Unplugged. Sure, their acoustic performances often include a lot of (albeit obscure) covers and deep tracks from their catalogue. But as proven by their last appearance at the Bridge School Benefit, Metallica sounds awesome unplugged and come up with interesting revisions of their own songs. Even if they did just do regular versions of their classic songs, just with acoustic instruments, it would still be pretty awesome. Plus… IT’S METALLICA, you know, the biggest rock band of the past three plus decades?!

Don’t believe us? Check out Metallica’s reimagining of “All Within My Hands” (yup, a track off of the less than beloved St. Anger) here:


Honorary Mention: Zakk Wylde

Stepping into the spotlight as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist in 1988, Zakk Wylde’s first solo album, 1996’s Book of Shadows, was nearly acoustic. His subsequent work in Black Label Society finds the singer/guitarist splitting the difference between Sabbath and the Allmann Brothers. Wylde has already released a live acoustic BLS album/DVD, 2013’s Unblackened, but given the success of this year’s Book of Shadows II, he might want to revisit the Unplugged idea, and with his career and name recognition, it’d make sense for MTV to potentially want to collaborate with someone like Wylde.

Watch Wydle play “Lovin’ Woman” here:


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Categorised in: Columns, Top 10