There’s a great scene in the not-so-great Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely where Kevin Kline tries to explain to an actor how to properly sing the classic song, “Night and Day.” “It’s about obsession,” Kline, as Porter, tells his young charge. “It’s about being in love. You’ve been love? Alright, obsess about it. … It’s relentless.” Obsession, lust and the clash of emotions as daytime shifts into night make for good tropes in a show tune origin story. The themes work equally well when transplanted into the metal genre as Portland cross-genre covers band MetalMorphosis recently demonstrated on their cover of the tune.
The band included the track on its recent metal-themed Great American Songbook collection, entitled MetalMorphosis Volume 1. The trio describes the record as a “full metal assault on jazz and show tunes.” The album includes metalized versions of such standards as “Luck Be a Lady,” “My Favorite Things” and “I Put a Spell on You.” “I studied jazz in college and I’ve been a metalhead all my life,” said guitarist/bassist Brandon Cook in a video about the making of the record. “So now I’ve got this project where two of my most important musical loves get to blend together and create something pretty interesting.”
As part of their promotional efforts, the group released a cartoon music video of themselves performing “Night and Day.” The song is as much of an homage to classic metal as it is a tribute to the versatility of Porter’s lyrics. The track opens with a guitar riff emulating the opening of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” It then unloads with bit of hard-driving guitar, bass and drums, like something from early an ‘80s new wave of British heavy metal album. Lead singer Larry Smith belts out the opening words “Night and day, you are the one” in full Ronnie James Dio mode. Later on, he drifts even further back into metal’s roots as sings the “And its torment won’t be through/Till you let me spend my life makin’ love to you,” like he’s doing his best impressions of Robert Plant singing, “Try to make love to you” from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.”
Listening to the track one can’t help but think Porter was right when he prophesied in another song: “In olden days a glimpse of stocking/Was looked on as something shocking/But now, God knows/Anything goes.” Fittingly, MetalMorphosis covers “Anything Goes” on the album too.
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