Oct 052023
john matos toto africa

It wasn’t so long ago that it felt like everybody and their grandmother was covering Toto‘s “Africa.” It turned from a popular cover song into a meme. Seemingly kicked off by Weezer’s infamous, fan-requested 2018 cover, the trend had actually been going strong for a while – there were at least 10 covers of “Africa” in 2017 alone – and the song has actually been a popular cover choice since the ’90s. The frequency has really died down in the last couple of years, though.

So it would seem that Abiotic’s John Matos, Suicide Silence’s Eddie Hermida and Mike Caputo are quite late to the party. But for anyone who perhaps got a little tired of all the straight-ahead, overly similar “Africa” covers that seemed to be absolutely everywhere 5 years ago, this might an antidote.

You see, Abiotic are a deathcore band. As are Suicide Silence. Deathcore, for those of you who don’t know, is a niche metal subgenre that combines tropes from classic death metal with some aspects of metalcore (itself a hybrid of hardcore punk and forms of metal). Like a lot of these niche metal subgenres, the sound is very specific; differentiating deathcore from other niche forms of extreme metal is likely not every easy for the average listener. But none of that really matters for this cover.

What matters is that Matos, Hermida and Caputo obliterate most of the original song. The only real concession to the original song is Matos’ guitar echoing the famous opening synth part periodically. Hermida growls and sings the chorus so aggressively you have to listen hard to hear the melody. And Matos’ guitars and especially Caputo’s drums just pummel away, removing most hints that this could be a Toto cover. If you like extreme metal covers of pop hits, and you’ve grown tired of the sheer number of “Africa” covers out there, this is for you.

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