Friday, August 19, 2011

Metal litmus test



Because I've been thinking about this track all day, and because it's been awhile since we've posted about something that isn't black metal, death metal, or grind...

Sure, we all know Manowar is campy fun. Their music kicks ass but it's far from serious. Still, there's a little something more to this song. Despite all the pompous instrumental flourishes, despite the hack fantasy tropes, despite the hilariously stupid double entendres, "Hail and Kill" pushes against the boundaries of "not serious." Despite itself, this song is pretty damn grim. Maybe it's just because I'm still a 10 year old boy, but I can't help getting tingles when I hear lyrics like "My father was a wolf, and a kinsman of the slain, SWORN TO RISE AGAAAAIIN!" Nor can I help getting tingles when that grooving but mournful guitar melody leads us into the gang vocals of the chorus. And once we get past the 4:20 mark, shit gets real. By this point, it should be very clear that these guys aren't just singing about goofy fantasy shit, they're singing about gruesome Iron Age warfare. And they fucking love it.

If this song doesn't make you want to pull on your wolfskin, pick up your greatsword, and split some fucking skulls, you don't like metal. Maybe you like some metal bands, but you're not into metal. It's that simple. Hail and kill.

19 comments:

  1. "Maybe you like some metal bands, but you're not into metal"

    It really is that simple. End of.

    (for me it's Battle Hymn, can't beat it for giving you that standing-on-a-mountain-in-the-rain-hurling-challenges-at-the-gods feeling... ahem)

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  2. now you make me feel like 10 years old boy

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  3. searching for my broad sword now...

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  4. Holy shit... dat opening lick

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  5. Guess I'm just a goth fag who likes some metal bands.

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  6. There's absolutely nothing shameful about being a goth.

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  7. @Sasmito: Somehow that sounds really gay.

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  8. @Dr. Ben: Remember to check under the couch!

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  9. @Ido: I second 'Toast. You may not be "metal," but you dig sick metal bands and that's cool with me. I'm part goth part metalpunk, could never choose between the two. And if you met me in person, I think I'd come off much more goth. Solidarity, brother!

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  10. let's be honest, in person you come off more god is an astronaut fan than anything

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  11. Rasmus from DenmarkAugust 20, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    @ pavel & ido - what does it take to be 'metal'? I've been into extreme metal since 'Reign in Blood' came out, and I got into The Misfits at about the same time. Then I gravitated towards punk for a couple of years, but went back to metal via grindcore (those first two Napalm Death records - oh man!) But my point is, now I look like any normal guy (more or less, multiple tattoos and skull earring aside), and I'd venture that being 'metal' first and foremost is a mental thing, an attitude. I feel metal, therefore I am metal (obviously faulty logic here - Good Charlotte will, for instance, never be punk, no matter which amount of eyeliner and black clothes and tattoos they choose to wear. Those guys are about as punk as Celine Dion). I don't necessarily need a denim vest covered in patches (though there's absolutely nothing wrong with that), and, hey, my kids think I'm cool as hell. That's all I need. I think 'metal' is about staying true to yourself and THINKING for yourself. Most readers of this blog fall nicely into this category.

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  12. Pavel 'gets it', and typically, simply, one either 'gets it' or one doesn't. I usually try to temper 'leave the hall' with a 'nothing personal', but that doesn't always work out....

    for comparable examples, also see: Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell, Running Wild - Riding the Storm.

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  13. @Rasmus: I think that's a really good question. As you said, being metal has little or nothing to do with whether you wear the uniform, and everything to do with your attitude and how you listen to music. Instead of trying to come up with a good answer right now--I'm WAY too hungover--I think I'll write a post on that in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  14. @Jake: Cheers! And yeah, Heaven and Hell is definitely another like that. Also any of the ballsier Dio solo stuff.

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  15. @pavel Hail Gay! Kill Gay! Hail and Kill!!!

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  16. @Sasmito: It's bizarre Engrish sloganeering like that that makes Japanese hardcore so damn fun!

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  17. no, being metal has to do with liking Manowar, or at least some select manowar tracks. No, I'm not being ironic/jokey, it really is that straightforward.

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  18. i completely agree. and in an awesome coincidence, was just rocking out to Manowar with some dudes at the bar last night! i think liking Manowar is the SIGN of liking metal but there's more to be written about what makes people disposed to liking Manowar/metal, and what this "metal" we speak of is.

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  19. i'm weird in that i literally think gods of war is manowar's best album. like, it feels like the band finally living up to their potential. they're very well suited for overly ambitious concept albums with too many interludes and shit.

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