Going hand in hand with film and video games, metal. Before GeekOut South-West was formed which later turned into GeekOut UK, Timlah and Joel stood around and had a conversation about… Metal! You can’t kill the metal, but you certainly can build the foundation for a good thing off of it. So together, we’ve decided to strike a power chord and hammer on down these points, as we look at our Top 10 Heavy Metal Acts in Media. Grab your neckbraces, we’re about to go headbanging!
10) Queen of the Damned
A radically different sequel to Interview with the Vampire, but based on the same series of Anne Rice novels that made vampires sexier than Bram Stoker could have ever hoped for. This version paints LeStat as a metal singer with an unearthly voice that commands the spirits of all who hear it, and in so doing threatens to uncover the vast vampiric society that has hidden in shadows for centuries.
That voice is primarily the work of Korn’s Jonathan Davis, but in the soundtrack the hit songs of LeStat’s band are a who’s who of metal artists in the 00’s, Wayne Static, David Draiman, Chester Bennington, Marilyn Manson, and Jay Gordon perform on the original tracks, mixed with some Static-X, Deftones and Papa Roach amongst others. This was a must-have for edgy teens with nothing to lose. The film was a bit naff, but damn that soundtrack made up for a lot.
9) Wyld Stallyns
The band that single-handedly steered the world onto a course of togetherness and excellence, frontmen and time travelling heroes Bill S. Preston and Theodore Logan head up an all star lineup featuring their girlfriends, robot clones, and Death, to perform music that speaks to the very hearts of humanity, and pour the very heavens into our souls!
Ok, it’s kind of a cheat, that’s why they’re so low down in the list, they’re not metal so much as they are rock and roll, and the only two songs we’ve ever heard are a Kiss cover and a low key jam in the future council chambers. But if their headlines are to be believed then they literally reshaped the world, elevating the economy, boosting crops, and furthering the advance of science.
I’m just saying that Bill has a sweet beard at the end of Bogus Journey that Alexander Ross has not been seen sporting… there’s supposed to be a sequel coming, haven’t even seen Keannu with his pirate ’stache.
8) Elite Tauren Chieftain
From the depths of Westfall to Blackfathom Deeps, these guys have been killing it for years. This is a band that is made up of Blizzard employees and they made their song debut in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, with their song The Power Of The Horde. Since they were established the band have gone under many different names, usually relating to the maximum level of World of Warcraft at that time (For instance if the level cap was 70, they would call themselves Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain). This was a bit of a mouthful, so people oftne call them Elite Tauren Chieftain.
What’s impressive here is not only are they a real band formed of Blizzard employees, but they’ve held multiple short gigs at BlizzCons, featuring most of their more well known songs. Not only that, but the band used to appear in Shattrath City in Outland on the hour every hour for a period of time. You could walk into the inn and lo and behold, with their own unique models, you’d see the Elite Tauren Chieftain performing The Power Of The Horde “live in game”. Great fun.
What does anime and metal have in common? Other than an opening theme here or there, not a lot if we’re being really honest. However anime likes to have cute and cuddly looking characters and mascots. The moment that you blend cute and cuddly with metal however, that’s when you get Aggretsuko, one of the cutest shows filled with adorable micro-episodes you can ever headbang to.
The adorable red panda was made for the mascot company Sanrio. Her antics usually involve a day of working at an office, having to be all cute with smiles and joy. She is a real good, hard working employee who has to deal with lots of conflicting priorities. But get on her bad side, then she’ll make you aware of her displeasure in dealing with you. Indeed, she’ll grab the microphone and bust out a death growl worthy of any stage.
Headbang along with a colourful cast in Aggretsuko. But hey, the little red fox isn’t part of the only metal anime…
6) Detroit Metal City
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the single greatest metal band in the world just wanted to make adorable pop songs about love and happiness while all the while he’s on stage performing songs about blood and death and hatred? Extrapolate into a twelve episode anime and a live action film and you have the plot of Detroit Metal City.
Johannes Krauser II is secretly Soichi Negishi, not a monstrous demon spat straight from the bowels of hell in corpse paint, the beast that dominates the stage and all you worthless pigs! He’s just a nice guy in a cardigan who just wants to be loved and make friends. Instead he seems to be weirdly good at summoning the rage of an audience and turning it into pure musical power, strong enough to dominate Gene Simmons on stage.
5) Heavy Metal (Film)
Boy it’s hard to keep things family friendly with this one, the classic cartoon plunges the viewer into a weird fantasy/sci-fi universe filled with content so non-PG that there is incredibly little we can actually talk about. Based on the magazine of the same name that was filled with nerd-heavy stories that… let’s say were geared towards a particular audience. The film is a host of stories that appeal fully to a visual aesthetic, and a particular musical taste.
Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Nazareth, Riggs, and Sammy Hagar form the backbone of the soundtrack, along with Elmer Bernstein forming the original score, famous for Ghostbusters and Black Cauldron to name just a couple of titles. The art style of the film looks torn from the front cover of an Iron Maiden album amongst others, and it has been an inspiration to cartoonists with no interest in kids TV for decades to come.
The granddaddy of first person shooters, DOOM is a game that held nothing back. With a fast-paced gameplay, death and gore around every corner, DOOM was not for the faint hearted. Neither was the soundtrack, which, whilst isn’t technically a “real” Heavy Metal Act, it spawned numerous covers and of course was remade into an extremely epic metal arrangement. Basically, the game DOOM in general was everything that heavy metal fans could want.
But it’s fair to say that DOOM took its inspiration directly from heavy metal. From the blood and guts, the fast paced gameplay and the soundtrack – Of which it’s highly likely the songs come from metal music of the time. If there was a unique entry, it likely got turned into a song later down the line by some avid fan that’s in their own band. Basically, DOOMs entry is here because it epitomises the spirit of heavy metal, taking the flavour and sprinkling its own dose of violence into matters.
3) This is Spinal Tap
The 1984 mockumentary follows the career of metal band Spinal Tap as they tour America, performing to sell out crowds, living the rock and roll lifestyle, with disappointing stage directors, interchangeable drummers, ridiculous demands, blood, sweat, and tears. We delve into their history, the shifting of the genres and the rise to global fame. The daft thing is that Stonehenge is a pretty damn good song, which will have something to do with the fact that the members are musicians, not just comedians.
Some interesting facts: This is Spinal Tap is deemed culturally significant, and on IMdb it is the only film rated out of eleven instead of ten. They have had guest appearances on the Simpsons (something to do with Harry Shearer being the bassist) and have performed at Amnesty International along with dozens of other internationally famous musicians. Days of footage are somewhere on the cutting room floor, lost to the ages, leaving us with the cream of the almost entirely improvised crop.
2) Brütal Legend
Ahh Eddie Riggs, the world’s greatest roadie – This is legitimately no exageration. He knows what his role is: He knows what he has to do to keep rock going… And then to make it even better, he stays out of the spotlight. That is, until he’s needed to save rock! He’s highly optimistic but, of course, as he’s a roadie he’s also highly strong and courageous. He knows that his job is to keep the metal alive and that’s precisely what he does.
He leads the Ironheade faction, a bunch of metalheads who are about all typical forms of heavy metal. They fight against demon hordes and other non-human enemies, whom represent some of the more extreme metal styles out there. With Eddie as their frontman, it’s hard to ignore the power of the metal – We know the metal will live on in Eddie’s capable hands. After all, if it’s broken, he can fix it. If it needs breaking, he can break it… And he can shred!
1) Metalocalypse – Dethklok
When Joel and I discussed this list, we knew Metalocalypse had to get in highly. I’m going to preface that a lot of this is down to favouritism from us, so uh, it’s our list and we’re going to stick to it. But I’m going to at least attempt to tell you why we genuinely believe Metalocalypse deserves the nod, even over Brütal Legend and even Spinal Tap. Both of those are highly popular with regards to heavy metal in media, so how does this innocuous cartoon beat them?
Well, the term innocuous may be a stretch with Metalocalypse. The fans of Metalocalypse certainly are willing to put their bodies on the line, just because the band says so. From doing extremely illegal acts (and getting away with it), to just being outright stupid human beings, the show parodies metal subculture… Whilst also making you think, what if a metal act could get that famous? What if a really dumb, really unfiltered metal band could become the height of popularity, effectively gaining a massive cult status? After all, they are the seventh largest economy!
Anyone else riding that nostalgia train pretty hard right now? Well, the lights haven’t gone up, the stage is still lit, and all the instruments are still there. This setlist isn’t over! Who’s ready for an encore? Here are a few crowd pleasers that we couldn’t squeeze into the main list, mostly because they’re real bands who cropped up in films.
Rammstein in xXx
Vin Diesel’s haphazard delve into the spy-movie genre was pure testosterone power fantasy that built up into his eventual career as Fast and Furious stalwart and life-long friend of Dwayne Johnson (he said, sarcastically). The film managed to grab attention with incredible ease by opening on a perfectly normal Rammstein concert.
Rammstein were just hitting the international market in 2002 following the release of Mutter, not that Sehnsucht and Herzleid had gone unnoticed of course, but after over a decade of touring and performing, it was their appearance in the schlocky “cars and guns and guns and cars” action film that saw them grab a new generation of metalheads. Feuer Frei’s gentle keyboard opening plays over the Revolution logo, before the song kicks in over the title, leading us into the action… before Rammstein appears on stage, spitting fire and giving it everything they had on stage, a perfect backdrop to an assassination.
Cannibal Corpse in Ace Ventura
Right, so, if you were into Jim Carrey films before he donned the Dr. Robotnik guise, you’ve probably seen Ace Ventura. One of the weirder examples of a cross-over is with this rather nice sounding gig by Cannibal Corpse. Death metal legends in their own right, Cannibal Corpse were notorious for their violent lyrics and extremely heavy playing style. So for them to appear in a film to do with a man talking to animals and being a detective in a Hawaiian shirt? Seemed a bit of a farfetched combination.
But, lo and behold, here they are, performing their classic Hammer Smashed Face in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. You can read a fun interview with the band on Vice. It certainly seems like even they were a bit confused with the pick, but this scene certainly leaves its mark. For many fans, this may have been the first time they heard the deep gutterals of Cannibal Corpse.
Oh, what’s this? Is this the Hallowe’en vote? Is it spooky season friends? The music is over, clear the ringing from your ears, because you may want to hear what’s sneaking up behind you. Cast your vote for next week’s spooky geeky Top 10.
With that, we can finally stop these death growls and enjoy the sound of silence. Whether or not you’re a hard rocker yourself, or if you wish it didn’t pop up in media from time to time, there’s no doubt there’s space for it. However, did we make the right list, or did we forget some important entries? Did we forget a heavy metal act that thoroughly demolishes the competition? By the by, Guitar Hero/Rock Band, I dunno, a bit of a stretch as it’s basically interactive music… Nevertheless, should it have gotten in? Was our order right? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.