Brian Blessed’s looking well. No, wait, sorry, this post is about Michael Stipe, isn’t it?

Confusing, because the former REM frontman now looks eerily like the man who once yelled “Gordon’s alive!?” in the film Flash Gordon, then continued yelling it for another three-and-a-half decades because everyone loved it so much. Michael Stipe now looks like Brian Blessed if the actor quit being everyone’s favourite uncle and joined a Nordic metal band. Check out that septum piercing!

He unveiled his new look in a video backing Bernie Sanders, the socialist Democratic part candidate and US Presidential hopeful. Released via Rolling Stone, the 22-second clip sees the ‘Losing My Religion’ singer explain that “in politics, [Sanders] is the person who’s offering me the most honesty and realness.”

Stipe elaborated to Rolling Stone, saying: “I’m a feminist. I’ve marched, supported and fought for black rights, privacy rights and LGBTQ rights. I’m deeply concerned about the environment. I’m completely freaked out by fracking,” Stipe says. “Sanders takes positions on all of these issues that have [outshone] any other candidate that I’ve seen — and I have looked, believe me. I identify with him.”

All of which is very honourable and quite exciting, but we can’t see anything but that beard.