Recently in the NME office we’ve been burning looting, rapin’ and a shootin’ to the sound of Steel Panther’s ‘Death To All But Metal’:
It’s an amusing video, one that puts Steel Panther in the noble tradition of screwball comedy metal bands such as Spinal Tap, Bad News and Metallica. The only criticism is that the targets of their pastiche are about eight years out of date. Blink-182 and Papa Roach? Way to skewer the zeitgeist, guys. Who’s next on your shitlist – Freddie And The Dreamers?
The problem with all this is that metal is fundamentally un-spoofable, since the traditional tropes of the genre are so OTT in the first place. Once you’ve seen Judas Priest’s Rob Halford roll on stage astride a Harley before singing a 14-minute song called ‘Loch Ness’, suddenly ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ seems less like a comedy, more a sober fly-on-the-wall docu-soap.
Metal fans know this, and it troubles them. Which is why they can be utterly unswerving in their respect for a band as theatrical as Kiss, or as lyrically tongue-in-cheek as AC/DC, yet, if they get wind that an act is not playing it entirely straight – eg The Darkness, or Turbonegro – they’ll swallow it as enthusiastically as they would a traffic cone full of hot sick.
And I speak from experience. I saw The Darkness play Download 2003. Justin Hawkins could have no more incensed the horn-throwing hordes had he taken to the stage in a pair of crotchless Y-fronts emblazoned wit “Dimebag Darrell is a bell end” on the seat.
But I digress. Inspired by Steel Panther, here are the most knuckle-headed, spandex-brained, hulkingly awful metal clips ever conceived.
7. Hammerfall – Hearts On Fire
What’s the most metal sport of all? That’s right: Olympic curling. Swedish power-metallers Hammerfall penned this song for their nation’s women’s team – and, like troopers, hit the ice themselves in the accompanying video. Rarely has a band curled one out with such panache.
6. Judas Priest – Hot Rockin
It kicks off with a shirtless Rob Halford doing press-ups, and gets progressively gayer from there. Lest you be in any doubt as to the steadfastness of Halford’s desire to “go hot rockin'”, the metal god even keeps going when his boots and microphone are on fire, thus exhibiting a reckless disregard for health and safety guidelines.
5. Nitro – Cat Scratch Fever
A hip-swivelling berk on vocals, Hellboy on drums – and a guitarist so flash he makes Kirk Hammett look like Bonehead. Observe the latter’s ludicrous double-neck plank at 2.01, which he wields as if to say: “Look upon my mighty axe, ye mortals, and despair”.
4. Immortal – Call Of The Wintermoon
Black metal is all about summoning an atmosphere of malice and dread. Strange, then, that this video should convey all the bloodchilling terror of a Civil War Re-enactment Society’s annual away-day. Oh, and who invited Bilbo Baggins?
3. W.A.S.P. – Wild Child
Motorbikes, fire, circular saws in place of shirt-cuffs – in metal terms, this video has it all. Apart from a concept or plot, which means high-haired temptresses appear and disappear – or sometimes just burst into flames – for no apparent reason. Best bit: at 3.18, when our hero throws his head back and roars, “Waaauurgh”, before accelerating aimlessly into the desert, like a Hell’s Angel in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
2. Manowar – Gloves Of Metal
Ah, metal bands on horseback. In their heads they are fearless horsemen of the apocalypse, riding on the wings of destiny. Meanwhile, we’re just thinking: gymkhana.
1. Dio – Holy Diver
Here we see Ronnie James Dio cast as the mighty warrior, broadsword in hand, grim-faced vanquisher of the barbarian hordes. Or, from a less kind perspective, a tubby Cher lookalike in a Barney Rubble costume.