Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wulf's Guide to Metal: Volume 1 - Happy Stuff

Because I'm such a popular guy, I get asked all the time for recommendations on getting into metal.   This is going to be the beginning of a series on my own personal guide to the genre...obviously, opinions vary greatly on the subject, so if you have any input or recommendations of your own, feel free to talk about them in the comments section!!  In the meantime, this is also due in part to my buddy Greg asking me to help him get into metal, so when I asked him what he wanted me to start him off with he said he was in the mood for something "happy", so why not kick things off with some heavy/power metal stuff.   I should probably also mention here that Greg is from the UK, so I think it's pretty obvious that he's relatively familiar with classic stuff by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, etc.   So we're going to go slightly deeper than the more popular, typical stuff that would usually be recommended.
Oh, and remember, this isn't meant to be a "history of metal" or "essentials for the genre", it's just a few of my favorite songs that are meant to tempt you into exploring the genre further on your own.   Also, I'm basically going to offer up a loose collection of the very songs that got me into certain genres many years ago, so I hope they can work for Greg (and whoever else) too!!

1.   Finntroll

Let's start the party off right with some obnoxious folk metal courtesy of Finntroll!!  Great for drinking, getting you pumped up, and catchy enough so that the people who usually complain about not liking "all the screaming" understand that the song wouldn't work with clean singing.   They're supposed to be trolls, duh!!
Also, this song reminds me of the time my roommate and I were throwing a party at my house when I was in college and this one dude named Metal Ben was wasted and was smoking out of this bong, and when this song came on he was like, "YEAHHHHH!!!!"  And started headbanging and getting really into it, and for whatever reason in his frenzy he decided it would be a good idea to straight up DRINK the fucking bong water after he had finished smoking.  Needless to say, he spent the rest of the night puking on the front lawn of my house, but he'll always have my respect for allowing the spirit of Finntroll to possess him in that way.   

2.   Running Wild

The original Pirate Metal band!!  Alestorm are pretty played out now, but Running Wild never get old (except everything post-"The Rivalry" fucking sucks).  Anyway, I'm usually not a huge fan of syncing up movies to songs and shit like that because usually it's not very good, but it works really well for this video!!  A gritty sea battle, catchy music, it really captures what they were going for!!  
Like I said, anything after "The Rivalry" is terrible, but you really can't go wrong with any of their stuff before that, especially the pirate-themed stuff (which is most of their discography)!!

3.  Rhapsody / Rhapsody of Fire

I recommend starting this video at around 1:15, because that's when it actually gets good.   Anyway, when talking about happy metal, how could anyone possibly forget Rhapsody (or Rhapsody of Fire, they changed their name in 2006)??  Easily one of the most ridiculous metal bands in one of the most ridiculous power metal videos of all time (rivaled only by Pathfinder's "Lord of Wolves" gem), Rhapsody are the stuff of legend.   
I used to get pumped up for soccer games by listening to Rhapsody and Cannibal Corpse...strange combo, but it definitely made me push myself harder in the game and play much more aggressively.  If you've ever been a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, Magic: the Gathering, etc. then you should be all over this shit.   Actually, what blows my mind is that I always meet full-blown nerds who haven't even heard of this stuff,..usually they're just into radio rock like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smash Mouth, AC/DC, etc.  That's fine, but COME ON!!  Obviously, power metal is right up their alley!!  Still one of life's great mysteries.

4.   Manowar

Arguably the most ridiculous metal band of all time (and maybe my favorite), all you need to do to get into Manowar is get a group of your friends together either before or after going out, some cold cans, and some Manowar on the stereo and prepare yourself for an awesome time!!  Also great for pumping iron, having sex, pretty much anything!!  Absurd lyrics, powerful sound, what's not to love??  Above is my favorite Manowar song, but they've got a ton of classics.  Don't forget "Gloves of Metal" (the Anal Cunt version featuring Phil Anselmo is awesome too!!)

5.   Bal-Sagoth

Bal-Sagoth are easily one of the more goofy metal bands out there (the keyboards, narrarations, even a fucking world map, lexicon, and concept art that goes along with their lyrics)...I even know one dude who has the Bal-Sagoth logo tattooed on the back of his head!!

I knew you wouldn't believe me, so I just decided to post it. 

Anyway, I highly recommend reading the lyrics along to their stuff, especially to the Youtube video I posted above.  It's kind of a Highlander rip-off, but it still makes the history nerd within me very excited!!  I could talk about Bal-Sagoth for awhile, but honestly when it comes to their music I'd say "Battle Magic" is easily their best album and the only album worth checking out.  All their other stuff just didn't do it for me, although the lyrics of course are still fantastic.

6.   Babymetal

I don't want to spend too much time on Babymetal just because I don't want to go down that rabbit hole, but I think they're definitely worth mentioning here in terms of "fun metal"!  Really hot band right now, regardless of how you feel about them!!  Personally, I think they're great, but whatevz.

There are so many other bands to mention here, but I don't want to take up too much time so I'll just quickly list off of some other bands/songs to check out if you're digging the upbeat, happier stuff:

- Dragonforce (duh)


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