By: Damian Bloor
The news and personalities surrounding Metal are just as varied and fascinating as the genre itself. Keeping up with it all can be overwhelming for even the most committed fan. For those of you with greater things to do, like peruse the Adult Jobs section of craigslist or teach your parrot how to use a Ouija board, we have rounded up this season's greatest WTF moments in Metal.
1. Slayer is Selling Shitty Cars Now
While trolling billboard.com for photos of Iggy Azalea's glistening butt cheeks, we came across one of those ads designed to look like a story. It concerned thrash legends Slayer and Scion, which to us appeared to be a new song title. Scion, after all, is one of those antique words used in a lot of Biblical sermons.
Eagerly, we opened the link. Boy, did we get our asses handed to us. Scion refers not to a song about the son of Lucifer peeing lightning bolts on mountaintops, but an automobile manufactured by Toyota.
We accept that every band does tacky stuff when the money's right, but we cannot reconcile the staggering incompatibility between Slayer and the Scion, or what dorks in the advertising industry call the car of Generation Y.
Slayer should be advertising whiskey, not a car that looks like a toddler's shoe. Even at a paltry 39 seconds, the commercial is a downer. Bandleader Tom Araya, whose past life as a hospital worker gave his lyrics an extra jolt of the macabre, now has all the menace of a taco truck operator. Guitarist Kerry King, saddled with a bearish midriff and a hundred head tattoos, looks like the forgotten WWE star Bam Bam Bigelow.
It would be lazy to say Toyota hired Slayer merely to imbue their car with a sense of cool, or something. We think their intentions ran deeper. Their point is not to make suburban dads feel like the Toyota Scion has a whiff of high Satanic mystery; the point is to get music bloggers to poke fun at the commercial, thereby driving web traffic to it, and giving the stupid car a bit more attention than it would have scored from an ad about enhanced safety features. So you win, advertising industry. However, you're still a bunch of idiots for assuming anyone will look at Toyota as anything but the preferred automaker of moms and realtors.
2. The QUEENSRŸCHE IPO
Yes, we realize calling QUEENSRŸCHE "metal" is a stretch, but we seek to inform the public, not placate amateur musicologists who would happily spend 9 hours debating the best metal songs in the key of E that do not include A-sharp.
Last week, reps for QUEENSRŸCHE announced an initial public offering (IPO), or a plan to sell shares in the band's future revenue from tours and the sale of music and merchandise. Investments start at $50,000, which is about the price of a bachelor's degree from a state university, the cost of a gym franchise, or just about enough start-up funds to compete with your community's Walter White.
For young readers skittish about their employment prospects, we strongly recommend diverting your student loans to this IPO and forgoing higher education (note: the previous sentence was sponsored by QUEENSRŸCHE).
Jest aside, when you think of IPO, you think of the software firms so wonderfully satirized on HBO's Silicon Valley, right? You don't think of a band 20 years past its prime whose fan base is presumably centered in the suburbs of its native Seattle. Not to be a dick, but does QUEENSRŸCHE even earn $50,000 per year? How many downloads of "Silent Lucidity" are streaming through the Apple and Amazon servers at 59 cents apiece at this very moment? When's the last time you saw a QUEENSRŸCHE t-shirt anywhere but a carnival? Not even those snotty American Apparel kids wear them as a gag.
3. Megadeth Sidemen are Heartless, Scheming Bastards (Sort Of)
What a tough week for Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine. His drummer Shawn Drover and guitarist Chris Broderick quit at the same time and two days later, the body of his mother-in-law, who had been missing for the last 2 months, was found dead.
We offer our sincere condolences to Mustaine and his family. We also offer condolences to Drover and Broderick. Although they performed their cutely synchronized exit prior to the Mustaine family tragedy, the Internet makes no subtle distinctions when finding its new villains of the moment. Drover and Broderick will not be remembered as leaving Megadeth to "pursue different creative interests," but as heartless, scheming bastards who ditched their boss the very same day his mother-in-law was found dead. We know that isn't true, and so do you, but the rest of the Internet needs to feed. Download the Freedom app and stay offline this week, Shawn and Chris.
4. Phil Rudd: Competent Drummer, Terrible Criminal
Reading these stories has left us disappointed in Rudd. Not because he's got a potentially violent side, but because he reportedly did not seek a hit man to get rid of a greedy ex-spouse or a mooch business partner, but a few of his regular escorts and their pimps. That's just so behind the times. We know AC/DC is celebrated for music that always sounds the same – it's so comforting -but in some areas of life, it's good to change things up a bit. That would include the area of reporting poor customer service. Nowadays, you don't have to murder pesky sex workers who raise their rates or threaten to tell the tabloids about your kinky interests. You can leave them a negative review online. Our sources tell us there are plenty of Yelp-like websites out there for the "sin industries." Find one, Phil. Leave those shady gals a few 1-star reviews (make sure to say you'd give them ZERO stars if possible) and get on with your life.
5. Candy-Ass Russians Ban Cannibal Corpse
Cannibal Corpse is known to many as the Ramones of death metal, a fixture that reliably records and tours every season and has been around so long we take them for granted. It seems our ambivalence towards the band is not shared in Russia, where their lyrics and artwork have been banned and they've had recent shows cancelled by skittish promoters
We typically avoid political commentary, because we are not on (heavy) medication, but in this case, we are astounded that a legislative body anywhere in the world has singled out Cannibal Corpse. There are so many working and touring bands that are equally extreme in their lyrical content. Also, we admit to being somewhat protective of Cannibal Corpse, as they are the writers of "Fucked With a Knife," a song so ludicrous in its efforts to shock and irritate it has inspired thousands of drunken conversations centered on this theme: "Are death metal guys in on the joke?" For the record: We hope not!