Friday, November 11, 2011

Heavy Meta-List

For reasons that no one can quite explain, VH1 has re-christened today, 11/11/11, “Heavy Metal Day” (or perhaps I should say “anti-christened”?). Theories abound for the reason behind the renaming, including: the resemblance between the number 11 and the devil horns hand sign, or that it has something to do with the classic Spinal Tap line ("But these go to 11…"), or the obscure fact that 11 was Aleister Crowley's favorite number. All we know is that these guys have obviously been kicking themselves ever since they missed June 6, 2006. Anyway, in honor of this day of metal, here’s my Heavy Meta-List, i.e. a list of the 11 (only seems appropriate) best lists involving heavy metal:

11. The Ten Funniest Heavy Metal Commercials
All of these commercials are hilarious, but the one that takes the cake for me is the Warrant 1-900 number. I had almost forgotten the time when bands were willing to fleece fans for $2 for the first minute, 45 cents each additional minute. The big question for me: are they actively trying to make it sound like a sex line? If not, why would they include these lines: "We like to do a lot of other things too", "It'll give you the warm, hard facts…" and the classic, "Our fans always come first." Are they in on the joke? Unfortunately, after Jani Lane's untimely passing in August, we're left to forever wonder whether the line truly offered something that tasted so good it would make a grown man cry…

10. "Brief Description of Metal Genres, as they are used as a reviewing and classification tool"
No musical genre worth its salt doesn’t have subgenres, and metal is no exception. This list untangles the knotty differences between "Death" and "Doom" Metal. The list-writer gets extra points for philosophical awareness, as he addresses the epistemological problem that plagues all lists in his very first sentence: "This cannot be a comprehensive listing of all the genres ever named or postulated.…"

9. Five Heavy Metal Concept Albums That Would Make Totally Awesome Movies
It has been postulated that metal bands that exclusively release concept albums could be a subgenre in itself, but unfortunately that subgenre did not make the previous list… The following list would be awesome in itself, even if it didn't inform me of an album that I’ve never heard of before but now feel the urgent need to track down: Nocturnus' The Key (which according to the list-writer "tells the tale of some (unnamed) astronaut dudes who use 'the key' to travel back in time to kill baby Jesus. I guess I don't really need to explain much more than that").

8. The Top 100 Heavy Metal Albums
The awesomeness of this list lies in the fact that it doesn’t confuse heavy metal with hard rock. Nothing but straight-up metal here. The top ten includes two Metallica albums (both pre-sell-out), three Iron Maiden albums, and even a Dio album! These guys are for real (they work for a website named Metal Rules, for crying out loud):
(For an example of a list that wimps out and combines hard rock with heavy metal, see VH1’s own: - which in itself kind of disqualifies VH1 from doing anything called “Heavy Metal Day”…)

7. Top Ten Myths About Metal
A list about lists can seem somewhat cannibalistic. Unfortunately, cannibalism is not debunked in this list that dispels the myths about metal:

6. Heavy Metal Board Games
Some entrepreneurial soul could probably save the world's economy with these ideas:

5. Top Ten Heavy Metal Books
Sometimes you need words to accompany all that headbanging. I fell in love with this list when it became apparent that the author subscribes to the perfectly plausible theory that “when the world finally comes to an end, the only living beings left will be Keith Richards and Lemmy Kilmister”:

4. Preventing Heavy Metal Poisoning
These rules are obviously meant for safely handling metals in the workplace, but I think they can also usefully be applied to the handling musical genre at home:

1.Use the least harmful product possible.
2.Buy only as much as you need.
3.Read labels. Know the potential hazards of what you are buying.
4.Store products in their original container.
5.Support and use established disposal programs and facilities in your area.
6.Become familiar with the symptoms of and first aid procedures for ingestion of substances containing toxic metals.


3. Ten Best Black Sabbath Songs
There's nothing snarky or funny to say about this list. Black Sabbath is, and will always be, just plain awesome:

2. What it feels like to Ranked 100 out of 100
Although this is not a list, it contains a very interesting discussion about lists by someone intimate with the metal genre. The Guitarist of Soundgarden talks about what it felt like being named #100 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time:

1. Best Cover Versions Of Metallica's "Enter Sandman":
This list achieves the number 1 spot because it's actually about the music, and it demonstrates the surprisingly far-reaching influence the genre has had over time. These covers range from the unintentionally humorous (Pat Boone), to the intentionally humorous (Richard Cheese), to the starkly beautiful (Youn Sun Nah), to the surprisingly earnest (Ween). And sitting atop the list is a moment of unforgettable kickassness (which never fails to remind me of the scene in Star Wars when Obi Wan allows Darth Vader to strike him down, thereby become more powerful than his disciple could ever imagine)… Motorhead's cover of "Enter Sandman":

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