.Editorial - Metal N Media

Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Ben

I was recently watching the movie Good Kill with Ethan Hawke, and it got me thinking about the way heavy metal is portrayed in the movies. In this particular scene, Ethan was tearing ass down Las Vegas in black Humvee and blasting nu metal buttrock, however, the subtitled captions also exclaimed, "Nu-metal begins playing." Not "heavy metal" or "heavy rock" but straight up "Nu-metal" with the hyphen and everything. It was this that led me to think about how much has changed in the landscape of metal media.

Of course, one would be remiss to not mention the classics from when metal ruled the world in the eighties. Bill and Ted and Wayne's World led the pack of course, with Bill and Ted perhaps edging out on the "metal factor." I mean, air guitaring to "Iron Maiden!" and "Dude, if I die, you can have my Megadeth collection." Both movies had a cool, care free spirit to them that resonated with many viewers. I also like to throw Airheads in the mix here. Even though it's most def a nineties rock movie, fucking LEMMY is in it and they play the rock n roll / metal vibe close to the hip. I guess I shouldn't be too shocked about nineties and metal cameos. There was the legendary Cannibal Corpse appearance in the Jim Carey vehicle Ace Ventura which piqued the interest of many and led to death metal discovery. Coach Bombay took a trip to the ghetto in Judgment Night, but he did it to a soundtrack that was a crossover between rap and metal before nu-metal. Its main feature was having Slayer on the soundtrack to a major motion picture. Later on, the Spawn soundtrack attempted a similar feat with it's hybridization of electronic acts and metal remixes.

Then you had some of the smaller budget movies such as the Dorff Domination of The Gate. Heavy Metal music literally opens a gate to hell and there's plenty of band easter eggs here. Then, to go even deeper into the metal movie sphere, check out the video for Beware The Beast by electronic artist Carpenter Brut. The clip is an amalgamation of several lesser known eighties metal movies such as: Trick Or Treat, Shock Em Dead, Hard Rock Zombies, and Rock N Roll Zombie. If anything, the super cool creature practical makeup effects are cool to scope out. Speaking of metal easter eggs in movies, in the eighties there were a ton of metal posters, metal shirts, and random songs throughout scores of non metal movies. Take for example the sweet ass 1988 Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son poster the dude kid has in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead. Surf Ninjas has some burnout goomba bad buy posting Metallica stickers on phone booths and has some in his van. Hell, during Point Break during the raid where Anthony Kiedis gets his foot blown off, there was a really cool 88 / 89 ...And Justice For All tour poster hanging on the wall. If I were to go and list off every single poster sighting on TV and in movies, this would take a while but they are there! And they are more numerous than you may have remembered.

If we turn the way back machine from the eighties to the 2000's there come a few more "landmarks" for metal in movies. There were at first quiet rumblings such as having Nightwish play during the end credits to some shitty Uwe Bohl movie. Then there was scene in the 2007 film Smoking Aces where Trivium supplies the soundtrack to the on screen mayhem. But, then came movies such as Deathgasm which garnered quite a bit of support from metal fans. I think it all came to a head with Tenacious D and their feature flick. Even as recently as the past year there was a movie with Alexandra Daddario called We Summon The Darkness where subjects such as Dio and Cliff Burton are discussed in "casual" conversation. Despite all this though, we haven't quite gotten a movie that just hits the nail on the head in just the right way. For that type of experience, we have to turn to the world of video games where heavy metal has fuckin' flourished.

First off, when it comes to metal and video games I am not talking about the super obvious examples such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Rock Smith, or anything like that. What I'm talking about in the world of video games are original games that utilize heavy metal as the soundtrack, or the general overall aesthetic of the game. Perhaps the biggest one that I can think of has to have been Brutal Legend. This game came out in 2009 and starred Jack Black as he was riding the wave of Tenacious D and had a wealth of metal collaborators. Ozzy did some lines in the movie and the soundtrack compiled was done so with great care and attention. Now, this wasn't some "grab the singles and throw em on a compilation" type of deal, bands such as Dark Tranquillity, Sanctuary, Coroner, Savatage, Omen, and Riot. Then there's the games that utilize a metal aesthetic. I actually bought this during the Steam Summer Sale and have briefly played it, but have been immersed in the massive multi player war game, Running With Rifles. Oh, what's the game called? It's called Valfaris. You play a long black haired dude with a big energy sword and a gun who headbangs when he is in a good mood. Also, the soundtrack is pretty decent modernish metal. Not nu metal, but modern metal. Of course there's Doom. Again, to list every game with a metal aesthetic would take pages.

So what makes the video game world an easier place to incorporate metal into? My guess is because for the indie games that the metal aesthetic permeates, the budgets are much lower than that of a big studio movie release. That's not to say major huge big games are devoid of metal. Since Vice City, the Grand Theft Auto universe has had at least one decent rock and metal station in their radio settings. But for the most part, it is the smaller studios that allow the freedom to do whatever. When the original Doom was being made by like two or three guys, (Romero and McCormack? ) and they listened to alot of metal and that's how the soundtrack became what it was. I don't think that kind of attitude would have flown over too well in a more uptight environment setting run by suits. I really don't think there's ever going to be a huge movie that glorifies metal the way that ardent fans would. Too many people dealing with too much money. Independent films though will fill that niche. Same thing with the vidya games. I'm waiting for a metal version of something like Hotline Miami is to synthwave.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted
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