Mimi Barks unveils dark new single, DEADGIRL
Watch the video for Mimi Barks’ DEADGIRL, following on from February single RAD…
Black metal is easily metal’s most controversial and notorious subgenre. Thanks to how overly serious some of its founding fathers took things, its next-level imagery, its nearly illegible band logos and its lo-fi, chaotic sound, it’s also one of metal’s most targeted subgenres when it comes to poking fun. Now that black metal fans have a dark history to learn from so they can balance the subgenre’s macabre brutality with being grounded in everyday life, it’s easy to love the music while also having a laugh at all of its drama from time to time. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite instances of black metal satire, parody, spoof and good old-fashioned comedy that laugh with the black metal scene and not at it, reminding us just how much we love it.
The hilarious, brutally over-the-top Adult Swim TV show Metalocalypse that followed the misadventures of a fictional band called Dethklok predominantly made fun of death metal. However, it satirized black metal in the episode called “Dethdad” where they go to Lillehammer, Norway and visit a record shop called Drep Du Selv (Norwegian for “Kill Yourself”) and chat with a man in corpsepaint -- an obvious reference to Euronymous’s record shop Helvete in Oslo, Norway, where he and his black-metal friends famously hung out.
One of the most recent examples of smart, ultra-funny black metal satire is Gwenmarie White’s Black Metal Barbie. In the 90-second commercial, we’re treated to a the kind of authentic-sounding Barbie jingle that could give you a cavity, except the lyrics include such gems as, “Let’s do the windmill as we throw up the claw!” These Barbie dolls are complete with corpse paint, gauntlets and Bathory tees, and they shred, mosh and, yes, even burn a church.
Joey Siler became a favorite source of laughs among metalheads in 2013 with his animated parody series, Cooking Hostile, imagining what a cooking show would look like if guests included Phil Anselmo or Lemmy. In 2015, he tipped his hat to black metal with a new video, Becoming Black Metal. His protagonist buys a black metal starter kit and transforms from an innocent kid to a Euronymous lookalike with the help of a video by a corpse-painted cowboy named Duke Onyx. It’s all delightfully ridiculous, especially when the trick for black-metal vocals turns out to be ingesting the kit’s packet of glass shards.
The intro to the quiz site Ikea or Death reads:
“IKEA is that friendly shop where you get cheap furniture from the inside of a giant, unending warehouse. Black metal is the kind of music that sounds like someone screaming while trapped inside a burning church. They each possess a fervent fan base. And to tell you the truth, the names of the furniture in IKEA sound a lot like the names of black metal bands.”
When you click through, you go through a series of words like “Vittsjö” and you have to choose whether each word is the name of a black (or death) metal band or the name of a piece of Ikea furniture. Brought to you by marketing agency Gatesman+Dave, it’s a silly way to distract yourself from work for a few minutes while practicing your skills in distinguishing Swedish chairs from Swedish bands.
The Black Satans posted videos to YouTube between 2009 and 2010 declaring themselves the most true and evil Norwegian black metal band, except that they were in reality a Finnish comedy band. These videos included some actually decent black metal, accompanied by the band frolicking through snowy woods à la early Immortal. There were also descriptions like “This latest music video made by The Black Satans was shot in the mountains of wintery Norway during the darkest time of the year, except that it was in Finland and in midsummer. Nevertheless this is the evilest and blackest black metal music video ever made by The Black Satans.”
In 2007, Joseph Salerno, Nick Warden and Phillip Adams turned their popular podcast spoofing black metal into a film called Legalize Murder. They debuted it online to such success that the movie was picked up for DVD distribution in the UK. The mockumentary, a cross between Spinal Tap and The Office, follows journalist Dominic Dalrymple as he spends a week with Vic and Jack Norseman, a.k.a. Legalize Murder, at their home in Wales. Throughout the week, Dalrymple is trying to get to the bottom of black metal’s threatening identity while the Norsemans bumble through their idea of evil. It’s unfortunately difficult to find much on the movie now, but you can still order it on DVD here if you happen to have a DVD player from Europe.
Woods of Trees is a black metal parody band that nails that perfect combination of surprisingly good music and a smart yet goofy sense of humor. They’ve given the world black metal versions of Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, Toto’s Africa and Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger’s cringe-worthy Hello Kitty, but perhaps their kindest gift was All I Want for Kriegmas is You. Finally, the Mariah Carey song you’ve heard enough to develop a twitch has a whole new meaning and it’s truly devilish. This version combines Santa garb and corpse paint and celebrates the holidays with lyrics like “I’m just going to keep on waiting for a Necrophagist album” and “I won’t even stay away to hear those magick reindeer shriek.”
Because it’s brought to us by a Finnish cough drop company called Zyx and not an actual black metal fan (as far as we know), this 2014 commercial (seen below) runs the risk of making a tone-deaf joke that black metallers don’t appreciate and non-black metallers don’t get. Their commitment to the bit is hardcore, though, and it’s an admittedly charming representation of just how prevalent metal is Finland. Imagine if black metal was so mainstream all over the world that we could expect it to pop up in everyday advertising.
The 2018 film Heavy Trip doesn’t spoof black metal: it clearly loves black metal far too much to do anything but pay the subgenre homage. Along the way, though, directors Juuso Laatio and Jukka Vidgren gently needle the over-the-top-ness of black metal through their protagonists’ band, Impaled Rektum. Impaled Rektum feel pressure to prove themselves to their small Finnish town and finally play a live show after years of laziness and stage fright. They lie about being booked to perform a huge festival, and hijinks ensue. Heavy Trip turns into a black metal twist on a classic road trip movie, Detroit Rock City with a different kind of face paint. From the band’s photo shoot for their album cover to their exhuming the coffin of their departed pal to take to their gig, this movie both admits black metal can be a little absurd and declares its undying devotion to the music.
It makes sense that black metal loves to roast the holidays with all of the season’s warmth and cheer — both things black metal rails against. While you listen to All I Want for Kriegmas, you can rock an ugly Christmas sweater gone kvlt thanks to Shredders Apparel. If wearing Frosty has always felt a bit twee to you, a pullover with the snowman in corpse paint standing in front of a burning church might be the solution. This design also comes in a snowglobe, and there are more sweaters that approach the yuletide look with a baphomet.
The community of black metal fans deserve a shout-out here. Some of the funniest black-metal burns come from their memes. Who better than the people listening to the music every day and going to the shows to point out the laughable elements of this subgenre, like how it seems that the harder it is to read a band’s name, the more legit they are? Or to make the black metal dad joke, “How do you wash off corpse paint? You take Abbath.” Or to point out that sometimes, attempts to seem evil can come off as just a little nerdy if you don’t have the right supplies? Nothing compares to the original black-metal meme, though: Abbath as the sunrise.
Watch the video for Mimi Barks’ DEADGIRL, following on from February single RAD…
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