J.S. BACH = THE MOST METAL OF ALL COMPOSERS
Rather than the usual aural assault, this morning I decided to tune my radio to 89.9 FM (WKCR here in NYC), who are celebrating the life of Johann Sebastian Bach all week during their annual “Bach Fest.” And it hit me: this man may single-handedly be responsible for heavy metal, having composed the blackest of black music some 250+ years before Black Sabbath.
I’ve been trying to convince metalgf for some time that modern metal (much of it, anyway) is an extension of classical music, and listening to Bach this morning drove that point home. Bach — even moreso than many other classical composers — is the quintessential forefather of metal. His shit is just so raw, evil-sounding, and full of emotion, and because his pieces are primarily solo works on the organ you can hear the melodies front and center. To further support my claim, I paid a visit to the bedrooms of America via — where else — YouTube, to find some modern metal renditions of the most famous tunes by our favorite Baroque composer.
Symphony #5: The first few notes comprise one of the most famous musical phrases in history. [Apologies on the Bach/Beethoven error. I think this example still illustrates the point of classical as a precursor to metal, even if Beethoven wrote this piece much later than the rest mentioned here. – Ed.]
Toccata & Fugue: Another instantly recognizable (and metal!) tune:
Another version… with a pink Ibanez JEM (metal!), no less:
I forget the name of this Bach tune but it’s also really fucking metal:
And finally, the king of neo-classical guitar, none other than Mr. Yngwie Malmsteen himself playing Bach (drenched in ridiculous levels of reverb, natch):