Question Of The Week: Haven’t They Considered A Position In The Exciting Field Of Metal?
Hi MetalSucks readers! Welcome to another super-fun, scintillating MetalSucks Question Of The Week. Y’know, we bet that everybody listens to non-metal music that brings them to a similar place as metal does. Maybe it’s this not-heavy artist’s vibe, lyrics, or fearlessness, but something causes you to arrive at sensations and states of stimulation similar to those you get from metal. It’s not exactly that their stuff is metal-ish; after all, we did a QOTW for that topic a couple summers ago. In this case, it’s that the artist seems suited to make a metal album someday — or should’ve been making metal all along. It’s not what they do do, it’s what they could/should do.
Inspired by MetalSucks hall-of-fame alum Satan Rosenbloom, we asked our staff:
What non-metal artist(s) missed their calling as a metal musician?
Yes yes, makes you think. Answer below and have an awesome wknd!
Stina Nordenstam. Her voice is tiny, her music drawn and featherweight, and her persona that of a doomed ghost stood in an empty room. Like a specter haunting the edges of a scene from Twin Peaks, Nordenstam is witness to (and party to) murders, betrayals, and relationships rent by sad circumstance. (Or maybe crime and violence are her signifiers for the hatred we perpetrate on ourselves and our beloved.) On their own, even her comparatively hopeful albums from 2001 and 2004 are bone-chilling and offer an Enter The Void-style anti-comfort in the listener’s moments of self-reproach; but paired with a team of aces like the Deftones, Opeth, or Secrets Of The Sky, her vibe of denial and resignation would devastate (see: And She Closed Her Eyes  and Dynamite ). Chino Moreno u jam?
I recently wrote a letter to Ani DiFranco urging her to form a metal band. About 90% of my ex-girlfriends are Ani nuts (except for maybe the one who loved Dio and Crucial Unit — hi, Julia!), and while her music was never my thing, she has guitar chops and a kind of fuck-you moxie that could make a solid metal band. I haven’t received any response, and I worry it’s because I suggested her band be named Cervix and be about the horrors that have been perpetuated to women, like that maybe she took offense to the idea that women could only make metal about women named after a lady part. (I just think ‘CERVIX’ would look awesome in an Anthrax-style thrash font.) But maybe she just doesn’t give a shit about my harebrained ideas.
The idea of one single non-metal musician going metal alone is ludicrous (nobody wants to hear your one-man power metal band called If Wishing Made It So), so I suggest an entire band of unlikelies. Most importantly, Phil Collins will be stationed at the drum kit. He might be a prog-nerd turned AOR/Disney darling, but his beats on “I Wish It Would Rain Down,” “In the Air Tonight,” and “Another Day in Paradise” are some truly dark shit. Upping the doomy crush ‘n’ crackle would be drone monkey Christian Fennesz on guitar. While Fennesz layers fantastic densities into every sonic crawlspace, jazz shredder Marc Ribot would take lead guitar duty and absolutely slay. His chops, most prevalent on John Zorn’s seventh Book of Angels 2 recording, would give flickering, fiery motion to all the corpse-grinding laid down by the aforementioned musicians. The vocalist’s spot is a bit of a toss-up; I’m thinking Scott Walker would out-weird anybody else on the stage and make it all work in some terrifyingly droll fashion, but then maybe Bjork has the right pipes for this project. Nah, she’d probably ruin the dynamics by turning everything into a love song to her inner ideal and spritely boyfriend. All this leaves the bass position open, and I’ve got just the guy for it: Me. I don’t actually know how to play bass, but if Phil Collins asked me to, I would so totally learn.
Richard Marx. Rich is the epitome of metal’s bare-chested, hyper-masculine sensibility. He’s the kind of guy who’ll drink your blood out of a goblet with your widowed lady. He’s all bullet belts and thoroughly-patched denim jackets. He taught Dan Lilker how to play bass. He was cut out of Heavy Metal Parking Lot because he was too badass. He killed Euronymous and pinned it on Varg Vikernes. Glenn Benton lifted the whole “burn an inverted cross onto my forehead” thing from what Rich does to his taint every morning. He wrote the good songs on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. He was once in a threeway with Lita Ford and Rob Halford; they were listening to the Necrovore demo. If you don’t think Richard Marx is fucking metal as fuck, then you may as well have just received the key to the City of Poseurville.
The “funny” answer is Dave Mustaine. Have you heard Super Collider? A few tweaks here and there and it’s almost a real metal album. [Rim shot] But seriously: Ryan Adams, singer/songwriter/hater of all audience members who yell “Play ‘Summer of ’69’!” (guilty). Let’s make the case: already does punk side projects with names like The Finger, Pornography and, ahem, Fall Out Boy (yes, he did a hardcore EP with Pete Wentz & Co.). And he’s an avowed fan of Ratt. And Mordor. He’s 90% there! Oh, and his better half Mandy Moore makes for a bangin’ hot rock chick wife. A Walk to Remember … that’s metal.
London’s Darren Cunningham (aka Actress) is a wizard who animates computers. Until recently, his music leaned to the positive side, but his 2013 EP Silver Cloud and 2014 full length Ghettoville have a more sinister bent. What used to be up-tempo and sunny now sounds haunted and anxious, and borrows from artists like Andy Stott and hinting towards harsher, noisier dimensions. Check out the industrial “Floating In Ecstasy” from Silver Cloud; pretty easy to imagine adapting it into something metal, and the atmosphere is nastier than most metal bands already.
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Casey Sabol. He fronted Periphery for a wee little bit back when in their unsigned MySpace days. Motherfucker could sing. Pipes like a boss. His successor Spencer, in my opinion, had a rougher start in comparison, but the new Clear EP showcases his slightly superior skills. But Casey will always hit that special chord with me, a lot more pop to him, and even his screams were bright and wicked.