Friday 5: Your Five Metal Jams For Memorial Day
Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).
Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting.
Today, let’s celebrate Memorial Day in America the metal way: loudly.
What are your ultimate metal songs about soldiers?
Anso DF, MetalSucks senior editor
1. “Take No Prisoners” | Megadeth
from Rust In Peace (1990)
“By the way son, here’s your wheelchair.”
War is a topic dear to the hearts of metal musicians dating back to, like, the genre’s first band. And they’re not neutral on the topic: Metal is anti-war. And where it is pro-war, it is pro-carnage (above). That’s dark, but it’s probably a more functional viewpoint than that of American radio music (and would-be radio music) since 2001 or so: pro-military. No biggie, it’s no different from the imagery of military-themed ads for jewelry, insurance, sports, and military enlistment. It sells. But metal bands with no goals for big sales will paint a different picture.
2. “Frontschwein” | Marduk
from Frontschwein (2015)
“In praise of death we celebrate the hunger for the kill.“
At the other end of the spectrum, black metal also departs from metal’s traditional treatment of war (disgust, horror). Thrash metal lyrics usually first visit soldiers at their moment of “Oh my fucking god, what am I doing here.” Meanwhile, black metal is dispassionate and present at all points of war: a bullet tearing flesh, a bureaucrat signing an order, a door slamming shut. It’s consistent with black metal’s reverence of animal order: War is life. Animals are programmed to destroy competitors for food and mates. Humans cook up an excuse for it.
3. “Disposable Heroes” | Metallica
from Master Of Puppets (1986)
“Bred to kill, not to care
Do just as we say”
In this classic by metal’s biggest band, a traumatized soldier is called a “coward,” a “servant,” and a “blind man.” This song probably wouldn’t happen in 2015.
4. “Mandatory Suicide” | Slayer
from South Of Heaven (1988)
“Screaming soul sent out to die.”
Your respect for soldiers, living and dead, exists independently of nation, creed, and current. Of course you respect bad-asses who face violent death. Everybody does. It’s the plot of every movie you’ve ever loved: A person with a legit reason to ignore instincts of self-preservation embarks on a dangerous task. It’s quite a purpose in life. Can we do more than hope that it’s worth it?
5. “Left To Die” | Death
from Leprosy (1988)
“Put your life into their hands.”
25 years ago, Dennis Miller joked that few everyday people would truly consider the socio-political views of guys from bands called Megadeth and Slaughter. You agree: A “good” message from a “bad” source has little impact. And to non-metal people, the members of Slayer and Death (above) are bad sources. They might as well be naked ripping open a puppy for the type of welcome given to their social commentary. Maybe those “got your six” types have the right idea.
Happy Memorial Day!