AUSTRIAN DEATH MACHINE VS. BECOMING THE ARCHETYPE: A STUDY IN CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Today, two very disperate Christian metal acts announced Christmas releases: Austrian Death Machine, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-themed side project of As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis, will release Jingle All the Way, an ode to the Ahnuld flick of the same title, while Becoming the Archetype will release a cover of “O Holy Night” as a single. Both releases become available digitally on the same day — December 6, via Metal Blade (ADM) and Solid State (BTA) respectively — but just one look at the cover art, and you can tell that there’s a MASSIVE tonal difference between the two.
First, here’s the album art for Austrian Death Machine’s Jingle All the Way (which I’m actually listening to even as I type this). Obviously, Lambesis is going for the lulz here — I mean, there’s a skull and crossbones made from Schwarzenegger’s face and a pair of candy canes. In fact, it’s worth noting that there isn’t even a cover of “Jingle Bells” on this EP. Not that “Jingle Bells” is an especially serious song or anything, but the tracks contained on Jingle all emphasize the comedic nature of ADM; they have titles like “I’m Not a Pervert” and “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies?”, titles which, I assume, would be even funnier if I could remember anything about that one time I watched the movie Jingle All the Way on cable. The tongue-in-cheek nature of the material makes this something that even Scrooges (like me) and non-Christians (also like me) can enjoy. And it doesn’t hurt that the music on the EP brings the mosh in a serious way.
Now, contrast this with the cover for Becoming the Archetype’s “O Holy Night” single:
So that’s pretty friggin’ grim, no? It would almost work as the cover of a new black metal album, if not for the whole, y’know, pro-Christianity thing; as it stands, it makes me think of priests physically abusing themselves to atone for their sins, Da Vinci Code-style. It doesn’t exactly scream “SNOWBALL FIGHT!” the way the ADM cover does.
Now, I haven’t gotten to hear BTA version of “O Holy Night” yet, but I can assume it is not going to be tongue-in-cheek, because a) there is nothing fun or funny about that song, unless you count Eric Cartman’s version, and b) that album art really makes me wanna slit my wrists. And while I’ve actually always enjoyed Becoming the Archetype — MetalSucks even debuted one of their videos earlier this year — I honestly don’t know if I want or need a grim metal version of “O Holy Night” in my life. It’s easy for me to see how Austrian Death Machine might appeal to an audience beyond the carols n’ stockings crowd, but I wonder if anyone besides the Becoming the Archetype prayer team will care about “O Holy Night.”
Of course, if BTA’s cover of the song turns out to be super-duper-awesome, maybe the rest of what I said won’t even matter. I do tend to over-think shit.