Misadventures in Heavy Metalling

Second Annual Scandinavian Metal Nominees for Best Country Music Song of the Year

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Artwork by Matt Smith

The Academy of Country Music Awards are once again just around the corner, which means it’s high time to unveil the second annual list of Scandinavian metal nominess for ACM Song of the Year (check out last year’s nominees here). 2018 was another stellar year for Scandinavian metal bands in terms of tackling time-honored country music themes such as post-break-up loneliness, square dancing, pickup trucks, and lovin’ the simple life. And with so many quality entries in the field, narrowing down the list of contenders that the ACM will forever refuse to acknowledge wasn’t easy. The final list is sure to incite certain, possibly hostile, differences of opinion, but that’s all part of the pointless and arbitrary nature of country music awards, anyway. So, without further ado, here are the top Scandinavian metal contenders for best American country song of 2018:

“Breakwater”

Wolfheart, Constellation of the Black Light

The only band on this year’s list to have also been nominated last year, Wolfheart are producing quality albums at a pace that few bands can keep up with. “Breakwater,” off of their latest release, is an unflinching anthem to the omnipotent power of Mother Earth’s raw nature, delivered with some of that proper good, old “remote Finnish wilderness first” patriotic death-growled attitude.

“Bruma”

Møl, Jord

Newcomers Møl thundered onto the barn-floor dance-scene in 2018, and with Bruma they really tapped into the country soul by delivering a rousing ditty about those special, timeless topics that every country boy and girl can relate to: humanity’s never-ending existential crisis and the eventual descent into the unknown of the eternal night.

“Daggers of Black Haze”

At the Gates, To Drink from the Night Itself

Lamenting the heartache of an unwanted breakup is a perennially favorite theme in country music, but with “Daggers of Black Haze,” At the Gates took it one step further by delving deep into the fragile psychosis that results when a nice country boy’s false pretenses about his perfect love come shattering down around him. Nothing provides a more touching reflection on the cynicism that grows from post-breakup monotony and isolation than the harshly uttered vocals of an enraged Swede.

“Dance Macabre”

Ghost, Prequelle

Ghost’s “Dance Macabre” is an obvious no-brainer for best Scandinavian metal American country song of the year and it’s a cryin’ shame that the official ACM Awards refused to acknowledge its blatant square dancing potential. Because when it comes to swinging your partner round and round and turning your corner/spiritual beliefs upside down, nothing does the trick like a little Satanic dance ritual/bloodbath at a remote, down-homey house out in the countryside in which the swimsuit-clad performers give off a totally weird ’80s Jazzercise sort of vibe.

“Interdimensional Summit”

Dimmu Borgir, Eonian

True icons of country music stardom, Dimmu Borgir wear their hearts on their sleeves, particularly when it comes to matters of religion and spiritual reflection, and their recording of “Interdimensional Summit” is no exception. They praise the lord as only they know how, which is mainly with a series of accusations, questions and oppositional allegiances.

“Mighty Ravendark”

Immortal, Northern Chaos Gods

Country music is all about leading the simple life, staying genuine, and always remaining true to one’s roots. It does not matter if those roots are located in an imaginary kingdom in the coldest, farthest north where everything is frozen and covered in permanent snow, where the sun does not shine, and where the corpse-painted men roam, roaring and shrieking.

“Móri”

Skálmöld, Sorgir

Romance moves fast in country music and often ends in heartbreak and the need to drown one’s sorrows in whiskey, commiserate with the boys (or gals), and cry up a whole damn river. But what if before all that sorrow transpires, you just straight-up murder your country lover by bludgeoning her to death with a cold rock atop a remote cliff near the sea? Thanks to Skálmöld’s “Móri,” this new frontier in country music has now been lyrically addressed in Icelandic.

 

“Pesta”

Necrophobic, Mark of the Necrogram

Innuendos and double entendres are long-time staples of country music love songs, and with thinly-veiled references to their “two-faced mistress of delight” and “empress of eternal night,” Necrophobic gave us the year’s most overtly sexual foot-tapper about pestilence and plague.

“Wrong Direction”

Amorphis, Queen of Time

There aren’t many things that are more country than hitting the open road in your trusty pickup truck, but as Amorphis’ “Wrong Direction” points out, you don’t want to ignore the advice of your true blue siblings and allow yourself to get so enthralled with your vehicle’s horsepower that you end up missing all the signs on the road and then run out of gas next to some dark mountain that you don’t even recognize.

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