Friday, 8 July 2016

CCPS Miscellany: Heavy Metal's Ten Commandments

We posted this on the CCPS facebook page a while back, but in the interests of completionism, we're going to re-post it here. This one is really not about our scene, but considering how much of an influence metal has been on a lot of Calgary bands, we can't leave it out. 

Heavy Metal's Ten Commandments
By James Muretich

In the beginning there was rock ’n’ roll and parents thought that it was bad so, naturally, the teenagers of the land thought that it was good.

And the music grew in popularity until soon the electric guitars of rock had blown down the walls of the music establishment and become the best-selling sound around.

Elvis Presley was the first King and the rocking royal court included such hipsters and jesters as Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly and Pat Boone. Soon, the times changed and long-haired invaders from England became the rulers of rock, led by The Beatles.

But it Was the prophetic rock group Steppenwolf that foretold the future when sang of "heavy-metal thunder” in its song, Born To Be Wild. Soon, the rock landscape was thrilling to the decibel-decimating sound of Led Zeppelin, the true father of rock whose essence was volume cranked to the point of no return. A new age was born and from the musical loins of Led Zeppelin sprang such offspring as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Kiss, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Motley Crue.

And unto these practitioners of Metal was born a ritual to be followed in accordance with the unspoken laws of the land, the 10 Commandments of Metal.

Many of the devotees of the heaviest of Metal music are not aware of these laws, yet they follow the creed unwittingly as it is preached beneath the glare of myriad lights and dry ice in hockey arenas.

(1) Thou Shalt Have No Other Music Than Metal.

In truth, all other forms of rock ’n’ roll are false. Followers of Metal spit at the mere mention of Boy George and revile all manner of trendy campus radio rock bands. Music is to be loud and proud (the louder, the prouder). Rock was and is rebellion. You’ll never hear Iron Maiden music in a beer commercial.

(2) Thou Shalt Sport All Manner of Graven Metal Images.

Even Metal rebels know how to dress for success or at least acceptance among their peers.
Long hair is important (male or female). This is especially true for heavy-metal bands, for the concert ritual demands that the group’s guitarists stand in a line at the front of the stage and flail the air with their hair. Long hair also helps hide the fact that a lot of male Metal band members aren’t good looking. 

As for wardrobe, black is always back. It is the color of death, rebellion and goes very well with Nazi swastika jewelry. It’s also easy to mix ’n’ match your clothes when every thing you own is the same color.

Leather is also an essential. It’s tough material for tough people. Leather wrist-bands laced with studs are especially cool, though it’s important not to vigorously wipe the sweat from your forehead with your forearm while wearing one.

(3) Thou Shalt Never Take The Name Of Rock In Vain.

Rock is salvation. It is the force, the source of all that is party-time good in the world. The celebration of rock as an entity requiring mystical faith and devotion can be seen in the following song titles: Rock The World (Kick Axe); Don’t Damage The Rock (Montrose); For Those About To Rock - We Salute You (AC/DC); Rock You (Helix); and We Got Your Rock (Ace Frehley).

In fact, the latter track by ex-Kiss member Frehley explains the subtle nuances of the Metal ritual or concert, As Ace sings: “Well, I see you starin’ from the front row, girl, with a challenge in your eye; darin' me to knock you out of your seat. And you can’t believe that a guy like me could rock you ’til you’re paralysed and leave you beggin’ for more, like a dog in heat. Now, if it’s rock and roll you came for, it’s rock and roll you’re gonna get! Ya! Ya! Ya! Ya! Ya!"

(4) Thou Shalt Keep The Heritage Of Black Sabbath Holy.

Shortly after Led Zeppelin arrived on the scene, there arose a band called Black Sabbath which fused aural assault and the occult to come up with a brand of Metal worthy of Bela Lugosi’s acting skills. The band, originally led by venerable vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, established the form of ghoulish Metal that has persisted to this day. It utilizes religion, mythology and the supernatural to say boo to life.

For revered references, check out the following songs: Children Of The Grave (Black Sabbath); Children Of The Damned (Iron Maiden); Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne); Hells Bells (AC/DC); and The Number Of The Beast (Iron Maiden).

(5) Dishonor Your Father And Your Mother.

This is a pretty self-explanatory commandment. Your parents are old, you’re young. They breathe hard when they run up the stairs. You don’t. They like The Beatles. You like bone-crunching blasts of Metal. Never the twain shall meet.

As Van Halen sang on And The Cradle Will Rock: "Well, they say it’s kind of frightening how this younger generation swings. You know it’s more than just some new sensation. Well, the kid is into losing sleep and he don’t come home for half the week. You know it’s more than just an aggravation.”

(6) Thou Shalt Slay The Senses.

The popular phrase loud ’n’ proud is- the cornerstone upon which Metal is built. If the volume can’t crack tea cups at a thousand paces, it just ain’t worth listening to. That is why Hit Parader magazine’s recent Heavy Metal Awards included a category for Loudest Band Of The Year (the winner was Metallica, with the runners-up being Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Deep Purple). Says AC/DC guitarist Angus Young: “When I go on stage, I just want to blast away. I’m always asking the road crew to turn up the amps. They tell me they’re already up as far as they’ll go. So, I just tell ’em that we need bigger amps.”

There is no truth to the rumor that Metal bands play as loud as they do to hide the fact their lead vocalists can’t sing.

(7) Thou Shalt Commit Adultery And All Manner of Sexual Activity.

The height of Metal Manhood is in direct proportion to the quantity of one’s sex life. It is better to have loved in lust than never to have loved at all.

As singer David Lee Roth claims: "It’s like, anything you desire you can find here whatever your vice, whatever your sexual ideals. Whatever somebody else can’t do in his nine-to-five job, I can do in rock'n’roll.”

The result is such romantic Metal music as I Said The Wrong Thing To The Right Girl (Keel); Heavy Metal Love (Helix); Chain Gang Woman (Malice); Sink The Pink (AC/DC); Hot To Be Rocked (Lee Aaron); and Girls Girls Girls (Motley Crue).

As Motley Crue sings on the latter song: "For sex and sex I’d sell my soul.”

(8) Thou Shalt Steal Any And All Guitar Riffs.There is no such thing as original sin in heavy-metal. There is no such thing as originality. Everything is a variation on what’s been done before, a recycling of old rock riffs (proving Metal is ecologically-minded). Besides, it’s hard to think of original music when you’re busy partying.

(9) Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against A Metal Band In Concert.As a member of the fictional Metal group Spinal Tap said in its self-titled documentary spoof: "Have a good time all the time.” That is the philosophy of Metal maniacs when they attend a concert. It is their duty to raise their fists in the air at the appropriate moments, flick their Bics and generally cheer on any and all utterances by a Metal group - such as "Are you guys high enough?” or "You guys really know how to party don’t cha?” or "The best looking girls in the world are right here man!”

(10) Thou Shalt Covet Thy Neighbor’s Material Possessions.Metal followers need not worry about asceticism. The creed believes that if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Fast cars, fast women and even faster music is all part of the Metal lifestyle. Whether it’s makeup, flashy leather gear or having the biggest stereo system in the solar system, make sure people notice you. Shy sucks. Strut your stuff to the max.

To abide by these commandments is to be assured a place in headbanger heaven.

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