(Read Part 1 HERE, Part 2 HERE.)
THIS WEEK'S LESSON: HOW NOT TO NAME YOUR DEATH METAL BAND
Today we learn by "reverse example", i.e. making good decisions about naming your death metal band based on bad decisions other bands have made in the past. A really bad name will absolutely destroy the momentum of your band, repelling prospective fans rather than drawing them in. No one wants that.
So this post might be a little bit of a "downer", as we slog our way through 20 bottom-feeders on the great death-metal-band-name food chain. But fear not, Professor Cobras has GREAT THINGS planned for Part 4 AND Part 5. To quote Ahh-nold in Commando, "STICK AROUND".
SUB-CATEGORY A: "INTROSPECTIVE" DEATH METAL BAND NAMES
Sorry, DECEMBER FLOWER, but being from Germany won't get you a free pass this time. The word "flower" (along with other reprehensible terms like "butterfly", "bunny rabbit", and "rainbow" -- Unless you're RAINBOW) has no place in a metal band's name, and months and seasons are off limits as well. No "February", no "Autumn", no "Springtime". The exceptions, of course, being "Winter" and "November" (and "November" is only okay if you're the obscure Canadian all-girl death metal band NOVEMBER GRIEF... Which you're not).
Although they advertise themselves as "Czech Absurd Grind Machinery", I will not go anywhere near BIG YELLOW DAY, solely based on their terrible name. What are you guys, an R.E.M. cover band? This is awful. Shape up or ship the fuck out.
Luckily, CLEARING AUTUMN SKIES broke up in 2003. I say "luckily" because they were from San Jose, California (only 45 minutes away from me), and if they were still around I might be tempted to go on a road trip just to track them down an punch them all in the face. "SEASONS" are OFF LIMITS. Your band name sounds like the title of a Jim Croce song.
Oh, look! WHISPERING TEARS are from Paaaris! They must be so sensitive and intelligent! Merci for gracing us all with your "Dark Emotion Death Metal".
Somebody needs to smack these sissies upside the head with a stale baguette. Your "emotion" has no place in MY death metal. Tres lame.
Granted, CANDLE SERENADE ("the first black metal band in all of Northern Portugal!") has an awful fucking name. But I will admit to being quite charmed by that band photo down there. They've really captured a whole "deer in the headlights" aspect of BM band photography that I've never really seen before. They're so surprised at having their picture taken. Also, they are "vampires".
SUB-CATEGORY B: JUST PLAIN STUPID DEATH METAL BAND NAMES (NOT EVEN GOOD STUPID)
Fine line here, guys. Pay attention.
Germany's ABSTINENZ would like us to believe that their inability to get laid is THEIR CHOICE. I ain't buyin' it.
"How To Fail At Death Metal" by BAD TO THE BONE, Modena, Italy:
1) Be a juggalo.
2) Wear Adidas track suits.
3) Stick your thumb out when throwing up the horns, so that your hand gesture means "I love you" rather than "Satan".
4) Hold band practice in the basement of the local Rec Center.
5) Let your uncle (second from right) play bass.
6) Name your band after a George Thorogood song.
Okay, ZOMBIE LOLOCAUST, I get it. You're only in it for the "lulz". But played out internet references have no place in death metal whatsoever. Might as well just call your band "Morbid Keyboard Cat" or stick one of ":)" these in there.
PS Zombie Lolocaust have a credited fourth member in their band, who acts solely as a lyricist. An obvious necessity, when you have song titles like "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream... Yer Mum's A Slut" and "Kick My Junk".
Possibly acceptable, BRITNEY, had your band name been a reference to Britny Fox. But the spelling implies that you are referring to a different "Britney". I don't even want to speculate on which one it might be.
Not cool, even if you're from Switzerland AND there's a girl in your band.
Wait just a minute. CRIMINAL JAMMAGE? From IRELAND? DEATH METAL? CURRENTLY ACTIVE?
There's some major cognitive dissonance going on here, possibly even a tear in the very fabric of the space-time continuum. Because last I checked, "Criminal Jammage" is a name far better suited for some sort of terrible funk/hip hop fusion project out of Fresno in the mid 90's. My mind is blown.
Okay, so "DEPRESSED MODE" was a joke me and the Bros had in high school, a play on "Depeche Mode" that we'd use to make fun of the goth kids. And it wasn't even that funny. And humor has no place in "melodic doom metal" anyways. Why? Finland can't be that far behind the rest of the world, culturally speaking. Can they?
If you're going to use a bad high school joke, may I suggest "TACO HELL"? At least it sounds kind of metal.
BAD ESL NAMES:
Almost always, the inability to speak English is a benefit for dudes naming their metal band (more on this next week). You get some great phrases out of the situation, which are far beyond the mental grasp AND creative faculties of the average native English speaker. But some guys just miss the mark completely. Two examples of this rare occurence are shown below:
Take, for instance, Brazil's SAUNTER. The dictionary definition of "saunter" is "a careless leisurely gait", and for me, at least, it conjures images of extended pinkies, Victorian tea parties, and effeminate old men wearing monocles.
Tea Party Attendant 1: "Oh my! What a lovely lace doily! By any chance did you catch the heavy metal concert in which Saunter performed last evening?"
Tea Party Attendant 2: "Heavens yes! Never have I witnessed such a clever combination of grinding blasts and br00tal fucking slamz!"
Why are you doing this to me, Italy? First Bad To The Bone and now UNCORK? Fucking UN - CORK, like a bottle of champagne? Really?
SUB-CATEGORY C (THE WORST OF ALL): "CUTE" DEATH METAL BAND NAMES
At least North Carolina's PANDA PARTY had the common decency to change their name (they are now "Fed To The Forest"). But I wonder if Panda Brandon, Panda Alan, Panda Mitchell, Panda Chase, and
Panda Niarfe still perform under their former stage names? Gee, I hope so.
Tolkien references are neither uncommon nor unwelcome in the world of metal. But HOBBITS OF THE SHIRE (above), from Austin, Texas have taken it too far. Hairy toes or no, hobbits just AREN'T METAL. Orcs? Yes. Mordor? Yes. Just not hobbits.
I've got to at least give these guys credit for writing a song called "Panteradactyl", though.
Guess what "P.L.F." stands for. Punctured Lung Fuckers? Pissing Liquid Faeces? Psychotic Lacerated Fibrosis? Portable Latrine Factory? No, no, no, and no.
PRETTY LITTLE FLOWER? Yes.
The "fantasy" element is a double-edged sword in death metal. Wizards and unicorns and elves and shit are a risky gamble, but can pay off if referenced with the right amounts of both humor and sarcasm. But Toronto's ENCHANTED FAERIES swung and missed.
BUBBLES is from New Jersey. Which is even more head-scratchingly absurd than Manowar's Hail To England. Is New Jersey the "new" Italy, in regards to bad band names? Stay tuned...
Much like their fellow countrymen December Flower, CUTE RAGE receives no quarter based on the fact that they're German. I don't care where you're from, "cute" is NOT allowed in death metal. A MAJOR "no-no". Or a major "nein-nein", depending on linguistic preference.
Closing things out today is Washington state's SUPER HAPPY STORY TIME LAND.
BONUS! UNUSED DEATH METAL BAND NAME OF THE WEEK:
Tune in next week for 20 more bands who have raised the act of naming a death metal group from mere science to high art...