03 June 2012

Precious Rocks & Rare Heavy Metals: Chapter 3

The third of a series of fun articles aiming to explore the impact that Rock and Heavy Metal artists/bands had on the world and the impact the world had on them. This series will cover a number of artists so all favourites are presented. Read the first and second chapters here and here.

Please note: There is no specific reason (e.g. greatness, preference etc) for the order bands are presented!


There is no question that Alice Cooper himself is well respected and considered as a great example of a rock star. He is pretty much the leader of Shock Rock as people call it. His stage presence and theatrics had people talking for generations. But behind that creepy façade of his you may find a “born-again Christian”, a humanitarian, and an esteemed friend. He has become very talkative about his religious beliefs and has set up his own non-profit organisation called “Solid Rock” aiming to help teenagers in many aspects of their lives. Alice Cooper has recently received an honorary doctorate too and gave a strange speech. Full story here

Now, out of respect to his outstanding musical contribution and long career and due my own admiration of him as a human being and artist I will have to pass and try not judge Mr. Cooper about his recent religious enthusiasm. He is 64 after all and closer to the “light”. But there are some signs of (possible) dementia and I'm raising a red flag here. I’m no doctor but any sort of admiration towards the thing called Lady Gaga must surely mean that some neurological deficiency is present. He IS 64 after all. Full story and proof I’m not crazy here. On a lighter note, you can catch Alice in the new movie by Tim Burton alongside Johnny Depp. Now that I wanna see! 


Rage Against The Machine (RATM) are mostly known for their political and social activism. Their music and lyrics represent this and it’s no wonder considering that guitarist Tom Morello is a social studies graduate from Harvard University. There is no protest or march that Morello and de La Rocha are not part of. There is an interesting paper on radical criminology with an extensive analysis of RATM lyrics which I found very interesting (link here). Some less known “services” to the world include Morello’s stripper career! Full story here

If I was forced to listen to Nu Metal I would choose to only listen to RATM. The fact is I do and I like it. The combination of funk, metal, and a bit of rapping with that guitar sound and those lyrics is just remarkable. I cannot imagine a more cathartic and aggressive song than "Killing in the Name". Ok, maybe "Angel of Death" by Slayer but not for soul-catharsis reasons! Anyway, my point is, being an idealist myself, I find it comforting that there are people out there who (still) believe in ideas like civil rights, equality, world peace, etc etc. And believe it or not a political science graduate-cum-vegetarian stripper-cum-protest musician is part of this bunch. But the best part is that I don’t have to do a thing, just watch them from my couch and smile devilishly! Here is a fun video of a school marching band “covering” Killing in the Name. Enjoy!


Slayer is undoubtedly the most controversial of the “Big 4” in terms of lyrics, music, and pretty much everything else. Ideas like Nazism, white supremacy, Satanism, terrorism, war, murder, and all other awful-sounding words in the English dictionary can be found in the repertoire of the accusations towards this band. Kerry King’s feisty personality and uncounted feuds don’t help much either. Still, the band managed to leave its stamp in the Metal history as one of the most important bands and probably the most consistent Thrash Metal band of all. Recently, they joined the Heavy Metal marketing race when they named a wine after the hymn “Reign in Blood”. Full story here. It is only available in Sweden (where else?) and at the ridiculous price of €80! You may purchase here. The description for this wine is very impressive and effortful: 

"The wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, is as uncomprimising [sic] and tough as the band. After a couple of Seasons in the Abyss, the wine has an undisputed attitude and a soft nose of dark berry fruits with oak and spicy nuances. Good mouth feel with hints of fresh fruit and juicy, smooth tannins. Well structured and rounded with subtle notes of oak, showing true Divine Intervention. Best company for the wine comes as no surprise, enjoy it while headbanging, riffing or with food, friends and great music. Reign in Wine!"

Honestly, Slayer was not one of the bands I listened to when I first got into Heavy Metal. But I was meant to and I soon realised there is not another band that “screams” more Metal than this one. I mean come on, even their diseases sound Metal: necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that Hanneman contracted from a spider bite! What’s more Metal than that? Oh, perhaps a Jagermeister add featuring Kerry King? Watch it here. I just love this guy's look!

Watch this space for the next chapter of this series.
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