Metal sounds like a parody of metal.

If I had to write a musical parody of the metal genre, it would incorporate these features:

  • An obviously gratuitous ambient/acoustic introduction to create a false aura of meaning or mysticism.

  • A sudden break from that into a simple and cheesy guitar riff that sustains for the majority of the song.

  • Grandiose lyrics that come at the crossroads between adolescent poetry and really bad mythological fantasy novels. I would invoke blood, knives, tigers, the moon, warriors, dragons, and (of course!) mythological figures a fair number of people have not heard of.

  • An over-the-top guitar solo.

In general, a parody of a something - a musical genre, a literary genre, a single author, etc - achieves its effect by exaggerating the most laughable features of that genre to comical effect. But it seems to me that the number of metal tracks that would actually serve as a good parody of metal is not small. Some huge percentage of the metal tracks I listen to sound as though they are meant to mock the metal genre - but they’re not. So to me, it often sounds like metal is mocking itself. A few examples…

Dio - Holy Diver

That’s eighty seconds of eerie sound for an intro. Eighty seconds of it. Then the cheesy riff comes in, and you get lyrics about a “midnight sea” and the stripes of a tiger. They always gotta talk about tigers, don’t they?

How about this track, by progressive metal group Dream Theater:

Dream Theater - Under a Glass Moon

(much apologies for the fact that it’s a Guitar Hero video, I couldn’t find the album cut anywhere else)

Here, the lyrics speak for themselves:

How exactly could someone write lyrics like these? “Nervous flashlights scan my dreams / Liquid shadows silence their screams” Wow!!!

For an apocalypse song, let’s try this track by Def Leppard:

Def Leppard - When the Walls Came Tumbling Down

Listen to that Spinal Tap introduction - it’s like “Stonehenge”! It’s like “Atlantis” by Donovan! Listen to those guitar riffs! But most of all, listen to the lyrics:

I think the song speaks for itself.

My point is that it’s not hard to find metal like this. This isn’t, like, three percent of metal. If I listen to ten metal tracks, at least three of them are going to seem like a parody of metal - that is, they will seem like something I would write if I wanted to make fun of metal. There is basically nothing I can do to further exaggerate the features of metal because they’re so often carried to their own natural extremes.

I have to admit, however, that listening to this sort of stuff can be fun in its own way.

Would your parody have a CD cover like this?

Or the first one on this list.

90% of everything is crap.

Sounds like you’re describing a parody of hard progressive rock rather than straight heavy metal. For thw ultimate self-parody of the style … anything by Rick Wakeman. He’s the master of pretentious prog rock, with most of his albums centered around geeky medieval themes.

I think you’ve just mocked the entire Led Zeppelin catalog. And I like them.

Making generalizations of metal with Dream Theater and Def Leppard is like generalizing hip hop with Lil’ Wayne. Not exactly a good representation.

Yeah. If you want metal being a parody of metal, go for Anvil.

Is that so? I’ve heard all three of the bands I named referred to as metal bands before.

Do others agree that I’m really finding progressive hard rock humorous?

Def Leppard, Dream Theater and Dio are all generally considered metal bands, but the line between hard rock and metal is extremely fuzzy, and these bands don’t represent anywhere near the full spectrum of metal styles.

OP > Amusing observation

I don’t know why all metal bands insist on writing their own lyrics. They’re not writers, they’re not poets, they’re musicians. They shouldn’t be writing lyrics any more than they should be building their own guitars or printing their own CDs. Even as a metal fan I find metal lyrics embarassing.

You want the best cheesy metal music video of the whole world ever ? 'Cause I know it. Here it is. Try as you might you will never, ever top that.

First of all, the things you describe aren’t “metal”, they belong to a very specific sub-genre called “power metal”. You won’t find any of those things in death metal, hardcore, grindcore, black metal, hair metal, nü metal, or lots of other sub-genres of metal.

But they are staples of power metal, just like shitty weepy lyrics are part of emo, like losing a woman is part of blues lyrics, like pedal steel guitar is part of country & western music. So, grats: you noticed some common themes & characteristics that make up a sub-genre of metal.

Yeah, Dio is pretty much one of the founders and oldest proponents of power metal. He’s one of the guys who started writing about those things and writing songs this way. It just stands to reason that he’s going to sound like a stereotypical power metal guy, since he is (in large part) the standard which all others try to achieve.

Whatever. It’s Dream Theater. It’s prog rock. Lyrics from Rush, old Genesis, Marillion, etc. will also have the same bent. You want to listen to good prog rock/metal? Go listen to Porcupine Tree, Mastodon, or Baroness.

Another power metal band. And comparing them to Spinal Tap is just, um, stupid. Spinal Tap was made as a parody of power metal bands. That’s why Spinal Tap sounds like a bad version of this: they are trying to sound like a bad power metal band. Duh.

IMO, power metal is one of the worst forms of metal, right up there with battle metal and hair metal. There’s certainly a lot there that’s fodder for parody, but it seems to me that you’ve missed the point, and the mark.

Well, they don’t all write their own lyrics. BÖC used to have a lot of their lyrics written by Michael Moorcock, for example.

Lol. Yeah if there is something Blue Oyster Cult needs, it’s “Moorcock”

Alexander the Great from Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time album

Stonehenge by Spinal Tap.


Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote some of Maiden’s Lyrics.


Oh, please. Trivial. Though this is slightly more rock than metal.

Nothing is more metal than curling.

Amazing how it manages to spoof Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Heavy Metal, Kung Fu, Mad Max, Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns and god knows what else all within one video.