I was going to go with a heavy metal musical theme for Valentine’s Day, like I did for Christmas. Alas, all attempts on my part to unearth a fist-pumpingly kickass metal cover of anything that could be considered a love song in any conventional sense have thus far proven fruitless. Unless Queensrÿche is your idea of kickass. They were in their own way; they had that metal-tinged Pink Floyd vibe going on. But a level of kickassitude more in the ballpark of Rammstein is closer to what I had in mind. No one’s ever thought to give one of Céline Dion’s signature numbers the Neue Deutsche Härte treatment, from the looks of it. So while we’re waiting for German to become the new language of love (“Wie liebe ich dich? Lass mich die Wege zählen…”), here’s a guy playing a bagpipe made out of a (hopefully used) condom.
I’ve been getting into the Ghost lately. This is a little old band from Sweden famous for their highly theatrical live shows. Not quite a Rammstein level of theatrical, but still pretty damn theatrical. They are fronted by a guy who calls himself either Papa Emeritus or Cardinal Copia (depending on his mood), who wears Roman Catholic clergy-inspired getups onstage coupled with what looks like Norwegian death metal-style makeup. Like a zombie pope. Which precisely no one in the band’s homeland finds offensive, because it’s Sweden. The rest of the band dress in face-concealing identical costumes, and are known only as the Nameless Ghouls. Brilliant, when you really think about it. If one member abruptly quits, they could just quietly replace him without having to bother with the press release.
It most certainly doesn’t hurt that those Nameless Ghouls also just happen to be damn good musicians, churning out tunage the likes of which I haven’t heard in years. There’s definitely an audible Eighties influence here. Tastes just like the hair metal my mother used to hate.
Here’s another Ghost jam I dig. The harmonics between the guitar lines are exquisite enough when considered on their own merits, but the singer’s proclamation of “Rats!” in every fourth measure of the chorus (if you can call it that) totally makes the whole tune. The lyrical subject matter indeed deals with the titular rodents in a literal sense, and the singer’s delivery ensures you never forget that.