Monday, March 27, 2006

202 Rules of Power Metal

Here are 202 rules of power metal. In two parts. It is both entertaining and true at the same time. If you don't like power metal, get out of my blog. They are from

Part I

1. You have one goal: be epic.
2. Let no sound be lonely. If there’s a guitar solo, harmonize it. If there’s singing, make it a choir.
3. Keyboards offer a way to add thousands of different textures to a song. Find two of those that you like and use them on every song you write.
4. In a power metal world, everything steel is good, and anything good must be compared to steel.
5. You are not bound to sing about Satan, evil, and/or darkness.
6. You are bound to sing about dragons, freedom, and/or power metal.
7. Remember how no sound should be alone? Same goes for albums. Everything can have a sequel!
8. You are allowed to be blonde.
9. Swords enhance your credibility and your performance. Be sure to carry one regardless of whether or not you know anything about using one.
10. Pick a theme and stick to it. Manowar are warriors of true metal, and they don’t get to sing about anything else. Rhapsody has their Algalord chronicles. Hammerfall has their steel, hammers, and templar. Running Wild has pirates. Blind Guardian has Tolkein. None of them are allowed to sing about anything else.
11. If you have to sing about something else, put together a side project to do it. Avantasia is the perfect model.
12. Ballads are permissible.
13. That doesn’t mean your ballads can suck.
14. The longer a song is, the more epic it is. See rule #1.
15. More solos means more epic.
16. If at all possible, be Michael Kiske.
17. If this is not possible, pretend to be Michael Kiske.
18. Your album cover should include at least one of the following: fire, steel, weird glowing magical items, irregularly muscular men, fists thrust into the air, weaponry, magic creatures (preferably dragons), or bright beams of light around somebody/something.
19. ‘Grim’ and ‘necro’ don’t apply here; they just make you look silly. Now go back to singing your 20 minute epic about dragonslaying!
20. Power metal depends on power chords.
21. 16th notes are the only notes.
22. Unless you’re singing, in which case you are not permitted to hold a note for any less than 2 bars.
23. Keyboards get solos, too.24. If you can’t be Michael Kiske, you can at least be Timo Tolkki.
25. Actually, don’t be Timo Tolkki.
26. In case you didn’t know, “symphonic” is synonymous with “epic.” See rule #1.
27. Just because 300 bands before you have already done “epic,” there’s always room for more.
28. Songs come in two tempos: metal and ballad.
29. You are officially the only group of people who can refer to themselves as ‘mighty’ without being laughed at. Much.
30. Audiences need to be able to sing along. Make it catchy.
31. Sing in English, even though your fan-base will be comprised entirely of Brazilians, Germans, Japanese, Swedes, and Finns. See rule #30: if it’s not catchy, it’s harder to sing in a language that is not your first.
32. Play in as many bands as possible. More side projects and guest appearances means more epic!
33. Tight. Pants.
34. You don’t have to detune your guitars.
35. Though you probably should drop them a half-step.
36. Unfortunately, you need at least two guitar players. How else are you going to have dueling guitar solos?
37. Keyboards may substitute for one guitar player, as long as they can solo.
38. Fortunately, you don’t need a bass player! Or at least, you never have to use the same bassist twice.
39. Begin all songs with one big swelling chord on the keyboard.
40. Acoustic guitars are allowed. Sometimes.
41. It’s not a tour, it’s a crusade!
42. Layer your vocals, hundreds upon hundreds of times. Don’t worry about them live.
43. Never use mundane words in your lyrics. Nothing is epic if you don’t use words like “majesty,” “glorious,” “magical,” and so on.
44. Wizards! You need wizards!
45. Although your costume does not require corpse paint, it will require a cape, lots of jewelry, and the aforementioned swords.
46. Unless you are Manowar, in which case you are too metal for clothing.
47. Come to think of it, don’t be Manowar.
48. Wear armor if at all possible. Hammerfall can give you an idea of the variety of acceptable armors, ranging from leather to ring-mail.
49. Songs don’t begin at full speed. Gradually work your way into an epic frenzy.
50. Hail true metal!
51. Acoustic guitars are for intros and bridges. Then crush them with steel.
52. Epic. Tight. Pants.
53. Higher vocals are epic vocals. Female lead singers are great for this.
54. So, male lead singes should sound like female singers. See rule #52.
55. True warriors can tell the difference between albums.
56. Concept albums are totally epic. Nobody will ever see it coming.
57. Liner notes must include pages of backstory, either of your epic saga of conquest over dragons and evil or of your epic battles with alcoholism while recording the album.
58. Drugs aren’t metal.
59. Beer, however, can be served in all kinds of true metal ways.
60. “Flagons of ale.” It’s appropriate to your fantasy-riddled lyrics, and it almost looks like “dragons,” so you score extra points.
61. Since you can’t get away with grunts, growls, and other troll-like noises, you will have to sing.
62. Your accent will show as a consequence.63. To compensate, sing about killing trolls. Preferably with the swords that you carry onstage.64. More sequels = more epic. See rule #7.
65. Guest vocalists, guest guitarists, and any special appearances from outside your band will make your sound more epic, even if the track sounds just like all the other songs on the album with an extra solo.
666. Norsk Arysk Blak Metal! Rahhh!!!
67. Begin songs at half-tempo, and then, when listeners least expect it (i.e. at exactly the same time it happens in all your other songs) kick into full speed complete with double-bass and power chords.
68. Bass players: one note. Really fast.
69. But include one enormous crazy-ass bass fill before the chorus, even though the production will bury you so far in the mix that most people won’t realize your band has a bass player.
70. Just because you don’t play black metal doesn’t mean you can’t use Tolkein.
71. Whenever you short of ideas, pick up your Dungeons and Dragons books. You might as well be the first band to sing about owlbears.
72. Never leave Europe.
73. For purposes of rule #72, Japan may be counted as part of Europe.
74. Oh, and South America was colonized by Europeans, so it can count too.
75. Orchestras make a great addition to your album. Since you can’t afford one, find a new patch on your keyboard.
76. If your live album does not have the crowd singing all the harmony parts for you, you aren’t epic enough to justify a live album.
77. If you are European, use as many archaic English words in your lyrics as you can. Obfuscation is epic!
78. If you are South American, your lyrics should be closer to standard English, though nobody will ever read them.
79. If you are U.S. American, you probably aren’t actually a power metal band. Sing about tanks, or something.
80. If you are Italian, write some lyrics in Latin. Your American fans won’t be able to tell the difference between your Italian lyrics and your Latin ones, but Latin is epic.
81. Remember, shaving is epic, haircuts are not.
82. Entire albums must be recorded in the same key.
83. For that matter, entire careers may also be recorded in the same key.
84. Guitarists, remember: dun da-da dun da-da dun da-da…
85. Make your band logo very angular, but perfectly legible.
86. More than a logo, you need a mascot.
87. He need not be distinguishable from Eddie, but he does need to be on all your album covers.
88. At your first gig, if you feel a “rising force,” do be sure not to get it all over your audience.
89. Record your best songs unplugged, and sell them as an EP.
90. Do not expect anyone to buy the EP.
91. Remember, power metal fans are not gay. They are just comfortable with their masculinity.
92. Sing along.
93. Don’t get caught singing along.
94. Glitter is not epic.
95. Neither is body oil. See rule #47.
96. If you see a black metaller in the woods pretending to be a troll, see rule #9 and rule #63.
97. In your liner notes, thank everybody you toured with, even if they’re Stratovarius.
98. Complain about Stratovarius constantly even though you’ve bought all their albums and listen to them more than anything else in your collection.
99. Power metal must be pure; do not mix it with other metal styles.
100. To repeat: be epic.
101. I ran out of funny things to say way back at rule #52, but any less than 101 rules would so not be epic.

Part II

1. Denim and leather went out with Saxon. Silk and steel is the new thing.
2. If you do mix genres, power metal is still the dominant type. (e.g. blackened power metal) This is largely because power metal is infinitely more epic than the others styles, but also because “empowered” death metal just sounds stupid.
3. Not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have a couch to slay. Sing a mighty hymn of remembrance for these brave souls before you leap into battle with your furniture.
4. Even if you don’t know anything about international politics, you can still write stories about the international relations of magical kingdoms.
5. By “international relations,” I mean “war.” Nobody wants majestic steel anthems about trade embargoes.
6. When giving interviews, be sure to mention that your musical influences include Thor.
7. Openly religious themes are generally a bad idea. Writing extremely vague songs about ‘destiny,’ ‘fate,’ ‘time,’ and other such metaphysics is a much better way to go.
8. Re-release your entire catalogue with a new bonus track in Japan. Then make everyone else pay three times as much for an album they already have for the one B-side and the cover of a Helloween song.
9. If you covered a Helloween song from “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” or “Chameleon,” please do the world a favor and die.
10. Fireworks are epic. Be sure to refer to them as “Dragon’s Breath” or “The Great Flame of Dirty Laundry Smiting.”
11. A note on fireworks: don’t get yourself set on fire like James Hetfield. True metal warriors can play with fire without getting burned.
12. Include as many vowels in your name as possible. Ideally, it will be the same name as the magical kingdom you sing about.
13. Gettysburg was not a magical kingdom. Shame on you, Jon Schaffer!
14. Naming your band Spinefarm, Nuclear Blast, or Steamhammer will not get you a contract. It will, however, get you plenty of internet traffic.
15. And a cease and desist letter.
16. Or a copyright infringement lawsuit.
17. They would make great album titles or stage names. “On bass, the legendary thundering giant of mighty low-end music, Steamhammer!”
18. Promo photos come in two types: standing around in T-shirts looking sullen, or basking in the glorious light of the universe holding swords up high, dressed in robes fit for a king.
19. Music videos should be shot in the snow.
20. You should also be shot in the snow for making such crappy music videos.
21. If this proves problematic, just record the band playing the song in a warehouse, forest, or room full of water.
22. Why do you play? For the king, for the land, for the mountains, for the green valleys where dragons fly, for the glory, the power to win over the dark lord!
23. Not to mention the right to write an album based on a crappy 80’s fantasy movie. Why isn’t “Willow” a five disc series yet?
24. Sonata Arctica is not “ice metal.” Power metal is the mightiest descriptor that can be bestowed upon a band; there’s no need to thin the blood by making up a new subgenre.
25. ESP and Jackson will provide your guitars.
26. Gotcha! Like anybody’s actually going to sponsor you…
27. Never change. A sequel should be sonically identical to its predecessor.
28. Step one: loincloths.
29. Step two: mountains.30. Step three: live like barbarians in the wilderness. Get in touch with nature, kill to eat, and let the power of the dragonflame burn in your heart!
31. If you actually DO feel the power of the dragonflame burning in your heart, I’d recommend Tums.
32. Narration is a great way to fill in those parts of your epic saga that are better expressed in prose than in song.
33. Hire a competent narrator, though… nobody has yet, except for Rhapsody finally wising up to hire Christopher Lee.
34. No, Christopher Lee will not work on your album, too. Level up a few times, and maybe then.
35. Iron Maiden is the father.
36. Dragonforce is the Son.
37. Tolkien is the Holy Ghost.
38. Trigger your drums, unless you are a man-sized Speedy Gonzalez. (I would make a joke about Speedy Gonzalez explaining why all the Brazilians are in power metal bands, but then I’d sound like an ethnocentric jerk. Remember, kids, true warriors come in all colors, sexes, and magical species.)
39. Play everything really fast because it's more epic. Dragonforce, therefore, is the most epic band possible.
40. Think of some epic sounding name for your genre like '+1 Extreme Operatic Dragonslaying Symphonic Melodic Epic Heavy Hollywood Power Metal of the Mighty War Gods of Finland.'
41. You are definitely not plain 'power metal.'
42. Hansi is God.
43. Singers aren’t allowed balls unless they are Hansi, because he is God.
44. You must sing; they don't have rap in Middle Earth and real elves don't growl.
45. Orcs, however, make excellent guest vocalists to fill in the growling niche.
46. Make sure you have Stratovarius, Helloween and Iron Maiden listed as your influences.
47. Listen to Nightfall in Middle Earth every day.
48. Watch your Lord of the Rings DVDs at least once a week.
49. If you watch all the extended editions back to back, you can consider yourself epic. And unemployed.
50. Read Lord of the Rings every month or two.
51. AND the Silmarillion.
52. For your English literature class, write your final thesis paper as a comparison between Tolkein and Blind Guardian’s interpretation of his works.
53. Make sure everyone thinks you are gay. Armor, loincloths, and face-paint (NOT corpse-paint) all add a lot to this. For the ideal model, find some pictures of Ronnie James Dio, the mightiest man in the history of metal.
54. You are definitely NOT gay.
55. Irrelevant to whether you're gay or not [which you aren't] you fancy Tuomas Holopanien AND Tarja Turunen.
56. Love songs are acceptable, but it has to be epic love which involve deaths and hopefully dragons and/or demons.
57. You cannot have songs about sex, that's just not epic.
58. Oceanborn was so much better than Once.
59. High pitched screams are allowed, but they are epic battlecries.
60. Don't ever make decent music videos.
61. All your fans want you to make decent music videos with battle scenes.
62. They will always be disappointed, although they will appreciate the gesture of including a forty-foot tall inflatable dragon to your stage props.
63. Frilly shirts ARE metal.
64. Though not as metal as chainmail.
65. You can't afford chainmail so use grey fabric mesh you bought from a fetish shop.
66. Your stage wardrobe should exude an attitude of “tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1599.”
67. Draw no distinctions between your stage personality and your normal life. While carrying around your sword in public might draw an uncomfortable amount of attention, it will be great publicity for your new album, “Orgul Silverleaf, Orc Hunter: the Epic Quest, Volume XIII.”
68. Fast is mighty, so double kick pedals to exaggerate the speed of your music wouldn't go astray.
69. There is no speed limit in power metal. It's even mightier to start off slow and then kick it to overdrive!
70. Sit at your computer for hours on end drawing up lists of the rules of power metal. It’s a guaranteed chick magnet, even if you’re female.
71. Constantly buy new albums on Ebay. Imports and international CDs are better, because even though the bands all sound the same, a CD is simply more epic if it has one extra track.
72. You don’t have a fan club, you have an army.
73. No, seriously. They’ve all got swords, too.
74. The band that slays together, stays together. Unless you slay each other. But that’s OK, because Varg doesn’t play power metal.
75. Tastelessly interrupt your subdued ballad with an obnoxiously loud and completely unrestrained guitar solo. What would kill the song in other genres is necessary here to wake up metalheads who fell asleep while you were singing about stalking your ex-girlfriend with your +2 Camcorder of Invisibility.
76. Your album ought to max out the holding capacity of a CD. You haven’t given enough glory to your king unless you have composed a 78-minute epic in his honor.
77. If you find that you can’t compose almost eighty minutes of blistering solos and testicle-wrenching harmonies, then you can leave an inexplicable pause of nothing at the end of the CD.
78. For the king, for the land, for the mountains, for the green valleys where dragons fly, for the glory the power to win the dark lord, you will search for the emerald sword.
79. Never tour in the US.
80. Claim that you never tour the US because of passport problems, when we all really know that you just don’t want to be anywhere close to the nation that produced Garth Brooks.
81. Make sure that your band is, for the most part, really only one person who happens to have other people who play his music. Your models, as always, ought to be Luca Turilli and Timo Tolkki.
82. Don’t be Timo Tolkki.
83. Never produce decent merchandise. Your logo looks cool on albums, but your shirts all look like crap.
84. Women sing. They are not allowed to have any other roles in the band. This is rather unfortunate, as they are the only people in the band who would actually look GOOD with long hair.
85. If you run out of ideas around this point, rehash your first composition.
86. When attending a power metal concert, please check your sword at the door.
87. After enough beer, “Breakfast with Cthulhu” actually does sound like a good idea for a concept album.
88. Ümläuts improve your credibility. Do your best to be born in a country where they are a standard part of your alphabet.
89. Liner notes must either include original artwork, or photos of your guitarist looking like a jackass onstage.
90. Some bands are ambiguously power metal, and instead get categorized as ‘speed metal’ or plain old ‘heavy metal.’ While you may enjoy them, if they can’t be shameless and unabashed power metallers, then they may not join you on your camping trip.
91. And by ‘camping trip’ I mean “running around in the woods with swords while singing your battlecries and hoping to find an elf.”
92. Think “family friendly.” Don’t swear, and please refrain from eating your bandmates. See rule #74.
93. Have an intro track. This means “one minute of keyboards that gradually get louder.”
94. Instrumental tracks should be limited to one per album. This is primarily because they do not advance your storyline very much, unless your Nordic warrior has to prove himself in a yodeling contest against the dark lord, in which case you really need to write a new story.
95. If you’re desperate for an extra B-side, cover an Iron Maiden song.
96. If you’re VERY desperate for an extra B-side, cover a Scorpions song.
97. Two-disc sets are epic. Unfortunately, it’s usually very difficult for both discs to be good.
98. If you have doubts about one of your friends being a true warrior, ask him to name every project that Alex Holzwarth has played for. If your friend cannot successfully name them all, begin your epic quest in search of all the discs to save your friend from being trapped in an evil dimension devoid of power metal.
99. If you mom walks in on you applying your facepaint while wearing a loin-cloth and a cape, I really can’t offer you any help, dude.
100. I still think I ran out of funny things to say back on the other list.
101. You should be proud of your mighty followup, particularly when it is also 101 rules long. Take great pride in the accomplishment, especially because this time there were guest artists involved.BONUS RARE B-SIDE RULE ONLY AVAILABLE IN JAPAN!
102. Record your live album in Japan, because, honestly, where in the hell else are you actually going to be able to pull a good enough crowd for a live album?

I like number 666 best.

- 666. Norsk Arysk Blak Metal! Rahhh!!!


Blogger Ocarina654 said...


I remember reading these on Metalstorm some time ago, but they're always fun to read again.

8:08 am  

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