It’s been quiet on the posting front of late because I’ve been trying to write music rather than just write about music.
It hasn’t gone well.
I’ve taken a break though to watch my favourite sport (favourite mainly because I don’t particularly like any others), ice hockey. Tonight the Calgary Flames take on the LA Kings, a win would put the Flames in the playoffs and as a man sitting wearing a Flames jersey at around 3 in the morning, I would quite like that.
My internet is being a bastard though and as the stream chugs along I’m given time to reflect on the presence of metal in hockey.
Recently, Metallica hosted Metallica Night with the San Jose Sharks (who frequently use Seek and Destroy during games) with the band appearing in Metallica themed Sharks tops.
Amon Amarth and Enslaved appeared wearing Amon Amarth (how much do you want these) branded jerseys at a Bruins game. You can also get a pretty awesome Amon Amarth hockey tshirt (Devin Townsend also does a nice one for that matter) online.
Hammerfall are in tight with the Minnesota Wild, the team using Fury Of The Wild during games.
Chris Mason who appeared with teams such as the Winnipeg Jets and the Predators was often to be seen wearing Iron Maiden helmet, or Eddie really. I would recommend googling Chris Mason to see all these helmets if you’re a Maiden fan (and of course you are).
During stoppages, it’s not uncommon to hear some glorious riffs over the in the game PA. A recent Flames game had the usual Metallica and Maiden through to bands like The Darkness. AC/DC are obviously there, but if you call them metal people get very upset (much like calling The Darkness metal, I should have probably worded this all better). In other games Pantera and Aerosmith serenade the crowd. This isn’t forgetting the goal horns either, with Joe Satriani’s Crowd Chant featuring in the Islanders and the Wilds games. Iron Maiden’s The Wicker Man featuring in the Washington Capitals horn.
What is it about hockey that draws the eye of the metal fan? Here are some completely unresearched and unfounded theories.
If metal was a place, it would have ice on the ground. From the frozen wastes of black metal to the snowy forests of folk metal, not forgetting the snowcapped peaks of power metal and the frozen fjords of Viking metal, we’re very much an ice and snow themed genre (unless you count hair metal and their snow melting hair spray). Ice hockey takes place on ice (no shit) and therefore appeals to the ice loving metal punter
Of all the sports, hockey isn’t the tamest. In the past we’ve seen throats cut by a skate blade (the videos on Youtube), pucks fired off faces, sticks smacked off faces, faces smacked off the glass, glass shattered by a player going through. We haven’t even got to the fights. If the puck doesn’t break your teeth and nose, you better believe a fist will do the job.
If only there was a type of music that often focussed on bloodshed and violence.
One of metals most obvious features is the speed. Why play a ballad when you can hit a double kick pedal until cramp sets in? Similarly, why watch a guy run allllll the way up a field after a ball, only to have to run allllll the way back down when you can watch some guy hurtle off the ice and crash into a wall because the guy behind him hasn’t stopped yet. Where you have ice, you have speed, and where you have speed, you have metal.
When someone thinks hockey, you think Canada and the USA. However, another couple of countries that follow close behind are Finland and Sweden. This speaks for itself really. A part of the world that spits out metal bands like milk from a cows udder, Finland and Sweden do one hell of a run in Viking, folk and death metal bands. As we learned above – learned might be an exaggeration – these subgenres compliment the game well.
2. JERSEYS HIDE FAT
Lets face it, there is a slight stereotype of the average metal fan having a bit of a beer gut on the go (or mead gut, it’s metal after all). Football (soccer for you incorrect people) tops can be quite close fitting, as can any sport that enjoys a summery grassy vibe. From Kevin Smith and his Fat Man custom jerseys to the guy sitting in Burger King to the guy sitting here writing this drinking a beer and eating crisps, the Jersey is a simple way to hide the chub.
1. IT’S “BIG”
Hockey players are generally tall, the game itself is over the top, it’s fast, it’s brutal, the pre-show is a proper show with lights, music, fire and more. Metal is the perfect compliment to this, it’s a genre that exists on being over the top and a bit silly. And that’s what it all is, silly. It’s silly that I’m sitting here watching a game when I need to be up in a few hours, it’s silly getting wound up about it all, it’s silly playing songs about Vikings and it’s silly swinging our hair about in time to the songs.
Silly is fun though, and fun is good. Long live giant Canadians beating each other up and long live Scandinavian bands singing about forests and mead!
So there we have it, a list composed of everything but fact, created by a beer gut wielding fan of Swedish death metal hoping that his team is going to make the playoffs this year.