Guest Post: 5 Metal-Orchestral Collaborations that Haven’t Happened (but Should)


In this guest post, freelance writer and friend of the Toilet Sean Barrett talks his ideal orchestral fusions with metal bands. So grab your black ties/dresses and fancy arm candy, because we’re about to get posh.

Much has been made of metal’s penchant for the bombastic and grandiose side of artistic expression, as well as its links to classical music, and rightfully so; one could seamlessly draw a straight line from The Eddas and The Iliad/Odyssey to Bruce Dickinson’s soulful wails and Manowar’s body oil. Unfortunately for us, this connection, up until recently, has been mostly exploited by the false (Epica, Dream Theater, Nightwish, et al.).

Despair ye no longer! There is a stuffy, pretentious light and the end of this cheesy, sappy tunnel! Last year saw Paradise Lost and Satyricon take their grimness to new artist heights with the help of symphonic orchestras, because Europe is a magical realm where this sort of thing can happen. Also in 2015, orchestras have backed the not-at-all-metal-but-still-of-interest-to-some-of-you-probably acts Lacrimosa and VNV Nation (the latter of which was my favorite album of the year), whom I love because, on the inside, I am a deeply unhappy person. As we decay into the future, let us now ponder which acts we’d like to see get the classical treatment next. Here goes:

1. Anaal Nathrakh

Let’s start things off with everyone’s favorite hard-to-spell industro-black-grind maniacs. Within the hellish atmosphere of chaos lies a dramatic intensity which would be made all the more anti-biblically epic with some strings and pretty-lady voices. Also, these cats are from the upturned-nose isle of England, which makes this somewhat more likely.

2. Katatonia

As they’ve most recently put out an acoustic album, this one will probably be the shortest stretch on the list. An orchestra would fit seemlessly into the tragic beauty of songs from their melo-doom albums, and maybe they’d surprise us all by trying this out on “Brave”. Also, while we’re here, let’s briefly welcome the other two Bloodbath-affiliated acts who are not Bloodbath.

3. Xasthur

For all it’s lo-fi, home-made charm, Malefic’s output has always been music of the spirit transcending flesh, albeit through grim means and into unspeakable astral hells. Would his tortured wails make sense over somberly non-distored violins and retain their power through unmuddied production? Well, it’s on this list, so at least one person seems to think so.

4. Slayer

The time has come to address the elephant in the room. Metallica belly-flopped with S&M, setting metal-classical relations back to the stone age. For this reason among others, I propose we send the best and brightest of the big four (or what remains of them) to smooth things over. Other reasons: the intro to Raining Blood done by four basses? Demented King-leads done by clarinets and violins? Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

5. Terra Tenebrosa

Having already raised terror to an art form, what’s to stop them from raising it to a high one? Imagine the feeling of falling you sometimes get while falling asleep, except it’s happening to your soul, and disembodied voices cackle mockery at your descent. My only stipulation here is that every member of the orchestra must wear one of those black klan hoods/dunce caps.

Bonus: D.R.I.


What do you think? Was I way off the mark or too obvious (Messhugah, Earth, Pyrrhon, Agalloch, Skepticism, Portal, Dragged into Sunlight, and Pallbearer were not included for one or both of those reasons)? Did I miss anyone?

Thanks again, Sean, for the fun list.

(Photo VIA)

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