Metal Shark Week: We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat
In case you live under a rock (or, like me, you don’t have cable), I’d like to inform you that it’s Shark Week, the annual celebration of our aquatic brethren. Now, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week special has totally jumped the shark, with scientifically unfounded, sensationalist mockumentaries, so I’d like to draw your attention to NatGeo’s Sharkfest, which is totally radical and works to promote the protection and understanding of these amazing predators. However, despite the fact that you’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine than by a shark, sharks are still totally metal. With their armor-like skin, jagged teeth, and acute senses, sharks prowl the seas (and sometimes rivers if we’re talking about bull sharks) looking for something to eat. Kill, eat, sleep, swim, mate. That’s a pretty metal life. I suspect that a lot of you have city hands like Mr. Hooper, so get wet and dive into these shark-infested waters. Let the feeding frenzy begin.
Accept – Fast as a Shark (Restless and Wild, 1982)
I love everything about this song, from the kooky polka intro to the shrieked vocals. This song is a killer jam and one of the earliest uses of double-bass drums in metal that I can recall. Plus, it would be the best possible song for snorting coke before riding into battle on a great white while shooting harpoons at your enemies.
Flotsam & Jetsam – Hammerhead (Doomsday for the Deceiver, 1986)
Let none of you be deceieved; Jason Newsted can write killer songs. Before Metallica scooped him up, the ace bassist was rattling the low strings in Flotsam and Jetsam, and it is believed he was the songwriting backbone for their debut, Doomsday for the Deceiver. Now, the lyrics (also penned by Newsted) aren’t specifically about sharks (they’re about what most rock’n’roll songs are about), but the way that the riffs sort of cruise along under the menacing lyrics paints a mental image for me of a sneaky shark’s dorsal fin cutting through dark tides at night. Plus, Newsted’s bass is totally voracious (and audible!). Check it.
Mastodon – Megalodon (Leviathan, 2004)
I’d wager there are a whole lot of you out there who consider Leviathan to be Mastodon’s finest hour, and Megalodon is one of the choicest cuts off that record. From the frothy, roiling riffs to the growled vox, this song is a bruiser, just like the gigantic freaking shark from which it gets its name. That riff and tempo shift at the 1:26 mark totally reminds me of being dragged under water. This song needs no more discussion because it rules.
Municipal Waste – Terror Shark (Hazardous Mutation, 2005)
This song is a straight-forward, bull shark testosterone-fueled thrasher, complete with battering riffs and gang vocals. It rips you up and leaves you floundering in the deep. There isn’t too much to say other than it’s short and killer and will definitely get your head banging.
Evile – Killer from the Deep (Enter the Grave, 2007)
For a brief moment of glory, Evile were poised to stand at the top of the reThrash food chain. However, they somehow got more generic with each new release as they tried to find their own unique sound. However, Enter the Grave was a ripper of an album, and I really dig this cut from it. Between the razor-sharp riffs and the careful use of crashing cymbals to highlight the riffs, this song is fast and brutal. It’ll turn your bath water red.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this flight of fancy, and even more I hope you’ve learned to appreciate these awesome creatures a little more. So tune into Sharkfest and crank these killer tunes. Since I’m feeling generous, I’ll leave you with a little somethin’ somethin’.