Sunday Sesh: The Guest Appearance and Collaboration Episode
Do you remember how you felt the first time you stuck an Oreo in milk? That wondrous moment that taught you the deepest, most abiding life lesson that if you stuck thing you like A in thing you like B, the results would be awesome? Sure you do! This simple idea is the bedrock of our social structure. And 9 times out of 10, it works! The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, King Kong vs. Godzilla, salsa and scrambled eggs, all proof of the robustness of this formula. Sure, it doesn’t pan out sometimes. It sucked when they put Venom in Spider-Man 3, and it sucked when my dog put my Burt’s Bee’s chapstick inside her tummy, but these outliers in the data are not the focus of this Sesh. No, today we’re gathered to discuss some of our favorite guest appearances in metal. Allow me to go first.
Will Smith + Imperial Triumphant = Will Triumphant
You probably never realized you wanted to see Artificial Brain’s delicious vocal Oreo dunked into Imperial Triumphant‘s luxurious milk, but here we are, and we’re all better for it. As it turns out, Smith’s burbling growls are even more intense, sinister, and forceful when allowed to get a little soggy by way of Imperial Triumphant’s metropolitan scuzz. Don’t believe me? Taste the disintegrating goodness for yourself!
Awwwww yeaaaah, that’s the good stuff. Jam those big, clanging chords and croaking snarls straight into my mouth. Then give it to me another dozen times and let me get sick from how good it is, retching all over the azaleas and ruining the picnic for everyone. The juice is well worth the squeeze.
What makes an especially good guest appearance so powerful is the new context and insight into art that the outside voice can lend. In “Gotham Luxe,” we aren’t hearing Will Smith in the typical space alien cyborg frog setting with which we typically associate him. Stripped of this heuristic, we are opened to hear his snarling tones within the glamorous, sickening frame of Imperial Triumphant’s world. Those growls, no longer alien, are attributed the voice of the city’s putrid underbelly, and they snarl out warning of the destruction wanton consumption and competition produces. In this way, Will Smith’s vocals become almost human again, and are rendered all the more malicious for it. And Imperial Triumphant’s music, in turn, becomes a little more alien, a little more stark by way of Smith’s inclusion. Both parties benefit, and we the listeners get to hear something new and experience something we love in a new way.
Of course, Will Triumphant isn’t the only great collaboration in the history of metal/extreme music. A few others that have been doing it for me lately:
The Body + Kristin Hayter = Emotional Ruin
Agalloch + Giant Squid = Khorada
Otrebor + Full Band = Best Botanist
Alright, now that I’ve shown you mine, show me yours. What’s your favorite recent guest appearance (or collaboration) in metal? What’s your favorite ever?