The Battle ov Hell
The lines have been drawn. Steel, honed. The day has arrived. Who will be forced to leave the hall?
Remember pitting insects against one another as a child? You’d hypothesise with your friends as to which organism would defeat the other in a one-on-one battle, sometimes you’d find worthy combatants, trap them, and put them together in a makeshift terrarium, rendering the enclosure a veritable pit of death. Could a single bull-ant defeat a rogue huntsman spider? Only one way to find out! Oh, you were born in the post-internet age? Well, uhh…I’m sure you kept your hands clean and simply YouTube’d a bunch of that shit or something anyway, like the sheltered millennial snowflake you are. Today we’ve got something you might be able to relate to regardless though, a good old-fashioned music video duel.
You may have notice during the past few weeks the toilet’s usually pristine
white cream ivory beige bone eggshell off-white lemon khaki olive umber mission brown tiles have been rendered several shades darker. The cause? A poo-flinging match between Boss The Ross and Richter Teh Armless. The insults have been building in intensity, the barbs became harpoons as the combatants gradually increased the hostility, each day a new battle. Today the siege culminates, today the victor of the war will be decided. In the past we’ve had the participants in our popular Recommendations Ov Hell series get a little testy with each other, but so far none of them have began with this level of rivalry.
If you’ve missed those previous editions, they essentially entail two entrants who give each other a YouTube video to watch that they believe will be outside the other’s comfort zone. From there, the viewer must select the next video they will watch exclusively from the Recommendations sidebar, give their analysis, hilarity ensues, and the process is repeated. This one will be slightly different in that Boss The Ross and Richter have requested an independent referee, mostly just to ensure we don’t violate any UN/Geneva conventions concerning war crime. However, I decided that I alone cannot be solely responsible for deciding the victor, as I’m liable to impart my personal opinions of the songs/responses (and also am extremely susceptible to bribery), the winner will be determined via a trusty poll.
Listen to the songs, read the responses, vote for the winner, simple. So without further ado, let’s
BOSS THE ROSS
Circle of Ouroborus – “Skyline Painter”
Knowing full well that I have sent Richter to the heights of TRUE METAL, I stab play on my assignment. And well, I get bummed out. First and foremost, I am greeted by a disgusting puke yellow album over and some weird hollow, reverb-drenched, horn melody thing. Admittedly, I’m quite flabbergasted. I’ve listened to some weird music before, but this… this was a whole other level of mind-numbing weirdness. How are you supposed to headbang to this? How are you supposed to do anything to this? MY GOD RICHTER! I know you don’t have any arms, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen to music that sounds like it was made without any arms. That was really quite a struggle to get through those few minutes. I am 5 out of 5 uncomfortable normies right now. How many more of these do I have to do?
Manowar – “Gloves of Metal”
Scandal Alert: Boss the Ross starts me off with a Manowar tune. This is not a good song. I would have to be incredibly stoned to sit through it for pleasure. Which leads me to believe that Boss the Ross is secretly a lifelong stoner. Are there better Manowar songs than this? I get the impression the answer is “no”; that this, in Boss’s possibly-weed-addled mind, is the pinnacle of all possible metal. If the lyrics were about women and booze I could maybe stomach this for shits and giggles. But they’re all about metal (the substance, the genre or both???) The one part I did enjoy was when the singer suddenly squeals “metal…spikes…and CHAINS!” Comedy gold. Otherwise this plodding derp-fest is about three minutes too long.
*DING DING DING*
Well, that seemed like both combatants were personally offended at the starting point they were offered from each other. Good. Not gonna lie, I actually enjoyed the music on that Circle of Ouroboros track. The vocals, not so much. Also, that was the first time I’ve willingly sat through an entire Manowar track (don’t tell Boss The Ross or Randall Thor), not quite as cheesy, nor as powerful as I’d imagined from the excessive references to “steel”, “slaying” and “coconut body oil” that get bandied around when they’re mentioned though. I’m going to say 777 “Hail and Kill”s prior to dinner tonight in order to recompense the trve, in a
insincere attempt to keep the door of the hall open. Will round two see the body blows continue? Or will the first blood spill onto the canvas?
BOSS THE ROSS
Slowdive – “When the Sun Hits”
Against my better judgment of clicking on the “Top 15 Dirty Jokes in Batman The Animated Series” video, I scrolled down past a thousand other Circle of Ouroborus videos to find Slowdive. Clicking play on “When the Sun Hits” was a hard task to complete. There it is again, reverb-drenched notes, but this time from a guitar, and without tremolo picking that makes it tolerable. Sappy, coffee shop, indie, whiny vocals start to mutter what I can only imagine are some of the most puke inducing lyrics I have ever heard. I hope you are having a good time, Richter, because I am not! As the void draws ever closer, I am tempted to plunge straight in when the jingle-jangle of tambourines begin. At this point, I swear the band is laughing at me, just look at those smug smiles. Creeper number 1 in the middle just undressed me with his mind, I’m sure of that. NEXT!
Attack – “Wonderland”
And since 99% of youtube’s recommendations for Manowar fans are more Manowar, I had to scroll down the list quite a ways to stumble upon Attack. Never heard of them. Can’t be worse than Manowar, right? Right. I’ll say it again just to hurt Boss’s feelings: Attack are better than Manowar. Same generic warrior-themed album art, same theater-kid vocal style, but with better musicianship. Peppier solos. Peppier percussion. Pep for days. And unicorns. (This totally fucking sucks, you guys.)
Fuck. Slowdive really lived up to their name. I would have attempted suicide during that song if it hadn’t stricken me with the most debilitating bout of existential malaise I’ve ever experienced, and I’m someone who seriously enjoys test cricket. Wonderland was the most popular theme park here in Sydney for the first two decades of my life, it was also one of the largest theme parks in the Southern Hemisphere, containing all sorts of attractions and awesome rides for all ages that kept people coming over and over for years on end. This song encapsulates exactly none of that appeal, and has retroactively ruined my entire childhood. According to Wikipedia –
“Wonderland was sold in 1997 to a Malaysian company called Sunway Group and subsequently closed in 2004, with the company citing the September 11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings, the collapse of HIH Insurance, the SARS virus, the bird flu virus, “consistent losses” on the Asian financial crisis, the collapse of Ansett Australia, the Iraq War and the 2003 bushfires all contributed to the park’s closure. The Sydney Morning Herald stated that Sunway Group “blames Wonderland’s demise on everything except poor management”.
All they really had to do was tell the shareholders that the park was affiliated with this song. Although, I do agree with Richter, it was a little peppier than that particular Manowar track. Is pep always a good thing though? That’s something you’ll have to decide…
BOSS THE ROSS
Heartless Bastards – “Only For You”
Alright, keep it together Boss, you can make it through this. Heartless Bastards up next, that sounds promising, right? eh. Though slightly better than the previous songs, “Only For You” is not for me, not exactly. The production actually sounds pretty killer, the guitars have a nice lush clean tone and the drums kick clear and vibrant-like. The vocals and chord progression, on the other hand, are not my exact cup of tea. As a song, this is very well crafted, there is absolutely no denying that, but I just can’t get into it for some reason. I even tried playing it a few times, but something was stopping me from total enjoyment. Perhaps it was the vocals that were the most off-putting. I would have preferred a more baritone style to accompany the tunes, but alas, I don’t control the world. The guitar solo was quite exquisite though.
AttackeR – “The Hermit”
I clicked on AttackeR because the little thumbnail looked like it would lead me to something very unlike the previous two selections. I was right. Barely. First off, AttackeR is better than Attack, who are better than Manowar. So we’re at least trending in the right direction. “The Hermit” kicks off with some cheesy Casio intro followed by a riff stolen directly from one of Iron Maiden’s first two albums (can’t remember which song). The vocals are obligatorily annoying in a “hey I’m a giant mosquito” way because we’re still stuck in 1985, but the riffs are actually pretty solid NWOBHM style, and the lyrics, insofar as I can bear to pay attention to them, are not the result of brain damage. Why didn’t these guys make it? Come on, they had that Uppercase R and EVERYTHING.
Another solid round, a few less headshots were dealt as the fighters began to feel the fatigue of battle. Nevertheless, there were still some solid hits landed there. Don’t feel too bad Boss, I didn’t even make it to the solo in that Heartless Bastards track (Hey, I only agreed to umpire, not be punished!). This AttackeR track is actually pretty cool, I mean it’s got some fun riffs, an overt Tolkien reference, and some sorta quasi-King Diamond vocals. This round may have irrecoverably shifted the balance of power going into the final round!
BOSS THE ROSS
Mogwai – “I’m Jim Morrison I’m Dead”
In a quest to find something that I may actually enjoy, I choose Mogwai. I mean, I like Gremlins, so this should be good hopefully. The song title “I’m Jim Morrison I’m Dead” is slightly morbid, but let’s do this! Uh, oh pianos and a slow start… but wait! What is this? This… this is good! Mogwai have created a mood within a song that I can enjoy. The progressions and the buildup of instrumentation is brilliant. Unlike the first song I was dragged through, this is holding my attention. As I sit and listen I start to embrace the atmosphere, understand the band’s motives and delve deep into my mind’s eye. What do I seee there? I picture Richter, and maybe he isn’t such a bad guy. Maybe, just maybe, he set this whole thing up for me to find myself in this exact moment, listening to this exact song and enjoying it. My posterior and arms start to melt into my chair as the song crescendos and I can find any words to describe my elation. This is grand, a work of art. Richter, if you’re out there, comeback to Earth. Come back to Earth from Mars and enjoy Mogwai with me, please.
Satan – “Trial by Fire”
I was going to cheat and click on a Coldworld song because I already know that the individual behind this project does not wear leather in the shower. But in the spirit of exposing myself to new things horrors, I clicked on Satan instead. Because why the fuck wouldn’t I? Gosh darn it all to heck! More speed metal? Or is this power metal? Now seems a fitting time to point out that I cannot hear any clear distinction between power, speed, trad and NWOBH metal. At least Satan has a rocking twin-guitar attack. And solos falling out of their pockets. These dudes are tight, and a bit dark, and I actually do not want to kill the vocalist. I kind of want to listen to the next song. Heck, if I had a long drive ahead of me I’d put on the whole album and rock out. So, to recap: Satan is waaaaaaaaay better than Manowar and finally something I don’t feel embarrassed to listen to.
Well shit, that didn’t go as planned! I definitely didn’t expect Boss The Ross to enjoy Mogwai that much. While they’ve always been a band that are highly revered within their sub-genre, they’ve never really struck me as anything other than a sad-normies’ version of Russian Circles, minus the riffs and intensity, the void filled with an indie-scene kid’s yearly prescription of Zoloft. Yes Mogwai, Jim Morrison is dead, but at least he lived first. Satan? Again, Richter has surely scored the better track here. Sure, the combatants are both quite heavily bruised and have tasted each other’s blood, but that final round saw the contest continue into an even more perplexing position.
Sabbat – “Envenom into the Witch’s Hole” (1:48)
Might as well continue on into blasphemy, no? The cover of this Sabbat album features a goat-like creature riding…a goat. Too much goat? Or not enough? Either way, I’m in. And how about that thar song title? Jeepers creepers! In my unflagging untrueness, I have never heard Sabbat before. This is some ugly thrashy black stuff with some pretty guitar solos, lo-fi but audible. Not exactly seasoned to my taste but again I could see myself jamming out to this on a long drive. I think I like Satan better than Sabbat. But hey—Sabbat is still better than Manowar, so there’s that.
That’s it! Only Richter remained in the ring as the battle drew to a close…
Does this mean that he survived more songs and therefore claims victory?
Or conversely, does it imply that Boss The Ross’ recommendation offered the better tracks therefore enabling Richter to enjoy one more song?
Did the battle end with a
Now you must decide the victor…
Previous Recommendations Ov Hell: