Washington Think Tank with W.: What is your favorite monster, and what metal does it inspire?

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All Hallow’s Eve is upon us. Last week we celebrated the most diabolical of seasons with a soundtrack fit to make even the hardiest among you quake in fear. This week, I’ve recruited my good pal Scrimm to help me tackle another devious topic relating to the blackest of all holidays. This week you’ll undoubtedly see an unending host of ghoulish visages both in the horror movies you use to scare your partner and on the faces of the younglings that come to your door for candy. However, there are certain monsters that hold special places of terror and adoration in each of our minds, whether that’s due to a poignant childhood memory or an utterly spine-tingling novel. Toilet friends, let’s talk about our favorite monsters and the metal sacrificed at the altars of those abominations.

Today’s Question: What is your favorite monster, and what metal does it inspire?

Allow us to introduce you to the Skinwalker. These shape-shifting warlocks are ubiquitous throughout Native American and First Nations lore, although the origins and descriptions often vary from tribe to tribe. Stories go all the way back to the first people to cross the Bering Strait into Alaska and in more recent times have found prevalence in the tribes of the southwest. Some hold that Skinwalkers must sacrifice the blood of a loved one to gain access to power. Others claim that the Skinwalker condition can be spread like lycanthropy. What is generally agreed upon, however, is that Skinwalkers are men or women who have somehow accessed a dark power and can assume the form of a beast. This form is either described as a sort of werewolf or is genuinely the shape of the animal. Skinwalkers are thought to be able to assume the forms of bears, coyotes, and eagles in order to spread terror and discord upon both their own people and outsiders. Some say they wear the pelt of the animal form they are assuming and amongst other things can mimic the sound of a crying human baby to draw in the unwary. Accounts always relate the terror and unearthly speed and power of these monsters, and even in our modern society, the looming specter of the Skinwalker persists.

Another thing that is so intriguing is the connections between legends, not just the North American Skinwalker but with shape shifters worldwide. The aforementioned stories of requiring blood sacrifice or consumption of a loved one and being transmitted like lycanthropy are similar to the North American Wendigo. Werewolf stories go back hundreds of years in Europe, and one can even find references to shape shifters in Judeo-Christian history. Look at the mythology of any region or time and you will find them. They may be described differently or have different names but they are always there. All these stories across time and distance could very well be talking about the same thing.

Skinwalkers have appeared in a glut of media, including TV shows (X-files and Lost Tapes), books, (Thunderhead and Skinwalkers), and, most importantly, heavy metal. Below are some killer tunes about these killer hybrids. Submit to the terror.

So tell us, what is your favorite monster? More importantly, what vicious metal is inspired by that monster? Sound off in the comments below.

Don’t know what the Washington Think Tank is? This is a weekly column where your former President poses a pressing question and allows the top minds at the Toilet ov Hell to investigate his query.

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