I’ve always wondered if hobbits liked heavy metal. Actually, I’ve never wondered that. But this week’s selection of folky, thrash rock got me thinking. About this, specifically.
Okay, so Haderlump isn’t a Flight of the Conchords sketch - these guys are serious. Just listen! If the guys in Rammstein weren’t so mad all the time, they might have sounded like Haderlump. The non-German tracks this week come from Chris Skinner, whose single “Moscow Satellites” can be listened to on repeat over at his MySpace.
In a previous edition of This Week… I channeled Sham-Wow Vince saying that the Germans always make good stuff. Hit the jump to see if that holds up as well as Vince’s career.
A little bit of controversy never hurt anyone. In the song comments for “Moscow Satellite,” Rig Audio wrote, “ This song is hardly the ‘genre bender’ the Audiosurf staff made it out to be. Just another soft-spoken guy with a guitar and lyrics that were written by his 10 year old niece.” On the other hand, kokopelli77 said, “Finally a good song featured – sounds a lot like Dave Matthews, and it was a fun surf.” Rather than come down on either side of the debate, I’ll simply say you should go ahead, play this song, and decide for yourself. As you can infer from the graph, the opening’s rather tame, but the traffic-matching is accurate enough to make his acoustic strumming engaging. Hi-hats came in just before the crest of the mountain, and I thought the Audiosurf sound effects had somehow turned themselves on – that’s some quality immersion for me to be so startled by a new instrument. And the actual tipping point of the track is sublime: Skinner slides his voice effortlessly into a powerful second half complete with electric guitar and full rhythm accompaniment. As Rig Audio said, it’s not really a genre bender. But it is a tightly-composed song with an excellent second half that (if you're anything like me) should have you leaning left and right in your chair as you steer your character down the winding slope. As kokopelli said: “a fun surf.”
Ever wondered what an 8-bit bagpipe would sound like? Look no further than “Das spielmann lied.” If you dare to ride this song, prepare yourself for a melody so bad and so catchy that you’ll be thinking of heavy metal hobbits for a long time to come. Hearing the heavy guitar riff, you’d expect some sturm und drang, Rammstein voice. Instead, we get a light baritone content to leave the “melody” of the chorus up to some hard rock oompa loompas. I’m sorry, you might be reading this expecting me to comment on the ride and I’ve been busy coming up with ways to combine rock genres with types of magical little people. Is the ride fun? Um…sure? The track never commits to a steep downhill slope, instead opting for the slalom approach. Though the traffic occasionally links boringly with the drums, there are plenty of sections where the blocks represent a variety of components – a few power chords here, snippets of the lyrics there. Of course, I have no idea what he’s singing about. I assume it’s something positive, as there’s a certain glee to this folk metal that I couldn’t seem to shake while riding. I hope you find it as ironically delightful as I do.
So apparently folk metal doesn’t constitute all of Haderlup’s repertoire. That or not all folk metal needs to sound like rosy-cheeked halflings pounding away on Flying V guitars. “Der Krieg” is heavy. Like, I-watch-Metalocalypse-with-German-subtitles-while-grooming-my-mullet heavy. Does it still have a hint of what I’ll call “the goofy”? Sure. But it’s definitely a better ride for those of you out there that enjoy The Metal. I, for one, am a fan of how the guitar licks in the verses. Each verse alternates between a straight and a syncopated phrase, the latter generating some great spurts of traffic. As a fan of up-tempo, high-traffic rides, I’ll recommend this one for surfing. But you’re better off not paying much attention to the vocals. You’re bound to be, well…I don’t know what you’ll be. But “happy” probably won’t be apropos.
It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the Haderlump tracks all that much. I did, in a way. While I’d never listen to that music outside of Radio, I enjoyed them for a camp factor I’m not sure the artists intended. As for Chris Skinner’s second track, “Cardshark,” I can’t in good conscience recommend it. Listen to it here. If you like it, download it and attach a Steep tag. You’ll be bored otherwise. I, however, didn’t care for the poorly recorded vocals and dull music. It’s a venture into Soundgarden-like grunge territory, and I think he got a little lost along the way.
All songs were played on the Pro difficulty using the Eraser and Vegas characters. I only played “Cardshark” once. Couldn’t make me play that one again.