Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards

I’m super-excited for the new Gloryhammer album, Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards.

If found, please return to the nearest space pub.

Gloryhammer!

It’s a concept album, and unsurprisingly, given the title, it looks like Gloryhammer have taken their first album’s so-cheesy-it-becomes-awesome fantasy themes, loaded them onto a starship and sent them through a wormhole deep into the sci-fi sector.

Metal lyrics often have an imaginative component — dreaming of fantasy worlds or possible futures. This willingness to break from the mundane is one of my favourite things about the genre (aside from the obvious stuff); metal is a great place to escape the daily grind and have some real fun, and fun is Gloryhammer’s strong point. Seeing them live is a fantastic experience; it’s like a heavy metal pantomime.

Visually, I get a real Space Crusade vibe from that video. Maybe it’s just me?

Longtime readers will know already that Science-fantasy themed heavy metal ticks a number of AddAltMode’s boxes, but the anticipation of this forthcoming album has had me thinking recently about other sci-fi metal bands.

A lot of this metal is black; as black as the depths of space.

4 under-rated metal albums with science-fiction themes.

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Chiptune Tuesday: NESBM

Welcome back to Chiptune Tuesday, and to the new-look AddAltMode. Yes, we’ve given our site an overhaul, do let us know what you think of the new look and layout.

Now, the Chiptune aesthetic is an interesting one; and to a great extent it stems from minimalism — a stripping away of unnecessary fluff to focus on what’s really important in a composition. It’s not the only genre of music that revels in a minimalistic aesthetic that I can enjoy, though, 2nd-wave black metal was also deeply rooted in minimalism. Let’s compare the 2 genres:

Chiptune Black Metal
Minimalist Aesthetics Minimalist Aesthetics
Many noted eccentrics in scene Many noted eccentrics in scene
Nostalgic for 1980’s and early 1990’s Nostalgic for 1980’s and early 1990’s

What if someone combined the two?

The little orcs in the bottom left corner actually look quite cute in this version.

Oh, someone totally went there.

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Mixtapes, Supervillains and Corpsepaint

Peter “Star Lord” Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie a few of you might have heard of, has a mixtape of music from his home-world, Earth (a planet a few of you might have heard of). It seems to me, however, from looking at the cosmetic choices of his enemy Ronan the Accuser might also have been listening to the music of Earth. Those who are tr00 will know what I’m talking about.

I'm not the only one who thought this when they saw Ronan.

Ronan the Accuser, with Horgh, Abbath and Apollyon from Immortal

Ronan’s facepaint, mixed from ash and the blood of defeated enemies, looks to me like the corpse paint beloved by the black metal scene. I suspect that the Accuser might be a little bit kvlt behind closed doors, filling his own “Awesome Mixtape Vol. 1” with Immortal, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Taake and Tsjuder. Imagining the powerful alien warlord grooving around his spiky black spaceship to tr00 kvlt BM has us tickled pink here at AddAltmode, but we suspect Ronan’s actual response to Immortal might be a little less enthusiastic, and more quizzical:

Call of the Wintermoon

Science Fiction Metal

Heavy metal loves fiction: the very blood of the genre is the imagination, and fantastic narratives of horror, fantasy or some other escapism make up many of the classics of the genre. Indeed, many of my fellow metal-heads got into the genre as adolescents simply because it offered more lyrical options than partying, dancing (optionally a metaphor for shagging), being in love/happy/dumped/lonely or whatever other mediocre bullshit the main-stream was throwing in their faces.

Book cover to CS Lewis' Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the silent planet – dreams of desolation!
Out of the silent planet come the demons of Creation!

Basically, heavy metal as a genre likes to go where no-one has gone before – musically and lyrically, and many of the big names in the genre have done a few SF songs or even albums. Iron Maiden have done stacks of literature-inspired songs and a couple of them reference SF epics: To Tame a Land is Dune, Out of the Silent Planet is – guess what – inspired by the CS Lewis novel with the same name.

Bands such as Voivod, Nocturnus and Hypocrisy have pretty much made whole careers out of SF metal, and all of these have garnered well-deserved accolades. My favourite band, the mighty Arcturus, have been hopping in and out of science fiction lyrically for years, when they’re not making Moomin songs. There is some other pretty good SF-themed metal out there though, of which you might not have heard. I’m going to waffle on for a bit about some under-rated or little-known SF-inspired metal bands so if that’s not your bag, you can pretty much quit reading this post now.

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