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Headbanging on the Dancefloor

Headbanging on the Dancefloor: Gimmick Bands

From pirates to Sesame Street, metal is no stranger to gimmicks.

Kevin Ashley



Each week, CMN’s Kevin Ashley delves into the vast expanse of metal and electronic music, bringing recommendations, reviews, and news. Do not expect to find safe, chart-topping music here. Welcome to Headbanging on the Dance Floor.

When you hear the words “Gimmick band” what comes to mind? Whatever it is, gimmick bands in the world of metal can outdo it. Today, I am going to bring you some the strangest, funniest, most obscure of the obscure. Bask in the glory of Smash Potater‘s meme-and-movie reference collage below.

Gimmick bands inhabit whatever metal genre they want, and base their bands around literally whatever theme they want.  Aliens? Alien Crucifixion, from Roswell, who were supposedly abducted. Dinosaurs? See Hevisaurus, a Finnish metal band for kids. Sesame Street? Sesame Speed Metal (yes, that’s right) pioneers, Cookie Mongoloid. Food? Yes, even that. Food Metal has you covered! Star Trek and Klingons? To Stovokor, engage! If you think it stops there, see Metal Duck and Lawnmower Deth for ducks and lawnmowers. The popular MOBA game, League of Legends? Pentakill! Household appliances? Killer Refrigerator. Penguins? See Satan’s Penguins, with lyrical gold like:

“After desolating the face of the earth
We will lay our eggs in the still warm ashes
And the fuzzy baby penguins
Will have human corpses for their first meal”

The gimmick doesn’t even have to relate to a specific theme, it can be in the band’s sound. You want pirates? Aarrrrr, Alestorm. Even more weird? See the brutal death metal/bluegrass hybrid, No One Gets Out Alive. What’s that? You think deathcore bands have the best breakdowns? Nothing can top the sheer outrageousness of the banjo breakdown in “White Devil”. There’s the Paladins of the Golden Power Fights with the Great Sword of Eternal Magic and the Great Kings Will, who take the worst stereotypes of power metal, turns the knob to maximum, and breaks it off. I’m still not sure if they’re a parody or serious.

The gimmicks can go so far, the band members don’t even have to be human. Hatebeak uses an African Grey Parrot as the vocalist, and parodies many different metal bands with their album covers and song names. I mean, just look below. Fellow grindcore bands Insect Grinder and Caninus follow in Hatebeak’s stead, with Insect Grinder using crickets for vocals, and Caninus a dog.

These are but a small slice of the oddities you will encounter in the world of metal, and music as a whole.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Kevin is a graduate from Central Washington University, where he was awarded a Bachelors degree in Professional and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Silverdale, Washington, where he explores new food and drink, goes to concerts, and works on personal projects.

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