If someone told you as a kid that Teen Titans would get two new series, one being overly childish and the other take being gritty and violent, you would not believe them. Yes, a dark and gritty series is coming later this year. The internet is tearing the trailer apart, but is it really that bad? It is worse than you can possibly imagine.
The official synopsis goes like this:
Titans follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and loveable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes.
While TV shows have increased in quality regarding production, cinematography, writing, and overall quality, this shows that we are not at that point just yet. With the acting, cinematography, and effects all look like it was done by someone who just got into Hollywood. If you took someone, gave them a big budget, and gave them creative freedom despite their lack of experience, this is what you would think that project would look like. However, these are not inexperienced people. Greg Berlanti has directed the critically acclaimed Love Simon, produced and written shows like Arrow and The Flash. Alongside Greg, there is Akiva Goldsman who has written the latest movie in the Transformers franchise along with the awful Stephen King adaption Dark Tower. Finally out of the creators of Titans, we have Geoff Johns who is best known for his work on various video games such as writing Injustice 2, writing shows such as Arrow and The Flash, and is currently working on the upcoming Aquaman movie and Wonder Woman sequel. With Greg’s positive experience with Love Simon and various TV projects, along with Geoff’s experience with movies and tv shows, you would think that they could pull this off. I am not mentioning Alkiva because of the pathetic Dark Tower, embarrassing 1997 Batman and Robin, and writing the story for Transformers: The Last Knight.
Let’s take it from the top by looking at this trainwreck in detail. We see Raven (Teagan Croft) going into a circus tent that seems rather ominous. Cut later into her in an interrogation room claiming the man talking to her is from the circus. Then there is a black and white flashback of him and her having an accident while performing some acrobatics. The scene is attempting to show some emotion, but it is just laughable about how cheesy it looks.
The intro to Robin (Brenton Thwaites) is shockingly trying too hard to make everything gritty. We see that Robin is getting his gear ready then heads out to beat on some criminals in an alley. When they ask, “Where’s Batman?” the response Robin gives after beating the men is, “Fuck Batman.” Seriously, who would think that will fly with an audience member? Sounds like Batman needs to put Robin in a timeout. Before that poor oneliner, Robin stabs, beats, and shoots all of the criminals to death. Yeah, Robin murdered some thugs in an alley. The action is cut quickly in a generic fashion, possibly for the purpose of the trailer, but either way, it looks like trash.
We go back to Raven whose attacks someone and explains to the man from the circus that something is inside of her. He tries to comfort her, but let’s be honest, what is he actually going to do? Not much or the writers will give him some improbable actions to help out Raven.
A quick look gives us a peek at what Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) and Starfire (Anna Diop) will look like. Just like the rest of the cast, their costumes look poorly designed along with terrible CGI. Alongside them, we get some other looks at other heroes such as Hank Hall/Hawk (Alan Ritchson) and Dove (Minka Kelly). Quick cuts are made to various action scenes in total darkness, so it is impossible to tell what you see for most of the last thirty seconds of the trailer. Poor character reveals and action that feels thrown together to try and attract anyone who might be interested.
Overall, I think this looks beyond atrocious. A lot of fans hated Teen Titans Go! and this will not ease their pain. When people think of low-quality TV that tries to be cinematic, then you get something with poor taste and looks. When going for any tone, you need to make it consistent and natural. All I get is that people are trying too hard to make this show come off as gritty for an adult audience. Despite their attempt, I see a trailer that looks like a teen superhero show that will have some extreme violence. Ignoring the violence, the dialog, acting, and terrible soundtrack makes this seem perfect for an edgy teenager whose parents won’t let them watch the good gritty shows and movies.
You can watch the trailer below. Meanwhile, be sure to give your thoughts on the trailer below. Do you agree with my assessment or are you excited for the new take on our young heroes?
The Canadian pop artist Lights has had her latest album Skin & Earth secured by eOne, the label that manages her, to allow for adaptions to both TV and gaming. The report comes from Deadline who detail that eOne, the Canadian record label, and distribution company has recently secured the IP. As of right now, Andrew Lazar from Mad Cheese Productions is set to produce the project. Other than that, no further information has been given out as of yet.
Last year Lights released her fourth full-length LP Skin & Earth. The album is her first concept album that ties together with a comic that she wrote and illustrated herself. The record and comic was well received by both critics and fans alike. The album got her a win for Pop Album of the Year at the Juno Awards earlier this year, which is the second time she has won an award at the Junos. Lights is attending this upcoming San Diego Comic-Con to further support the comic.
The story of Skin & Earth follows a girl named Enaia, who is wandering around in a post-apocalyptic world. On her journey for hope, she is entangled with a dark spiritual friend who accompanies her on the adventure. The goal is to make a change in the world, to make for a better world to live in. Each track on the album ties into the story in an intricate way that binds the music and comic together.
Header Image via Matt Barnes
Lights has more shows coming later this year, and you can buy her album and comic below:
08.04.2018 Montreal, Quebec Parc Jean Drapeau Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts
08.31.2018 Richmond, British Columbia Richmond World Festival
09.01.2018 Whistler, British Columbia Whistler Olympic Plaza
09.14.2018 Oshawa, Ontario Regent Theatre Imagine Festival
09.15.2018 Hamilton, Ontario Supercrawl
09.16.2018 Victoria, British Columbia Royal Athletic Park Victoria, BC @ Royal Athletic Park – Rifflandia
10.25.2018 Grand Rapids, Michigan 20 Monroe Live w/Young The Giant
10.26.2018 Indianapolis, Indiana Egyptian Room w/Young The Giant
10.27.2018 Atlanta, Georgia Coca-Cola Roxy w/Young The Giant
10.30.2018 Nashville, Tennessee Ryman w/Young The Giant
11.02.2018 Charlotte, North Carolina The Fillmore Charlotte w/Young The Giant
11.03.2018 Raleigh, North Carolina The Ritz w/Young The Giant
11.04.2018 Richmond, Virginia The National w/Young The Giant
11.06.2018 Cleveland, Ohio House of Blues w/Young The Giant
11.08.2018 Toronto, Ontario Rebel w/Young The Giant
11.10.2018 Portland, Maine State Theatre w/Young The Giant
11.11.2018 Providence, Rhode Island The Strand w/Young The Giant
11.13.2018 Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn Steel w/Young The Giant
11.14.2018 Brooklyn, New York Brooklyn Steel w/Young The Giant
11.16.2018 Washington, DC The Anthem w/Young The Giant
The film world is full of rehashing old ideas with remakes and reboots of older ideas. Usually, this ends up in a disaster which upsets fans of the original movie. Whether it is not having the right cast, bad directing, weak script, or substituting CGI over practical effects. A million things can go wrong that can make any movie go from greatness to a dumpster fire. Not every single remake is terrible, sometimes they exceed their predecessor. Just like how a million things can go wrong, a lot can go right too. These are five remakes that are better than the original.
#5: The Crazies (2010/1973)
Out of every movie on this list, this is the one that is the worst. The 2010 remake with Timothy Olyphant is not a bad movie, it is a solid B movie to watch one time. The original by George A. Romero is terribly cheesy and has aged horribly. Full of overdramatic acting and poor violence that cannot satisfy someone going in for the violence, it is not one of George’s better films. While the remake feels lacking in its execution of the overall premise, there is plenty to go around that is well done up until the final act. A building of tension when people start acting a little off then turning into bloodthirsty lunatics. By the end, it feels like a bad action thriller, but enough is done right to make it better than its predecessor. Besides, Timothy Olyphant is almost always great.
#4: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011/2009)
If you have read some of my other articles such as my list of great anti-heroes or list of powerful female characters, then you would know I love the novels and Lisbeth Salander as a character. Her being brought to life on film has not been perfect, but the story as a whole is done better in the 2011 version. David Fincher is a mastermind in the director’s chair, especially with his adaptions from beloved novels. From Fight Club to Gone Girl, he knows how to make beautiful and compelling films that pay respect to the source material. The Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is styleless and has a different overall execution of scenes that are done almost exactly the same in the American version. David brings in a new flair to both the characters and cinematography. With Jeff Cronenweth, who has worked with David Fincher on several projects, captures every moment in a beautiful and haunting fashion. The emotions are much more present in both Mikael (Daniel Craig) and Lisbeth (Rooney Mara) whether they are scared, curious, or freezing cold. The novels are full of misery, and that pain is put to good use in the American adaption. Comparing any director to Fincher is going to be difficult because he has a track record that is difficult to beat.
#3: IT (2017/1990)
Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise is beloved by many fans. Besides his excellent portrayal, the tv series does not hold much value. Full of poor 90s CGI, bad acting from both child and adult actors, along with other issues make the miniseries not age well. The 2017 remake blew my mind. Bill Skarsgard was brilliant along with every other actor. A coming of age horror film that brings Stephen King’s classic to life to modern audiences. The focus on the characters was compelling throughout to make the audience care for these children. With sympathetic characters who were brought to life by talented kids made the whole movie a blast. The horror elements felt generic with typical jump scares, the overall quality is still there. With a sequel coming next year, I hope that we can continue to grow these characters and not go downhill like so many sequels tend to do.
#2: Dawn of the Dead (2004/1978)
Out of every mention on this list, the Dawn of the Dead remake will be the most divisive. With all of the respect to George A. Romero for the 1978 classic, I found myself enjoying Zach Snyder’s version so much more. That is a shock to me because I am so much more of a fan of the slow shambling corpses rather than the sprinting flesh-eaters. With the human element being executed better with a solid cast, the 2004 remake takes the cake. While maintaining everything great from the original while putting a new stylistic spin, Zach Snyder not only made a great remake but the only film he has directed that I have enjoyed. With the tension between humans vs. humans along with the threat of being eaten alive, I found this to be more engrossing of a story. I hated the final act of the original because the bikers felt tacked on, needless, and the tone fell apart for me. The stakes rise as the survivors pull together in the remake that makes for a more compelling narrative. On top of the characters and direction the film takes in the story, I cannot hate on a movie that has a Johnny Cash intro along with Disturbed being played at the ending credits.
#1: The Thing (1982/1951)
If you ask someone, “What is the best remake of all time?” then most people will say John Carpenter’s The Thing. I can say that this is my favorite horror movie of all time. Made back in 1982, it holds up like a gem. Practical effects at their best to bring a horrific and gruesome horror film that holds up to this day. While the original The Thing from Outer Space has a less memorable cast since each person is pretty similar. A wider range of characters is set in the 1982 masterpiece along with more mystery. The audience is left on the edge of their seats waiting for the alien to reveal itself. Along with some excellent brutality, the overall tone is more engaging and slower paced. The tension is always present even when the protagonists are happy and think all is well. Not only is the 1982 remake one of the best remakes of all time, but it is also one of the greatest horror films too.
There you have it, those are just five remakes that are able to be better than the originals. While the quality of some of these movies is questionable, they are able to do something different than their predecessor in a more enjoyable way. Comment below some of your favorite remakes and what you thought of this list. I can already feel some excitement from some of you, while I feel some rage coming from others.
After constant talk about the potential Joker standalone film with Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous clown, we have confirmation that the film will happen. Variety initially reported that Joaquin was in talks to play as the Joker in an origin story movie. Now Variety has reported that Warner Bros. has finalized their deal with Joaquin and has greenlit the project.
The filming is coming together quite soon, sometime this September with a budget in the range of $55million. Todd Phillips from The Hangover trilogy is set to direct and write the screenplay of the upcoming supervillain flick. Scott Silver, best known for writing The Fighter and 8 Mile, will cowrite the film with Phillips. Along with Phillips and Silver, the legendary Martin Scorsese is set to be an executive producer on the film too.
While not much is known about the story, we will see the rise in the Joker’s power in the criminal underworld. Set in the 80’s, the rise of the gangster clown will be shown in a never before seen direction. Set apart from the DC extended universe, we will be getting a secondary universe. Jared Leto’s Joker will continue his story in the already established DCEU, while Joaquin Phoenix will be playing a Joker in a grittier universe. These new films are expected to be aiming for an R rating. The untitled Joker origin story will launch this new direction for DC.
Joaquin Phoenix is playing one of the most beloved villains from any comic book. The notorious villain has been played from a range of actors from Mark Hamill, Jack Nicholson, the late Heath Ledger, and lately Jared Leto has put on the clown make up. Playing this type of established and beloved character seems intimidating, and Joaquin has spoken about how he feels about playing Batman’s archnemesis. In an interview with Collider Joaquin talks about the project and character. When asked about how he got involved with the film, he says, “I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project. It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.” He reflects on the initial idea of playing this type of character by saying, “Three or four years ago, I called my agent and said ‘Why don’t they want to take one of these characters and just make a lower budget film about it, a movie but a character study, and why not take one of the villains?’ And I thought, ‘You can’t do the Joker, because, you know, it’s just you can’t do that character, it’s just been done.’ So I was trying to think of other characters, and he said ‘I’ll set up a general meeting with Warner Bros.’ And I said ‘I’m not gonna go, I can’t go to a general meeting.’ So I completely forgot about it, and so then I heard about this idea, I was like, ‘Oh that’s so exciting, that’s the kind of experience I wanted to have, with a movie based on a comic character.” Joaquin has had the idea in the back of his mind for years, and everything is finally coming together afterall.
With Joker, there is always Batman. Every superhero has plenty of supervillains, but there is always their number one enemy that they can never completely defeat. A connection with the Dark Knight might occur in some form. The Batman connection is just a rumor, so this part of the story needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The rumor is that Phillips’ Joker origin story will tie in with Matt Reeves’ Batman standalone film. The possible connection involves Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father. The claim that Thomas Wayne will be involved in some way comes from Jeff Sneider from Collider. In a recent video Jeff says, “One character I do know that one character who has a big role in this is Thomas Wayne.” With this not being confirmed, everyone should take it with a grain of salt, but Jeff has the experience in this field, so he might be right.
Another rumor going around is circling around Robert De Niro. The legendary actor might have a role in the film too. A lot of people suspected that this is the case due to Martin Scorsese being pinned to produce. With Martin out, who knows if this will stick. However, in the same video with Jeff Sneider, he also talks about Robert’s potential role. Sneider says, “As for De Niro’s role, I don’t think he’s playing some canon type character. I don’t think he’s playing like a local TV host or something like that, who’s maybe broadcasting about the Joker. I’m not entirely sure. I do know that one character who’s going to have a big role in this is Thomas Wayne.”
With the film getting ready to film in two months, we are sure to hear more news about the project shortly. With filming starting this late in the year, we can expect to see Joaquin’s Joker sometime late 2019.
That is just about everything we know so far about the upcoming Joker origin story. How do you feel about the recent updates about the film? Are you excited to see a gritty origin story on the infamous clown gangster? Comment below your thoughts on the film below.
Our singer Jake started the band with his brother Sid around ten years ago. We were originally more of an Indie style band, and various members came and went. I got to know the band as a producer and worked on some of their early demo’s. I felt that if they rocked it up a bit, they would be on fire. I left the band and asked if I could join on guitar. Not long after that Sid left and the Sourheads of today was born. We signed with Oak Island Records in Autumn 2016 and released our album worldwide a year later.
What inspired you to go into this genre?
Classic rock, Punk, Metal, Desert rock whatever rock is all good in our eyes. The big MTV videos of the 80s were awesome, but then something was equally great about Woodstock footage and old Stones concerts. We set about trying to make a combination of multiple styles. There is no better feeling than rock music when it’s done correct. The beat and the groove. Makes you want to dance.
Who are your inspirations that have shaped the sound of the band and how so?
We are a multi-genre inspired band so I will list a few. The Cult, Radiohead, White Zombie, Iggy and the Stooges, The Doors, Inspiral Carpets, Motley Crue, Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, Oasis, Clutch, Deep Purple, Kansas, Arctic Monkeys, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath. Each member of the band likes different stuff. I think we do a pretty good job of mixing everything and adding our own take. Each member compliments each other. I personally like the full-on rock mode. We want to inspire people and give people that slice of true Rock n Roll.
What is the creative process your band takes when making an album?
We are constantly writing throughout our rehearsals. One of us comes up with a riff, the others help with more riffs and song structures then Jake goes and adds his poetry over the top. We all help with melodies. We have all been around a fair few years so we can pretty much dip in and out of different genres that we feel inspired by at the time. Some of our new stuff is a bit like the Stones in style actually.
Lyrically speaking, what inspires the themes that are written about in your music?
Jake takes inspiration from many different places. Art, Divorce, Demonic Possession, Murder, Rock N Roll, and the age-old Boy Girl stuff.
Competition in any music scene is high, so how does your band standout compare to other bands?
We are a multi-genre rock band, so I feel we fit into many different genres. We can play Metal Festivals, Classic Rock Festivals, Pop Festivals. We tend to go down really well with loads of different audiences. Bikers like us, Families like us and Stoners like us. We are kind of like the crazy Uncle of the family. We played a cracking festival the other day called Staxtonbery in Scarborough 6000 people in total. Full families rocking out.
7. What is your dream tour? Name however many bands you want to create the perfect tour.
A big American tour would be great. Maybe us NIN and Queens of the Stone Age. Actually, any big tour of the USA would be great.
8. If you went into a completely different style of music, what would it be?
I think we would be cybergoth dance. We would be like us, but a futuristic TRON inspired version. Lots of tight space age lycra and neon. Grooving but to synth.
9. If you can collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
Anyone who is true to what they do. Madonna would be cool. Maybe Barry Gibb. Alice Cooper. Anyone that is iconic and has had a long lengthy career. I would love to collaborate with Al Jourgensen. Although I don’t think our singer Jake and Al would be a great idea as that rocker gene would implode in a barrage of decadence and stupidity.
10. With all of the downtime you get as a musician, how do you kill time?
I chill in my hotel with a bottle of Vodka and the largest pizza I can get. It’s my favorite thing.
11. Where would you like to travel to that you have never been?
Personally, I travel a lot, been to loads of places. With the band, I would say the USA we need to get there and conquer.
12. What is a goal that you would like to see happen in your career?
We would like to continue playing as many gigs as possible and release our second album. The current predicament in the music industry may try to stop us but as long as we rock we will. Let’s be underground and survive. It’s all good.
See concert dates below for The Sourheads along with a link to their website:
September 30: Stalybridge Tavern, Greater Manchester
October 27: Embers Rock Club, Carlisle
November 10: BlackMass Club, King Street, Wakefield
December 8: The Doll House, Alma St., Abertillery NP13 1QA, Wales
Marvel is at it again with a wild superhero ride. As they have done in the past dozen or so times, the ride was a success. As Infinity War was coming, my mom and I got prepared by watching the MCU. When we got to Ant-Man, it was the only one on our list that neither of us has ever seen. We had low expectations based on the character but were blown away by the hilarious experience. With excellent performances by Paul Rudd and Michael Pena along with its unique scale and style with its action, this was one of the most surprising movies in the MCU. Now we finally have a sequel to the 2015 film.
The sequel starts off by partially recapping the story of the first film. Some significant details are missing, so might as well watch the first. Most of the details surround Hope (Evangeline Lilly) who becomes the Wasp, along with her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and her mother whom is trapped in the quantum realm. Details show why Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) was not available during the attack that endured by Thanos, which is heavily linked to his actions in Civil War. After some catching up with the characters, the real story begins.
Scott turned away from being Ant-Man to focus on his family and making a career with his old group, Luis (Michael Pena), Dave (T.I.), and Kurt (David Dastmalchian). After a vision from his time in the quantum realm, he calls Hank to inform him what he had just seen. Hank and Hope pull Scott with them in hopes to discover new information that might save Hope’s mother, Janet (Michelle Pfieffer). The only problem is that they need technology to build a tunnel into the quantum realm. Hope, Hank, and Scott go to a meeting with a black market dealer, Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins). As predicted, the meeting goes wrong, so Hope and Scott get their costumes on to fight their way through. A mysterious figure, Ghost (Hannah John-Karmen) appears to take away what they needed. Now the three of them must get that technology back to finish their project to potentially save Janet.
Its predecessor from 2015 was an enjoyable experience with witty writing and loveable characters, but there were flaws. The villain felt generic, and the story was a run-of-the-mill origin story. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, we get a more interesting story. Moments in the story are predictable or stretch the logic too far, but an overall improvement. A focus on the characters gives everyone more to develop as individuals and with their relationships.
Besides the already excellent cast of characters from the first film, my favorite being Luis, a few more characters are introduced. Sonny is a side villain who feels more like a distraction for our heroes. I felt disappointed since I love Walton Goggins, who would make a perfect main villain for the MCU. Now that he is in the MCU as a throwaway villain, we will never see him play a more prominent role. Despite that, he puts on a charismatic performance as he always does, you can never go wrong with his charisma. Then we see Hank’s old partner Dr. Bill Foster (Laurence Fishburne) who plays a bigger role than Sonny. His character has some complexity which is revealed by some of his choices and his words. However, he is not that fleshed out enough or given much to do to make him matter all that much. His relationships with his daughter Cassie (Abby Rider Fortson), her stepfather Paxton (Bobby Cannavale), and his ex-wife Maggie (Judy Greer) are not that expanded upon. Cassie and her relationship with her father are sweet and remain to be healthy. While Paxton has grown to be a good friend of Scott’s, he is a lot more under utilized than the first movie. He gives a few hugs, funny moments, and support that does not carry weight. Maggie is used for only comedic purposes that make her look a lot dumber than the first film. The family moments are a nice touch with the daughter, but the mother and stepfather are worthless compared to the original Ant-Man. Ghost is a much better villain than Darren Cross from the first film. She is given much more interesting motivations and backstory that make her sympathetic. The MCU’s best villains are the ones the audience can see where they are coming from. She is not one of the best villains in the entire MCU, but she is not a part of the lower tier either.
The action is more enjoyable than the first film, which was already good. Nothing beats seeing cars turned into the size of Hot Wheels or a Pez dispenser turned into the size of a truck. The scale of the action varies with the size of our heroes. A deadly gunfight looks even more intense when our heroes are small while making everyday items match that intensity. The scale is everything to these characters, and it is utilized hilariously from beginning to end. The choreography is on par with other movies in the MCU. Wasp and Ant-Man have great chemistry when they are beating up thugs or the powerful Ghost. Growing and shrinking at the perfect times to help each other do not get old. Ghost brings her own style due to her powers of phasing through anything, which is fresh compared to the last film which felt like Ant-Man fighting someone who was an exact replica.
Ant-Man and the Wasp are much better than its predecessor. The story is much more interesting, despite some flaws. The ideas surrounding the story are more unique and less typical than the first film or any other film in the MCU. Characters are a hit or a miss. We get fantastic moments with Kurt, Luis, and Dave. They are still that support system that is mostly used for comedic reasons, but Scott’s main friend Luis does have a lot more weight to his character regarding his actions. Ghost is a much better and more sympathetic villain. She is technically the villain, but that does not mean she is necessarily the “bad guy” or I should say “bad woman” in the cast of characters. Sadly, some characters are horribly underutilized or even a waste of space. I was so happy to see Walton Goggins in the trailer but disappointed to see his character be used as a simple obstacle for Scott and Hope to hop right over. Despite the film’s issues, we got a much more improved film with some great characters, a fun story, hilarious writing, and some good action scenes. A typical MCU film that is not in the top tier of Avengers, but a great palate cleanser from Infinity War.
One final note, this is one movie that you will not want to miss the after credit scene. You will see why Scott will need to be involved with defeating Thanos. The first after credit scene is one of the best we have seen from the MCU. One final moment to give the film some added weight. Now we will wait for our small, and sometimes large heroes return in Avengers 4 next year.
Great music has a lot of elements to it. The instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, production value, and so much more can go into making an excellent album for the band’s fans. One quality that gets the most recognition are the lyrics. For the casual listeners, lyrics are the most accessible aspect of a song to pick up. Having good lyrics gets the song stuck in people’s heads to sing along to all day. The lyricists of the band, usually the singer, can bring out emotion for anyone listening since so much of music is based on emotion. They can express their past experiences, thoughts on significant issues around the world, or tell an entertaining story for fun. The people in this list are not ranked from worst to best along with anyone missing from the list are not to be dismissed. In this list, I will go over just ten incredibly lyricists in the rock and metal world, which is full of immensely talented individuals.
#10: King Fowley (Deceased)
The drummer and singer of Deceased, King Fowley, is one of the most underrated musicians in heavy metal. He might not have the best vocals in the world, but it works for the music. The band’s best quality is the lyrics. Fowley writes in-depth stories that are inspired by horror movies or whatever dark tales pop up in his mind. Fearless Undead Machines is one of the best concept albums ever made. A brutal eleven-track album tells an intricate story about a zombie apocalypse. The opening track, The Silent Creature, shows the beginning of this horrific apocalypse with lyrics like, “The deadly dose of chemicals have changed the course of man.” The band show more range in themes with the gruesome record, Supernatural Addiction, which details a different horror tale in each song. With inspirations from TheTwilight Zone and Edgar Allan Poe, this is one dark journey to take when listening to Supernatural Addiction. With tracks like A Very Familiar Stranger which details a man’s car ride turning into a dark journey when he picks up a girl to discover she has been dead the entire time. The man’s story is full of great detail such as, “When a woman out of nowhere appeared to be in need/So I stopped to reach a helpful, friendly hand/But something wasn’t right!” If story-driven songs are for you then Deceased has to be on top of your list of bands that you need to hear.
#9: Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder)
The Black Dahlia Murder are one of the top death metal bands who have arrived in the 21st century. The melodic death metallers have given the world plenty of albums that are full of fast, melodic, horrific music to enjoy. Like many death metal bands, one of their biggest influences is horror movies. Trevor has stated in many interviews that he got into heavy metal because of the album artwork. Being a fan of horror movies then seeing terrifying album art from bands like Megadeth, Cannibal Corpse, and Carcass got Trevor into the metal scene. Now he is not only one of the best vocalists in death metal, but one of the best lyricists too. With songs like Nightbringers that discusses death metal as the antagonist to Christianity that has offensive lyrics like, “Onward we fight yank the deadened Christ-pig right off of that cross.” One of Trevor’s favorite and first horror movies he has ever seen is Evil Dead. On the band’s 2013 record Everblack, they released a song about the cult classic titled Raped in Hatred by Vines of Thorn. The song takes a gruesome take on the films. With brutal lyrics such as, “Pierced from within her child is skewered unborn,” this is one song that will please fans of Evil Dead and make outsiders of death metal run for their lives. Fans of death metal probably know The Black Dahlia Murder by now. If you have never given the band, a listen then you need to check their music out right away.
#8: Benjamin Burnley (Breaking Benjamin)
One of the most prominent rock bands of the 2000s has been Breaking Benjamin. The band took an extended hiatus to come back in 2015 with the release of Dark Before Dawn; the group is on top of their game. Benjamin Burnley is a phenomenal vocalist who can sing the most beautiful verses, bring out a harmonic chorus, or scream his guts out in a breakdown. With the inspiration of Nirvana, Benjamin takes his lyrics with the same outlook as the late Kurt Cobain by giving the music a lot of emotion with open-ended lyrics. The audience is left to interpret the meaning and take in whatever message they feel. The lyrics range from the emotional Dear Agony that features some of the most direct and powerful lyrics such as, “Somewhere far beyond this world. I feel nothing anymore.” The band has some of the most beloved tracks in recent rock history such as Diary of Jane that has a sing-along choruses in the band’s catalog, “Something’s getting in the way/Something’s just about to break/I will try to find my place/In the diary of Jane So, tell me/How it should be?” One of the best aspects of the band is their choruses. Everything comes together to bring a melodic and often harmonic chorus for a whole stadium of fans can sing their hearts out. It is hard to resist to not sing along to songs such as Diary of Jane, I Will Not Bow, and Angels Fall. With the success of the band’s last two albums Dark Before Dawn and Ember, it will be hard to stop Breaking Benjamin from dominating the rock world.
#7: Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian (System of a Down)
System of a Down is one of rock and metal’s most popular bands, but they have some of the most obscure and eccentric lyrics in the scene. Serj and Daron are geniuses when it comes to commentary about politics and other issues such as the power of the media in their music. Some songs can be straightforward to bash their message over the head of the listener or deliver odd lyrics that the audience needs to decipher. Prison Song is one of the band’s most blunt songs in their catalog. The song discusses the problems of the war on drugs and the prison system in the United States. Lyrics in the song include, “Following the rights movements you clamped on with your iron fists/Drugs became conveniently available for all the kids/Minor drug offenders fill your prisons, you don’t even flinch.” The group often has lyrics that are harder to decipher while maintaining a strong message. The band’s most beloved song is their hit single Chop Suey. The mix of striking fast singing in the verse to a melodic chorus along with the obscure title and lyrics, the world has been delivered a beloved and odd hit. From lyrics like, “Why’d you leave the keys upon the table,” and “Grab a brush and put a little makeup,” this is System’s most well-known song that most audience members have no idea what the message is. Sadly, the band has not released an album since the 2005 Mezmerize and released later that same year, Hypnotize, there are no signs of the group releasing another album. With a lot of back and forth news from the members, we will have to keep our expectations low for another record from System of a Down.
#6: Randy Blythe (Lamb of God)
The Virginia based metal band, Lamb of God, have had quite the career. The group has delivered some fantastic albums along with spectacular shows. Randy Blythe is one of the best vocalists in modern heavy metal. Besides his animalistic screams that bring joy to the ears of metalheads, he is a great writer. Besides writing a memoir detailing his life in prison and his addictions, the lyrics he has written are of the highest caliber. The beloved track Omerta leads for the perfect opening to any Lamb of God show. The first words spoken, “Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward/Whoever cannot take care of himself without that law is both/For a wounded man will shall say to his assailant/”If I live, I will kill you. If I die, you are forgiven”/Such is the rule of honor.” Fans who instantly hear the intro starting repeating every word as they gain the hype to see Lamb of God come up on stage. The band’s latest album VII: Sturm und Drang has several songs that detail the wrongful imprisonment of Randy Blythe back in 2012 when he was arrested in the Czech Republic. The single 512 paints a grim picture of Randy’s experiences. “Schizophrenic amnesia/Bid goodbye to all you knew and loved/Forget the only life that you knew outside/They bought the ticket, now you take the ride,” those lyrics alone are thought-provoking for fans who followed what was happening to Randy during that time or have read his memoir, Dark Days. Randy along with the rest of Lamb of God will go down in history for the wild success they have achieved in this heavy metal monster.
#5: Adam Nergal Darski (Behemoth)
The Polish black metal outfit has become one of the most popular black metal groups in the past 20 years. With the mix of death metal and black metal, the band has made their own identity in the extreme metal scene. Nergal plays guitar and screams for the group. Besides having those jobs, he is excellent at expressing himself with his words. He continues to spread the word of Satan to the world after releasing ten LPs and seven EPs. Besides writing “of” as “ov” which gets under the skin of some critics and metalheads, Nergal has a consistent quality to deliver to the world. “The offspring ov the stellar race/My halo fallen and crushed upon the earth/That I may bring balance to this world,” those are just some of the crushing lyrics from the first verse in the track Ov Fire and the Void from the band’s album titled Evangelion. Nergal explains the track by saying, “Whilst listening to the first demo versions of this track I had an irresistible feeling that every single tone is filled with overwhelming spirit of Dionysus; god of ecstatic chaos, source of pure joy which reaches far beyond false boundaries between good and evil, life and death, love and hate. Dionysian rave focuses entirely on Here and Now, experiential knowledge, intuition, and passion. All of these are essential factors or components of any form of Art.” For readers wanting a song to worship Satan to then O Father O Satan O Sun is the ultimate track from Behemoth. Over seven minutes of an intense, raw, and atmospheric song that takes a slow, but heavy approach. Nergal worships Satan by singing, “O Lion-Serpent Sun, the beast that whirlest forth/A thunder-bolt, begetter of life/Thou that flowest, thou that goest/Thou Satan-Sun, Hadith, that goest without will/Thou air, breath, spirit, thou without bound or bond/Thou essence, air swift-streaming, elasticity/Thou wanderer, father of all/Thou wanderer, spirit of all.” With the band writing their eleventh album, it would be wise for anyone reading to go out and start catching up on Behemoth’s extensive catalog.
#4: David Draiman (Disturbed)
It is hard to be into modern rock and metal without ever hearing Disturbed. The group has sold millions of albums around the globe and are still growing strong, especially after their cover of the classic Sound of Silence. David Draiman has one of the unique voices and styles in modern rock. Along with his talents with creating melodies and animalistic sounds, he writes some of the most empowering lyrics in modern hard rock. With the aggressive chorus to Down with the Sickness, “Get up, come on get down with the sickness/Open up your hate, and let it flow into me/Get up, come on get down with the sickness/You mother get up come on get down with the sickness/You fucker get up come on get down with the sickness/Madness is the gift, that has been given to me,” to the first pumping Indestructible, “Indestructible/Determination that is incorruptible/From the other side/A terror to behold/Annihilation will be unavoidable/Every broken enemy will know/That their opponent had to be invincible/Take a last look around while you’re alive/I’m an indestructible master of war.” David has a wide range of topics that he expresses his thoughts towards from both experience or his thinking. Indestructible and The Warrior serve as tributes to the men and women fighting for the United States military. Inside the Fire expresses David’s feelings and experience when an ex-girlfriend committed suicide when he was sixteen years old. Like many rock bands, there are plenty of songs about heartbreak and the struggle everyone faces in relationships such as Stricken, Hell, and Crucified. David’s range in topics to tackle is never ending and manages to express himself in different styles. The last few albums have leaned more towards storytelling while his early work in the band ranges with a mix of obscurity and directness. The group have wrapped their new work and will be releasing an acoustic EP and their next full-length album sometime in the next year.
#3: Caleb Shomo (Beartooth)
Beartooth is a band that is quickly rising in the rock and metal world. Caleb Shomo started the group after exiting Attack Attack. His blend of hardcore, metalcore, and traditional rock has come together in an excellent package for all of the headbangers around the world. Each album has been a different insight into Caleb’s battle with depression. With lyrics like, “So I jacked up, blacked out, wasted all those memories,” from Sick of Me to “Remember the time I said god I’m ready to die,” from Sick and Disgusting are powerful representations of what it is like to struggle with depression. Caleb does branch out with songs like Hated by singing, “There’s a bullseye painted on our chests/In the crosshairs of the ignorant.” Caleb’s singing and lyrics are some of the most emotion-provoking in the scene. Out of any recent band, Beartooth is a prime example of using music as an outlet for negativity.
#2: Jonathan Vigil (The Ghost Inside)
The Ghost Inside is heavy as can be, but manage to put out some of the most positive music in the scene. With skull crushing breakdowns and the heavy screams from Jonathan Vigil, you would think the band is quite aggressive. Turning things around to play music with more uplifting lyrics creates a perfect contrast. Having a powerful, positive lyric before a massive breakdown is hard to beat. Hearing, “I’d like to think I’d never cave in/A vicious battle I may never win/And I’d like to think I’ll come out stronger/Life’s swinging hard but I’m swinging harder,” before a heavy breakdown is satisfying and empowering. Like many hardcore musicians, Jonathan is straight edge. The band has the perfect straight edge tune with Engine 45. Jonathan singing, “If it’s a war you came to see you will never see a waved white flag in front of me/I can’t end up dead, I won’t be misled/I’ll keep singing this song inside my head,” sends a powerful message to avoid addiction of any kind. Sadly, after a horrible accident, it is unknown when the band will finally return to make more music. Be patient for their return and be sure to blast The Ghost Inside whenever you have the chance.
#1: Johann Hegg (Amon Amarth)
When your band focuses on Vikings and Norse mythology, you are set up perfectly with material to create some of the best music in metal. Johann Hegg takes Viking metal to a different level with his knowledge of Viking history and Norse mythology. Their latest album Jomsviking is the first full concept album developed by the Swedish headbangers. In an interview with Blabbermouth, Johann explains the record by saying, “The Jomsvikings were a shadowy and legendary sect of Viking mercenaries, as shrouded in myth now as they were when they fought across Europe and the Middle East. Ruthless and deadly warriors who fought for the highest bidder, their code was simple: Show no fear. Never retreat. Defend your brothers, and when called upon, avenge their deaths.” The album kicks off viciously with the track First Kill. The protagonist’s journey begins bloody with lyrics like, “The first blood I spilled was the blood of a bard/I had to wipe the smile away/I was not yet a man, nor was I a boy,” which brings him down a dark road full of death. When it comes to Norse mythology, Johann shows his knowledge across the band’s large catalog. In Twilight of the Thunder God, Johann pays tribute to Thor, the God of Thunder. Detailing one of the most well-known gods in any mythology, Johann screams, “Jormundgandr twists and turns/Mighty in his wrath/The eyes are full of primal hate.” When it comes to this subgenre, Amon Amarth is one of the most beloved. They can prove themselves, and this is only one of the many great aspects of the band.
That is just ten of the many incredible musicians in the rock and metal world. Everyone has their unique style and delivery, but all bring the highest quality of lyrics to the music. The amount of musicians I have missed is astounding, so there is plenty of room to return to talk about ten more lyricists. What did you think of these artists? Who do you think are some of the best lyricists in rock and metal? Comment your thoughts below.