One should not judge books by their covers, as the saying goes, but everything about the proverbial cover for this song is too delectable to not point out. That is a true blue badass song title, for one; even better is the band name. Ringo Deathstarr. A hilarious yet epic Hall of Fame all-time classic—nay, maybe the greatest band name of all time.
“Heavy Metal Suicide”
I had zero clue about this band’s existence going into last year. Then one, after looking up and listening to “Bedroom Eyes” from the Dum Dum Girls on Spotify, this song busted right through my headphones by virtue of the algorithmic artist-radio/recommendation feature. Going from indie rock/pop to this explosive batch of ripping drop D power chords was a jarring transition, and seemingly out of left field as a recommendation, but I immediately liked what I heard.
Dig just a little more into Ringo Deathstarr’s stuff, however, and it all makes a whole lot more sense. Dum Dum Girls’ style is a kind of surf rock-inflected shoegaze, and I had first heard of them in the same breath as Best Coast, who back in 2010 and 2011—e.g. “Our Deal”, “When I’m With You”—were this Phil Spector-ish/lo-fi 60's-esque indie rock who originally came from shoegaze. As for Ringo Deathstarr? Their style is largely shoegaze with a major hard rock bent. So there is a line that could be drawn from that algorithmic recommendation!
That informs much of what makes “Heavy Metal Suicide” so distinctive: It’s not a straight-up metal song, but rather some shoegaze band’s piss take of a metal song—no, not just metal, nü metal—with enough additional details added to the joke to still elevate it into something epic. The foundation is almost hilariously simplistic, a single-measure power chord riff that could just as well come from a Three Days Grace or Nickelback track, and it just repeats over and over and over again until oblivion.
But this is shoegaze, and shoegaze is all about noisiness over purely being loud, so the guitar tone is vastly different from the usual, taking up more of the mid and high ranges and having a psychedelic affect to its sound. The male-female vocal harmonies further add to that. Feed those both into the constant, frequent repetition of the central riff and the incessant maracas-fueled percussion groove, and it materializes into a meditative lull reminiscent of the “robot rock” of super old-school self-titled album Queens of the Stone Age.
The chorus then blows it all wide open, dropping the metal moves for a cacophany of distorted full chords. It sounds coooooooool. Afterwards, everything then just drops right back into the metal riffage pastiche without missing a beat. This whole thing is a tightly wound package, effortless and confident in all it does. Compulsively listenable. A song that I often just want to throw on repeat; those funhouse-twisted metal riffs keep calling my name!
RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.