Most metal bands take themselves extremely seriously — which is why they’re so much fun to make fun of. Claiming your art is no laughing matter is the ultimate challenge to anyone with a sense of humor and a love of misrule. And mockery is like quicksand — the more you fight it, the harder it sucks you in, until you’re left feeling like a joke band even if your music is the most serious thing in the world to you. Your hard work and total dedication might be impressive, but it’s also pretty ridiculous.
Thankfully, not every metal band tries so hard to sound dark and dire. Plenty of extreme acts have taken the time to craft silly, over-the-top personas for themselves, much to our entertainment. And yet that sense of humor only serves to elevate these bands’ material, perhaps because the songwriters behind the music aren’t hindered by worrying about whether or not people will take it seriously. These bands will forever live in our hearts, in no small part because they made them burst with laughter.
Here are 10 ridiculous metal bands whose music is no joke…
It’s undeniable that pirate metallers Alestorm are absolutely ridiculous — even frontman Chris Bowes thinks so. “Let’s face it, we’re a stupid band,” Chris told The Pit. “Everything we do, especially these days, is all about, ‘How can we turn this song into a joke, but also make it a good song?’” And yet these dudes have remained true to that last aspect of their sound, never sacrificing listenable, emotion-rousing music in the name of having a laugh. For that reason, the band remain a massive draw for metal fans around the world, and will probably be playing awesome gigs long after the most humorless of black metal bands have bitten the dust.
Hailing from the corpse-choked catacombs beneath Eastern European hellhole Creepsylvania, the four cannibals of Ghoul have only two goals: make kickass thrash metal and murder anyone who crosses their paths. The band have undoubtedly succeeded with the former, releasing five full-length studio albums, each one more horrific and headbangable than the last. While horror fans may come for the voodoo gods and blood-drenched mania, they’ll stay for the band’s uniquely palatable splatterthrash. Either don’t wear white to their live show, or wear it to see it get stained.
Little is known about the bandana-faced piss-takers in Watford’s The Hell, other than that they make sick-as-fuck thousand-ton groove metal, and that they think you’re a fucking dick. The band leapt snickering into the spotlight with their 2014 track “Everybody Dies,” and have since cemented their place in the international metal scene with their unbelievably-catchy-yet-utterly-punishing tracks about how rad they are and how stupid most other bands sound. They’re not for everyone, but then again, that’s sort of the point.
There’s something truly beautiful about starting a band for a cartoon show and watching it become a cultural institution. Dethklok were simply meant to mock the churlish misanthropy of metalheads when they first showed up on Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse. Instead, they became the world’s favorite metal act and released one of the best-selling death metal albums of all time. Now, years after their debut, Dethklok’s return to the screen is one of the most followed stories of 2021. Maybe The Archies should’ve played more blastbeats.
Though they started as an online joke between comedian Dave Hill and a hapless, humorless black metal fan, Witch Taint quickly became something far more venomous. Though their songs involve topics like destroying death metal and by extension Florida, or going to Viking Heaven, Witch Taint none the less perform some undeniably killer blackened heavy metal. Most importantly, their music is enjoyable enough that they make black metal accessible — which all fans know is the ultimate blasphemy against metal’s grimmest subgenre. Die for Dave!
An unexpectedly solid side-project to Canadian cyber-thrashers Strapping Young Lad, Zimmer’s Hole are the kind of band you laugh at until you fucking love them. Tracks like “We Rule The Fucking Land” and “Fista Corps” from 2008’s While You Were Shouting At The Devil, We Were In League With Satan might feel like novelty songs upon first listen, but they’ll soon enter into your heavy rotation. That one-two — being a gag one minute, then absolutely fucking vital the next — will always be the ultimate trophy for a comedic metal act. Kneel before the Hole.
“Death metal about weed” — it might sound funny, but hippies beware, you’re going to get your buzz harshed. Cannabis Corpse are as deft with their death metal song title parodies as they are with their double-bass drumming and grinding riffage. The band’s weed-fueled music would be primo death worship whether or not it cracked stony jokes about extreme music’s most over-the-top genre. Point is, you don’t have to be high to love these dudes, thought it certainly helps.
Behold the burger in all its glory! On the surface, Mac Sabbath are a fast food-themed four-piece parodying heavy metal’s oldest band. But below that facade, these guys are actually…well, okay, they’re still that thing. But there’s something endlessly satisfying about watching Ronald, Grimace, and Slayer McCheese perform classic stoner metal tunes about gruffling down greaseball burgers. The bacon-tassle wings alone make these dudes worthy of a spin.
Sometimes, black or death metal isn’t enough — only Transylvanian ice metal will do! Persekutor started as meth-brewing goatherders hailing from the homeland of Count Dracula, but have since risen to acclaim for making gimp-masked black’n’roll of epic proportions. More than any other black metal band, their biggest theme is cold, from wandering the icy tundras to one of their pals freezing to death. That complete dedication to sub-zero temperatures ices not only their lyrics, but also their riffs, which have a distinctly frosty tone to them. What’s blacker than black? ICE COLD. Alright alright alright alright alright.
Let’s take it up to 11! No joke or gimmick band will ever touch rockumentary stars Spinal Tap, whose bombastic tracks about giant asses and druid rituals have made them absolute rock gods (in Japan). And while the film surrounding their rise, peak, and plummet is funny, it’s the songs therein that fans will find themselves softly repeating over and over. Though they’ll never win a Grammy and can’t hold down a drummer (damn spontaneous human combustion!), the Tap will forever be one of the greatest metal bands to ever watch their shows get canceled one after another. Welcome to the sex farm.
Words by Chris Krovatin