Earlier this week, the Amazon Echo went onsale in the UK and the Hammer office was given one to play with. If you’re not aware of the Echo and what it does, it can basically do anything. Using different “skills”, the Echo can order you pizza, arrange to have your laundry collected, read you the news headlines and order you an Uber. It’s like having a personal assistant that sits on the corner of a table and doesn’t need feeding.
But how is this possible? Well just like Star Trek’s computer, you just ask Alexa (the woman we assume is hiding inside) to perform certain tasks. There are over 3000 different skills available for Alexa to learn, but we’re not that interested in healthy recipes or meditation, we wanted to see how the Echo could cope with some metal.
Connecting the Echo to Spotify, we asked Alexa to play some of the more obscure and wacky band names our genre has to offer. Here’s how she fared…
Hammer: Alexa, play Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza.
Echo: Plays Rudy X 3 by The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza
Hammer: Alexa, play Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard.
Echo: At first our request was ignored by Alexa. When we asked a second time, she responded “I couldn’t find Wizard Bastard”. Looks like Alexa isn’t a fan of Welsh doom.
Hammer: Alexa, play Iwrestledabearonce.
Echo: Plays You Know That Aint Them Dogs’ Real Voice by Iwrestledabearonce
Hammer: Alexa, play Anaal Nathrakh.
Echo: At first Alexa played Wake Me Up by Aloe Blacc (a slightly different vibe), before ignoring us the second time.
Hammer: Alexa, play GWAR.
Echo: Plays Sick Of You by GWAR
Hammer: Alexa, play Kvelertak.
Echo: To begin with, Alexa couldn’t find the Norwegian punk ‘n’ rollers, but after we adjusted our poor pronunciation she started playing Mjød.
Hammer: Alexa, play Nekrogoblikon
Echo: Plays No On Survives by Nekrogoblikon
Hammer: Alexa, play Katatonia.
Echo: Obviously confused, Alexa played Road Rage by Catatonia. Slightly more indie than progressive metal.
Hammer: Alexa, play Pissing Razors.
Echo: Plays Domination by Pissing Razors
Hammer: Alexa, play Anal Cunt.
Echo: To be fair to Alexa, she played Hitler Was A Sensitive Man by Anal Cunt. But she bleeped out the C-word when repeating the band name back to us.
So there you have it, Alexa knows her stuff when it comes to obscure metal bands, and the speaker ain’t bad either! We quite happily sat listening to Ghost’s new EP at full volume (and it goes quite loud) without a worry about sound quality. And even if you are blasting music at ear-piercing levels, the Echo can still hear you – it’s magic.
However, when it comes to having an opinion on the music we love, she was less impressive.
Hammer: Which is the best Metallica album?
Echo: “Sorry, I don’t know the answer.”
Hammer: What is your favourite song?
Echo: “I don’t have a favourite, but if you do, I’d be happy to play some music for you.”
Hammer: Who will headline Download festival next year?
Echo: “That’s just one of those things I don’t know.”
This lack of awareness might be a blessing though, as it will only lead to late night arguments with an inanimate object, and we do enough of that already. But Alexa will tell you a joke if you ask for one, including this golden oldie.
“A man walks into a bar and says ‘Ouch!’”
Amazon Echo’s are on sale now and are a lot of fun.