Ten Things We Learned From The Encyclopedia Of Australian Heavy Metal

Strewth cobbers, Brian Giffin’s fair dinkum Australian Metal Guide has just been reprinted at last in a definitive expanded edition, just in time to capitalise on the recent surge of interest in the metal scene Down Under. We spent the week obsessively flipping through it, and have unpacked some of its most tantalising titbits for your delectation.

AC/DC Started Out As Glam Rockers Forming in 1973, the southern hemisphere’s all-time biggest success story initially adopted the outlandish costumes of the glam rock scene during their earliest days with singer Dave Evans. However, the band soon “dispensed with it when learning of Skyhooks’ predilection for it” (Skyhooks were the band who wrote Women In Uniform, later covered in decidedly non-glam style by Iron Maiden). All silly costumes were dropped by the time bare-chested barbarian Bon Scott took the mic – except Angus’ school uniform, natch.

**Fear Factory Had An Aussie Side-Project **On their first Australian tour in 1993, members of Fear Factory hooked up with members of their Melbourne support band Christbait to form Hate Factory, an extremely short-lived collaboration which jammed live Brujeria covers for the compilation Sounds Of Ordinary Madness, which according to Giffin “is long since out of print and virtually impossible to find.” Except on YouTube:

Angry Anderson Played Lenin In A Rasputin Musical… And Attempted A Political Career! In 1987 – shortly before the Rose Tattoo frontman was handed a poisoned chalice when his solo ballad Suddenly was chosen as Scott and Charlene’s wedding theme song in Neighbours – the artist formerly known as Gary “appeared as Lenin in a stage musical based on the life of Rasputin.” If this wasn’t odd enough, in 2012 the Angry one put his anger to constructive use when he joined the Liberal Party, but “after failing to be pre-selected as a candidate for the seat of Greenway in western Sydney, Anderson announced an end to his political ambitions in 2013”.

**Brian Giffin Has Revised His Opinion On Axatak **In the new edition of the Encyclopedia, preposterous shock rockers Axatak are described as “a key part of Melbourne’s early heavy metal scene” who “managed to attain some mainstream attention.” In the 2004 Australian Metal Guide, however, Giffin wasn’t so diplomatic, dubbing the band “Horrible, horrible wannabe Kiss clones” whose “aspirations far outweighed their talent,” and who “appeared on a TV talent show, making complete fools of themselves.” The talent show’s on YouTube – decide for yourself!

The Berzerker’s Tatu Cover Was Banned From YouTube! In 2009 the industrial gabber death metal nutjobs from Melbourne The Berzerker “recorded a version of Tatu’s All The Things She Said and posted a clip of it on YouTube that was quickly banned from the site.” Looks like YouTube have relaxed their policy on mild gratuitous schoolgirl lesbianism since 2009, as nowadays the video happily exists in full on YouTube. A warning though: it’s not safe for work, unless perhaps you work in a brothel.

Shihad Changed Their Name In The Interests Of World Peace Following the 911 attacks on the World Trade Centre, eclectic New Zealand rockers Shihad announced that they were changing their name to Pacifier, “to avoid any connotations with the word ‘jihad’ (ironically, as that’s where the name actually came from).” Their sole studio release under that name was a nu metal-influenced affair that wasn’t popular with fans, so the band soon reverted to their original name.

Candy Harlots’ First Single Was Pants. Literally! “Australia’s premier glam rock and metal act” (it says here), the first 500 copies of Candy Harlots’ 1989 debut single, Red Hot Rocket, sold out in three hours. Might that be because it was such a brilliant song? Unless you own it you can’t judge for yourself as alas it’s not on YouTube, but this intense demand might have had something to do with the fact that the red vinyl seven inch came wrapped in a pair of women’s knickers. As packaging gimmicks go, that one’s not to be sniffed at.

**Segression Started Out As Sleaze Rockers **In 1996, Woolongong death-thrash brutalists Segression rose from the ashes of the sleaze rock combo Eezee, who released the self-financed EP A Matter Of Attitude in 1993. After the loss of their vocalist, “The group then took the extraordinary step of recalling all remaining copies of the EP to further distance themselves from their previous stylings.”

Mortification Prove The Power Of Prayer In 1996 Steve Rowe, founding frontman with Christian death metal stalwarts Mortification, fell ill on tour. He was diagnosed with leukaemia and told that he had months to live. However, “Rowe confounded everyone by fighting off the disease and eventually making a full recovery.” By the end of 1998 he was back to the grind of constant touring and recording, which the band has continued doing ever since, with worldwide album sales now topping 300,000.

Australia Has The Most Hilariously Stupid And Fucked-Up Band Names In The World! You want proof? Here’s a sensitive Aussie playlist: Aborted Jesus Milkshake. 10% Slut. Goonbag Colostomy. Angel Retard. Midget Fetish. Cuntscrape. Fuck… I’m Dead. Aasdgoihasdghexekul. Chainsaw Charlie And The Chocolate Cha-Cha Factory. Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt. The Chicken Okkult. Grannyfist. Festering Drippage. Cunt Butcher. Goatrapist. Godcock. Epileptic Fistfuck. Rake Sodomy. Black Anal Goat Vomit. Maximum Sexy Pigeon. Satanic Saucepans. Sexual Intercorpse. DeathFuckingCunt. Jesus Anal Penetration. And last but not least, Filthy Maggoty Cunt. What the fuck are they putting in the Vegemite down there?

Australia Has The Most Hilariously Stupid And Fucked-Up Musician Pseudonyms In The World! KK Warslut. Cadaver Face McMurder. Nekroshitcunt. Guilio Destructor Of Higgins. Brutal Dave. Lord Whelk. ‘Sybian Machine’ Bumslop. Stanley Knife. Battlesledge D Hammer. Teeth Subjector. Gatorian Sabz Doomdooken. Wonky. Shoddy. Scurvy. Cunt. Cupcake. Snuff Beastly. Vyvyan Basterd. Cock Smoking Crack Whore. Sistah Fistah. Malificunt Popechoker. Princess Heinkel Hellfukker. Felch Beast. Lord Spitwank. Fist Fistofferson. There’s also a guy called Eugene Spurt, but it seems that’s his real name.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.