Metal is bonkers – everyone knows that. From crazed live performances to misguided genre-bending records, the world of heavy metal is littered with headscratching moments and mutterings of "What the hell was that all about?" And in honour of that, here's 15 of the most prolific WTF moments in our world...
CELTIC FROST’S ‘COLD FAKE’
The Swiss thrash pioneers had already thrown us a curveball with 1986’s experimental opus Into The Pandemonium, but nothing could prepare us for a hairsprayed, lip-glossed Tom G Warrior torturously croaking out dumbed-down pseudo-glam on 1988’s failed sell-out Cold Lake.
IZZY WIZZY LET’S GET NICKO
When iconic TV glove puppets Sooty, Sweep and Soo entered the village hall talent contest in an episode of CITV’s The Sooty Show in 1988, who else should they turn to for musical assistance but… the drummer in Iron Maiden?!
**TFI SLIPKNOT **
Chris Evans’ ever-so-90s live chat show TFI Friday already featured Napalm Death gamely playing their shortest songs, but Slipknot’s UK TV debut was still unexpected teatime viewing, the monstrous nine-piece ripping through Wait And Bleed (not Bleed And Wait, Chris…)
BEYOND THE REALMS OF DAFT
Nevada USA, 1990: Judas Priest appear in court in accused of causing the suicides of two fans via subliminal backward messages like ‘do it’ and ‘let’s be dead’. A month later the judge dismissed the lawsuit as “bollocks” (we’re paraphrasing).
ARE MORBID ANGEL ‘TOO EXTREME’?
Reunited with Dave Vincent, once-revered death titans Morbid Angel had much to prove with 2011’s long-awaited Ilud Divinum Insanus. Then we heard comically clodhopping sub-EBM face-palm Too Extreme!, and the only thing ‘too extreme’ was the crushing sense of disappointment.
LULU, SKIP TO THE LOO
Metallica have accumulated several WTF! moments over the years, but none more befuddling than when we first heard the 69-year-old Lou Reed mumbling gibberish over their ramshackle improvised fumblings, and heard James Hetfield claim he was “the table”.
CHRISTOPHER LEE GOES METAL
Guest vocals for Rhapsody and Manowar made sense, but the news that 90-year-old screen legend Sir Christopher Lee had formed a symphonic metal project to record concept albums about his ancestor Emperor Charlemagne still sounds like a delirious April Fool.
THE DECLINE AND FALL OF CHRIS HOLMES
In 1984’s Decline And Fall Of Western Civilisation II: The Metal Years, WASP guitarist Chris Holmes floats in a swimming pool, sharing groupie experiences, downing bottles of vodka and proclaiming himself a “full-blown alcoholic” – as his mother sits awkwardly poolside.
DEEP BLACK PURPLE SABBATH?
Tony Iommi and Ian Gillan get pissed together; next morning, Gillan’s in Sabbath. The resultant uproar from confused fans of both bands ensured the line-up’s ludicrously OTT LP, 1983’s Born Again, was unfairly reviled for years, and remained a one-off.
ENT & KLF STORM THE BRITS
Cheeky dance chappies the KLF wanted a guaranteed impact on the 1992 Brit Awards. Instead of Union Jack dresses they invited UK grind heroes Extreme Noise Terror to help massacre hit single 3am Eternal, while firing guns at the audience.
American punk nutter GG’s transgressive degeneracy was the stuff of repugnant legend, especially his onstage defecation, self-mutilation and assaults on audiences. Dubbed “rock ‘n’ roll terrorist” on his gravestone, until it was removed after fans kept vandalising it in tribute.
After a spate of mass shootings, Dave Mustaine sent quizzical eyebrows through the roof by announcing “My president is trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all these murders,” adding his homeland was “turning into Nazi America”.
**TIM NASTY-BUT-DIM **
In February Tim Lambesis, ex-singer with Christian metalcore also-rans As I Lay Dying, pleaded guilty to attempting to pay for his wife’s murder. Born-again atheist Lambesis, now serving six years, originally pleaded not guilty on account of his “steroid use”.
BABYMETAL BREAK THE INTERNET
Seemingly manufactured as the world’s first clickbait metal band, Japanese adolescents Babymetal caused a mighty viral stink last year with their squeaky-singing, goofy-dancing, ill-fitting j-pop-cum-nu-death and exploitative goth-Lolita shtick. Inevitably, it’s landed them a Lady Gaga support slot.