As if to prove that 2021 is to be no less bizarre that 2020, the year's first great musical trend has seen the Victorian sea shanty take video-sharing social media website TikTok by storm.
Heading up the charge has been Soon May the Wellerman Come, a 19th century whaling song originating in Otago, New Zealand. A version by Scottish musician Nathan Evans was uploaded to TikTok towards the back end of last year (opens in new tab), and the video has since generated millions video views and inspired thousands of memes.
We've been expecting a decent metal version to arrive for some time, and although it's a little surprising that pirate metal pioneers Alestorm didn't get there first, we can at least relax, safe in the knowledge that we can all move on to something else.
The metal version of The Wellerman is by guitarist Leo Moracchioli, who lives in Norway – a whaling nation – and has delighted us previously with a creepy acoustic version of Slipknot's Duality, a metal version of the LEGO™ movie theme, a rather brilliant Korn parody, and a metal version of the theme from Ghostbusters.
For The Wellerman, Moracchioli adopts a nautical moustache, a jumper of the kind favoured by people who attend pirate-themed fancy dress parties but don't want to spend any money, and a captain's hat. And while critics may question the authenticity of Moracchioli's costume, the performance cannot be faulted. You can almost smell the blubber.
As for Evans, the man who started this whole farrago, he's signed a record deal with Universal, who refer to him as the "King Of Sea Shanty" and claim that they "look forward to working more with Nathan and his team and are excited to see what comes next."
They're probably more excited than we are, to be honest.