Watch this incredible YouTuber play death metal classics by Cannibal Corpse, At The Gates and In Flames on piano

A blonde woman in a black, long-sleeve shirt playing piano
(Image credit: Catherine Fearns via YouTube)

Death metal has kept a, let’s say, “distant” relationship with the piano. Sure, there have been outlaws like Children Of Bodom and Dark Tranquillity that have embraced keys over the years. But, by and large, the genre has looked at tickling the ivories in the same way you’ve looked at pop-ups which demand you update your laptop: without giving a shit.

These two disparate concepts are nonetheless being bridged by a virtuoso YouTuber called Catherine Fearns. An author and musician based in Liverpool, UK, Catherine has used her incomparable talent at piano to become a cult sensation among metalheads. She’s boldly covered tracks by such death metal brutes as Cannibal Corpse and In Flames, with the resulting videos quickly dazzling in the underground. Together they have 27,000 views, and it’s such an innovative idea that they have so much space to grow in viewership, so many other barrel-chested bands they could try and sophisticate.

Of course, in even attempting to recreate scorchers like At The GatesSlaughter Of The Soul with nought but her fingertips at full speed, Catherine’s impeccable at her instrument. Her rearrangement of CarcassHeartwork turns a scathing melodic death metal classic, laced with jagged guitars and anguished screams, into an elegant yet upbeat romp. Dare we say, it’s borderline cinematic, with the high-flying harmonies easily capable of soundtracking a climactic chase scene given the opportunity.

The most impressive piece, however, comes when Catherine ventures from the more palatable pastures of melodeath into the demented hellscape that is Cannibal Corpse’s Scourge Of Iron. In its original form, this absolute bruiser has no give, bombarding you with blast beats and Corpsegrinder’s roars like repeated barrages of cannonfire. Yet, Catherine still makes the song hers. As her fingers wobble her way through that previously distorted intro, it sounds like the entrance music for an adventure movie’s biggest baddie.

At time of writing, Catherine only has 920 subscribers on her channel. But, the sheer ingenuity of what she’s making and the grace with which she does it (not to mention the countless other diabolical-sounding artists she could cover) tells us her audience will blow up soon. Subscribe and marvel at how somebody can play piano so fast and hard without snapping their wrists.

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.