10 Heavy Metal Video Clichés We'd Love to See Make a Comeback
You know you love clichés and there's no music genre more full of 'em than metal. The best venue to deliver those clichés right to your door is still the music video. While music videos are not as popular as they were back in the '80s or '90s, musicians of all ilk still rely on the medium to market to fans.
Since you know we love our lists over here at Noisecreep central, here are 10 video clichés we'd love to see make a comeback!
1. Scantily clad women
Ok, so this cliché hasn't really gone away, but we've come a long way baby! Long gone are the days of all male metal acts. These days, women reign supreme, fronting massively popular acts and looking fine while doing so. For the classic cliché, check out any Motley Crue video. For the modern equivalent, check out any In This Moment video, featuring hot lead singer Maria Brink.
2. Smashing guitars
This one has us a little torn. We love the angst of a broken guitar. After all, this is metal. But, we're gear heads too! And we work hard for our money! Still, nothing is as over-the-top as slamming a beautiful Flying-V right into the ground. For the best video example of this cliché, check out Vinnie Vincent Invasion's video for "Boyz Are Gonna Rock."
3. Ridiculously high drum risers
Drummers get the biggest workout of any musician while playing, so it makes sense to put them on a pedestal, right? For awhile – even during the grunge era – it seemed like drummers enjoyed having their own little perch. Was it because the other musicians smelled bad? A Napoleon complex? Just for cool looks? Ok, we get that the platform is really for sound carry and ground vibration, but still. There are platforms and then there are out-of-this-world crazy high video platforms, and we prefer the latter. At any rate, we'd love to see all drummers go back to performing on elevated platforms. Jason Bonham did it when his band Bonham made a run at fame. See Bonham, "Wait for You."
4. Scenes shot in high schools
What the hell is with all the old music videos being set in high schools? Where we went to school, no rock bands randomly walked through the door at 2 p.m. just to rock out. Still, the number of videos shot in high school type settings is staggering and that makes it a cliché. Think about it: Britny Fox did "Girlschool," Twisted Sister did "We're Not Gonna Take It," Motley Crue did "Smokin' in the Boys Room" Aerosmith did "Crazy" and the biggest one of them all – Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - were all centered around high school and adolescence. Sort of makes you want to go back to your alma mater and demand a video shoot or something.
5. Black and white montages to remind us we're listening to a slow song
Seriously, every metal band goes black and white when it's time to get sensitive or tell a really heavy story. Metallica is guilty of this with "One" and "The Unforgiven," Poison did it for "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and Winger did it with "Headed for a Heartbreak" and you know what? We love it! We love that little cue that it's time to sit back, enjoy a song and take a break from rocking out hard. Of course, when the slow tunes are played during concerts, it's still our cue to hit the beer line.
6. Weird fantasy/dream sequences
Remember puberty when you would just space out for no reason, other than simply because you could? You would daydream your cares away, pissing off your parents, teachers, siblings and everyone else? Seems like a lot of videos employ the odd fantasy/dream sequence as well. So many do this, in fact, that this is another one of our favorite clichés we'd love to see return! Now, in the annals of metal there are some downright crazy videos. Some are just plain bad and others merely weird. The videos that employ the dream sequence cliché the best sort of straddle this delicate line. A good example? Nelson's video for "After the Rain." Okay, Nelson aren't a metal band but darn it they had long hair and sure were cute.
7. Random concerts... with no audience members
Why does every metal band – after reaching a certain level of fame – create a video that features them performing... for an empty room? Don't get us wrong, we love it. It lets us feel like we're getting a personal show, but still... it's gotta be a little weird for the band, right? This cliché knows no sub-genre. Look at your favorite grunge, alternative, hair and death metals bands... and you can find a video of a band playing a show for the wall. One thing's for certain, playing a concert for no one sure keeps the budget low while filming. There's none of those pesky extras to feed! See most Whitesnake videos, especially "Still Of the Night."
8. The whole "us vs them," pack mentality thing
It makes sense that pack mentality is a cliché when talking about metal bands because bands often become like family: taking on each other's habits, living together in close quarters for long periods of time and acting alike. Still, we love to see when band members really do have each other's collective back, whether it be partying hard, vandalizing community property or hazing an inferior musician. Pack mentality is huge among metal videos, with lots of clips featuring shots of big, burly metal men walking nearly arm-in-arm toward some common goal. Think Judas Priest in "Breakin' the Law" or really any black metal video ever made.
9. Choreographed rocking
You know you love it when a band hits their groove, is really feeling the music and then it happens: the singer, guitarist and bassist all line up at the front of the stage and perform in one long line, flipping their heads in unison to the left and to the right. You probably love it so much you even swing your own head to the music! Van Halen does this well, especially in videos for "Hot for Teacher" and "Jump."
10. Matching outfits
Ok, we lied. We don't really miss this cliché of video eras gone by, but it sure is fun to recall. While it is true that most '80s and '90s bands ended up sort of dressing alike, in either colorful spandex or cotton flannel, no one took the idea of a uniformed look to extremes quite like the guys in Stryper. The yellow and black attack was - and is - brilliant from a marketing perspective. Whenever you saw an album with those two colors, you knew you were about to get a does of God with your glam metal. Since Halloween is just around the corner, we recommend you bring this cliché to life, grab some friends, and dress up as Stryper for your next costumed ball. Bibles optional.