WTF Island

Five Artists That Make Deadlier Weapons Than Creed

The headline is promising: "Norwegian Boy Fends Off Wolf Pack With Heavy Metal." Pretty awesome, right?

Picture the frozen steppes of Rakkestad - we're just assuming there are steppes there - and it's after 2 p.m. in the wintertime, so the sun has long since set. A lone young man with burgeoning Norseman features walks home from school, carrying only a backpack and a tribally stylized boom-box.

Suddenly, a pack of wolves crests the hill ahead of him. He calmly turns to take an alternate route, but finds that the wolves have cut off all potential escape. He is surrounded.

Instead of fear, a look of determination crosses the boy's face. Within him is the blood of countless generations of warriors, wild and fierce men and women who tamed this savage land of jagged ice and made it their own. He reaches into his backpack and pulls out a cassette tape as the wolves draw closer, circling menacingly.

The eldest wolf in the pack, a seasoned veteran of many hunts and fights, pins his ears back against his scalp. The younger dogs don't understand, but as the boy slips the cassette into the boombox, the old wolf's fears are confirmed. He has seen this happen before, and he knows that there is a sonic maelstrom coming.

The old wolf, whose name is unpronounceable in our human languages, is the only one among his more headstrong pack who winces and hesitates. He knows not the names of Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, or any other mighty Norwegian black-metal titans, but he has been beaten back by their brutal assaults many times in his long, battle-weary life. The boy is clever and well-trained.

Before the pack can lunge in for the kill, he presses the play button:


Wait, what? Creed? Fucking Creed? The headline promised us heavy metal. It said nothing of poppy, faux-Christian post-grunge garbage. Instead of fleeing before the fearsome thunder of Emperor or Thorns, the wolves are instead attempting to race their own nausea from the scene. It's not fear that drives them away, but disgust. People don't sing like that. People don't write lyrics that bad intentionally or unintentionally.

The wolves are confused. The people of Norway once fought with honor. Now, the youth of this nation have been infected by some sort of scourge from the cultural wastelands of the West. A true warrior wouldn't disgrace himself by dropping the audio equivalent of an anthrax bomb directly into the eardrums of his foes, but the true warriors are apparently dying out from these lands.

Their children are a corrupted, poisonous breed, and this world is theirs.

If ever you are called upon to defend yourself using only music, assuming you want to fight dirty, here are some equally terrible bands that could be used as weapons, . Be warned: Some of them may be outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

Limp Bizkit: Remember when there was a world in which frat-boy jocks listened to their idiotic party rap and their Top 40 pop and left the rockin' to the folks who actually cared about music? Well, Limp Bizkit changed all that.

With their moronic, sub-literate combination of barely competent rap-metal and juvenile misogyny, no other band was as big a crossover success among douchebags from all walks of life. Even Fred Durst got tired of being Fred Durst, and now spends most of his time being super-nice on Twitter.

Agony Rating: A solid 8 out of 10 against foes with any taste; however, if you're being attacked by douchebags, you're screwed, as this will only fire them up and further their desire to - quote - "break stuff."

Ke(Dollar Sign)ha: So much has been said about the disaster that is Ke(Dollar Sign)ha that we now almost feel remorse to pile on some more, but here goes: Ke(Dollar Sign)ha is a symptom of a massive global illness. If you sang courtroom transcripts over a metronome, you would be putting more passion and effort into your music than she does.

If "Auto-Tuned gutter skank-pop" sounds like something you'd enjoy, then we'd like to urge you to go ahead and enter rehab and get clean, for your own sake. Ke(Dollar Sign)ha is what herpes sounds like.

Agony Rating: 10 out of 10. We'd rather be waterboarded to sleep every night for a year than listen to one Ke(Dollar Sign)ha album all the way through just once.

Deerhoof: These indie-rock darlings are not untalented. Their songwriting is very good, and their sound is original and creative. So why are they on this list? Simple: the shrill, ear-splitting wail of singer Satomi Matsuzaki.

Rarely have we been as disappointed as the first time, years ago, when we fired up a Deerhoof album - 2007's Friend Opportunity - nodded along to amazing drummer Greg Saunier's pounding drumbeat, tapped our fingers to the dissonant yet catchy riff, and then, through the course of that first song, slowly and sadly realized "We're not going to be able to listen to this girl's voice for an entire album."

It made us depressed. We really want to like Deerhoof. Three out of the four of them are fantastic musicians, and hell, we'll even give Matsuzaki credit for some mean bass playing. But that voice... it burns us. Burnsssss.

Agony Rating: Varies wildly. Many animals can comfortably listen to non-human registers; they will have no problem enduring Matsuzaki's voice. For the rest of us, probably about a 7 out of 10. Deerhoof are more of a warning shot, really, before you break out the big guns.

Soulja Boy Tell 'Em: The worst name in all of rap accompanies the worst, dumbest flow of any rapper, and we include Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer on that list. Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's lyrics are so bad, we feel the need to back away from straightforward condemnation and circle back around to actually give him credit for being able to feed himself and tie his own shoes.

We've heard better, more believable flow from Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. Every time Soulja Boy Tell 'Em performs, he has to constantly fend off people trying to drape Very Special Participant medals around his neck.

Agony Rating: About a 7 if you're in a club, where crap like this doesn't really stand out. Closer to a 9 if you hear it when you're not expecting it, like in the grocery store or in line at the post office.

Com Truise: While researching one of our witty, scathing articles on the subject of chillwave, we came across this band. Wait, is the proper term "band" or "act"? Like most chillwave acts it's probably just one guy who never uses his real name because he knows in less than two years he'll want to pretend he was never associated with this trendy horseshit.

In a genre filled with plodding, mind-numbing "retro" beats that sound like they came pre-programmed into a Speak 'n' Spell, Com Truise stands out - if that is indeed possible - as one of the most boring, most repetitive, and most simplistic. It's actually kind of an accomplishment, sort of like being the person who finishes dead last at a charity walk, or being the most obnoxious Boston Red Sox fan.

Agony Rating: Unless, like any good chillwave audience, you are abusing copious amounts of ketamine, atropine and good old Ecstasy, you're gonna feel like your head is about to explode around two minutes in. So, around a 9. Still not as bad as Ke(Dollar Sign)ha.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
John Seaborn Gray