Angry Metal LisaI have previously said that certain bands do shit that is really metal even though they’re not playing metal. Anathema‘s last record is a great example of that. So what is it? Well, sometimes it’s the driving rhythm (see: ’80s pop) that happens to be Iron Maiden‘s famous gallop. Sometimes it’s the epic nature of the songs or the doomy depths. Here’s five such tracks that appeal to me because they’re fucking metal, even though they don’t know it.

#ish: “The Meek Shall Inherit” – Little Shop of Horrors (Original Soundtrack) — OK. This is probably the least metal of the tracks I’m putting up here, but I’ve always thought that the section at 0:52 was remarkably metal. I love the lyrics, too, and the performance is great. What would make that metal? Well, give me a couple distorted guitars and some heavier drums and you’d be on the right track. Super intense. Actually, this whole musical is fucking genius if you’re into that sort of thing. I suppose you’re too metal for that. Anyway, the section from 0:52 is metal as shit. “My future’s starting / I’ve got to let it…” I love it. The section at 1:30 is particularly ripe for the picking.

#5: “My Medea” – Warm Strangers (Vienna Teng) — This song is seriously epic and dark. That peak in the middle is amazing and done by the right kind of dark metal band, and you could really feel this one. The lyrics here are also really quite brutal, as well. Suggested band: The 11th Hour. Needs good vocals and a downtuned 7 string.

#4: “Casey’s Last Ride” – Kris Kristofferson (Kris Kristofferson) — This song is dying to be covered by a great doom band. There’s something just soul crushing about this song that only the most brutal of funeral doom bands could pull off—only by a drunken southerner who loved Jesus almost as much as he loved whiskey. A really brilliant track that I have returned to a million times in my life.

#3: “It’s a Sin” – Actually (Pet Shop Boys) — This song has actually already received a metal cover courtesy of Graveworm, but it still pops into my mind whenever I think about the best non-metal metal songs. Everything about this song is great and I just love it, but the thing about it is that it’s got that ’80s metal gallop. That synth kids and metal kids ever fought—everyone in the ’80s loved the gallop! A great track1

#2: “Scoundrel Days” – Scoundrel Days (A-ha) — Norway’s a-ha has gone down in history because they had this song you’ve probably heard at every single ’80s night ever. It had a really trendy video that was super hip for its time and everyone loved it. But here’s another thing they had: one of the sneakiest not-metal metal songs ever. The title track from the band’s second album Scoundrel Days. This is definitely a power metal band that should do this. Someone with a range who doesn’t sound like a douchebag (i.e., not Jorn).

#1: “Paris Is Burning” – Marry Me (St. Vincent) — While I’m not a big fan of St. Vincent generally speaking—her forays into ’70s prog have been cool, but it never has really stuck with me. This track, “Paris Is Burning,” is one of the most metal non-metal tracks I’ve ever heard. The guitar part at 0:42 is straight up Iron Maiden/Gothenburg thrash and the chorus is tough as shit if done correctly. The ending could be turned into something awesome, as well. This track could be done by any variety of power metal, death metal or even black metal bands. I think a Dimmu Borgiresque treatment might actually be really cool. If I ever were to cover a non-metal song it would be “Paris Is Burning” for absolutely sure. This is pure brilliance.

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  1. Pointing out that it’s at least partially about being gay doesn’t make it any less metal unless you’re going to question both Rob Halford and Gaahl’s metal cred. I’m pretty sure the latter will tie you to a chair and torture you for days if you do that.