Timōrātus – My Life In a Made Metal Band Review

Let it never be said that metal heads are a humorless lot. Yes, a cursory reading of our aesthetics reveals an obsession with the macabre, the gruesome, existential despair and whatnot, but damnit, we can be funny. I don’t mean the accidental funny of metal lyric videos, either.1 One of the first and greatest mockumentaries was about the fictional metal band Spın̈al Tap. Then there was Brendon Small’s goofy and gory Metalocalypse, which ran on Adult Swim for four seasons and included guest appearances by the likes of Brann Dailor, Warell Dane, James Hetfield, Ihsahn, King Diamond, Matt Pike, et al. More recently, JP Ahonen’s black metal comic strip Belzebubs was given musical life by a band that may or may not be Insomnium, complete with animated videos. The ease of Bandcamp has enabled the proliferation of joke bands from the cat themed Litterbox Massacre to Disposal, with “vocals” performed by an in-sink garbage disposal. And don’t even get me started on the brilliance that is Old Nick. We turn our attention now to My Life In a Made Metal Band by Kentucky’s self proclaimed comedy group Timōrātus, who attempt to take their place among the pantheon of parody metal bands with the likes of Spın̈al Tap, Dethklok, and Manowar.2

Timōrātus is a deathcore project comprised primarily of David and Courtney Napier. They started out back in 2006 as a decidedly serious evangelical Christian band—their name means “full of reverence towards God; devout” in Latin—until just a couple years ago when they turned to parody in 2020’s My Life In a Mediocre Metal Band. This would explain why the jokes, such as they are, remain doggedly G-rated. One could call them youth pastor-y. My Life In a Made Metal Band is of course the follow up, and is entirely about the pretend band Timōrātus, played by the real Timōrātus, becoming rich and famous and the consequences thereof. I have not listened to My Life In a Mediocre Metal Band, nor will I. The story arc here is painted in brush strokes broad enough to be seen from space, starting at the dizzying heights of newfound fame (“We Made It”), proceeding to the overconfidence stage (“Better Than You”), the consequences stage (“Lonely”), and ending with the inevitable come-down (“We Blew It”).

Musically, My Life In a Made Metal Band is a mayonnaise sandwich of mostly programmed deathcore that occasionally nods in the general directions of grind and doom. Song structures tend to hug the center line of complexity, with riffs that are load-bearing rather than decorative. How much you like what you hear will depend on your tolerance for the intense rubber baby buggy bumpers bounce of the drum programming paired with the just-the-facts-ma’am riffs. When Timōrātus decide to add flourishes, they can feel awkwardly executed, like late in “Better Than You” when the natural flow of the song drops into…what? A breakdown? A solo? Atmospherics? It’s a non-comital smudge that leads to a cheesy clean vocal rendition of the main chorus. The album is full of electronic blorps and buzzes, lending it a sometimes industrial feel and some welcome seasoning.

This being a comedy album, it’s not a stretch to say the music is secondary. It’s not like Spın̈al Tap was actually good. That wasn’t the point. So if the point is being funny…there’s no delicate way to put this. My Life In a Made Metal Band simply isn’t. The story goes they kinda sucked, got a bunch of money and fame, got cocky, then found out they had to pay the label all that money back, which sucks. This is reiterated in every song title, every verse and every chorus, but without very many actual jokes. Lyrics like “We made it, We took the test, We made the grade, We leveled up,” (“We Made It”) “Time has spoken, You’re heartbroken, Our pocket books bursting, We are deserving of all this fame,” (“Better Than You”) “I am so lonely, Stand on my balcony, No one understands me, As I overlook the sea, Dry my tears with my all money,” (“Lonely”) which are JUST REITERATIONS OF THE PREMISE, and a well trod one at that, come and go, but punchlines rarely materialize. There are some actual jokes3 in the three skits on My Life In a Made Metal Band, but the overbearing theatre kid gusto of their delivery makes them unlistenable.

I’m all for comedy in metal. If the music is good, so much the better. I mean, one of the most popular death metal bands around these parts built a whole schtick around mollusks. But the humor in that lands because it’s specific. It doesn’t hurt that the music is exceptionally executed, either. Timōrātus give us tepid deathcore with generic humor and an unwillingness to lean into the crude or edgy stereotypes of their genre for material. I’ll say this, though: it does make me want to rewatch Metalocalypse.

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: timoratus.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/timoratus.music
Releases Worldwide: June 10th, 2022

Show 3 footnotes
  1. Let’s face it, a glut of metal musicians are both overly earnest AND shit lyricists, which is a recipe for unintentional comedy.
  2. The Kings of Metal shall hear of this blasphemy! – Steelowar
  3. There’s a bit about having to return collectible decorative plates depicting early Japanese farm equipment that actually landed.
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