Thursday, December 3, 2009

Like when we'd climb the ropes in gym class

So many different feelings. Let's start positive: I appreciate that the young men of Hammerfall are eager to support their nation's representatives at the Winter Olympic Games. I'm not sure Sweden is allowed to participate in the Summer Games (UN Resolution 1729, "Concerning Frozen-Ass Countries"), but they're really getting mileage out of their Curling team. I was going to ask where the men's Curling team got to, but my europhile friend Adrian informs me that Curling (like Softball, Soccer and Field Hockey) is exclusively a female sport. Which is just as well, because I'm not sure the added strength, speed and athleticism of men would really enhance the activity. That little puck is going about as fast as it's gonna go.

It is a little unfair to rake Hammerfall over the coals for this. They are not a terribly serious band. They play power metal, a genre of music that could charitably be described as "gayer than an anime theme song." At the same time, I hold up European metal as the gold standard of brutality. If they were doing this back in 2006, imagine the new generation of horrors to be visited on us in 2010.

Here are my favorite moments from the video, in no particular order:
**19 seconds in, an incredible moment of tension. The Curlers run into the bad boys from Hammerfall! They're scared! Two things might happen. First: sexual assault. Second: palling around on the ice! The Gang picks Option B. Good thing the guys from H-Fall love fun more than rape! Don't be offended; owing to their Viking heritage, Swedes have always struggled making these choices.

**57 seconds in, Hammerfall makes a crucial error. Not only do they allow the CILFs to sing along, they allow them to sing along to the gayest part of the song. This is power metal and conventional rules on gayness do not apply, but this just seems like a mistake to me.

**1:44...It'd be hard to see a laptop screen from this angle even if you were standing right there. On camera it looks like absolutely nothing. And we never learn what was on the screen, so this shot is a complete waste of time.

**At 1:04, the singer is standing behind two CILFs with a big ol' grin on his face. This is what he wanted ever since he saw the treatment for the video. At first everyone was down on the idea, but then they saw how fine those old Swedish Curling Team ladies were and everything changed. If there's one thing I've learned from Skwisgaar, it's that Swedish metal dudes love old ladies. This Hammerfall video is just the damning evidence.

**One of the curlers who has not yet hit menopause is really putting in the effort at 2:23. "But Tony, anyone with long hair could pull off a couple seconds of headbanging." When the extent of your athletic activity is rapidly scrubbing a piece of ice with a broom, you risk serious injury and years of chiropractery (one of two words to be invented in this post) pulling stunts like this.

**At 1:55, we see the singer and guitarist made to stand in the middle of the shot and perform while their bandmates stab them in the back. The guitarist on the far-left takes this opportunity to engage in a deplorable act of cunterfuge and swoop on those fine old ladies. The rest of the band is busy lip-synching? I'll just sidle on back here and grab two handfuls of Goretex-swaddled sugar. I see you, guitar guy. Don't think your bandmates didn't as well.

It's really difficult to pick any quality moments in the last quarter of the video, because they take what was already a pretty questionable operation and run it Titanic-style into the worst bridge in modern musical history. Not even the guys in Hammerfall, whose job it is to be fired up about such things, are excited about this bridge. It's like the opening of "Blue Monday," where they drop some badass heavy drum beats, and then the song just plummets into mincing Caucasian mediocrity 52 seconds in.

Ultimately, however, who saves us from the horrible bridge? Who use their last shot (Run? Scuff? I know nothing about curling) to punk the shit out of Hammerfall and claim victory for the land of the Geats? Thems old ladies! They trade their matching cold-weather tracksuits for leather and studs, then tear it up to play us out! Bravo! Bellisimo! We made it through! Ideally we could have found some drums for the butch short-haired one, but we rocked all the same! I wanna thank Joacim for all the shit-eating CILF-nailing grins! Oscar for settling for the chunky one! Dave and Shravan for the original link, and Dave and Shravan all over again for "cunterfuge!" Drive home safely, and goodnight!

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