Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kreator's Barbarian Revolution



A new video is out for the title track of KREATOR's new album, and it's got swords, guitars, mountains of skulls, a barbarian warrior, a corrupted king, and more. For those in the know, there are visual references to several Frank Frazetta paintings, and for that, I love the video. (The song is good too...while I haven't yet heard the album, it received a thumbs up from Atanamar.)

However the video also features tons of dudes wearing naught but loincloths. While that same image is something present in all the greatest Frazetta and Vallejo paintings, and all the best 1980's barbarian flicks, it's difficult to take seriously in 2009. The image of a bronzed muscled barbarian warrior is just too real. Or maybe too gay.

Either way, I'd like to pose the question: do barbarian warriors have a place in these postmodern times?

As the first step towards addressing this question, allow me to theorize that the rise of the viking in the current zeitgeist owes itself to this very decline in barbarian warrior acceptance. For evidence of the current viking mania, see

1) Amon Amarth
2) Enslaved
3) a bunch of other Viking metal bands I don't listen to
4) The killer relaunch of Marvel's THOR (yes, comic books are metal)
5) and the recent Viking specials on PBS (yes, PBS is metal).

Vikings are so hot right now, because we can no longer handle the near nakedness of barbarian warriors. Vikings have many of the cool attributes of barbarian warriors (insatiable thirst for battle, women, and mead; swords, horned helmets; bad teeth) and none of the bad ones (loincloths, shaved and oiled chests).

The obesity epidemic of the Western world might also have something to do with this. Heavy metal bands can grow beards, purchase tunics, helms, and mead horns (they probably sell these things at the Scandinavian branch of Hot Topic) and look like a viking. It's been done, and it works. However, their bellies are now too large to convincingly do the barbarian thing a la Manowar. You can hide a belly (yes, beer guts are metal) inside that artificially war-torn ("distressed?") tunic, but a barbarian's garb hides absolutely nothing. The result? Tons of Viking metal bands, and precious few barbarian metal bands.

In conclusion, I believe that barbarians can once again capture our collective imaginations, but not until the world undergoes some subtle changes. First of all, we need to get totally ripped. Go on ebay right now, sell yr rare black metal vinyl, and purchase a Bowflex. Second, the current administration must aggressively push a pro-barbarian agenda abroad, into Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. This is a delicate geo-political tango, indeed.

I think KREATOR has taken a few steps in the right direction. Are you ready to embrace barbarians again? Recommended reading: Robert E. Howard and John Norman. Recommended viewing: Deathstalker II, The Warrior and the Sorceress.

KREATOR tours this spring with EXODUS to support the new album.

31 comments:

twin earth said...

Last week or so I downloaded Ralph Bakshi´s movie "Fire and Ice". It is an animated film based on Frank Frazetta´s paintings, so it is like an 80´s metal album cover come to life (think He-Man for adults). Of course the cheese factor is the highest possible, but it is really fun to watch. Since this is the kind of shit that impressed me immensely at the newsagent´s when I was a kid, I love that kind of stuff. So yes, barbarians do have a place in our modern world.

Anonymous said...

Great vid. I'm glad Mille and the boys elected to have actors instead of themselves portraying the barbarians. There's nothing worse than a bunch of pale, flabby, 50 year old krauts trying to be Conan.

jared said...

cool post. please replace the sarge.

alex_sotheran said...

In today's current world of archaeological thought and theory it is held that the 'vikings' were in fact peaceful settlers and farmers, with a few bad apples spoiling the barrel (Think about the yobbos that attacked Lindisfarne). I can't really imagine Amon Armath coming up with songs about crop rotation or Enslaved writing lyrics dealing with the difficulties of field clearance and tilling the earth.

More Barbarians!!

Lucho Metales said...

Is the current anti-barbarian sentiment in the world of metal a sign of its checkered homophobic past? Are the guys in the credit card commercials ("what's in your wallet?") a mix of both? Does Joey DeMaio wear a viking hat while taking out the garbage at his mom's house? Like all subjects in the realm of metal, we are left with more questions than answers. As far as the place that barabarians/vikigs hold in postmodern times, i ask you this: Would it not have been postmodern and self-referential to have Mille play one of the characters? Would this not have fit in nicely with the realistic fantasy stylings of the Garcia Marquez? My brain is overheating...I better go listen to Exodus.

CW said...

Well i did read that a remake of conan the barbarian is in the works for 2010. Whilst this perhaps being a sign that a reappraisal of barbarian culture is on the cards it may also mean that hollywood will shit all over a classic. But at least if that is the case we can be happy in the knowledge that crom will make a killer album about how original conan could beat the shit out of nu-conan!

alex_sotheran said...

@ CW, Isn't the original Conan a Hollywood movie anyway? It's not as though it was filmed as it happened by a Hperborean documentary film crew. Sorry to break any myths...

darley said...

Up until the part where the chick in the Princess Leia Return of the Jedi garb showed up, it played like a presentation on behalf of the gay barbarian alliance.

That said I’ve always had a secret fondness for a man in those hairy He-Man underpants. For those barbarians of a certain age for whom all that mead had gone to the hips I don’t think there’s any shame in flinging on a faux fur sofa throw and working it as a barbarian mu mu.

Robert H said...

Besides, the second Conan movie already shit all over the original when they made it 'PG' (the original was an 'R' rating at least).

D said...

Stephen Colbert just brought up the whole viking/raping/pillaging/maruading thing in The Word segment on thursday I believe. Since he's a huge D&D/fantasy guy, it was pretty well done. Plenty of references to nordic lore.

So, there's that.

Pencil said...

I like how this has devolved into a discussion about Conan. Yes, the next logical step in the Conan film franchise is to make Conan the King, but Arnie's not playing the aged Cimmerian so what's the point in caring?.. I heard they were actually planning on making this with Duane "The Rock" Johnson as Conan's son....hopefully that idea will remain scrapped.

Pencil said...

Dwayne*...whatever.

CW said...

Your shitting me, youll tell me conan has laid down his steel and is now governing some far off land totally sans loin cloth.
Ah well i like to think of the
80's as the second golden age of hollywood a time that gave us short circuit, robocop and fatal beauty. Not the nostalgia rapists and endless stream of horror remakes we know today.

Mike said...

I CAN'T WAIT for the white belt scenester vikings to start showing up. Maybe ex-Juggalos can take up the mantle.

atanamar said...

I think that the model of postmodern barbarian is embodied by wrestlers.
Wrestlers are bronzed, muscled, and wear naught but loincloths.
What's the difference, say, between Triple H and one of the guys in this video? There is a clear difference, but it's hard to articulate.
Facial hair?
Wrist guards?

Ian Spermgrinder said...

Next subject, please.

Cthulhupal said...

now that were on the subject...

LOOK AT THAT FUCKING ARTWORK!!
http://www.metalkult.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/gates_of_conqueror.jpg

There is one band that carries the howard/conan flag tat must absolutely be checked out.

The gates of slumber released "Conqueror" this year and it is amazing. It's probably one of the best album of last year.

cthulhupal said...

wow i totally butchered those last 2 sentences.

sorry im at work brain dead.

cthulhupal said...

on another note. Rose McGowan is playing Red Sonja.

Howard is probably spinning in his grave knowing that blowing a guy named robert rodriguez is all you need to play a heroine.

savage said...

i cant believe that no one even mentioned that it is 2009 and Kreator is actually still playing "decent" thrash metal.


i think mille should have stepped in at the end and swung his flying V like a battle axe and cut their heads off.

Daru Jericho said...

Ah, I forgot to watch the video! Thanks for posting it. And the whole barbarian thing isn't homoertoic; there are actually females like me who like seeing oiled up six-packs on men with long hair wearing barely any clothes. Furry boots is a major plus too. We wimminz love the barely clad guys and request more! For guys, sex appeal is everywhere. Time for a change.

Zena Metal said...

Um... I'm going on the record and disagreeing with the above comment.

More Seriously: Not a single 300 reference? Really? This video looks like Zach Snyder f'd it up the way he surely did Watchmen.

dymon said...

I watched DEATHSTALKER 2 just a few weeks ago. Monique Gabrielle was fucking hot!

shargraves said...

Deathstalker 2 is one of the greatest films of all time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Kreator sure has come a long way. From the thanks list on Terrible Certainty that states "No thanks to Faggots + Gays for spreading aids" to 22 years later having a ragingly homoerotic music video. Maybe that whole "people hate most of others what they see in themselves" is true. Either way, I'm a lifetime Kreator fan. Assuming they don't put out another industrial album that is.

nano247 said...

at first i thought it was a Danzig video

Mick said...

Looks like a tribute to pulp fantasy of the 50's, with references to Conan, Death Dealer etc.

Can't hear the song but my shit-tolerance is quite low for thrash metal (I can stand the soporific effects of generic Death Metal but i'd slash my wrists before hearing another generic Thrash song in 2009, I got enough of Pyracanda, Overkill and Annihilator 20 years ago, I won't mention those post-Bewitched monstrosities.

That said, I wonder why no one mentioned the bare chested barbarian on the cover of the first Kreator album. They just got back to their origins. Next will be the body-builder demon on a pile of skeletons.

Now let's wait to see who they'll cast for playing Korgull in the next Voivod video.

Aleks said...

Its really like I'm watching a pixar movie! So much CGI.

Chris said...

Daru, thing is, slaying dragons doesn't pay as much as it used to. You'd probably have to buy those dudes dinner and then drive them to their graveyard shift at a distribution center, where they operate a forklift, dumbly taking shit from their shift manager who likes John Mayer.

How's that for sex appeal?

Sergeant D said...

cool post. please replace the sarge.

:(

Dr. DeMaio said...

If civilization thought they were cool then barbarians wouldn't be barbarians.