Theme Thursday – What’s In A Name?

Lately, I have been perusing Scuzz and Kerrang (channels on Sky) looking at videos hoping to discover something new to listen to.  These are also the channels I turn to when I want to see some old school thrash which is usually played during hours of darkness.

Unfortunately for me, these channels promote much of the newer style of either scream-till-you-bleed metal or the more pop-metal types.  Either way, my time spent on viewing Scuzz and Kerrang usually amount to a quick check here and there.  The reason for the minimal effort is because I am turned off when I see a band’s name if it doesn’t resonate metal.  I hate to judge a book by its cover, but when I see a band name that has no relation to anything that sounds like it could be metal, I don’t want to take time to hear it.  I guess this is a sign of my age, “damn kids these days.”

This theme is about a band’s name.  If you want to attract a metal audience, shouldn’t your band name sound evil or heavy?  When I was young, I took at least some pleasure in tormenting my parents with listening to bands like Suicidal Tendencies; “all I want is a Pepsi, just one Pepsi.”  I always liked/loved metal, but the band’s name – Suicidal Tendencies made my mother think I had problems.  All I really wanted was just a Pepsi 😉 and my walkman so I could listen to my metal in peace!

I know I am getting old in metal years, so if you do not understand the “Pepsi” reference, then watch this video before proceeding with the rest of my point.  This is classic!

Anyway, at a minimum, a metal band should choose a name that might give the listener a clue that they are a metal band.  If that were the case, I wouldn’t be so quick to turn the channel when looking at videos.  Here is a list of some bands that, without question, imply their metal existence.

Megadeth, Slayer, Machine Head, Death, Death Angel, Morbid Angel, Cradle of Filth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Biohazard, Anthrax, Metallica, Five Finger Death Punch, Pantera, Evile, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, DevilDriver, Mastodon, Suicidal Tendencies, Cannibal Corpse, Six feet Under, and Arch Enemy to name a few.

Now, let’s talk about the meat and potatoes of this week’s theme.  I am in no way bashing anyone musically; that would be another theme of the week.  This is about a band’s name.  Let’s face it, we are in the information age, times are fast, and I can’t afford to spend 30-seconds wondering if a band like Asking Alexandria is heavy.  In my opinion, this list of bands could use a little help is metalizing their name.  I have included suggestions on how to “sound more metal.”

Asking Alexandria – No indication of metal here.  Try Killing Alexandria.  That sounds more metal.

The Devil Wears Prada – Really?  We already have a book and a movie of the same name.  Did you buy the rights to the name?  Just because the word “devil” is in the title doesn’t make it heavy.  Try The Devil. The current name is a too long and too hard to chant at a show.  It’s also hard to search for TDWP videos on YouTube because…of the movie clips.

Papa Roach – Blurring the lines between rap, pop, and metal – Papa Roach sounds better suited for a rap artist.  A complete name change is needed here.  I recommend Severed if it’s not already taken.  Severed says that you are cutting yourself off from any particular genre.

Taking Dawn – Is this referring to a person or time of day?  How about Death at Dawn, or Dawn of the Dead? Just be aware of copyright infringement on the latter of the two.

Bring Me The Horizon – Another time of day reference.   Try Dark Horizon or Deadly Horizon.  I think these guys are playing with Machine Head in December so I will be sure to let them know if I get backstage.

Black Veil Brides – Okay, could be metal initially, but I am thinking chick band not dudes.  I can see where this band would appeal to mainstream rockers.  To sound more masculine and metal, I recommend using one of their song titles…Fallen Angels as a band name.  I think it better fits the style of music they play.

Job For A Cowboy – I’m thinking country here; not pulse pounding, flesh-eating, metal mayhem that they are.  They do have metal-looking script in their title which is cool, but the name alone implies cattle ranching.  Perhaps naming their band Murderous Cowboy Killing Rampage would be more appropriate for their style.

Parkway Drive – This title could belong to anyone, but I am thinking sunny California rich kid pop boy-band.  These guys are actually quite heavy, possibly still from sunny California, I don’t know.  Something is needed to metalize this band name; how about Parkway Drive Massacre or Parkway Drive Killers.  If they want to drop Parkway Drive all together they should just go with Execution.  I feel like I am about to be murdered in the basement when I listen to them.  That is generally a good sign of good metal.

A Day To Remember – The day metal was invented?  I am not getting that by the title.  How about the simplest of days to remember…D-Day!   That sounds heavy to me.

These are just some suggestions.  I could be missing something in my old age of 38.  Perhaps the joke is on me…that metal bands are disguising themselves by naming their band something non-metal.  I guess it makes them more accessible to the mainstream until word of mouth spreads that they are indeed a metal band.  Why go through all that trouble?  If you are metal; declare it!

Here are a few videos to accompany the bands discussed in this post.  Let me know if you think the name of a band matters.

The Devil Wears Prada

Taking Dawn

Bring Me The Horizon

Job For A Cowboy

Parkway Drive

A Day To Remember


About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on October 5, 2011, in Theme Thursday and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great post, I really enjoyed this one!!
    I think a bands name goes a real long way. I know in the end the music behind the name is what matters, but like you said, if a band has a name that doesn’t appeal to me or at least represent their sound in some way I’m not going to bat an eye passing it up.
    Nowadays when I see a band with a “verb”the”noun” name or a sentence name my mind goes directly to the whole scream until your head pops scene, which, with the exception of a few bands and songs, I don’t particularity have any interest in. When I first saw Between the Buried and Me’s name pop up on the scene I completely passed them by for that reason, strange that in the end that name now really fits them and is quite metal IMO. But if they had chosen something shorter, like Between the Buried or The Buried, I would have been more hasty to check them out.
    I know there are plenty of good metal band names out there. When I was younger me and my friends would think up cool band names for laughs, and since then I’ve only seen one ever get used(Single Bullet Theory, they kinda suck though). In Italy there is a kind of pasta called Strozzapreti which translates to Priest Chokers, I thought that would be an awesome Italian(or where ever) death metal band name, and like a lot of death metal it’s silly because it’s a pasta and it’s brutal because, well choking priests is pretty messed up.
    Some of these kids nowadays need to start putting a little bit more into their band name. If one wants to make a living off their music they need to realize that the band isn’t just music, it’s also a brand name, and a great brand name goes a real long way. Look at Apples products, I-Pod, I-Mac ect. The “I” makes it personal, marketing genius(and RIP Steve Jobs, a outstanding entrepreneur). Bands need to be thinking those terms to survive in the long run.
    And in response to “Why go through all that trouble? If you are metal; declare it!” Well said!! Part of being “metal” is being unapologetic, you got something to say, say it, that’s been the metal way since the whole metal realm started. Black Sabbath had things to say and damn did they make everyone listen even if not immediately.

  2. You know that is exactly the reason why I passed up Between the Buried and Me. I think I caught a quick glimpse of a video and it just happened to be one of their heavier bits w/screaming and I was like “nope” and never looked back. Since you posted stuff about them I took the time to listen and realize their brilliance and gave them a shot. So, it took all this time, word of mouth, and effort to become a fan. They could have had me ealier if they had a more simple name.

    This theme was intended to be somewhat lighthearted, but also basically true. I think a name means a lot initially. It’s the first impression, the attraction. If I had to choose a band to listen to, do I pick Asking Alexandria or Dakest Hour? I go with Darkest Hour because it resonates metal and sounds cool. Marketing is everything and it gave me an idea for another theme.

    And yes, metal should not have to compromise.

    Priest Chokers would attract some negative attention, but for metal that sells records.

  1. Pingback: Theme Thursday – Heavy Metal Marketing « A Metal State of Mind

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