Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Memorably Bad Metal: Dead On - "Different Breed"

Some metal songs just tickle my funny bone for all the wrong reasons, whether it be overly pretentious or dramatic posturing, horrible production, a lousy vocalist, clumsy lyrics, a lack of technical skill or, on rare occasions, a combination of everything I just mentioned.

Whatever the case, though I'm starting a regular feature to call these tunes out for ridicule, I've got an undeniable soft spot for them and most of them have regular rotation in my metal shuffle playlist.

First up: "Different Breed" from 80s metal band Dead On. Please, don't allow me to color your expectations. Experience it for yourself:

I first heard this song as part of the Shocker soundtrack as a B-side to Megadeth's cover of "No More Mr. Nice Guy", which I bought on cassette. At first I thought was in for some solid speed metal, but the moment the singer's voice kicked in, I laughed from there until the end of the track because I couldn't believe this guy was for real. Then I listened to it again, and again, and again, tears streaming from my eyes. I called my friends and made them listen to it. And we all agreed - this song was simply hilarious.

First, the vocals are so upfront in the mix that one can't help but focus on this gentleman's ... uh ... unique voice. His bizarre phrasing and penchant for random enthusiastic sounds and growls and improvisations are enough to send anyone into fits, but it's the ridiculous intonation of the line "No! You can't choose...ya lose" that puts this one over the top for me, and instantly became an oft-repeated phrase in our little group.

The rest of the song is competent thrash of the period, with the horrible, flat production also of the period. The Inspector Gadget riff that arrives after the mosh part (preceded by the singer's "Here we go!" as if they're about to launch into something awesome) is just weird, though it does lead into a good solo. Then the singer comes in again with his line about entering the demon's lair and I'm struggling to catch my breath.

At the end of the day, though I've harped on the vocalist's godawful performance, I must say that I think I only listened to "No More Mr. Nice Guy" the one time. I can't even count the number of times I've listened to "Different Breed", so in one sense it's actually kind of brilliant.

The indispensable metalhead resource that is No Life 'Til Metal has a complete write up on Dead On (and many, many other bands who've disappeared from our collective consciousness).

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