Wednesday smilejerker: the epic sequel to the 101 rules of power metal

Hope you enjoyed last week’s article, and you find this to be just as epic (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read and you’ll find out); this comes from too. So without further ado, here it is:

1. Denim and leather went out with Saxon. Silk and steel is the new thing.
2. If you do mix genres, power metal is still the dominant type. (e.g. blackened power metal) This is largely because power metal is infinitely more epic than the others styles, but also because “empowered” death metal just sounds stupid.
3. Not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have a couch to slay. Sing a mighty hymn of remembrance for these brave souls before you leap into battle with your furniture.
4. Even if you don’t know anything about international politics, you can still write stories about the international relations of magical kingdoms.
5. By “international relations”, I mean “war.” Nobody wants majestic steel anthems about trade embargoes.
6. When giving interviews, be sure to mention that your musical influences include Thor.
7. Openly religious themes are generally a bad idea. Writing extremely vague songs about ‘destiny,’ ‘fate,’ ‘time,’ and other such metaphysics is a much better way to go.
8. Re-release your entire catalogue with a new bonus track in Japan. Then make everyone else pay three times as much for an album they already have for the one B-side and the cover of a Helloween song.
9. If you covered a Helloween song from “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” or “Chameleon,” please do the world a favor and die.
10. Fireworks are epic. Be sure to refer to them as “Dragon’s Breath” or “The Great Flame of Dirty Laundry Smiting.”
11. A note on fireworks: don’t get yourself set on fire like James Hetfield. True metal warriors can play with fire without getting burned.
12. Include as many vowels in your name as possible. Ideally, it will be the same name as the magical kingdom you sing about.
13. Gettysburg was not a magical kingdom. Shame on you, Jon Schaffer!
14. Naming your band Spinefarm, Nuclear Blast, or Steamhammer will not get you a contract. It will, however, get you plenty of internet traffic.
15. And a cease and desist letter.
16. Or a copyright infringement lawsuit.
17. They would make great album titles or stage names. “On bass, the legendary thundering giant of mighty low-end music, Steamhammer!”
18. Promo photos come in two types: standing around in T-shirts looking sullen, or basking in the glorious light of the universe holding swords up high, dressed in robes fit for a king.
19. Music videos should be shot in the snow.
20. You should also be shot in the snow for making such crappy music videos.
21. If this proves problematic, just record the band playing the song in a warehouse, forest, or room full of water.
22. Why do you play? For the king, for the land, for the mountains, for the green valleys where dragons fly, for the glory, the power to win over the dark lord!
23. Not to mention the right to write an album based on a crappy 80’s fantasy movie. Why isn’t “Willow” a five disc series yet?
24. Sonata Arctica is not “ice metal.” Power metal is the mightiest descriptor that can be bestowed upon a band; there’s no need to thin the blood by making up a new subgenre.
25. ESP and Jackson will provide your guitars.
26. Gotcha! Like anybody’s actually going to sponsor you…
27. Never change. A sequel should be sonically identical to its predecessor.
28. Step one: loincloths.
29. Step two: mountains.
30. Step three: live like barbarians in the wilderness. Get in touch with nature, kill to eat, and let the power of the dragonflame burn in your heart!
31. If you actually DO feel the power of the dragonflame burning in your heart, I’d recommend Tums.
32. Narration is a great way to fill in those parts of your epic saga that are better expressed in prose than in song.
33. Hire a competent narrator, though… nobody has yet, except for Rhapsody finally wising up to hire Christopher Lee.
34. No, Christopher Lee will not work on your album, too. Level up a few times, and maybe then.
35. Iron Maiden is the father.
36. Dragonforce is the Son.
37. Tolkien is the Holy Ghost.
38. Trigger your drums, unless you are a man-sized Speedy Gonzalez. (I would make a joke about Speedy Gonzalez explaining why all the Brazilians are in power metal bands, but then I’d sound like an ethnocentric jerk. Remember, kids, true warriors come in all colors, sexes, and magical species.)
39. Play everything really fast because it’s more epic. Dragonforce, therefore, is the most epic band possible.
40. Think of some epic sounding name for your genre like ‘+1 Extreme Operatic Dragonslaying Symphonic Melodic Epic Heavy Hollywood Power Metal of the Mighty War Gods of Finland.’
41. You are definitely not plain ‘power metal.’
42. Hansi is God.
43. Singers aren’t allowed balls unless they are Hansi, because he is God.
44. You must sing; they don’t have rap in Middle Earth and real elves don’t growl.
45. Orcs, however, make excellent guest vocalists to fill in the growling niche.
46. Make sure you have Stratovarius, Helloween and Iron Maiden listed as your influences.
47. Listen to Nightfall in Middle Earth every day.
48. Watch your Lord of the Rings DVDs at least once a week.
49. If you watch all the extended editions back to back, you can consider yourself epic. And unemployed.
50. Read Lord of the Rings every month or two.
51. AND the Silmarillion.
52. For your English literature class, write your final thesis paper as a comparison between Tolkein and Blind Guardian’s interpretation of his works.
53. Make sure everyone thinks you are gay. Armor, loincloths, and face-paint (NOT corpse-paint) all add a lot to this. For the ideal model, find some pictures of Ronnie James Dio, the mightiest man in the history of metal.
54. You are definitely NOT gay.
55. Irrelevant to whether you’re gay or not [which you aren’t] you fancy Tuomas Holopanien AND Tarja Turunen.
56. Love songs are acceptable, but it has to be epic love which involve deaths and hopefully dragons and/or demons.
57. You cannot have songs about sex, that’s just not epic.
58. Oceanborn was so much better than Once.
59. High pitched screams are allowed, but they are epic battlecries.
60. Don’t ever make decent music videos.
61. All your fans want you to make decent music videos with battle scenes.
62. They will always be disappointed, although they will appreciate the gesture of including a forty-foot tall inflatable dragon to your stage props.
63. Frilly shirts ARE metal.
64. Though not as metal as chainmail.
65. You can’t afford chainmail so use grey fabric mesh you bought from a fetish shop.
66. Your stage wardrobe should exude an attitude of “tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1599.”
67. Draw no distinctions between your stage personality and your normal life. While carrying around your sword in public might draw an uncomfortable amount of attention, it will be great publicity for your new album, “Orgul Silverleaf, Orc Hunter: the Epic Quest, Volume XIII.”
68. Fast is mighty, so double kick pedals to exaggerate the speed of your music wouldn’t go astray.
69. There is no speed limit in power metal. It’s even mightier to start off slow and then kick it to overdrive!
70. Sit at your computer for hours on end drawing up lists of the rules of power metal. It’s a guaranteed chick magnet, even if you’re female.
71. Constantly buy new albums on Ebay. Imports and international CDs are better, because even though the bands all sound the same, a CD is simply more epic if it has one extra track.
72. You don’t have a fan club, you have an army.
73. No, seriously. They’ve all got swords, too.
74. The band that slays together, stays together. Unless you slay each other. But that’s OK, because Varg doesn’t play power metal.
75. Tastelessly interrupt your subdued ballad with an obnoxiously loud and completely unrestrained guitar solo. What would kill the song in other genres is necessary here to wake up metalheads who fell asleep while you were singing about stalking your ex-girlfriend with your +2 Camcorder of Invisibility.
76. Your album ought to max out the holding capacity of a CD. You haven’t given enough glory to your king unless you have composed a 78-minute epic in his honor.
77. If you find that you can’t compose almost eighty minutes of blistering solos and testicle-wrenching harmonies, then you can leave an inexplicable pause of nothing at the end of the CD.
78. For the king, for the land, for the mountains, for the green valleys where dragons fly, for the glory the power to win the dark lord, you will search for the emerald sword.
79. Never tour in the US.
80. Claim that you never tour the US because of passport problems, when we all really know that you just don’t want to be anywhere close to the nation that produced Garth Brooks.
81. Make sure that your band is, for the most part, really only one person who happens to have other people who play his music. Your models, as always, ought to be Luca Turilli and Timo Tolkki.
82. Don’t be Timo Tolkki.
83. Never produce decent merchandise. Your logo looks cool on albums, but your shirts all look like crap.
84. Women sing. They are not allowed to have any other roles in the band. This is rather unfortunate, as they are the only people in the band who would actually look GOOD with long hair.
85. If you run out of ideas around this point, rehash your first composition.
86. When attending a power metal concert, please check your sword at the door.
87. After enough beer, “Breakfast with Cthulhu” actually does sound like a good idea for a concept album.
88. Ümläuts improve your credibility. Do your best to be born in a country where they are a standard part of your alphabet.
89. Liner notes must either include original artwork, or photos of your guitarist looking like a jackass onstage.
90. Some bands are ambiguously power metal, and instead get categorized as ‘speed metal’ or plain old ‘heavy metal.’ While you may enjoy them, if they can’t be shameless and unabashed power metallers, then they may not join you on your camping trip.
91. And by ‘camping trip’ I mean “running around in the woods with swords while singing your battlecries and hoping to find an elf.”
92. Think “family friendly.” Don’t swear, and please refrain from eating your bandmates. See rule #74.
93. Have an intro track. This means “one minute of keyboards that gradually get louder.”
94. Instrumental tracks should be limited to one per album. This is primarily because they do not advance your storyline very much, unless your Nordic warrior has to prove himself in a yodeling contest against the dark lord, in which case you really need to write a new story.
95. If you’re desperate for an extra B-side, cover an Iron Maiden song.
96. If you’re VERY desperate for an extra B-side, cover a Scorpions song.
97. Two-disc sets are epic. Unfortunately, it’s usually very difficult for both discs to be good.
98. If you have doubts about one of your friends being a true warrior, ask him to name every project that Alex Holzwarth has played for. If your friend cannot successfully name them all, begin your epic quest in search of all the discs to save your friend from being trapped in an evil dimension devoid of power metal.
99. If you mom walks in on you applying your facepaint while wearing a loin-cloth and a cape, I really can’t offer you any help, dude.
100. I still think I ran out of funny things to say back on the other list.
101. You should be proud of your mighty followup, particularly when it is also 101 rules long. Take great pride in the accomplishment, especially because this time there were guest artists involved.

102. Record your live album in Japan, because, honestly, where in the hell else are you actually going to be able to pull a good enough crowd for a live album?

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