Austrian Death Machine’s latest parody offers metal a valuable lesson

The heights of heavy metal musical taste can be dizzying. Burdened with the slamming of inferior genres, and less hardcore fans, we often take ourselves too seriously. But have no fear, Tim Lambesis is back to humble us all with Austrian Death Machine, albeit while including features from a half-human, half-robot Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking atop a heap of skulls. Welcome to the world of “Triple Brutal,” the project’s latest album.

ADM’s objective is simple: cram as many machismo one-liners as possible into chaotic, drum-heavy adrenaline bursts of tracks. Guitar solos are played by numerous musicians while Lambesis takes on rhythm guitar, bass and drum duty. Lambesis takes reigns at the microphone along with Joe Gaudet. They make up a dynamic duo that juxtaposes wicked guttural vocals of metalcore with a “brutal” Austrian, tough-guy accent.

In the music world, metal epitomizes manliness. Your stereotypical metalhead rides motorcycles, gets skull tattoos and acts generally gnarly. Such machismo can seem very polarizing, especially when contrasted with the happy-go-lucky nature of pop. But as in other areas of life, making fun of one’s own peculiarities can do serious damage control.

Knowing that this, and not the lyrics, is where meaning resides is critical when evaluating “Triple Brutal.” Most noticeable on the self-aware radar is the revolution of some tracks’ riffs around their chosen Schwarzenegger one-liners, something which often results in repeated gang chants of “I’ll be back!” or “One more rep” throughout choruses or other key segments of the tracks. This technique highlights a silly redundancy that plagues much of metal and other genres today.

Perhaps the best example of this comes from ADM’s sophomore effort, in which Lambesis growls and Arnold complains “Who told you you could eat my cookies” on a track by the same title. The juxtaposition of this corniness with a menacing breakdown proves hilarious, while also serving as a subtle reminder to other bands that watered-down lyrics can ruin a mood that instruments so carefully construct.

The rampant use of guitar solos as transitions on “Triple Brutal” also highlights how they are used as crutches by too many bands. In “It’s Turbo Time,” Arnold even says “you totally forgot the guitar solo. You idiots! Play it! Play it now!” — a clear nod to how much of a staple of metalcore guitar solos have become.

“Triple Brutal,” along with ADM’s other releases, consciously manipulates Schwarzenegger and metalcore’s overt violence and machismo to make comedic and cacophonic rage catchy but clever in its exposition of other bands’ flaws. Since most metalcore groups do not strive to be funny, they could learn a lesson from ADM: steer clear of redundancy and allow for more individual interpretation.

Published April 9, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau

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