My 8 year old is a metalhead. Can you help me find music for him?
March 1, 2010 3:54 PM   Subscribe

My 8 year old is a Metalhead. Help me find him some good (and age appropriate) songs.

Since he was a tyke, he has preferred the harder stuff. White Stripes and Led Zeppelin at age 5. Now he seems drawn to the heavier material. I have an eclectic taste in music and while I occasionally go into the catalogs of folks like Motorhead, older Metallica and recently System of a Down, I generally stick to other genres.

So is there actually "metal" without some of the darker connotations? There is obviously a lot of stuff I have to filter: lyrics can't be obscene, themes can't be too dark. It's a weird line: using my own examples above, there are some songs by Motorhead that I'm fine with, almost none by System of a Down.

With tfew exceptions, my knowledge of the hard rock/metal world pretty much stops when my teens did: in the late 80's. So "safe choices" to me are at folks like Def Leppard, Bon Jovi (although a part of me cringes deeply at this prospect). What else should I be considering?
posted by jeremias to Media & Arts (74 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:56 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

What things, specifically, do you object to? Violence? Sex? Drugs? Misogyny? Profanity? Satan? Political content?
posted by box at 3:58 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

An eight year old rockin out to Nightwish would be an awesome eight year old. The only thing I can think of that wouldn't be obscene would be Aryeon or Angra. Dream Theater. I actually lost my only Aryeon album, so I haven't listened to it as much I wanted to. I think it falls somewhere in the "fantasy metal" genre, pretty sure there were no dragons in it though. Angra is pretty epic though, some christian overtones but nothing outright "praise jebus".
posted by bam at 4:03 PM on March 1, 2010

IMO, Savatage's Hall of the Mountain King and Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part 2 would be great. 22 years on, I still think they're amazing albums, and I can't see how the content would be seen as objectionable by anyone.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:05 PM on March 1, 2010

Don't know if they're "heavy" enough for your Mötley möppet, but Rush's themes and lyrics were relatively free from sex, drugs & Scary Stuff*. *Randian Libertarianism not withstanding
posted by applemeat at 4:07 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Is Apocalyptica metal enough? They do instrumental covers of metal songs.
posted by Jpfed at 4:09 PM on March 1, 2010

Your son sounds very cool - and it's great that you want to help him develop his interest in music.

I don't know if you're into Rammstein at all, but they're an interesting group that has the "hard" sound that can appeal to metal fans. Plus, most of their songs are sung in German, and presuming your son doesn't speak the language, he won't encounter the objectionable content you want to avoid.

I think Rammstein's "Moskau" is a really cool song - it's lyrics are a mix of German and Russian. Of course, in the song the city itself is metaphorically compared to a prostitute, but hey - your son doesn't need to know that!

Maybe you could try foreign metal as a starting point? It captures the unique sound while circumventing your potential problems with lyrics/content.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 4:12 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

My tastes run kind of like yours: wide-ranging, but without a lot of metal, and the little I have is skewed toward bands like Motorhead. So, I'm by no means a metal expert, which means that this recommendation should be taken with a big ol' grain of salt.

One heavier/louder/metal type album I have enjoyed is Mastodon's Leviathan, a concept album based on Moby-Dick. I'm not great at picking out lyrics in metal songs, but I googled the lyrics and it looks like there's no swearing. Moreover, to the extent the themes are lyrically dark, they do follow (if loosely, at times) from Melville's novel.

I say, if we're going to go metal, we might as well respect the classics while we're doing it. Plus, if it's a hit, there's an excuse to watch that ridiculously enjoyable non-metal John Huston/Gregory Peck film adaptation with your son.
posted by .kobayashi. at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2010

Iron Maiden might work. ...Dark, yes, but not soul-crushing or obscene
posted by applemeat at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2010

Its hard to get around the lyrics thing, but my first suggestions are Helmet, Atreyu and In Flames.
posted by blaneyphoto at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2010

Dragonforce? Their lyrics are basically goofy fantasy novel stuff.

There's also Mastodon who are both darker and heavier than Dragonforce. However, that darkness still runs in the kooky over the top fantasy novel vein. At least, that's my reading of it.

Here are some lyrics for the respective bands so you can make your own call.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:21 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Deep Purple!

Most of Purple's songs have no more real lyrical content than the average brainless "I love you baby" pop song. Highway Star, Black Night, Smoke on the Water of course, unless you think a song about a big fire would be too scary. Heck, Space Truckin' and Lazy could pretty much be sung to a different tune by Barney the Dinosaur. Hush is only barely more suggestive than I Want to Hold Your Hand.

I wouldn't worry about a kid listening to the whole of Made in Japan, personally, but you might object to Child in Time or Strange Kind of Woman or something. It's now very easy to make a least-scary-lyrics compilation, of course.

I love the idea of a kid idly singing the complete correct lyrics of Smoke on the Water while playing with Lego (perhaps building a hotel, by a lake...). Make this happen!
posted by dansdata at 4:22 PM on March 1, 2010

Seconding Blind Guardian. They're the best of the Hobbit Metal bands. Maybe also Lordi, who are like a less disgusting version of GWAR.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:24 PM on March 1, 2010

Oooh, seconding In Flames.
posted by bam at 4:26 PM on March 1, 2010

Nthing Dragonforce: innoccuous lyrics; metal glory!

Give a band called "Pillar" a listen. They're Christian-friendly without explicit preaching in the lyrics. "Frontline" is a very good example of their style.
posted by DWRoelands at 4:27 PM on March 1, 2010

How about something like Tool? You'll need to be selective, but most of their more recent stuff, especially Lateralus, isn't going to hit any of your worries. White Zombie, at least some of their stuff, might be fun. Perfect Circle, another band from James Maynard Keenan of Tool, is also quite good.
posted by griffey at 4:30 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is a lot of metal where the lyrics might be obscene aren't going to be understood without a lyrics sheet -- but if you want something that has guitars and angry men yelling but isn't necessarily full of obscene/profane lyrics, there's a lot of industrial music that might fit the bill -- 16volt, Cubanate, Hellsau, The Young Gods, Ministry, OhGr...
posted by Jairus at 4:31 PM on March 1, 2010

Lightning Bolt?
posted by 31d1 at 4:33 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

I heart me some Yngwie Malmsteen; his stuff is pretty much goofy fantasy. If that's not hard enough and instrumental only stuff is fine, I've found some interesting stuff on youtube like CROW'S CLAW and =Neutral=. (If those last two links fit the bill nicely, feel free to mail me for more.)
posted by Chan at 4:33 PM on March 1, 2010

especially Lateralus, isn't going to hit any of your worries

I will second Lateralus here - it's an incredibly interesting song that explores, among other themes, the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Spiral. The subtle changes in time signature and the placement of syllables within the lyrics are noteworthy and thought-provoking.

It's an amalgam of music and mathematics - and it may end up being educational if your son starts to do some research as a result of listening to it.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 4:38 PM on March 1, 2010

I can't believe no one has suggested Black Sabbath - the original heavy metal band. Hit or miss with some songs but it's simple to vet them ahead of time with youtube and the thousand lyric sites on the web. Best riffs ever.

Try: The Wizard (lyrics), Paranoid (lyrics), Planet Caravan (lyrics), maybe Sabbra Cadabra (sexual lyrics, but honestly I'd let my kid listen to it when he's 8) (and there's a Metallica cover), and Under the Sun (lyrics)

Probably stay away from Sweet Leaf (about weed), Snowblind (about cocaine), N.I.B, Black Sabbath (the song), War Pigs and Sabbath Bloddy Sabbath and half of their other stuff until you've vetted it.

Deep Purple and Blind Guardian are excellent suggestions too.
posted by ish__ at 4:38 PM on March 1, 2010

Judas Priest falls into the "sure, all the songs are about sex and violence, but they're not all that explicit" category. It'll probably go over the head of an eight-year-old, and by the time he understands the lyrics at age thirteen or so it'll be exactly what he's thinking anyway. Cutting out the most obviously violent, you could do worse than:
Green Manalishi (with the two-pronged crown), Living after Midnight, Breaking the Law, Metal Gods, Heading out to the Highway, Freewheel Burnin', Electric Eye, You've got another thing comin', Some Heads are gonna roll, Private Property, Parental Guidance, and that's just the popular stuff.
posted by five toed sloth at 4:39 PM on March 1, 2010

Somehow (?) my seven year old found this yt video while I had my back turned. He's a hardcore star wars devotee, which is somewhat depressing for reasons I've yet to put my finger on, precisely. The video is a home-grown remix of a bunch of Clone Wars cartoons, over the song Clones by Ash. It's a pretty good song, so I bought it from itunes and we rocked out this morning on the way to school/work. The fact that I had never heard of the band I take as one more sign of my increasing decrepitude.

Also, maybe King's X?
posted by lex mercatoria at 4:43 PM on March 1, 2010

Maybe a choice set of Tenacious D?
Dragon Force? seems like epic fantasy metal, but I really can't pay attention to lyrics anyways...
posted by stratastar at 4:51 PM on March 1, 2010

I would also recommend Kamelot- think of it as a male version of Nightwish. Pop the band into Pandora and you'll get some good stuff. Sonata Arctica in another band along the same lines. I listen to em plenty, though I honestly have no idea what their lyrics are about.
posted by jmd82 at 4:53 PM on March 1, 2010

Lightning Bolt might fry his brain, just FYI. But in that vein, how about Hella? Most of their stuff is instrumental, although they added a vocalist briefly. I'm not terribly familiar with that period of their music.

Boris is an absolutely fantastic band, no matter which genre they're currently playing in; they have a few metal/heavy rock albums that could work for you. They lyrics are all in Japanese, so no worries there.

Pelican may be a nice choice, since they are instrumental metal/post-metal.

I was going to chime in with Mastodon as well, since, although their lyrics can be "dark" it's usually harmless. Leviathan is probably the album with the most lyrical darkness, but it's about Moby Dick, so it's still nothing to worry about for your kid, in my opinion.

Tool's Lateralus is an excellent album, just seconding that one. 'The Grudge' ought to be heavy enough for him.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2010

Seconding Iron Maiden. It's dark but it's campy and fun really.
posted by fire&wings at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2010

Lacuna Coil?
posted by bgrebs at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2010

I guess I shouldn't assume too much... if your kid doesn't understand Japanese, no worries for lyrical content with Boris.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: This is all cool folks thanks . . Already much to work with! Keep em coming though.

What things, specifically, do you object to? Violence? Sex? Drugs? Misogyny? Profanity? Satan? Political content?

Heh, this made me laugh, and sorta gets to the whole point. Is it Metal without these things?

Clearly, sometimes it is and so I have to cop out and borrow a line from Justice Potter Stewart: I can't define inappropriate Metal but I know it when I hear it.
posted by jeremias at 5:03 PM on March 1, 2010

I'm voting for old stuff. Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Rainbow. Maybe Black Sabbath, but I think they, like Pelican, Mastodon and other nouveau short-hair metal bands who use extended interludes and wonky parts, may just be boring to him. Also check out other NWOBHM bands like Riot, City Boy (same producer as the 80s Def Leppard, and better). Zolar X is also a great band in this vein (even if Wikipedia calls them punk rock) from the 70s-80s (and beyond!) who sings mostly about outer space and has a documentary coming out One Of These Years.

Maybe Disturbed? Their singer is a smartypants and Wikipedia quotes him as saying he likes to keep the lyrics cryptic. Maybe some cookie-monster stuff on that token as well. The End, The Sword, Suffocation...The Melvins have lots of nonsense lyrics. Electric Wizard...
posted by rhizome at 5:11 PM on March 1, 2010

Seconding DragonForce, Sonata Arctica, and Blind Guardian. Also, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Edguy, Rhapsody or pretty much anything power metal would be appropriate. Lyrical themes are really all about the power and the glory...not really too much I can think of that would unduly corrupt an 8-year old. And yes, still very metal. \m/
posted by gueneverey at 5:13 PM on March 1, 2010

I seldom pay attention to lyrics but I suppose none of the below go against your guidelines.

Spastic Ink - Ink Complete (instrumental), Ink Compatible

Cynic - Focus

Tool - Lateralus

Spiral Architect - A Sceptic's Universe

Theory In Practice - Colonizing The Sun

Aghora - Aghora
posted by Bangaioh at 5:14 PM on March 1, 2010

posted by Sys Rq at 5:17 PM on March 1, 2010

Most prog metal like Fates Warning and Queensryche is pretty safe lyrically if not the heaviest shit on the planet. Some stuff like King Diamond is so cartoonish it's perfect for little kids, plus he shed most of the Satanic trappings after leaving Mercyful Fate. Some of the Wino projects like Spirit Caravan and his collaboration with ex-Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin are also neutral to Christian friendly, as are I think a lot of Candlemass's albums. The Gathering is totally safe. I mean, sure, some of the lyrical themes in Immortal's songs might be intense for a kid but they are another band that are such a cartoon I think even a kid could figure out that it's kind of a joke.
posted by The Straightener at 5:23 PM on March 1, 2010

Dimmu Borgir. I've recommended them before on the Green.

They're Norwegian. Their lyrics are a lot of times in Norwegian, so unless the youngin' speaks Norwegian, he'll be fine. Also, when the lyrics are in English, you can't understand hardly a damn thing because of the GOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRRGHHHH death metal vocals.

And even if he cut through the vocals to get some words, they're so exquisitely cheesy that I'm pretty sure even his 8-year-old self can laugh them off.

Plus, they can get pretty operatic/orchestral, so it would be a good segue to more, ahem, high-brow learnings. (Sorry.)

May Satan be with you.
posted by functionequalsform at 5:25 PM on March 1, 2010

Megadeth is actually pretty wholesome, if I recall correctly.
posted by contraption at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on March 1, 2010

Manowar! I can't believe I never realized it before, but it is completely metal for seven year olds. It's all metal with NONE of the "adult" themes.

Manowar, Manowar living on the road
When we're in town speakers explode
We don't attract wimps 'cause we're too loud
Just true metal people that's Manowar's crowd

posted by pazazygeek at 5:31 PM on March 1, 2010

Green Jello!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:33 PM on March 1, 2010

Also, the first metal album I ever owned which I got right around his age was Ozzy Osbourne's Diary of a Madman. Ozzy's another one who's so over the top I knew even at that age it wasn't totally serious. Blizzard of Ozz, Bark at the Moon, all pretty kid friendly.
posted by The Straightener at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2010

Ensiferum are the metal band that I totally wish I could play for an 8 year old version of myself.

rad, over the top, viking metal, about monsters and swords and wizards.

Some lord of the rings style violent content in the lyrics, but nothing to graphic or scary.
posted by St. Sorryass at 6:03 PM on March 1, 2010

Seconding Gamma Ray. They sing about space!
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:10 PM on March 1, 2010

I was also going to say Priest or Deep Purple. Rainbow and Sabbath are also good.

Priest has the added bonus, if he's going through or goes through one of those homophobic phases, that Rob Halford is totally 100% gay-o-sexual.

I don't know much of their work, only a few things that have appeared on rhythm games, but you might try Slipknot on a song-by-song basis. Before I Forget seems unobjectionable. Likewise, Disturbed. But definitely song by song for both of them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:12 PM on March 1, 2010

Maybe Steve Vai and/or Joe Satriani? Most of their songs are instrumentals, so no need to worry about lyrical content. Whether or not they are "metal" enough for your son is another question.
posted by CMcKinnon at 6:15 PM on March 1, 2010

If you like the idea of metal in other languages but are afraid of your kid stumbling onto translations of Rammstein, you could consider Renaissance metal, a genre whose existence delights me to no end. In Extremo and Corvus Corax sing in German, Latin, and sometimes languages I don't even recognize, medieval French maybe? Tanzwut is a little less Renaissance-y. I've never paid really close attention to the lyrics but I've never heard anything particularly objectionable.

Some examples: Nein Nein by Tanzwut. Spielmannsfluch by In Extremo. (Spielmannsfluch - "The Minstrel's Curse" - does contain many repetitions of "it's raining blood," and does have one murder. But it's a pretty good story: A rich, mean king kills a young minstrel in his hall. The older minstrel curses the king - curses him with being forgotten, never to be sung of again by any minstrel. Not sure if you would consider it inappropriate but it doesn't seem too bad to me.) Mein Rasend Herz by In Extremo. Feel free to memail if these sound like what you want and you want more recommendations.
posted by mandanza at 6:33 PM on March 1, 2010

Upon further reflection, I think a kid could really enjoy Turisas (does he have a halloween costume picked out yet?). They're super epic and fun. And--you can learn about Viking Eastern European trade routes together!
posted by gueneverey at 6:59 PM on March 1, 2010

I'm not sure how your 8-year-old would react to the growling vocal style that is pervasive in metal, so I'll recommend the following with that caveat. There are melodic vocals! But also growling (not screaming).

In the vein of Ensiferum, Eluveitie is a celtic metal band whose lyrics revolve around fantasy scenarios. Their lyrics are a blend of English, and if I'm not mistaken, Gaulish.

A couple of Devin Townsend albums would fit your criteria (just avoid the Strapping Young Lad era--it's definitely not going to qualify). Ziltoid the Omnicient and Addicted (2) are heavy and aren't so obscene. Ziltoid is a concept album about an omniscient being from the omniverse who is after the universe's ultimate cup of coffee. Hijinks ensue. Addicted is effectively 'dance metal' and the lyrics, although they mention a few darker themes, are about overcoming addictions and problems.

Even Gojira, who are influenced by Meshuggah (just about as face-stompingly heavy as you can get musically--the themes can be very dark though) and who have a very heavy style, are quite clean. From Mars to Sirius contains lyrics that discuss the state of the earth. With flying whales. He might like this.
posted by far from gormless at 7:24 PM on March 1, 2010

At 14, I was really into Anthrax's Persistence of Time, and there isn't much on that that's objectionable other than some "fuck," a Holocaust reference, and one song about drug abuse. Bonus: early Anthrax had a lot of anti-racism messages.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:03 PM on March 1, 2010

Response by poster: I'm not sure how your 8-year-old would react to the growling vocal style that is pervasive in metal . . .

He likes the growls!

More data: he has been listening to this internet radio station and has written down these songs as some favorites:

Circus Maximus
posted by jeremias at 8:07 PM on March 1, 2010

posted by kenliu at 8:56 PM on March 1, 2010

If you get your kid into power metal/glory metal (don't overlook Hammerfall!), which like others have said just involves lyrics about knights and/or Tolkein themes, make sure to teach him the claw.
posted by cmonkey at 9:35 PM on March 1, 2010

He likes the growls!

Your son deserves a high-five. Tell him that someone on the internet thinks he's awesome.

If he likes Circus Maximus then he will for sure like Dream Theater. Start with Octavarium, then try Awake, Scenes From a Memory, and Train of Thought. If all those work, parts of Images and Words will also appeal. To-Mera would also be worth checking out--Dream Theater-esque with female vocals.

Since he likes the growling, maybe give Baroness' Red Album, Amorphis' Skyforger, and Opeth's Blackwater Park a shot on top of Devin Townsend and Gojira. And definitely try out Ziltoid!
posted by far from gormless at 9:38 PM on March 1, 2010

Who's luckier, you for having a kid that like metal and hard rock, or your kid for having a dad who encourages it?

It's not hard rock per se, but what tangentially related (and still rockin') stuff like about the Clash, Bad Religion, early Police, Tom Petty, Nirvana, STP, Weezer, Foo Fighters? Some of them will seem awfully tame in comparison, but even if he tried it out before, his tastes may be more expansive than since he was, well... 5 or 6.

There's also Dave Grohl's one-shot metal project, Probot, which features a different metal vocalist on tracks that Grohl plays most of the instruments on.

And it's really early, but come holiday season, you and your kid might like "Metal Xmas"... And by that time he might even be able to identify most of the musicians on it.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:59 PM on March 1, 2010

High on Fire! Vocalist Matt Pike sounds a bit like Lemmy from Motorhead. Lyrics feature kung fu masters, yetis, and wolves....not too much satanic stuff that I recall.

I want an 8 year old metalhead kid too!!!!
posted by medeine at 9:59 PM on March 1, 2010

You know what, maybe make sure you aren't too enthusiastic about it later on when he's older. Otherwise he might end up being one of those "easy listening" people just to spite you.
posted by bam at 10:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Don Caballero

All instrumental, not quite METAL, but very, very hard-rocking math rock built out of classic metal riffs. They get super-spastic at points, and never fail to pump up my 26-cum-8-year-old self.

Also, a good selection of Filter doesn't include swearing, and their themes tend to be rage-at-the-man, so you might give them a shot.

Jawbox/Burning Airlines (basically the same band) swears at times, but not often, and their themes, while adult, never devolve into crudeness. They're one of the better-spoken bands in any genre, and have some incredibly catchy choruses that'll have him singing on the way to school and bouncing around the house in his underwear.

Sparta is also a pretty high-energy, bombastic metal band that never fails to get under my skin. Again, no sexual or demonic themes, mostly social. There might be swearing, but I haven't listened in awhile. They are obtuse and prefer to wax poetic though.

Clutch, if you don't object to stoner rock, lean toward the dragons/fantastical visions/aliens/soldiers vein. They never explicitly mention that it's drugs they're singing about, but there that is... The guy's voice is just SO ROCK. And the song Pure Rock Fury is something your son will love you for.

You might throw Heavy Vegetable/Thingy/Rob Crow at him. Not metal, more hard/fast pop, but there's songs in there that he'll love, and you. "My Room Has A TV" comes to mind.

The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower is good for GRAAAAAAAR screamy metal. More obtuse social themes, far enough from punk that he won't know the difference, and no swearing in most if not all songs.

Related to Mastadon is the band Isis (I think they renamed themselves Mastadon after some member changes), and their album Oceanic is very close to the epic fantasy rock Mastadon does.

In the same vein of Don Caballero is Oxxxes, who do gritty instrumental post-punk with a heavy metal bent. Look out for swearing in song titles though, some have it, most don't.

Bellini is an awesome band with an Italian lead singer who do mathy metal about...well...I'm not really sure, but the drummer is the same guy from Don Cab, and he's going to make your boy LOVE drums. I can't understand this woman for the life of me, but damn they rock. They're tough to find, but might be good if you don't want your boy listening exclusively to men. The song "Rut Row" is a good place to start with them.

Turing Machine is another instrumental metal group whose songs never droop into silly interludes.

That's all from a cursory perusal of my playlist, but message if you want more! I'm sure I've got lots in here.
posted by saysthis at 10:07 PM on March 1, 2010

In Flames
Dream Theater
Disarmonia Mundi
Killswitch Engage
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:19 PM on March 1, 2010


Proggish folk black metal...about math, science, and philosophy. I can't make this up. Bonus? Most of the songs are in Swedish.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:47 PM on March 1, 2010

Iron Maiden could be pretty good here - as well as being one of the metal standards they've got a lot of historical/mythological/literary references in their songs that could prove an interesting jumping off point for a kid, e.g.

Powerslave (Egyptian mythos), Aces High (Battle of Britain), Rime of the Ancient Maraner, Brighter Than A Thousand Suns (Manhattan Project), The Longest Day (Normandy Landings), Back in the Village (the Prisoner series), Run to the Hills (Colonialism), Phantom of the Opera, Invaders (Vikings), The Trooper (Crimean War/Charge of the Light Brigade), Flight of Icarus, Where Eagles Dare, To Tame a Land (Dune, although Herbet didn't like it), Heaven Can Wait, Alexander the Great, and and on.
posted by rodgerd at 11:47 PM on March 1, 2010

posted by transporter accident amy at 12:26 AM on March 2, 2010

Hatebeak has a parrot for a lead singer, which limits the possibilities for offensive lyrical content in addition to being totally awesome.
posted by contraption at 1:28 AM on March 2, 2010

Definitely Dragonforce, that's just pure power metal fun with a swords and sorcery fantasy feel.

Definitely NOT Rammstein. While the songs might not be terribly explicit, at least one of the videos is quite literally pornographic, and the live shows from what I've seen encompass fetish themes, simulated buggery, and epic five minute fake ejaculations all over the front row of the crowd. Totally rock'n'roll and totally unsuitable for kids.
posted by iivix at 3:03 AM on March 2, 2010

Oh, yes, from upthread, Turisas are definitely recommended, their stuff is all viking themed and I don't remember anything explicit in the lyrics.
posted by iivix at 3:05 AM on March 2, 2010

The sword - A recent take on NWOBHM, with a little bit of a more straight rock bent. Lyrics have some violence and the occasional allusion to the female form, but it's all deep in the swords and sworcery realm. If knights of the round table stories aren't to far out, he should be good to go. Reccomend starting with their first album Age Of Winters as the production is a little more, erm, normal. The second record is good, but a lot rawer in sound. myspace - iron swan is my favorite tune of theirs

Convege - Never got into this band until their most recent record Axe To Fall. This band can pretty out there, but it's also really cheeseball and fun. I have no idea what the lyrics say and I am fairly certain no one who hasn't read the lyric sheet does. Singer Jacob Bannon's vocals are frequently called "indecipherable." myspace - dark horse is the first tune of Axe to Fall and a good starting point

Baroness - Proggy and sweetly melodic (never operatic). I liked their first lp (the red album) better than their second (blue record), but most people disagree with me. The lyrics are pure art-school stuff, so there are individual words like "suicide", "soiled", "defecate", but I find them to be tasteful usages. You can find their lyrics online and should be able to make the call yourself. myspace - jake leg is a pretty solid tune

Valkyrie - One of the guitarists in Baroness old band which is still somewhat active. Unfortunately, I don't have a lyric sheet nearby, but my memory was all swords and sworcery, though with some allusions to modern issues. I know one of the members is and Iraq War veteran and has written some about that, but you wouldn't really know it. The first album is great classic doom with vocal harmonies. The second album adds a new rhythm section that makes things feel a little proggier at times, but it's still pretty ground in classic metal vibes. myspace

Kylesa - Super heavy psychedelic southern metal. Partly female fronted. Their earlier stuff has a distinct rough crust punk vibe, but they've streamlined a lot over the years. Some screaming, some yelling, some singing. Mostly unconventional song structures. Lyrics are mostly symbolic, with lots of discussion of nature and decay. Some songs have featured profanity, but the newest album is clean. myspace - check out scapegoat

Paintbox - Insane japanese metal. Classic songs include "cry of the sheeps." They've gotten a little more psychedelic over the years, but still great melodic metal. Vocals in japanese or occasionally completely nonsensical engrish. They're stuff can be seriously hard to find, but if you have a predilection to firing up a filesharing network, feel free to grab their stuff (they aren't RIAA). The song "oneside surprised" is pure heavy metal guitar heaven.
posted by yeoldefortran at 6:16 AM on March 2, 2010

I will also promote Mastodon and Baroness and toss in Living Sacrifice (which is actually a Christian band so they're certainly not obscene, but you may or may not have issues with the religious message).
posted by geekchic at 6:44 AM on March 2, 2010

Also @medeine
I thought of High on Fire too, as they are my go to metal fix (the art of self defense still ends up on my turntable pretty often). Their lyrics are pretty-profanity free, but, at least on the first few records, almost exclusively about weed, sex, and violence. It's like NWA wrapped up in middle eastern/religious imagery and sung through crooked teeth.
posted by yeoldefortran at 9:03 AM on March 2, 2010

I love Boris and the Melvins and Mastodon, but they might be a little too hook-free for an 8-year-old. (of course, I don't know your 8 year old.)

I'd start with the classics: AC/DC, Ozzy, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss (I loved Destroyer when I was 8). Lots of stuff to bang your head with and sing along to. Anthrax is a good call - I'll predict that he likes "I'm the Man."

You might also consider catchier punk stuff like the Ramones or Green Day (some profanity in here) or Rancid.
posted by chbrooks at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2010

Lots of bands here that I would second (Tool, Clutch, High on Fire, Mastodon...)

A few more primarily instrumental bands that don't have many lyrics and when they do, they're not explicit (IIRC):

Cult of Luna
Red Sparowes (combo of members from the previous two bands, but not as good as either of them)

All of the above tend to be a bit slow and ponderous (except the first Cult of Luna album), so I'm not entirely sure if they'll be exciting enough for an 8 year old.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:52 AM on March 2, 2010

Nthing power metal and prog metal. Bands of those sub-genres seem to be the least offensive in lyrics. Dragonforce, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, and Helloween are all really good.

Also nthing "post rock" like Isis and Pelican. They tend to be instrumental, so no lyrics to worry about.

Speaking of instrumentals, Nevermore's guitarist Jeff Loomis put out an instrumental album recently. It sounds pretty much like Nevermore (one of my favs) with no lyrics.

A lot of death metal songs have inscrutable lyrics. Some bands don't even put lyrics in their liner notes. But the titles and imagery are usually pretty dark, offensive, or gross. Sometimes in a cartoonish way, sometimes not. The band Nile has Egyptian themes, so they tend to be not as bad (except for gems like "Masturbating the War God").

I can't recommend any band across the board. Anyone could throw in an odd swear word or dark lyrical theme. If you're willing to screen, I think you'll find these bands will prove to be explicit much less often:

Dark Tranquillity (sic)
Flotsam and Jetsam
The Gathering
Iron Maiden
Judas Priest
Porcupine Tree
Sanctuary (Nevermore's previous incarnation)
Static X
posted by Anephim at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2010

Seconding Manowar, specifically Gods of War. As long as you don't mind him learning some Norse mythology.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:13 AM on March 2, 2010

Along the lines of the aforementioned Lightning Bolt, only with a (extremely heavy*) Japanese accent, try Melt Banana. Both, however, are more "noise-punk" than "metal".

* - They actually are Japanese. But the lyrics are in English. Sort of. (Sample song title: Lost Parts Stinging Me So Cold.)
posted by FlyingMonkey at 2:20 PM on March 2, 2010

Finntroll is a band that sings from the perspective of Finnish trolls. There may be sex and violence and war talk, but they sing in Swedish (apparently, it's a popular second language in Finland), so it's not going to matter. It's also bright and peppy stuff that I'd imagine a kid would like, with accordion sprinkled here and there.

Then there's Encrimson'd, which is "Peasant Black Metal." It's actually really good, but again, the lyrics are from a novelty perspective - that of medieval peasants. They have songs about reaping the wheat and things like that.

There's a few Sepultura albums that have fairly positive, we-must-fight-on-even-though-the-system-is-terrible lyrical themes that I actually think would be fine for a kid. I'd recommend Chaos A.D. and Arise, with Chaos A.D. being a bit more accessible to a kid, I think.

Oh, if he likes dogs, there's Caninus. They have bloody-ish looking artwork, but the lyrics are fine because they're literally barks. From two dogs.
posted by ignignokt at 9:01 AM on March 6, 2010

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