Rho Stone’s Audiovisual Adventures: Dream Evil

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Welcome to Audiovisual Adventures, where I pick apart videos the same way weird kids dismember insects they find in their yards.

Because this is the first entry, I’m working with a very simple video. I chose something so generic that whatever I can say about it applies to most videos being made these days. To select this video, I googled “cheesiest metal video ever” and it didn’t take long for “The Book of Heavy Metal” to appear before me.

Something to understand about music videos is that the band involved did not necessarily make any decisions. It’s another artist’s interpretation of the original material. Having said that, what kind of fucking material to work with is this? It’s the dumbest composition they could have thrown together. The lyrics may have been written by an 11 year old. Is Dream Evil making fun of me?

Dream Evil is metal “by the numbers” and this annoying trend is just growing bigger in the world of labels. I know this video is 10 years old, but there’s a new Book of Heavy Metal coming out every week. It’s all leather, spikes, “how I’m better than the rest of society because I wear a black shirt” anthems, and something something biker culture. All the meaning those things had is gone, and pretending you belong to something you don’t makes you, well, a poser.

It’s like executives are writing the music in their offices. They go and say “Yeah, sign a contract with the devil, that’s gonna fit perfectly with our angsty atheist teen demographic, also let’s paint everyone silver. I made a bet with Josh from accounting that we’d find a band stupid enough to do it” and then they do whatever executives do instead of bumping fists. Just because the means of distribution are prefabricated doesn’t mean the music should be as well.

Now let’s go into the video. Even with no artistic material to work with, this is the definition of mediocrity. Let’s start with the concept. When you make a video you tell a story. That’s the first thing you learn in Filmmaking 101. We have this idea in western culture that storytelling is explicitly something with a beginning, a struggle and a conclusion, and a plot ties all that together. We believe this because Aristotle said it a long time ago and everyone just rolled along with it, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Look at the cover of Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son.

IMAGE 1

For a second ignore all you know about Iron Maiden and imagine you’ve never heard of them or their music. Imagine you found this album art at an art exhibition. Are you going to tell me that it doesn’t tell a story? A painting, instrumental music, colors, the way a room is lit, anything that makes you feel a certain way other than “meh” tells a story. People have been drooling like morons for centuries in front of the Mona Lisa because she has a weird smirk. That’s great storytelling. You don’t have to understand it the same way you understand an assignment and you can make your own conclusions by adding up your thoughts and experiences. That’s why book reports are full of shit; they force you to miss the point.

What is The Book of Heavy Metal’s concept? Beats me. Seriously, it’s Dream Evil on a mountain wearing stupid costumes. If you want your costume to be taken seriously you have to create an environment where it works. GWAR did it flawlessly. Dream Evil did not.

The only other thing that happens is that some guy appears in the clouds Monty Python style at around 1:40 minutes.

The song may be about wanting to be written into some heavy metal hall of fame, but the video is completely generic. Flush.

Take a closer look at the video. Let’s start with the background footage, because that’s the first thing I do whenever I sit down to work on a composition. You can do this video’s background yourself in basically no time, just grab a png of a mountain, make it black and white and get some sky footage to go along with it. Throw a lightning effect here and there so people know you’re epic because you stand around in a fake thunderstorm. Just made it myself with the stock windows meadow wallpaper (which I must admit looks very black metal in black and white).

IMAGE 2

I’m pretty sure Sweden or wherever they filmed this had some nice locales, but I guess filming somewhere else than a green screen would have taken effort. Check the left side of the sky at around 14 seconds into the video, they didn’t even attempt to fake it properly. Building places out of images, a process known as matte painting, is as old as filming and extremely useful (do you think those places in Lord of the Rings really exist somewhere in New Zealand as you were told?). But there’s good quality, and there’s this.

At least the members of Dream Evil were chroma keyed fine, but don’t worry, they fucked up with the camera work either way.  See how the singer looks like he was filmed from below? Next time you see a political debate, you can know who the media wants to win if you notice how was the camera tilted. It’s an old as dirt trick: the human mind can be driven to subconsciously believe that someone is superior and to be trusted if they’re being looked at from below. Normally you do it so people don’t notice unless they’re looking for it, but Dream Evil blew it by making the dude look like he’s totally malformed. Also, these creepy close-ups don’t really help the band’s image.

IMAGE 3

I’d like to ask the people who work on these videos what’s up with the constant cutting to a single band member playing in stationary position while “looking cool”. There’s AV language devoted to that. Language they’re not using. It’s not even properly synched to the beat. These are beginner mistakes that you can excuse from dudes who make amateur videos, but this is a band that wants you to pay $13 for their shitty album. Do bands even NEED a video if no one’s going to make any effort at making it? Has the art of filmmaking been turned into a promotional stunt for the music, that’s now a promotional stunt for the show and the merchandise?

By the way, there’s a reason the sky fellow keeps holding his lightning that way.

IMAGE 4

You open After Effects and create a solid. Solids are “things” you create other things on.

IMAGE 5

Then you go to Effect>Generate>Advanced Lightning, and make it a “Two-Way Strike”

IMAGE 6

Then you add glow and there you have your motherfucking lightning.

IMAGE 7

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this lightning around in a thousand videos. He keeps it in his hands in that awkward way because either they were too lazy to keep doing stuff with it or are not savvy enough to know you can edit that shit to make lightning bolts and stuff.

This video, and those who do this stuff, get 1,000,000,000/10 flushes. That’s a billion flushes.

If you want an example of a video with a similar premise done right check this one out:

They actually found a fucking mountain to stand on. The camera works with the band. The focus and colors are beautiful. Most important of all: THEY’VE GOT A STORY. They only needed some people in rags pushing around styrofoam while pretending it’s heavy in a Sisyphus kind of thing. But it engages your mind. You can make assertions out of it. The setting and the stones can mean something to you. That’s the point of making art.

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  • That video is aggressively shitty. It is extreme, to-the-max, in your face awful.

    • W.

      Someone give that drummer a throne. Poor guy has to stand up the whole video.

      • Pretty sure their bass player is a bald Mac from Always Sunny. This seems like it’d be up his alley.

        • W.

          That explosion at the end is clutch. Mac could totally include this in Project Badass.

  • W.

    Ooh, do Solitary Son next. Also, I refuse to believe that I wouldn’t be able to find Mordor or go over the Falls of Rauros if I visited NZ.

  • Greatest video ever: Skid Row’s “18 and Life.” Now there’s a story…allow me to sum it up for those unfamiliar:

    Rebellious teen with long hair gets pushed around and thrown out by his father. Metal Kid hits the streets with Metal Kid No. 2 and a revolver. Metal Kid 1 drinks too much and ends up shooting Metal Kid 2 in an alley. Metal Kid 1 spends life behind bars and Sebastian Bach screams about it.

  • Flushgod Apocalypse
  • Dream Evil is big dumb fun and that’s perfectly ok.

    I think you should do this video next
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNs8Z6W7Y8Y

    • W.

      Why are there so many bands like this?

      • Because of Europe. I think.

        • W.

          So American gets meathead metal, and Europe gets terrible symphonic metal? I can’t tell who’s worse off.

    • Tommy P

      Power metal bands have the best (ie: worst) music videos, and I love them for it. This album is only good if you already like symphonic metal, otherwise I would recommend avoiding it.

    • Spear

      God dammit. I don’t mind this song, but Amberian Dawn used to be so much better.

  • Owlswald

    At least they got Wes Borland to play Zeus.

  • Speaking of music videos, am I the only one who is sick of bands filming themselves live and calling it a music video?

    • W.

      I don’t mind if it’s something slightly different (like GoPros and headstock mounts that let you see the instruments being played), but I tend to avoid music videos in general nowadays.

      • That could be an interesting subject, how to make good live videos

    • Sponge Of Mystery

      NO I FUCKING HATE THAT!!! Fucking Sumerian records does that shit every other video they release i swear, I’m just glad The Faceless haven’t let that happen to them yet

      • Christian Molenaar

        Yeah, we’re lucky The Faceless have made such excellent videos as this one:
        https://youtube.com/watch?v=rzlT-vw60tM
        (Rho, please do this one for the next post)

        • W.

          Michael Keene is 3edgy5me.

        • Lulz. I think this suffers more from poor acting and a moronic concept than technical limitations.

          • Christian Molenaar

            It has plenty of those, too, though. Check out the lag during the solo that’s not there during any other parts, and the steady camerawork in the first two shots (as opposed to the child-on-amphetamines technique they used for the rest of the video) makes them look like a stock photo with a moving background thrown in.

        • Michael Keene is a whiny bitchboy.

          • W.

            Michael Keene’s critiques of religion are hilariously sophomoric. He just sounds like an angsty teenager.

          • Christian Molenaar

            But dude…Nietzche…and like…Opeth…

          • W.

            “How dare you wear blended fabrics, funDIE?”

          • I think it’s funny that he fancies himself a philosopher.

          • I also think it’s funny when he throws tantrums at the sound tech.

          • Sponge Of Mystery

            While I agree the concepts are fucking stupid, The Faceless put out awesome death metal. They should stick to writing concept albums about aliens

          • Howard Dean

            I loved the booklet for Autotheism:
            -All music by Michael Keene.
            -All lyrics by Michael Keene.
            -Recorded by Michael Keene at Keene Machine Studios.
            -Adapted to the stage and screenplay by Michael Keene.
            -Notes, concepts, postscript, coda, deconstruction and analysis by Michael Keene.
            -Synchronized aquatic choreography by Michael Keene.
            -Jewel cases and digibooks designed and built by Michael Keene (j/k! j/k! sweatshops! hah!)
            -Clairvoyance and genius intuition by Michael Keene.
            -Gene mapping, AIDS cure, and string theory contributions by Michael Keene.
            -All creation by Michael Keene (prove me wrong, fuckers!)

      • Yea, faceless and red fang make some great music vids.

    • Scrimm

      Hell yes!

    • don’t forget the clips of them in the tour bus or at a merch table snuck in here and there.
      the worst music video of all: Alcohaulin’ Ass by FlushYeah.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBaIQreV8Yk

      • yuck

      • Christian Molenaar
        • W.

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Watching their singer’s giant belly jiggle is mesmerizing.

          • Christian Molenaar
          • Cock of Steele

            What the fucking hell, W, we need some shit nuked!

          • there are big boobs in this video.

          • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

            say what you want ’bout the south. But them women are uninhibited and ready to fuck, my confederate flag tattoo will serve us well when you and i go for our visit to the south. It will both save us from being raped by a mountain man, & it will help us get laid by a southern slut. win-win.
            Southern by the grace of god mang !

          • Stuff like this makes me wonder what kind of music the artist listens to. Like, there is now way these guys are legitimate rap fans.

          • Christian Molenaar

            This video is a little old but I think it’s pretty obviously related to “hick-hop” shit like Florida Georgia Line or whoever, but it’s also just an extension of bro-country like Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan mixed with mainstream hip-hop they heard on the radio, most likely Jay-Z, in a format first used (and abused) by Everlast with that one really terrible song “What It’s Like” that still to this day is played almost daily on the local alt-rock station.

      • Pretty sure this is the lowest common denominator. These guys are really successful, right? If anyone is interested in starting a band even more shameless than this, please inquire within. Those without or unwilling to grow create facial hair patterns need not apply.

        • W.

          I’ll go buy a straw cowboy hat at CVS.

      • NDNOvHell

        I cringe when I read that song title.

      • geddy

        ..

    • Cock of Steele

      I hate lyrics videos, and videos where it’s a bunch of visual shit and the band isn’t anywhere to be seen.

      • Lyric videos are a godsend source of income for guys like me. They take no effort to make and most of the time you can finish one the same day you started it. I do despise their existence though

    • Fromwisdomtohate29

      Fucking right.

      Attention bands: A music video is when you tell a story, like the article stated. And just happens to have your band playing (or not). It is not a video of a live performance. That is called a LIVE video. Please learn the difference, kthnx.

  • Metaphysical Anus

    About Mony python. Was anyone watching their last show? I really liked it.

  • Sponge Of Mystery

    that Alice In Chains song is so badass. Most grunge bands nowadays are washed up and make shit music, not AIC

    • Fromwisdomtohate29

      If The Screaming Trees were still around I guarantee you they would not make shit music.

      • Sponge Of Mystery

        Mark’s voice is beautiful, I found them through Queens Of The Stone Age

  • FeelTheDarkness

    This video is pretty cut and dried. It’s about dancing!!!!!!!!!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjPau5QYtYs

    • I want to recreate this video with my band. I wonder if Christie Brinkley is available to help out.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCuMWrfXG4E

      • FeelTheDarkness

        Maybe she can be bought off with diet pills and cases of Tab?
        I think that’s what Billy did

      • CONAN THE MOTHERFUCKING KING

        she still looks this good ! holy shit !
        you can also get billy joel to drive into the side of a house ( remember when that happened, hhahhahhahahahhahh)

      • geddy

        that gave me gas.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Great column, would definitely read more in future, 0/5 flushes

  • Guppusmaximus

    Yea, most “Metal” videos are pretty freaking useless though I do like the song. But, I dug Dream Evil when they first came out. The first album was refreshing considering that Emo/ Screamo shit was overly abundant. I also liked SOS from Lefay at the time which could be considered cheesy as well…

  • Cock of Steele

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsmcDLDw9iw Aside from this being an incredibly epic song, I remember first watching this music video and being sad that most bands nowadays don’t see the awesomeness of having the stage lights go around like an epileptic’s nightmare.

  • Cock of Steele
  • Xan

    This is one of my favorite music videos as of recent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qO-pjTfBr_k . It seems almost Lovecraftian to me.

  • geddy

    Full Shows! Live Shows!
    All the fucking shows you could want?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BamOGaIz20M&list=PL470DBF9D74E51834

  • geddy

    Here ya’ go – have fun with this one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIEb3t0jm_U

  • I remember that video from way back when! The drummer looks like Hard Man from Mega Man 3.

  • Here’s one for ya. It’s not metal, but how do I even describe this guy’s vocals?……. It’s like hearing someone with Downs Syndrome having a stroke after huffing a shitload of helium. And the chick looks like hell like she doesn’t want to be there. How this vid got so many goddamn views is beyond me!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq_d8VSM0nw