Way back in the golden era of metal, better known as 1983-1989, metal was categorically male, often times like a de facto gang that encouraged competition, survival of the fittest, and the banishment of those who couldn’t keep up. These undesirables were branded as wimps and posers, and, per Manowar‘s edict, they were required to leave the hall.
Over twenty years later, the American underground is full of these same outcasts, They still can’t hack it, but now they try to cover up by satirizing proven models with ridiculous style mash-ups and plenty of smoke and mirrors. They also spend a lot of time making fun of the aggressive overtones of the bands that allowed them to have a genre to dilute in the first place.
Many of the “best metal albums” lists out there reveal the sad truth; the wimps and posers have infiltrated in a big way, mainly because the rest of us forgot the rules of engagement. It’s not too late to reclaim our former glory, so here are ten manly songs to blast while you do pushups and sharpen your blades. And if you think this article is for meatheads, then you’re part of the problem!
1) Nasty Savage: Metal Knights (from Nasty Savage, 1985), “Too many rockers, posers, and fools/Must have fun, to break all their bones” – Straddling traditional heavy metal and speed metal (and helping to invent the latter in the process), Nasty Savage remain underappreciated for setting new standards of brutality in the underground. The war for metal was in in full swing by the mid eighties, and at the time it was hair bands, not hipsters, who threatened the scene. Nasty Ronnie and company were quite outspoken about violence against the false, and woe to those who didn’t heed the warning. Brawn and blood-letting were the band’s signatures, a far cry from most of the self-proclaimed “brutal” bands of today.
2) Voivod: Fuck Off and Die (from Rrröööaaarrr, 1986), “So if you’re a loser or just a fuckin’ wimp/Fuck off and die!” – Some readers may not remember the days when Voivod wore leather, spikes, and gasmasks while performing this song about going bananas for metal and kicking weekenders to the curb. Over time, the band gave way to something brainier and more genteel, but their roots remain in the crusades against poserdom.
3) Sadus: Torture (from Illusions aka Chemical Exposure, 1988), “We need D.T.P./Death to posers is what I mean” – Sadus is still fondly remembered for pushing the envelope of ferocity as speed metal began its terrifying transformation into death metal. They’re also noteworthy for writing this classic track about poser abolishment. “DTP” was the order of the day when Sadus ruled the roost, but there’s no reason it can’t be invoked in present tense.
4) Exodus: Metal Command (from Bonded by Blood, 1985), “There will be no survivors, no prisoners of war/Join our ranks or perish” – Exodus and their linebacker frontman Paul Baloff were as fanatically anti-poser as a band could ever be without resorting to suicide bombs and plane hijackings. In lieu of a fan club, they had the Slay Team, which was basically a roving gang of hardliner metalheads who never missed an opportunity to brutally beat anyone with a Ratt shirt or an Aqua Net hairdo. Baloff died an untimely death in 2002, but you can bet these days he’d be gunning for the bands with the snappy haircuts and pink album covers.
5) Destroyer 666: Australian and Anti-christ (from Unchain the Wolves, 1997), “Black hearted demons fight the metal fight/Raging from Hades in leather and spikes/Australian and Anti-Christ” – While there’s no specific mention of wimp termination here, this signature track from Destroyer 666 is hipster Kryptonite. It’s uncompromising beer-fueled aggression from a nation whose people might as well have been produced at a steel mill. The “posers out” message is implicit, because in Destroyer 666’s world, folks like that go under their tank treads without a second thought.
6) Razor: Taste the Floor (from Violent Restitution, 1988), “Music magazines with fags on the front/they dress like women, their message is blunt”- Razor specialized in songs about criminal behavior and brutal beatings, so it’s not hard to imagine that hair band posers were on their radar. Taste the Floor is about how to do metal right while punishing those who do it wrong with a chainsaw. Those were the days…
7) Macabre: Slaughter Thy Poser (from Behind the Wall of Sleep, 1994), “His head in a vice, it would be very nice/All posers will die by our hands.” Pretty much a no-frills ditty on the subject. The Chicago gore-merchants detail all the things they’d like to do to posers in their typical grotesquely funny fashion. This may not be the last word on the matter, but there’s no mistaking the message.
8) Piledriver: Metal Inquisition (from Metal Inquisition, 1985), “So if you’re in a disco or in a country bar/You better get the hell out, we know who you are” – Piledriver is an almost meta proposition considering they were effectively a joke band that time and nostalgia turned into an institution, which turned out fine because they were actually pretty good. Their over-the-top message proved to be just a more unabashed take on what everyone was already thinking – join metal or die!
9) Gehennah: Beat That Poser Down, (from Decibel Rebel, 1997), “A poser’s personality won’t wash away with soap/Beat him!/You have to hurt him really good, then there might be some hope” – Here’s a relatively late-model entry that goes for the throat in a big way. Gehennah get right to the point and explain why scene parasites are irredeemable and must be addressed with harsh impunity. This could easily be the anthem for new-wave Slay Team or two.
10) Manowar: Metal Warriors, (from The Triumph of Steel, 1992), “Heavy metal or no metal at all/ Wimps and posers leave the hall” – Given the sound and content of this, the quintessential anti-poser anthem, you’d think it would have been written about 10 years earlier. It just goes to show that this sentiment has no shelf life, and that Manowar isn’t big on variation besides. With its endlessly chantable chorus and square-jawed camp value, the intractable message of Metal Warriors may seem quaint in this era of snark and cynicism, but to the dedicated metallion it’s an undeniable battle hymn.