Saturday, February 20, 2010

Metal interlude - The Headbang Riff Force Scale

Bolt Thrower has given the world many great things: a succesful marriage of Napalm Death-esque grind and heaviness and head-bopping riffage; unabashed, even triumphant, links with hobby wargaming and other ostensive displays of geekery; albums like Mercenary (listening to which gave birth to this post) showing that they are much more than a novelty band as it thrashes all and sundry without making use of a ludicrous (and ridiculously awesome) fantasy backdrop; and the greatest live photo of all time (which I respectfully reproduce above). Because there are so many dimensions to their staggering (literally) achievement, I have drawn up the following measure (based on the Beaufort Scale for wind speed), based on the impact of the sound waves on the listener. In the future I can perhaps point to this scale as a way of indicating how much some album rocked my boat, but now it should suffice to say that Mercenary encouraged me to draw it up. Even while sitting down and typing this out the music hit force 10 quite often. These are conditions not to be trifled with, and I humbly submit this dispatch from the front lines. This story must be told.

The Headbang Riff Force Scale

Force 0 (Silence): No sound.

Force 1 (Light sound): Ambient sounds in background.

Force 2 (Light melody): Discernable musical structure to sounds in background.

Force 3 (Gentle melody): Music with clear structure in background.

Force 4 (Moderate melody): Music listened to with attention.

Force 5 (Fresh theme): Music is met with approving nods.

Force 6 (Strong theme): Music is met with repeated bobbing of head to the beat.

Force 7 (Heavy theme, moderate riffing, near metal): Listener actively and energetically bobs head to the beat, tapping bodily extremities in time.

Force 8
(Metal): Listener ceases all tasks except for energetically bobbing head to the beat, or percussively marking out time in some other bodily fashion, giving full attention to the impact of the music, may casually throw the sign of horns.

Force 9 (Heavy metal): Listener is engaged in headbanging behaviour, may energetically throw the sign of horns, starts grimacing, pursing lips or holding some other abnormal facial expression, entirely given over to the riff.

Force 10
(Storm, fucking metal): Headbanging is so energetic the listener might bump into stationary objects and struggle to keep balance, or is accompanied by simultaneous throwing of horns or tense arching of fingers towards the chest while grimacing in an exaggerated manner.

Force 11 (Violent storm): Listeners behaviour is so energetic as to seem to disregard personal safety, as in apparently intensionally bumping into objects with some force, slinging head in a distressing manner, or fixedly staring ahead with battered consequence as the body gets rolled around by the riff force.

Force 12 (Hurricane force): No further thought is given of continued existence past that off the riff, displayed either by the greatest extremes of headbanging behaviour, like throwing oneself off of heights, into crowds or into solid structures, or by standing transfixed by the force of the riff, showing traces of panic or relief but solid in the belief that this is the inevitable and appropriate sign of the end times to come.