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March 17, 2012 5:07 AM   Subscribe

So just how do you translate the death metal growl to sign language? (SLYT)

Death by April is a Swedish metal band who has entered the national Eurovision competition, the winner of which goes on to the real contest. They finished seventh.
posted by MartinWisse (42 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
what
posted by sciurus at 5:11 AM on March 17, 2012


That music is a really weird hybrid.
posted by Anything at 5:25 AM on March 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or rather... Dead By April.
posted by Silky Slim at 5:37 AM on March 17, 2012


No discussion of metal and Eurovision is complete without a mention of Lordi, who won Eurovision (like, all of it) in 2006 with "Hard Rock Hallelujah."

As for Dead by April being a weird hybrid - not really. Metal in many ways originated as a reaction to disco and pop, taking the opposite of all of it to the extreme - instead of simple hooks, operatic riffs. Instead of slower groove, higher tempo. And instead of quality singing, nigh-incomprehensible shouting. But eventually metal fans started asking themselves "if we demand technical brilliance from every musician in the band except the singer... why don't we want the singers to be good too?" and that started the melodic metal movement.

Dead By April seems to be a sort of pop-metal hybrid, and there's only going to be more of it because it's accessible and even danceable (which is what gets you mass appeal when you aren't classic pop). Someone said recently, I don't remember where, that if they had had a straight MC rather than a death metal growler as their second vocalist, they probably would have won the competition, and I don't disagree.
posted by mightygodking at 5:42 AM on March 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Summary: The Backstreet Boys get close lined by Bane, and Brian Posehn is there to narrate for the people who have never experienced either.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:43 AM on March 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


And Bathtub Bobsled just learned of the phonetic foibles his new iPad will subject him to when he talk-types.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 5:46 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


So just how do you translate the death metal growl to sign language ?
I've got you covered.
posted by Fizz at 5:49 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brilliant! Those who have studied sign language will appreciate this! To express the tone/sound of what is being heard is extremely challenging for hearing people. Your facial and body expressions are critical to the hand movements, in order to give the words (and sound) an accurate translation.
posted by what's her name at 5:50 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Professional wrestlers take note.
posted by Free word order! at 6:14 AM on March 17, 2012


Mixing hardcore and death metal with sweet sing-songy pop parts is pretty established stuff. There probably isn't a young Have Heart or IWrestledABearOnce fan anywhere in the world who actually remembers any of the reasons that it should be weird to have a trance synth pop punk piano crooner autotuned vocal part erupt out of a crucial slam beat because it's been that way for as long as some of them have been alive.
posted by SharkParty at 6:30 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sorry, I meant These Hearts. Have Heart was not that kind of band at all!
posted by SharkParty at 6:32 AM on March 17, 2012


Your facial and body expressions are critical to the hand movements

"Must be able to grimace musically."
posted by elizardbits at 6:36 AM on March 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


That was amazing. Does anyone know if each song got its own interpreter, or if it was just this one where the pleasent-looking woman in the blue shirt was like, "pardon me while we bring in a professional for this number"?
posted by Diablevert at 6:52 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sublime. The first band to bring a person to do this on stage with them every show, like one of those interpretive dancers you sometimes see, gets some serious respect from me. This guy was giving a better show than the musicians.
posted by Algebra at 7:02 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I lost it, right about....here
posted by AndrewKemendo at 7:14 AM on March 17, 2012


Reminded me of this.
posted by Maaik at 7:29 AM on March 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Diablevert, my sense is that generally there's a handful of interpreters for any given show or event, and they trade off as much for fatigue as for skill. I'm guessing this guy stepped up for this one, though.

Sign language is so beautifully expressive! I recently watched Sound And Fury, a documentary about the arguments that arise when a largely deaf family considers cochlear implants, and found it hard to take the side of the hearing when the father of the family, in particular, made an impassioned case for deaf culture enlivened by his own bombastic, eloquent way of signing. (Not to start a flame war; I know cochlear implants are a huge hot-button issue.)
posted by gusandrews at 7:34 AM on March 17, 2012


Cochlear implants are switchable. With an actual switch, I believe. To save on the really expensive batteries.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:49 AM on March 17, 2012


Anyone know what sign language it is? While the singing is sometimes in English, the signing is not ASL.
posted by acheekymonkey at 7:57 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a related note, I just discovered "Dirty Signs with Kristin," where Kristin, the cutest little pixie ever, works out ASL versions of dirty phrases.

Here she is doing "two in the pink, one in the stink"
posted by fatbird at 8:08 AM on March 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


That is not death metal music or death metal vocals. FWIW.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:31 AM on March 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


No, not really, but I didn't want to put death metal between quotes either and I knew there would be at least one comment pointing this out...
posted by MartinWisse at 8:39 AM on March 17, 2012


Well, I said it, but I also realize that the difference, for the large majority of human beings, is negligible. Sometimes you just gotta sigh heavily and piss into a strong headwind.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:51 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is not death metal music or death metal vocals. FWIW.

Thanks you. I was about to say, death metal has really changed if this is what we are calling death metal now
posted by holdkris99 at 9:38 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The sign language guy is the real star here--that dude rules!
posted by Nibbly Fang at 10:30 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


TheRedArmy beat me to it. This is not death metal. More like post-hardcore. I did like the 'terp, though.
posted by starvingartist at 10:43 AM on March 17, 2012


I agree with Nibbly Fang. He is AWESOME! Lots of expression and feeling, which are vital to sign. I also like that he's clad in an appropriate "rocker" coat and in bold colors, which transforms him from mild mannered dad shopping for light bulbs at Home Depot to Translator of Pathos-Driven Rock.
posted by but no cigar at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it just me, or does the melodic singer look like Vanilla Ice?

Anyone know the interpreter's name, or have some links to his other work? The guy's awesome.
posted by Hither at 10:49 AM on March 17, 2012


A bit lower budget, but still enjoyable:
Skid Row - I Remember You
posted by Hither at 11:11 AM on March 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brilliant! Those who have studied sign language will appreciate this!

Agreed. That was brilliant interpretive work. The song was perfect for it too, dynamic range of style.
posted by stbalbach at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2012


This positively is not ASL.
posted by joeclark at 1:21 PM on March 17, 2012


No, not ASL, but SWL (Swedish Sign Language).
posted by gakiko at 1:42 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I'm listening to death metal (or, uhh, this) I usually expect to understand <10% of the words sung by the singer. I take it for granted that the lyrical content is going to be moot and/or indecipherable, and that the vocals are more like a percussion instrument with a really foreground spot in the mix. Whether they're in a language I understand seems irrelevant, or maybe like a lifeline thrown out to people who aren't nerds about music in abstract and may demand an identifiably "human" element in the songs they hear.
So, it would be interesting to come to know this song through a interpreter who is undoubtedly the best part of the performance but, I'm assuming(?), signing fully coherently. Do any of you appreciate metal for the words?
posted by metaman livingblog at 2:22 PM on March 17, 2012


As a lifelong metal fan, I usually try to ignore the words because being pleasantly surprised by the occasional genius turn of phrase is generally not worth knowing about all the rest.
posted by SharkParty at 2:31 PM on March 17, 2012


Thanks for the post, which only adds to my desire to learn to sign.

Skid Row - I Remember You

Fun. I like the way he turns the sign for "I love you" into a moment of pop headbanging around 3:48. I'm such a sucker for hair metal.
posted by salvia at 3:36 PM on March 17, 2012


Bloody Doomfinger Associates - For all your headbanging sign language intrepretation needs...

If you need to sign to rock, we are there for you.
posted by Samizdata at 7:07 PM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On a related note, I just discovered "Dirty Signs with Kristin," where Kristin, the cutest little pixie ever, works out ASL versions of dirty phrases.

It's been discussed on 'the Filter before - I don't have the link handy, but I'm told that her translations aren't entirely accurate and are pretty much akin to translating dirty phrases from English into any other language by using a dictionary and not actual ASL idioms.

On topic: I'm guessing that the sign language gentleman was not otherwise a fan of the band. Though the jacket was a nice touch!
posted by sonika at 8:26 PM on March 17, 2012


Er, of course he's signing in SWL, the audience is Swedish.

Personally, I love how his entire posture changes between the melodic parts and the growled parts, as the very darkness corrupts his otherwise splendid Scandinavian posture.
posted by Jilder at 4:24 AM on March 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do any of you appreciate metal for the words?

Of course. From Slayer's appreciation of the horrors of the Holocaust in "Angel of Death" through death metal pioneers Death's examination of the arguments for euthanasia in "Pull the Plug", not to mention the radical politics of Carcass and Napalm Death or the nuclear anxiety of Nuclear Assault, the best metal can offer is found in its lyrics.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:31 AM on March 18, 2012


I call it maggot lung music and I can't discern any kind of nuance in it. I don't doubt it's there but I can't hear it myself. And I hate the stupid ballady stuff mixed in with it. The interpreter rocked, though. His work was just excellent!
posted by h00py at 9:10 AM on March 18, 2012


I loved this video! But death-metal growl? The band is incredibly far away from anything that could reasonably called death-metal.

More like post-hardcore

Also not even close. This is nothing like post-hardcore. It's just euro-Linkin Park.
posted by molecicco at 2:54 AM on March 19, 2012


I call it maggot lung music

I have Maggot Lung's demo EP, pretty good stuff. I think they just got signed to Southern Lord.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


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