Goat horn with Cheerleader 666 and Nice Cat at the 360 (326 Queen West), December 31. $5. 416-593-0840. Rating: NNNNN
The rockers of Goat Horn eat, sleep and breathe metal and do everything in a metal way. What exactly does this mean? How does somebody, say, drink a cup of coffee in a metal way? "It's metal because I'm drinking it," says bassist/vocalist Jason Decay. Right, OK, so you are the metal?
Decay and axe-man Brandon Wars are at the home of one of the members of Cheerleader 666, with whom they'll be sharing a rock/metal bill, along with Nice Cat this New Year's Eve at the 360. They're watching Andrew Dice Clay, after which they plan to watch He-Man, which is so perfect I could pee.
"I grew up around (metal) as a kid," Decay explains. "It was just the coolest thing. I thought it was the best, like when I first heard Metallica I thought, 'This is better than rock 'n' roll!' It was just catchier and crunchier. And then, y'know, I wanted to grow up to be cool and have long hair and be in a band, too, and now I am."
"If I was a kid and I knew me today, I'd think I was the coolest guy around."
They take their metal very seriously. Their sophomore release, Storming The Gates, is a complete throwback to the early 80s, when hair farmers unapologetically chugged and galloped their way through rivers of blood and gates of doom.
Recorded entirely on analog, Storming The Gates blends influences like Priest, Maiden, Celtic Frost, Cathedral and a wealth of bands only the true metal head has ever heard of. It's also replete with all the D&D imagery of fates and destinies, final sentences, doomed fortresses, gates of oppression, last rites and claws of time.
Decay, who writes the lyrics, says he never played D&D, and adds "and I don't read books or anything like that.
"It's kinda just a loose concept about making the most of your destiny. It's like we want to play heavy metal and we want to do it well and we want other people to enjoy it as much as we do."
"The gates," adds Wars, "represent, like, what you're trying to get past, y'know?"
"Like trying to get signed."
The irony-laden resurgence of metal has not helped this cause.
"Bands like the Darkness who come out and say they're a joke band make it harder for us to be taken seriously," says Wars.
"For the kind of stuff that we listen to, like real heavy metal, you know, it's hard to find a new band these days that we can support," says Decay. "They're always from, like, 20 years ago or 15 years ago, so I think we're the band that's missing."