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Get your fly-swatters out, folks, because love is officially in the air. Now, here at Rock Song of the Week we could hardly be accused of being heartless (the Guinness Book of Records won’t return our calls about our collection of the things, weirdly) but even we know that some bands just aren’t made for loving you.
But even those draped in leather and covered in corpse paint need a little tenderness – less tenderness for the first category though, usually – and in the spirit of Cupid firing off a deadly weapon, here’s a curated list of five love songs that could inspire warmth in even the most doom-filled of chest cavities.
You’d easily be forgiven for thinking on first glance that perennial moody bastards Type O Negative only showed affection in very specific circumstances. You know, like for a raven-haired lovely who is also part synthesiser, or finding a shop that sells both leather jackets and sleeveless vests. As it turns out, there’s a whole host of things they’re willing to get dust on the knees of their black trousers for – and it’s surprisingly romantic. In a worship-y kind of way.
As the video for Love You To Death shows, the late, great Peter Steele was a bit of a gent when it comes to the romancing game. From lighting cigarettes and picnics in the park to painting toenails, there’s a side of the glum New Yorkers that was clearly geared to showing that affection goes further than a trip to the bedroom. Although frankly, that deep voice could have been the tipping point for plenty of us.
Going by their name alone, you’d be hesitant to say that English doom metallers My Dying Bride have a particularly strong track record in the love department. Sure, they must have gotten married in the first place, but that whole dying thing has got to put a lot of marital activities on the back burner.
However, this sludgy bit of down-temp brilliance speaks of a love far more eternal than even the most devoted Las Vegas chapel in and outs. That’s right, it’s that most romantic of supernatural forces; vampires! You know, the ones who flit in, bite you while you’re asleep and then wipe their face on the curtain on the way out of the window. Mind you, plenty of people thought the Milk Tray Man was romantic, and I bet he couldn’t hit a doom riff to save his life.
With song titles ranging from Nymphetamine Fix to Of Dark Blood and Fucking (which is a banger of a song title, but I digress), there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that black metal legends Cradle of Filth are only in it for the short term when it comes to love. Which is hardly surprising, given that it must take Dani Filth most of his available hours in the day just to get those boots on.
This is not a song about his own love life, however – The Death of Love is a tale of lost love told from the perspective of a man named Gilles de Rais and his infatuation for Joan of Arc. How sweet, you might probably think, and what a tragic tale. But in true Cradle of Filth fashion, the history of it takes an even darker turn. de Rais lost his mind after Joan was burned at the stake and, after an incredibly violent altercation with a priest, the murders of hundreds of children at his hands came to light. Yep, there’s the Cradle of Filth we all know, peeking out from behind a tree and giggling at the carnage.
Another day, another song about a man going mental after a young woman dies. Well, same day, different lunatic, if we’re being technically correct. The Black Dahlia Murder weaved their usual storytelling wizardry on killer 2007 melodeath album Nocturnal, around a true tale of macabre love for this one. Because we all know that truth is often far stranger than fiction – unless it’s Game of Thrones, which may have about the right ratio of nasty ends to love affairs.
Carl Tanzler, the villain of our story, became infatuated with a young woman during his role treating her cancer. No, it gets worse, believe me. His obsession grew to the point where, after her death in 1933, Tanzler exhumed her body by cover of night and lived with the corpse for seven years, creating a large wax doll out of it. There are some genuinely disturbing pictures available online if you’re into that sort of thing; probably best to do the exact opposite of Tanzler and leave some itches unscratched.
Back to the black metal again (have we considered some sort of charity drive that sends Valentine’s cards to anyone who owns a wristband with spikes on it?), but this time to the frozen North, where the love of a good someone can be the difference between life and an unfortunate bit of frostbite somewhere sensitive. Well, not quite, but it certainly sounds dramatic than “Southern Sweden”, doesn’t it?
The lack of potential genital frostbite has not put off the affections of Tribulation one bit, however. When you’re courting Lady Death herself, losing a crown jewel to the tundra seems like a mild inconvenience at best. And when you specifically ask her to “release your reign of rage upon my soul?” I think Tribulation are into things so specific that no manner of discreet packaging won’t make the postman raise both of his eyebrows entirely off his face.
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