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TVTropes.org is one of the most insidious time-eating vortexes on the internet. It's a Wiki-style site where users pick out narrative tendencies & clichés that appear in various forms of fiction, and then identify specific examples thereof. Its archive is huge, and reading it is addictive. The first time I visited the site, I got stuck for hours. It still draws me in sometimes.

If you too have been sucked into this vortex, you may have encountered the concept of "narm": the TVTropes term for narrative moments that are supposed to be grim and serious, but that instead translate as hilarious. The Roger Ebert quote that heads the site's entry on narm puts it this way:

"Moviemakers talk about 'bad laughs.' That's when the audience laughs when it's not supposed to."

Metal, with its glut of super-dark, super-serious imagery, has an intimate relationship with narm. Most death and black metal bands periodically plunge into narm-dom, and virtually all of them teeter on its brink.

Some clever Tumblr user has illustrated extreme metal's thorough narminess by putting googly eyes on the covers of famous metal albums, as seen above. The brilliance of the joke lies with its simplicity. It takes only tiny modifications to turn grim visions of suffering and evil into total goofiness:

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MALEVOLENT FACELESS AND BEHORNED DEMON:

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ISOLATED NIHILIST, SCREAMING IN THE VOID:

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MAJESTIC VIKING WARRIOR CONTEMPLATES MORTALITY:

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I laughed for a good five minutes straight when I came across these last night. Whoever is making them is turning them out at a pretty rapid clip; there are already three pages' worth. I hope he or she keeps it up for a while.

— Doug Moore

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