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Metalheads are fairly forgiving concerning metal flicks. We're empathetic. We go in knowing it'll be a shitshow. Outside of reels aged to kitschy perfection — 20 years seems like enough time to complete the circle of fashion, trends, and tropes — it's rare when a music video nails its artistic ambitions. And, really, for our demographic, that's part of the appeal. The follies are so human. We laugh at all of it out of love and understanding, like watching a family member fall on their ass. Part of the joy is the utter incongruity, the lightning bolt of instant absurdity. The other slice of the pie? We're probably just happy it wasn't us.

2013 was a banner year for atrocious metal music videos. The following Top 10 collection is truly but a dysenteric polar bear stuck atop an iceberg's pinnacle. (To wit, we're not even mentioning a Frontiers Records artist. My god.) Yet, let it be known: No matter the overall quality of any selection, we roast our participants in goodwill. It takes guts (granted, sometimes delusional guts) to make a br00ful face at a camera lens and that has to be respected. We're only chuckling because, hey, it could've been us. Except, it wasn't. So, let's squeeze into our ivory tower elevator and press for the roof. Grab your popcorn or whatever you use to oil the schadenfreude machine. Here are the good-bads and the best of the worst.

— Ian Chainey

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10. Immer – "Croon Fate"

Synopsis: A band from HELL is in the studio from HELL because FLAMES. And, yeah, except for one noteworthy cutaway, that's, uh, kinda it. The video isn't Vicious Rumors lazy since the sound is synced, but using a public access yuletide log broadcast as an omnipresent filter doesn't really evoke EVIL. Well, that and the fact most of the band looks bored. (Enduring metal video cliché: At least one member doesn't want to be there.) So, it's pretty clear this production was the growler's idea because...

Lingering question: Holy shit, is the singer in blackface?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:15 – NO REALLY, IS THE SINGER IN BLACKFACE? Or, is he the human embodiment of Montezuma’s Revenge?

3:24 - “Are you sure you can airbrush Tim out of the shot?” HEY, DO YOU NOT SEE THE FLAMES? Windows Movie Maker wizard in the hizzy. It'd also help if Immer's guitarist didn't play power chords like a chess master watching Antiques Roadshow, but, hey, the guy has to nail the runs they'll eventually overdub.

3:53 – Most uncomfortable. Yearbook photo. EVER.

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9. Winter Storm - "Wasted Feelings"

Synopsis: Winter Storm commit the rookie mistake of believing sound stage shoots are boring. They're absolutely correct, though quick-cutting to nu-ravers spinning glow sticks for no discernible reason is like stepping in dog crap and replacing your shoe with a cow pie. Worse, Hannah Fieldhouse surrounds her vaguely Jarboe-esque misery with Crossbreed's roadies. Signals aren't so much mixed as missing, akin to sending a color-blind repairman to fix intersection lights. Oh, and the keyboardist is named “Doomsday” because of course he is.

Lingering question: “Wasted Feelings” refers to the years of university spent practicing glow stick ninjutsu, right? Way to make Fushigi manipulation look like an enviable life skill.

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:20 – Did affordable costume designers just give up in 1999? Evidence? We give you the hem-zipper: For those days when you wake up with Bronto-leg.

:25 – Why not Zoidberg?

1:43 – Even though the stage is mic-less, at least someone is concerned with continuity. Eat it, IMDB investigators.

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8. Mylidian - "Seven Lords"

Synopsis: First off, give France's Mylidian a hand for one of the oddest/funniest dual-vocalist introductions of all-time. 2 AM karaoke hand-offs go more seamlessly. Then, there's the story: A man, who puts up zero struggle since maybe that's how a Parisian cab works, is kidnapped and given a DGAF tracheotomy while a chained-to-a-wall damsel looks on. One guesses, anyway. Either we're missing all of the exposition or this is a neo-con plant to stir up further Obamacare controversy. “LOOK AT THOSE NAUGHTY FRENCH SOCIALISTS! DON'T LET THAT BE YOUR CHILD. 'MERICAH!”

Lingering question: Why can you always tell who pushed for the video's creation based on that person's state of overdress?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

1:30 – Going to the dentist in France totally blows.

2:46 - “Doc, we get it. You love The Family Circus. Can we botch this thing and go?”

3:49 – Sexy Cyberman? What is this, Dr. Screw: Timewhored?

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7. Soulhealer - "Chasing A Dream"

Synopsis: Soulhealer suffer the same mistake as Mylidian, ginning up their jam with a nonsensical narrative. Except this is way worse. “Chasing A Dream” makes “Seven Lords” out to be Seven Samurai. Seriously, trying to decode it would make Robert McKee's nose bleed. The reason for the lack of logic? The interstitial whatever-the-shit is actually culled from an upcoming Finnish sci-fi movie; condensing it down to three minutes must've been a bear. That said, who sells their movie by cutting it into a confusing mess? Besides, uh, Richard Kelly.

Lingering question: Is Soulhealer or Stargazery the most infuriatingly catchy Pure Legends Records single? (Honest question: Did they painstakingly film the singer in reverse a la the Pharcyde? Do humans really operate like that?)

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:17 – “Dude, you went to a party and fell asleep the day before our shoot? Not cool.” We should also mention this guy has the snare-smashing tenacity of a Tom Petty-programmed drum machine.

:30 – Huh, I wonder why the burly biker dude isn't sporting the Sharpie arteries...

4:07 – This portrait is titled, “Welp, thank god that's over.”

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6. Nergård - "An Everlasting Dreamscape"

Synopsis: Andreas Nergård can at least take solace in knowing he's got the most professional production in the countdown. Still, any attempt at artistic resonance has its nose rubbed in AOR ridiculousness. The storyline, which is Game of Thrones if sanitized by CTN, takes a backseat to belter Andi Kravljaca living out the wet dream of a slash fiction Facebook group. He does everything the members of these videos normally flub; he's magnetic, charismatic, and wholly owns every scene. However, whenever a breeze catches his wispy chin-flag or the camera pulls back to properly frame his parachute pants, it all goes up in flames. Sometimes literally because...

Lingering question: Are we comfortable knowing a piano died for this? Unless pianos are blazed off the Earth in the same way as Old Glory. If so, thank you for your service?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:17 - “Andi, did you think we were shooting a DDR tutorial?”

2:37 – Can't see anything going wrong with lighting this piano on fire while it sits on a frozen lake bed...

3:25 – They're totally going to do it.

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5. Elferya – "Fairytale"

Synopsis: Acting is hard. Elferya nail surrealism if surrealism means a complete lack of expression. To go deeper, if “Fairytale” is meant to operate within the realm of dreams, it's about as lively as David Lynch recounting driving directions. Hilariously, the treatment here is actually the easiest of all to follow. The singer expires, is led through a series of Swiss folktales, and is revived from her deathbed by mouth-to-schnoz cocaine therapy. It's just that no one can act. At all. Kids, animals, and musicians, right? Guys, Andi Kravljaca will take your call.

Lingering question: Is it really that hard to headbang?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:22 – Everyone knows you're super high. Everyone.

:46 – PSA: Don't make your last living thought a memory of I Dream of Jeannie.

3:54 – GUH! Give Jason Newsted a goat already.

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4. Lancer – "Young & Alive"

Synopsis: Doolittle Group deserve a lifetime achievement award for their commitment to visually stupefying batshittery. Golden Resurrection and ReinXeed are all the proof you need to know that the honor is well-earned. Sweden's Lancer is one of the newer additions to the faith-based label and they don't disappoint, crafting an Ambien-fueled fever dream. In it, a cult sacrifices band members to hatch/feed a battle ostrich that can shoot laser bolts from its sock-puppet eyeballs. Read that again. You could make monkeys sit in a kiddie pool of LSD, hand them an iPhone with a malfunctioning auto-correct, and not get anything nearly as nutty.

Lingering question: Is Lancer the year's best Christian metal act to reference Joust?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:28 – The giant crack rock guarded by Madonna's Blond Ambition back-up dancers sets the date somewhere between 1991 and yesterday in Brooklyn.

4:03 – What's crazier, this or the singer looking like Muppet Babies Bruce Dickinson? It's this. C'mon.

4:08 – NEVER GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN.

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3. Krüger – "3OB" Warning: NSFW

Synopsis: Russia, we're worried. Krokodil. Krüger. What's up? Is everything okay? This remake of From Dusk 'Til Yawn features Moscow's Bobby Liebling and a singer named Gina “Rose of Steel” Rock 'n' Roll. Yeah, her last name is Rock 'n' Roll, but “Rose of Steel” if ya nasty? Anyway, monsters aplenty take over a bar and get all Toby Keith with each other. So many people could've said no to this. Remember that during your next company-wide, all-hands meeting.

Lingering question: Why is The Walking Dead-styled remake of Cheers so weird?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

1:57 – Oh shit! It's a sentient protein shake!

3:54 – Will someone buy Johann Hegg a drink?

4:24 - *rubs eyes* Nope, that's still happening.

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2. Subsignal – "Paraíso"

Synopsis: The inventor of the green-screen is getting licked by the flames of hell due to the horror his creation has wrought. Subsignal is the latest abuser, rounding up an area's five most active youth pastors for this gritty reboot of Innerspace. Every Jehovah's Witness that views "Paraíso" is like, "SEE?!"

Lingering question: Were all of these slides sampled from the bathroom of a Christian coffee house?

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Key Moments of WTFery:

1:28 – “I'm sorry, the scans show you have a terminal case of Jesse James.”

3:10 – So that's why we don't have a cure for cancer, in case you were wondering.

3:30 - “Anonymous hacked healthcare.gov today and uploaded a Staind video.”

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1. Rivera Bomma – "Empty Desire"

Synopsis: “Empty Desire” provides a tantalizing peak at what it's like watching a witch catfish Rivera Bomma. Spoiler: It's about as thrilling as a childhood spent waiting for your bigger brother to die during a Contra marathon. (Also, quick note: YOU'RE A WITCH. WHY ARE YOU ON FACEBOOK? YOU HAVE SPELLS AND SHIT. ROLL A D20 OR SOMETHING!) Can the Christian heavies extricate themselves from the fame-hungry killer's fame-devouring motivations set up in the first few frames? Who knows! Despite the six-minute run time, they forgot a third act.

Lingering question: After ten of these things, how much can a person drink before slipping into a coma? Is it rude to text goodbyes? Asking for a friend.

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Key Moments of WTFery:

:27 – Mick Fleetwood is a huge Castaway fan.

:49 – Excuse Mr. Bomma as he works out the worst wedgie.

1:30 – “I love the Power Glove. It's so bad.

3:27 – Little-known fact: Witches write like shit. You can always spot a witch by keen analysis of penmanship samples.*

*Please ensure said “witch” isn't a doctor before commencing pyre construction.

4:01 – You bet that's a ring with a cross keychain.

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Got your own favorites? Feel free to share 'em. And, to all those bands wondering if they should stream a steamer, don't forget these fine words of advice: "No, I think that's a great idea."

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