22 October 2012

Top heavy metal albums for sci-fi fans

During the A to Z Challenge, Jamie highlighted a different metal album every day that featured an element of fantasy. Since I like both metal and fantasy, I enjoyed his posts and discovered new bands.

That got me to thinking – what about the connection between metal and science fiction? This geek is proud to say there are lots of bands with science fiction themes and songs!


Heavy Metal Official Soundtrack OST coverBlue Oyster Cult has dipped into science fiction many times, with songs such as Godzilla and Take Me Away. Several of their albums were themed from start to finish. Fire of Unknown Origin was comprised of songs written especially for the animated movie, Heavy Metal. (Sadly only Veteran of the Psychic Wars made it into the film.) Imaginos was a concept album – a modified child called Imaginos, gifted with superhuman powers by aliens, navigates two hundred years of history searching for an artifact. (No, he did not work for Warehouse 13.)
Rush Clockwork Angels album cover
Rush has several albums heavy on science fiction elements – Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows, and Moving Pictures. Clockwork Angels, their latest album, is the story of a man traveling through a steampunk world.

Symphony X’s Iconoclast is a concept album based on machines taking over everything and leading to our demise.

Everyone knows that Rob Zombie’s theme is old horror films. But his brother, Spider One (not his given name, I’m sure), fronts a science-fiction themed band called Powerman 5000.

Star One Space Metal album cover
When it comes to science fiction and rock, no one does it like Arjen A. Lucassen though. This progressive rock master has created more science fiction bands and albums than anyone else, including Ayreon, Guilt Machine, and Star One.

Ayreon Into the Electric Castle tells the story of eight people from different times taken to another dimension as part of an experiment – who will survive to become the Universal Migrator?

Star One 01011001 album coverAyreon Universal Migrator focuses on the last man on Mars and the Universal Migrator’s journey. (It’s progressive rock, but so unique, iTunes doesn’t even know how to classify it!)

Ayreon 01011001 follows a dying race desperate for a second chance. They find it in on Earth but what destroyed their world nearly destroys humans as well. (And in keeping with theme, the Universal Migrator is mentioned.)

Arjen’s Star One project is definitely the most science fiction based. Dubbed “Space Metal,” each song is based on a science fiction film or TV show. There are two Star One albums, each featuring a variety of singers. The inspiration for each song is not listed on the album, which makes it fun to guess. (Or go crazy trying to figure it out.)

Can you guess the movie on which Digital Rain is based? (Singing starts near the three minute mark.)



It's The Matrix!

And because I am all about the movie trivia, here are the titles to some of Star One’s songs, along with a couple lines. Can you guess the movie/show?

1 – Songs of the Ocean “It’s not with man they’re communicating, We’re going back in time, back in history.”

2 – Cassandra Complex “I think you may be right, I’m insane after all, this is all in my mind, I just want to stay here with you, and leave the bad dream behind.”

3 – Master of Darkness “That’s not the way, the darkness will absorb you, You should never attack.”

4 – 24 Hours “You’ve got 24 hours to trace our man and set him free, our very last chance, our fate is in your hands.”

5 – It All Ends Here “Four years slipped by too fast, Four years, without a past, and a future we’ll never know.”

Watch for the answers in Jamie’s next post!

Thanks again, Jamie!

Any other science fiction bands you can name?

Alex J. Cavanaugh
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. You can follow him on his or Twitter profiles.
See all posts by Alex J. Cavanaugh

41 comments:

  1. Thanks, Jamie!

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  2. Blue Oyster Cult (well, at least Don't Fear (The Reaper)) always makes me think of The Stand.

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    1. Are you sure that's not because that song was playing over the intro to the TV miniseries?

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  3. Interesting topic! My husband is a fan of some of these bands and he's a fantasy fan, too. Definitely smart for the bands to incorporate these themes to appeal to their fan base. :)

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  4. Ha! Well, I have heard of Blue Oyster Cult and Rush. I'm not a metal head, as you may know, but it's fun looking at the connection between music and literature. I remember the first time I heard that Led Zeppelin son that mentioned Gollum, I was like whaaaaaaaat?

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  5. Interesting post, Alex! Thanks for hosting, Jamie!

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  6. LG, I remember that song!

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  7. Cool albums and I have some new stuff to listen to. Sadly, I am at a loss on the trivia so I will stay tuned to find out the answers. Great post!

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  8. Interesting post, Alex! I love when fiction and music mesh.

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  9. I've been tempted to play around with that picture of Alex on photoshop and see if I can get it lightened up to get a look at his face. I may have to do that.

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  10. I'm not massively into metal so I'm not an expert but I do love the music in the Matrix films. Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine, Lunatic Calm, Prodigy - love all of them!


    Jai

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  11. Interesting what you can miss when you're not truly tunes in. Perfect topic for Alex--metal & sci fi. Great article!

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  12. Oh, I will have to look up some of these albums! I do like Symphony X. Great post!

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  13. I love Ayreon and Heavy Metal is my guilty pleasure movie.

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  14. Michael, wait a bit for a certain blogfest and you might have a chance at a real photo.

    Jai, awesome!

    Thanks everyone! And those who can't comment here for whatever reason, thanks for leaving a comment on my site.

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  15. Metal = Life
    Shaun Valleys ShutterBug

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  16. I had BOC on vinyl when I was in hs. Liked Don't Fear the Reaper a lot.

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  17. Thanks Alex and Jamie - I will be singing...
    "Oh, no, there goes Tokyo ----Go go Godzilla"
    for the next few days.


    Great song!

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  18. Queensryche's second album, The Warning, has heavy sci-fi influences, the best of which is a song called NM 156. "Machines have no conscience!" Also, Rush's 2112 is a concept album of an oppressive, futuristic society. And Aldo Nova's second album, Subject, has some apocalyptic aspects that tie a few songs together...

    -hippogriff.wordpress.com

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  19. Wow, Al, that was a thorough post! This is not metal but the first thing that came to my mind was Led Zeppelin's reference to Mordor in 'Over the Hills and Far Away.'

    Great guest post, Jaims!

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  20. Argh. I meant 'Ramble On.'

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  21. Mary, I still have them on vinyl...

    Holly, glad I could pour that into your brain.

    Hippogriff, yes they all do. I almost mentioned Nova and had to restrain from mentioning a ton more Rush as they are my favorite band.

    Suze, it's rock. Someone else mentioned them doing a LOTR song.

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  22. Hi Alex and hi Jamie,


    Now then, let's not forget the most underrated metal band of all time. Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush, performing "Strange Universe", as an example.

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  23. seriously cool! I haven't bought any CDs in ages. I'll save these for a reference of what to buy. I need to update my MP3 player :)


    ......dhole

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  24. What an amazing list of sci fi albums. Much wisdom was dispensed here today.

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  25. The only science fiction band you mentioned that I knew was Powerman 5000. I haven't listened to them in years. I'll have to check out some of these other bands. Thanks, Alex & Jamie!

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  26. I never thought about the connection before, but now I have a new appreciation for it. Thanks Alex and Jamie!

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  27. Great post Alex! I've never heard of most of those bands. Thanks for sharing

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  28. Gary, I know them!

    Donna, enjoy!

    Thanks, Rusty.

    Michael, I think they are still around.

    Thanks Julie and Kathryn!

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  29. Joylene Nowell Butler23 October 2012 at 16:37:00 BST

    Wow, I've heard of most of these bands. Okay, that's a lie. I've only heard of Rush. But that's because my grandchildren are busy and haven't been out lately, or I'm sure they would have told me about these guys. I do remember the Matrix movies. Said grandchildren watched it 8x during one lone visit! Yes, my eyes have never been the same.

    Great post, Captain!

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  30. Hi Jamie, Hi Alex
    Sorry I'm late to the party. I didn't realize so many bands had themes to their music. I think one of the first to do this, or perhaps they were the first are the Moody Blues of the 60's era. I know they introduced orchestra music into their songs and The Beatles soon followed. Though I may be totally wrong about that. It is the order in which I experienced it.
    Nancy

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  31. Hi guys! What a great list. I'm going to have to look up some of these albums now. :D And I have no idea on the trivia, I'm so lame at this!

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  32. Although I don't listen to metal, I've always loved the cover art because of that scifi connection many of the bands have. hehehe.

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  33. That's an interesting connection to make, which makes sense.


    I love Blue Oyster Cult and Rush.

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  34. I love Rush and Blue Oyster Cult, too...
    Fun to read and now I have to go look up those lyrics~
    I didn't know....
    Thanks Jamie and Alex :D
    I love this~

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  35. Joylene, as long as you knew Rush, you are cool.

    Nancy, they were about the same time period.

    Lynda, I could've gone crazy with cover art.

    Medeia and Ella, you are cool!

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  36. I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to metal music. I have seen The Matrix and I know of the band Rush. At least that's something... and anyway, I like learning new musical thinggies...
    Thanks Jamie and Alex.

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  37. I never even realised Rob Zombie had a brother or that he had his own band. Will have to check out Powerman 5000! :D

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  38. I never realized the ties between metal and sci-fi. Interesting! Reading through that made me wonder HOW I never noticed. ~shakes head in dismay~

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  39. Great article. Metal music and science fiction, in my opinion make perfect sense. I could completely imagine my latest read "The Gyre Mission: Journey to the *sshole of the World" by Edgar Swamp being turned into a movie, with AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Rob Zombie songs being played throughout.

    http://www.edgarswamp.com/

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  40. I dunno - I always thought of metal being stuff like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica and Rob Zombie, not Rush.

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