Weird Sunday – Doppelbangers: Unwittingly Recycled Band Names

Originally written by Ian Chainey


In metal, we deal with the crap name better than most style fanatics. We can’t help it, we’ve been swimming around a smelly sea of awful monikers for decades. Scraping the bottom of the barrel? Buddy, we’ve scraped so hard we’re on the other side of the world scraping their barrel bottoms. Bad names: It’s just part of the game. And, eventually, if you play long enough, you become desensitized to it. You develop a brain callous. At that point, terrible titles don’t even phase you. “Huh, Bloodcum turned into Arsebreed? That’s nice.” You’ll say these ridiculous things out in public without blinking, like you’re some kind of serial killer. Like it’s, well, normal. Once you punch 5,000 Encyclopedia Metallum searches, all of the fun evaporates. There’s no longer any intrigue. You stop smirking at Misantropical Painforest, you stop impressing yourself by spelling Paracoccidioidomicosisproctitissarcomucosis from memory. When short-hairs snicker at something blasé like Cannibal Corpse, you drop the self-deprecating final battle from 8 Mile as a return volley. “That’s bad? I own Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay. Watch your feet, mics are falling.” Game. Set. Match.

So, yeah, bad names? Bad names are our blood. That’s what we do. That is metal. That said, at least we’re hanging those unsightly things on a band, man. You named your kid Declan. Who is the real arsebreed, eh?

Anyway, the only name-related eye-popper these days is when two completely different outfits share the same sobriquet. We call these “doppelbangers.” Pre-Net, this happened frequently, since it was hemorrhoid-ily hard to fact check whether your intended pseudonym was pinched. (Post-Net? No excuses, FALSE ORCHID.) As the ol’ joke goes: Settled on a name? So did three NWOBHM groups. Yet, it’s still amusing, especially if irate Last.fmers have to share shoutbox space. Especially if research-eschewing, more-kvlt-than-thov types hit the auctions and get caught gloating over scoring the American Mayhem as if it was the frosty one. Ah, the simple joys of schadenfreudehehehe.

For your entertainment, then, here are notable names that future owners didn’t ID as refurbished. Plus, we’re going deeper than usual. Yep, there are two Deaths! Two Cynics! A million Disgorges! Everyone knows that. But, did you know there are at least…

Two Crowbars

The One You Know:

“This is the kind of music you have on a workout tape if you’re skinny and you wanna get fat.”

– Beavis, Beavis and Butt-Head

The One You Don’t:

Long before the heaviest band, in all meanings of the phrase, opened up their All You Can Riff sludge buffet, some loon-y Canadians pushed this up the ’71 charts like a curling stone:

Yeah, it’s a soft-rock The Band. (That’s a little harsh. Still, accurate.) Origin story: These Hamiltonians backed up Ronnie Hawkins. Hawk soon gave ’em the boot, saying, “You guys are so crazy that you could fuck up a crowbar in three seconds!” With that, the unemployed boys had their imagination pried wide open. The name stuck, first as the outfit of choice for leader King Biscuit Boy (cutting this legitimately great blue-eyed belter), and then slimmed down to the not-very hunk of metal they operated under until ’75.

If you’re curious, 1970’s Official Music is worth a spin. Afterward, they’d get syrupy, turning into a diabetic version of Dr. John. (At best, they were ELO doing swamp rock on skunk weed, though that reads a hell of a lot better than it sounds. Basically, your eyes and ears will start a civil war for the senses.) Better idea: Save your eBay cash-stash and snag Heavy Cruiser.

Seven Incubuses

The Two You Know:

Oh, Brandon Boyd, how your Cali nü-funk-cum-alt.-rock confused/infuriated death metallers everywhere. (We’ll ignore that this is kinda awesome. You’ll forget we said that. These are not the duns you’re looking for.)

Which death metallers? Fans of these death metallers:

Of course, we can’t skip Louisiana’s death/thrash pioneers. The trio cut two absolute slayers (1988’s Serpent Temptation, 1990’s Beyond the Unknown) before they’d refresh their career as Opprobrium. If you don’t own ’em, you’re missing out.

The Two You Don’t:

Oh, death metallers, how your blargh n’ molo confused NWOBHM diggers.

We’ll start with these alley cats, who are responsible for the Demon-esque To the Devil a Daughter, an eh record toeing the ’70s rock line while keeping a NWO bite. Formed in 1980, the three Crawford bros and bassist Colin Evans used BÖC as a blueprint, adding a dash of intrigue courtesy of a then-controversial occult theme. All for show though, the Devil deflates after one listen. Nevertheless, their hooks ain’t shabby. Charming, if inconsequential.

Oh, death metallers, how you confused…other…death metallers.

The second crew worth mentioning are these Floridians (surprise), who counted two members from the 1986 incarnation of Morbid Angel. Somewhat lost to time, their 1987 demo was a primordial leader for br00ful-est metal in existence. Their spot on the sand would be out-leaped fairly shortly, but hearing “God Died on His Knees” continues to elicit a “holy shit” if you don’t mind the dust.

The Others: Incubus (Australia), Incubus (Brazil), Incubus (Brazil), and Incubus (Mexico).

Three Earths

The One You Know:

The Seattle struuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumers that evolved into Ennio Morridrone.

The One You Don’t:

This is a throwaway. You know this one. Earth was the markedly improved second nom Black Sabbath briefly used before settling on their iconic alias. (Thank Dio the first, Polka Tulk, didn’t gain traction.) It’s assumed Dylan Carlson was cognizant of this as well. When it came time to deafen all of Washington, he cheekily reached back into metal’s past. Hey, he wasn’t above fun appropriation:


The Other: Earth (Australia), who do Entombed with keys, essentially. There’s also a j-pop Earth, but let’s avoid how a certain writer knows that.

Five Tyrs

The One You Know:

Inspiring flyover-country kids to major in Norse mythology since 1998.

The One You Don’t:

You mean you don’t remember San Fran’s T.Y.R., Tonight You Rock, and their pedestrian, if not pretty-palatable glam? Maybe their website will refresh your memory…that…Angelfire was a thing. Youch. Someone send them an under construction gif, stat.

The Others: Tyr (Finland), Tyr (Spain), Tyr (USA). Confession: Tyr (USA) is gold.

Two Zaos

The One You Know:

Every Christian kid’s Trojan Horse for getting goregrind around their parents.

The One You Don’t:

France’s Yochk’o Seffer and François Cahen make the most productive period of your life seem rather…inadequate. After breaking away from the Magma of the early ’70s, the two constructed a comparatively bare-bones quintet and went on a hell of a run, starting in 1973 and ending in 1977. Check this stacked hand: five albums, one live album. Again, in FOUR years. Be that as it may, it’s not like these were dashed off, simple lil’ toe-tappers. Seffer and Cahen retained the original Magma aesthetic, unifying jazz, prog, Carl Orff, and world music under a poly-rhythmic WTF-ing dubbed zeuhl. It’s wild stuff. Highlights: Using Mauricia Platon as an aerobatic counter-rhythmic scatter and an ethereal angel while the rest of the group played Shoots & Ladders with huge waves of sound. Damn. Alongside Weidorje, they’re rightly regarded as one of the best Magma offshoots.

To go further, as we’ve said a few times, zeuhl can be of particular interest to brainy ‘heads. Give Ruins (Oh! They should’ve been on this list!) and Shub-Niggurath (Hey! Them too!) a shake. You might fall in loooooove. Murmur sure did.

Alright, there’s a few designation duplicates to get you started. Got a favorite? Might it be this one?

Let us know!

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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