It is now time to get to know one of the stronger groups of the metal World Cup, with two up and coming European countries, the only Oceanic team (even if it qualifies through Asia), and a South American team we have been dying to welcome back. Let us go.
The Socceroos have once again made it to the world cup, but it feels like the hype around the land down under has died down for quite some time. They had to beat Honduras in a final play off to get here, and it does feel like the weakest team in a long time. Their long time legend Tim Cahill is in the squad once again, but that is evidence on just how weak this team really is. They do have some nice players still, like Mile "The man with the beard" Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, and a good keeper in Mathew Ryan, but it will take a tremendous effort for this team to get any points out of this competition.
So we all know that AC/DC comes from Australia (and also AC/DC light, aka Airbourne), but in recent years, the Aussies have developed some great and inventive death metal bands. The most hyped up band right now is Ne Obliviscaris, the extreme progressive metal band that has made the violin one of their most deadliest weapons. It is a band I, and many more, have hailed ever since the release of their debut "Portal of I" back in 2012, and their development have been very good so far, taking step by step to become one of the biggest progressive acts out there. Not far behind though is Be'lakor, a melodic death metal group that have yet to disappoint so far in their14 year career, with 4 great studio efforts and a very nice live show reputation.
There are even more great bands from down under. The acclaimed metalcore group Parkway Drive is one of few driving forces around the genre, while Caligula's Horse is a quick riser in the progressive metal heaven. We got one of the more experimental death metal bands in Portal, a great blackened thrash group in Deströyer 666, the popular deathcore group Thy Art Is Murder, and also some underrated hard rockers in Wolfmother. Let me also throw in three personal favourites of mine, the epic power metal group Black Majesty has put together a solid number of good records lately, the progressive doom outfit Rise of Avernus is a band with a bright future, and not least, the progressive power house Teramaze needs some more love from the masses.
So yeah, Australia has a great, diverse group of metal bands, showing that the Young brothers are not the only ones representing their country.
The obvious starting point when it comes to Danish metal is our favourite royalty, King Diamond. Together with the rest of Mercyful Fate, Kim Bendix Petersen rose up as one of the more prolific bands of the 80's, with the classic albums "Melissa" and "Don't Break The Oath". Might be fair to say though that the King has had even more success with his solo project, with the first four albums ("Fatal Portrait", "Abigail", "Them", "Conspiracy") as big proof to the man's greatness. In recent years though, the world has learned to love the "Elvis metal" band Volbeat, a group I do not personally get since it feels like they want to be heavy, yet still do not want to be heavy. Even I can agree though that they have created some great music over the years, and the fame is definitely not without its reasons.
Denmark has a few more gems though, more than one might think. It is mostly in the power metal genre where the Danes do the work, with bands such as Pyramaze, Royal Hunt, and Iron Fire, but they do have a good genre diversity across the board. We got black metal from Myrkur, thrash from Artillery and Hatesphere, industrial from Mnemic, classic heavy metal from Pretty Maids, and a good deal of progressive metal from Manticora, Evil Masquerade, and my favourites, Anubis Gate. The King showed his people the way, and the people followed.
I hold France as the main favourite in the competition, simply because there is a ridiculous amount of talent in this team. Sure, you can only chose 11 to play the game, but they could really put up anyone, and they would still be competitive. Here is just the sample size of talent they have, Griezmann, Pogba, Giroud, Varane, Lloris, Mbappe, Kante, Matuidi, Dembele, Fekir, and many, many more. God damn, the French are coming, and they are looking for revenge after losing the Euro final two years ago.
While the talent pool of metal bands may not be as large, there is still a good amount of talented bands to find, all lead of course by the environmentalists Gojira. The popularity of this progressive death metal band seems to be endless, and it is easy to see why. Their highly unique, crunchy style is one that no other band can match, a highly addictive sound that has spell bound a whole metal world.
Otherwise it is the black metal market where France has proven to be a force in, with highly respected bands as Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Les Discrets, and Alcest. Don't really know why black metal (and shoegaze to some extent) has become so popular here, maybe because they like misery and death? It is still interesting, and while the pickings are a little slim in other genres, we still have some quality bands here and there, like Adagio, Nightmare, and the instrumental duo The Algorithm. Still a fairly good amount, don't you think?
It has been 36 long years, but Peru is finally back in the World Cup, and it feels like the whole country is already celebrating like they won the whole thing. Just like any country from South America, football means a lot for Peru, and it certainly shows with their energetic style. Their attack is certainly exciting, with players like Guerrero, Farfán, Cueva, and Carrillo. It is a group of players that will certainly play with passion, and hopefully steal some hearts along the way.
Now, there is not too many bands of notice from Peru, but they do have one of the earlier death metal outfits. Formed in 1986, Mortem is one of the more important bands for South American extreme metal, creating some real demonic music that would not see the light of day in album format until 10 years later. The band may not be one of the front runners of the genre today, but they are still relevant, with the latest album released in 2016.
Otherwise, there is not much to gather from this country. Peru does not have a single style that defines them, so they instead have a bunch of bands in a bunch of genres, and no one has so far taken that huge leap towards the top. So while the numbers might be there (over 400 band entries in Metallum), the impact is yet to happen.
Thoughts on group
Australia is obviously the power house of the group, but France and Denmark also have a good deal of quality metal. Even if Peru does drag the group down a little, group C is still one of the stronger groups in the metal World Cup, at least in terms of the overall average
Prediction on the competition
France should have no trouble going through, and I do think their European buddies Denmark will go through with them. Eriksen will be the difference maker for the Danes.