So we have finally reached the end of this series that I definitely should have started before the World Cup even began, but I am a spontaneous bastard (great band name btw). I hope you enjoyed it, because I certainly did, discovering a lot of other bands and cultures. Four countries are left though, so let us get to them.
The darlings of the 2014 World Cup are back again to once again win everyone over with their exotic style, and there is certainly reason to believe that they can reach as far, if not further, this time. James Rodriguez is back, getting a much needed confidence boost in his short stint in Bayern, Falcao finally gets the chance to play a World Cup to, and we got one of the most intriguing centre back pairings in Davison Sanchez and Yerry Mina. This is certainly a dark horse, one that can take it all the way.
So when it comes to metal, it gets a little awkward, because the biggest metal band out there are... not something we should really discuss. The recent allegations of the blackened thrash metal band Inquisition and its frontman Dagon about child pornography is a really touchy subject, and not something that should be encouraged. It does not help the fact that Dagon also has a history of being a Nazi, so let us leave this band, never to speak of them again, and see what else Colombia has to offer.
Well, it is mostly death and black metal from this South American country, with some of the stand outs being Internal Suffering and Thy Antichrist. Not my personal cup of tea, but they have obviously found their fans. While there seem to be a healthy amount of bands from the country, there is not a lot of true stand outs that have punched their way into the sphere. Hopefully, that will change in the near future.
Yeah, Japan has seen some better days. Some of their biggest players (like Honda, Okazaki, and Kagawa) are reaching the end of their careers, while there are few talents who can cover for them. Looking at the roster, there is a lot of routine here that play all over Europe, but it will take some real effort to even make it through the group stages. I am interested to see Takashi Inui though, he has had some good seasons in the Spanish club Eibar, so maybe he is the one that shall lead the Japanese to glory. That samurai mentality is much needed here.
Well, let us start this discussion by bringing up the hottest things that has come out of Japan since Anime. The entertaining, but also controversial, three-piece Babymetal has taken the world by storm with their unique blend of heavy Slipknot like beats, and cutesy J-pop. It is a combo that brings out the cringe in about 95% of all metal heads, but once you get into it, it gets sort of infectious. Not saying that Babymetal is the new coming of Judas Priest (even with the blessing from the Metal God himself), but they certainly have the potential to reshape the landscape. In other words, this is as much Japan as it can ever get, and for every face palm song like "Karate" and "Gimme Chocolate", there is a "Megitsune" that will blow your brain away.
But before Babymetal, there has been a pretty good amount of Japanese that has come out to the scene successful. We got the death/black metal band Sigh, a lot of power metal from Galneryus, Blood Stain Child, Versailles, and X Japan, some more alternative styles from Dir En Grey, some drone from Boris, and some classic hair metal from Loudness. There is a lot of interesting, passionate, and really fun Japanese metal out there, which really is a reflection on their fan base that is said to be wild as hell. As said, Japan is fun, and it is a dream of mine to go to one of their metal festivals, hopefully dying with a shit eating grin on my face while I get destroyed by that mosh pit.
Well Poland, it is finally time for you to show what you are made of. This golden generation, which includes stars such as Lewandowski, Blaszczykowski, Piszczek, and Szczesny, have not really accomplished anything. This is the first World Cup they have qualified for since 2006, and their best Euro record is a quarter final two years ago. A lot of the pressure will be on the shoulders of Robert Lewandowski, a magnificent goal scorer in is club Bayern Munich, and he scored 16 goals in the qualifiers. His knack for getting those goals will be needed if Poland shall reach their first play off game in the World Cup since 1986.
The Polish metal scene is as strong as ever, with a whole bunch of big guns. The BFG is still Behemoth though, and there is really no reason why they should not be, the quality that Nergal and his crew produce is simply amazing. Together with these masters of black metal we have the even more experienced death metal legends Vader, technical death giants Decapitated, progressive veterans Riverside, and yet another good death metal band in Hate.
It is certainly obvious that death and black metal is the forte of Poland, with Mgla, Batushka, Vesania, and Azarath as other examples. We got some good progressive metal as well, with Lunatic Soul and Blindead. Otherwise I can recommend the heavy metal band Crystal Viper, crossover thrashers Acid Drinkers, and sludge band Obscure Sphinx. Polish metal is surely in good hands for years to come.
There are few teams in this World Cup that I am as excited to watch than Senegal. Despite this only being their second tournament (first one was in 2002), Senegal has an incredibly fun attitude that shows on and off the pitch. All 23 players are truly enjoying themselves, taking in every bit of the moment. Then we look at the roster, and we see that there is a good amount of talent to back it up. Biggest star is Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, who have enjoyed a strong season, and he is joined by guys like M'Baye Niang, Salif Sane, Idrissa Gueye, and Kalidou Koulibaly. They will certainly be dancing into Russia, will they do the same when they leave?
Well, we got a Nigeria situation over here. There seems to be little to no metal scene in Senegal, with no bands registered in Metallum, and no real articles found. Sooooooooo... next segment please.
Thoughts on group
Both Poland and Japan have an impressive amount of quality bands, more than I originally imagined, while Colombia was kind of underwhelming. Senegal... yeah, let us not speak of them.
Reaction on competition
I called this the group of death, and it certainly delivered. Colombia went through as the winner, despite losing the first game, and Senegal and Japan was so even that for the first time ever, we had to use the fair play rules to separate them. Japan got fewer yellow cards, so they went through. Shame, I really love the joy that Senegal brought to the game.