Friday, December 10, 2010


I don't really see what's so funny about a band like Sonata Arctica. Their music as far as metal goes, lyrically and instrumentally sounds really sad to me. It's just sad metal. Frontman Tony Kakko sounds and looks like he needs a lot of effort and a prescription just to get out of bed every morning. That man holds on to his microphone with both hands, because he is so exhausted with life. Regardless of his high-energy stage presence, you can clearly see something missing in his eyes.

In comes keyboardist Henrik Kinglenberg with what is essentially the rubber chicken of musical acts: the keytar. An obnoxious musical invention that was popularized by the likes of Devo and similar pop acts in the early 80's. The end result is this blend of sorrow and comedy on Sonata Arctica's stage, much like the concept of a sad clown: something which is in a morbid, ironic fashion, way more depressing than just a normal person who is sad. Nobody wants to see that.

The term "keytar" is a portmanteau of the words "keyboard" and "guitar". You already knew that, but I couldn't pass up the chance to use a big word like "portmanteau".  It is a lightweight keyboard that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, just like a guitar, and has its own dumb little "neck", where lies controls for pitch bends, vibrato, portamento and sustain. So what we had in the 80's were a bunch of awkward, lanky keyboardists, so excited to escape from the shadowy back corner where they typically had to stand stationary, prancing around on stage and messing up the guitarists' vibe. Soon, like everything in the 80's, keytars were looked upon as silly and regrettable. In no time, keyboard players were standing behind heavy racks and stands in the back, where they belonged. All was well.

Fast forward to present time, the era of irony. Where things that aren't cool are cool, and painful memories of the past are dug up all for the sake of some bizarre, awkward hipness. Inevitably, the keytar has made a comeback. Pseudo-indie synthpop hipster acts like Cobra Starship were quick on the keytar's retro-style uptake. Most notably, Lady Gaga, on her never-ending quest to look really stupid, couldn't incorporate a keytar into her act fast enough. However I'm not here to be concerned with what they do.

I'm only beginning to warm up to the idea of keyboards being incorporated into a metal band. So much so, that I began writing an article stating my case against keyboards on their own. However, upon careful reconsideration, a keyboard at the right fingertips can help blend a symphonic style of epic sound into a metal band's mix, adding a new dimension to the song's musical aura. So like nearly any instrument that's used tastefully, it can find its proper place in a metal band, and I'm okay with it. For now.

There is however, nothing in good taste about the musical abomination known as a "keytar". When it comes to keyboardist Vadim Pruzhanov of Dragonforce, (the most successful comedy metal act since Immortal) doing something obnoxious and making a mockery of music as an art is to be expected. It doesn't surprise me watching him run around on stage defacing the metal genre, keytar with custom blood-soaked paint job in hand.

I kind of expected a member of Sonata Arctica as a fairly respectable act to know better. Henrik and Vadim's infamous keytar duel proves that's not the case. I'm all about having a drunken good time, but this is just flat out unmetal. At a typical Dragonforce show, in place of your typical 10-minute guitar or drum solo, there is instead a twinkly synthesizer-fueled dance party. The crowd looks on and sadistically cheers as they watch the good name of metal soiled with such debauchery. This is what we're seeing happen in the video, with Kinglenberg as a "special guest". Simply revolting. It's like I'm watching an assault in progress and there is nobody to call to report it.

As a metalhead with a background in piano lessons, you are already a bit out of your element. If a prog or black metal band deems your talents necessary, then count your lucky stars, grab your stand and lay down some of that epic, synthesized orchestra glory. We're all happy for you, and we're all glad you're here and have a purpose. Just don't mock how the guitarists do their job with a cheap plastic keyboard that was designed to do exactly that.


  1. Hey now, be easy on Sonata Arctica. They were after all, my introduction to the amazing world of Metal.

  2. First off this is awesome, because Pirates are metal and that overrules keytar:

    Second thing, at 4:40, shit gets super metal.

  3. I'll agree to the first point. Although keytar playing pirates? That's an insult to pirates. Also, Janne from Bodom definitely plays his part with your run of the mill keyboard workstation at a stand, even if it is at his signature wacky angle.

  4. Rainbow in the Dark....'nuff said

  5. That song is played on a regular keyboard dude.

  6. Not to mention they could be gaining Metal points by going with a stand, by drinking a beer in one hand and headbanging at the same time. Why would you go with something so colorful too? *facepalm*


    Buying the perfect keytar requires careful research and patience. As in all things that cost money, keyboardists willing to spend on a keytar should ensure they get their money’s worth by checking carefully all available options.

  8. to whomever posted this, you are a dumb cunt. the keytar is just as viable an instrument as any other. they can be badass if used properly. Metal is different in different cultures, keep that in mind. These guys are NOT from the U.S. thus their twist on metal is a bit different. just like rock, there are different sub-genres of metal. theirs metal like metallica, and even Apocalyptica, and black metal, death metal etc. nut up dude and broaden your metal horizon.

  9. hasn't the guitar evolved over the years? A true guitar fan would know that electric guitars have been used for many varieties of music, spanning from Elvis, Led Zeppelin, DEVO (haha) and Lamb of God. what makes you think the keytar isn't capable of this evolution as well? need I continue?

  10. dude... fuck you. dragonforce are epic, in every scene and you cant say keyboards are not metal, i play both keyboard AND "keytar" and Vadim is a god of mine.
    so actually open your mind and stop being a small minded twat ok. thanks

    1. Dragonforce would be great if protools were an instrument

  11. You SUCK keyboards are an instrument too regardless of the type of music, and the keytar is such a cool extension of their awesomeness so you clearly know nothing about metal you think metal is a band that always plays in a minor key with lyrics about death and has guitar, bass, and drums...WRONG that is a type of metal, bands like dragonforce and sonata arctica is speed metal so you just SUCK

  12. Tell Jordan Rudess that a keytar isn't cool..

  13. Are you stupid? Dragonforce has a 10 minute guitar solo in all of their songs dumbass

  14. Dragonforce is an epic band because:
    Zp's voice is heavenly and the backing vocals make it all the more
    Herman and Sam's fiery guitar playing is a frickin win
    Dave's booming drums make the song so much more powerful
    Fred's low distorted bass playing is the foundation of the song
    Vadim's weird video game effects and synth leads are undescribably epic
    As well as Vadim's celestial pad sounds that fill in all the gaps

  15. Your taste in music is shit-tier. Henrik and Vadim are the greatest keyboardists of this decade. Your opinion is wrong, mine is a fact. Case closed. Commence the butthurt.

  16. Emiliano Bayless4/14/2013 9:00 AM

    i guess you're not serious about this. I guess you just wrote this for trolling all the people you can. You just can NOT be serious with this, You are the one who looks like a poor ignorant asshole for writing this, So i should think this is some kind of joke ,like all this bizarre site. You can't tell anyone what's metal and what's not.


All readers that post under the name "Anonymous" and are too frail and weak to represent themselves properly with a title, shall be deemed false metal poseurs for the remainder of their pitiful existence.