Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesMs. Perry,I hope this open letter finds you well. My name is Chris Krovatin, and I am both a diehard metalhead and a fan of what you do. Among the many pop stars littering the charts in these strange times, you are one of the few I find genuinely interesting. That is why I am officially urging you to start an extreme metal band.Let me begin by confronting the seemingly incongruous facts that I dig your creative output and that I pretty much only listen to death, thrash, and black metal. You see, Ms. Perry, one of the central tenants—arguably the central tenant—of metal is overkill. Hyperbole is at the heart of our music. We want the biggest riffs, the fastest drums, the least understandable lyrics, the goriest album covers, and the most extreme public imagery imaginable. We want to be so over the top that it’s ri-goddamn-diculous. As Motörhead so succinctly put it, “everything louder than everything else.”
This is a concept that you seem to understand. Your music is in many ways heavy—thick with bass, drenched in harmony. If layering tracks had physical density, your music would have the same approximate weight as a small sun. It’s not just that, either; it’s your stage show that proves how well versed you are in madness. A lot of pop stars seem chained to some level of either typical mainstream glamour in their stage shows (your Cyruses and Ushers, for example) or “meaningful, artistic” experiences (Lady Gaga and Lorde come to mind). You, on the other hand? You go all-out. Onstage, you have hugely-curved plastic surgery mummies, and giant cross-sections of Candyland, and outfits that make you look like you’ve just stepped out of a sequin-coated nightmare.On top of that, you seem to genuinely have the pipes. You can wail with the best of them, ad metal was built on people with powerful, soaring vocals. Just because most metal bands are fronted by someone who sounds like their sneezing through a mouthful of intestines doesn’t mean that real metal vocals are dead (it would be cool if you could also do death growls, but, you know, nobody’s perfect). Yet, many female clean metal vocalists sound too classically-trained and operatic. The best ones are the ones with a full-diaphragmed yell, which you seem to have, at least according to “E.T.” (God, “E.T.” would be so killer as a booming blackened death metal track). So, it’s time to put that voice to use in the only truly worthwhile musical form out there: metal.
There are so many moments when the application of metal could have taken your work to new levels of power. Let’s look at “Dark Horse.” Imagine those opening trills played on a steely electric guitar. Hear that hypnotic beat backed by a thundering double bass drum. Think Kreator or Bloodbath or Yautja, even Destroy The Opposition-era Dying Fetus, and not just the song itself, the video! As is, the “Dark Horse” music video is all right, but it could’ve been better. Cute dogs? Clunky jewelry? If you’re doing a song about darkness—if indeed you are “playing with magic”—then why not go dark? Ancient Egypt was fucking brutal. Picture this: Suitor Number Whatever comes forward. You sit on a throne set in a giant statue of Anubis, jackal-headed god of the dead. Your costume bristles with spikes and death runes. Before you sits a blood-stained block. On one side, a snarling female executioner hoists an axe; on the other, the heads of the previous suitors buzz with flies. This suitor offers you a pile of uncut diamonds. You bid the executioner lower her axe—and then, with a flourish of your hands in an arcane sign, you summon two vicious panthers. The hungry beasts tear the suitor’s throat out, and your face curls into a smirk as it’s sprayed with his hot blood. Cue Juicy J verse.See? Isn’t that badass? Most metal bands can’t do anything nearly that brutal, primarily because of the most despicable aspect of the music industry: money. Extreme metal is the ultimate example of a genre whose creative vision far outreaches its budget. This makes sense; metal is abrasive and complicated music about dark and ghastly subject matter, which means that the mainstream, which runs on in the concept of Everything’s Fine, will never invest the proper amount of money in it. Ms. Perry, you have the budget. You have access to the best musicians, the best equipment, the best set, costume, and lighting designers. If you haven’t already, watch an Adult Swim cartoon called Metalocalypse, which is about a (perfect) world in which an extreme metal band named Dethklok is civilization’s driving artistic force. It illustrates what a death metal band could do with a huge budget. That could be you, Ms. Perry, reclining atop of a throne of iron skulls, holding an invisible orange out to the screaming audience as your spike-lined Halfordian dress flaps in the breeze.
Obviously, many metal purists would see your metal band and cry, “Poser! What does teenage dream Katy Perry know about the Satanic might of pure metal? In my anger at her falseness, I will now look at pictures of her on the Internet for the next twenty minutes.” To their credit, these jackasses have a point—after all, death to false metal. That's why I urge you to listen to metal (though hey, what do I know, maybe you crank Mutilation Rites on the tour bus and need no further education). Not only would listening to the wide breadth of heavy metal out there improve your life, given that metal is just the best, but it would also allow you to pick and choose aspects from metal’s many facets with which to create your own epic metal band. That’s the beautiful thing—there are no limits for your metal band, because you’re already a famous pop star breaking into what is considered an unlistenable genre. It’s crazy from the get-go! You can do whatever you want!In closing, I will urge you once again, Ms. Perry, to dump your most likely precious time and your many resources into starting a huge, epic extreme metal band. Sure, it may take people by surprise, and sure, this project would probably make you a fraction of the money your pop albums do. It’s just that, well, metal rules. It’s the best. It kicks metric tons of ass all over the room. No band or musician is cooler than Slayer.Should you need a patch-covered denim vest, I’m sure I have a spare one I could lend you.Hail,Chris KrovatinChris Krovatin is probably talking about zombies on Twitter.