With the hotly anticipated new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, hitting theaters this week, it’s hard not to have Star Wars fever.
Music genres of all kinds have reaped their fair share of inspiration from Star Wars—and metal is no exception. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that the saga and metal belong together like Darth Maul and his kick-ass, double-sided lightsaber. Here are seven times metal was inspired by Star Wars.
1. Galactic Empire not only cover Star Wars, they dress up like the characters, too
Let’s start with the obvious here: If you’re a Star Wars nerd and a metalhead and you haven’t heard of Galactic Empire, then your mind’s about to be blown like the destruction of the Death Star. Galactic Empire is an instrumental tech metal band that covers songs from Star Wars’ timeless soundtrack. If that’s not awesome enough, they perform dressed like various characters from Star Wars. Let’s just say these guys definitely give Jabba The Hutt’s cantina band a run for their money.
2. Vader take their namesake from Darth Vader himself
Poland’s prodigal death metal sons, Vader, take their namesake from none other than Darth Vader himself. It’s only fitting, considering any one of their songs makes the perfect background music to Darth Vader going full Sith Lord all over the Rebel scum.
3. Bloodbath pays tribute to “Imperial March” on every single album
Bloodbath’s Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström, also of Katatonia, is a self-professed Star Wars superfan; and being the musical mastermind he is, he’s dropped a tribute to the ever-famous “Imperial March” on every Bloodbath album to date. That onslaught of evil riffs on “Cancer Of The Soul” is one of them. Can you find the rest?
4. Hoth is named after the planet Hoth
Blackened death act Hoth from Seattle borrow their namesake from the icy planet of the same name that appears in The Empire Strikes Back. Not only does the artwork that adorns the cover of their 2014 Oathbreaker record look strikingly similar to Hoth, but the album itself was also recorded during the cold winter months of 2013. It’s also important to note that no tauntauns were disemboweled during the making of the album; that’s more than Luke Skywalker can say…
5. Metallica occasionally covers Star Wars live
Both James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have been known to occasionally bust out a cover of the “Imperial March” during live sets. Apparently, they covered it with the San Francisco Symphony in 1999 for the album that would become S&M.
6. Epica’s “Imperial March” cover on their Classical Conspiracy album
The Netherlands’ chief symphonic metal export Epica has become known for their rather epic (no pun intended) rendition of the “Imperial March” that first appeared on their 2009 Classical Conspiracy live album. The band also performed it on their 2013 Retrospect live album, a performance of which can be viewed above. This cover, in particular, really shows just how seamlessly metal and the epic score of Star Wars can be fused together.
7. Protest The Hero’s “Clarity” video pits Star Wars fans against Trekkies
Last but certainly not least, the technical Canucks in Protest The Hero paid tribute to Star Wars in their music video for “Clarity,” which provides a rather interesting outcome to the age-old conflict between Star Wars fans and Trekkies.