I’ve always had a love for animated music videos, and just animation in general, though not necessarily through a conventional route. While I did watch Yu-Gi-Oh and Toasted TV’s animated series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the wee hours of most Saturday mornings, my love for comic book animation and the ‘scened’ style of story-telling came from a few video games, most notably, Max Payne and the Zombie storyline in Call of Duty: Black Ops II (the main inspiration behind the ‘Requiem’ video). I also have a love of comic books in general, but again taking a more… unique route. The Darkness for instance, another huge inspiration behind the Gloom Lore, and a lot of video game based comics too that fill out those universes where their video game counterparts can’t (Tomb Raider has some fantastic ones based on the Survivor timeline, as does the comic book based off Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s character Ghost, I have a hard copy of it still in my room).
On that side of things, and that a lot of fans of the Gloom Lore have asked for a comic book or something of that stature, that was my little homage to my love of that form of pop culture. That, and I had always wanted to do an animated music video because I thought it would be fucking sick (and yeah, I was right). On the other side of things, there was a big reason as to why we went with the animated music video as opposed to a traditional music video. Actually, scratch that, two big reasons—time and money.
I think it’s fair to say that COVID has dogged everybody, not just musicians and bands, but other artists too. The original plan for ‘Requiem’ was to have a traditional music video, but due to Victoria going into hard lockdown, and the fact we couldn’t leave our house outside of a 5km limit, it made it very difficult to plan and organise anything beyond a briefing for our videographer at the time, as well as organising actors, location, props, and the rest. The original script for ‘Requiem’ was not too dissimilar from what we got in the animated music video, but it leaned towards a more metaphorical side. Instead of Jay uploading all the Sect documents to the public, he was writing it out in a book and the scenes from older material in the lore weren’t there. They were replaced by various characters coming in and antagonising him while he writes.
That’s (sadly) the other thing about doing proper music videos too, especially in a concept based band like us. You have to start translating things into metaphors and representations, as opposed to “properly” telling the story (on the budget you have), unless you have a very simple story, or part of the story, to tell, which was not the case with ‘Requiem’ or a lot of the lore for that matter. Doing the story as an animated music video, in the style we did it, allowed us to tell the story, or at least a recap of the story, in the plainest way we can—no fancy effects, no shooting locations, just a man and his pen drawing out our story. I find animated music videos (of our style) are a really niche thing to do too.
You don’t really see all that many come around as compared to ‘traditional’ or ‘live’ music videos, but I guess that’s why this is the topic of the list. So let’s get into it before I start digressing any further…
1. Avenged Sevenfold – ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’
It wouldn’t be a Mikey list if I somehow didn’t squeeze Avenged Sevenfold in there, so I’m starting it off with one of my favourite music videos of all time. I feel like this song was made with the intended purpose of it becoming an animated music video, because if it was a live video, they wouldn’t have been able to get away with half of it due to the subject matter. Combined with a (death)bat-shit story and quirky, comedic animated visuals, I still love ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’ over a decade on because who doesn’t love skeletons playing the trumpet?
2. Gravemind – ‘The Death of Teyolia’
Combining crushing deathcore and a story accompanied by brilliant comic-book styled visuals, ‘The Death of Teyolia’ sees a woman’s revenge against a tribe for the death of her love, and the consequences of her actions. This video was one of the first that came to mind when I started this list, and definitely deserves a lot more recognition.
3. Gorillaz – ‘El Mañana’
While all of Gorillaz’s music videos are animated, this is the one that stuck out to me the most over the years. It’s better I say less about ‘El Mañana’ and just let you watch it, but to sum it up, it’s both equally sad and visually stunning.
4. Pig Destroyer – ‘The Diplomat’
While slightly more a mix of animation/effects and live shooting, ‘The Diplomat’ mixes terrifying visuals and monkeys to create a comedic take on politics, inferring how politicians push the common folk towards violence and war for their own purposes. Bottom line, you get caveman and thrash riffs mixed with monkeys and guns, what more could you want?
5. Obituary – ‘Violence’
Taking a leaf from the likes of old kids cartoons and somewhat reminding me of The Big Lez Show, Obituary’s ‘Violence’ sees an animated clip of the band trying to get to a show on time, being attacked by a whole range of different monsters, chased by cops, and even facing a gigantic dinosaur. This clip is fun as hell, and the cartoony style of animation fits perfectly with the comedic aspects of the clip.
Special mention: literally all of Metalocalypse. Do I really need to say anything more?
Words and Playlist curated by Mikey Arthur from The Gloom in the Corner (Insta: @mikey.gloom)
The Gloom in the Corner’s latest single, ‘Requiem’ is out now.