Thursday, January 19, 2006

Curlers rock out in heavy-metal video

There's more curling Blogtent following this top story, so be sure to scroll all the way down. But oh, what an amazing top story this is.

They are the defending world champions and the gold-medal favourites at next month’s Olympic Winter Games in Italy. And now they’ve grabbed electric guitars instead of brushes.

Anette Norberg’s powerhouse curling squad from Harnosand, Sweden gets top billing in a new rock video from Swedish heavy-metal act Hammerfall (both in photo), and it proves that curlers -- as well as metalheads -- certainly do rock.

Hammerfall guitarist Oscar Dronjak in a statement posted on the band’s website:

In preparation for the Olympic Games in February, we joined forces with one of Sweden’s brightest hopes for a gold medal. With heavy metal as a source of strength, the girls can now focus on bringing home the gold.

On ice, Team Norberg crushed the USA 10-4 to win the 2005 world championships in Scotland. On video, the team arrives for a game only to be confronted by their opponents: a wild-haired rock band with dubious curling skills. The two sides battle to a predictable finish -- with rocks, brooms and a full on-ice drum kit -- but not before the attractive athletes have morphed into leather and chain-clad musicians themselves.

Team Norberg in a prepared statement:

Our big adventure (Torino 2006) is getting closer and closer, and we are in great spirit! For us to succeed, our serious training has to give space to more relaxing elements. Such an element is this more unusual activity. For our team this has created loads of positive energy and is something that beats everything in team-building that we have ever experienced.

The song, Hearts On Fire from Hammerfall’s 2002 release Crimson Thunder, will be re-released as a single in Sweden only. Kudos also go to Acuvue, a sponsor of both Team Norberg and the Olympic Winter Games, who helped bring the squad and band together for the project.

According to an Olympic curler, this is at least the third time a music video has embraced the sliding sport. George Karrys won silver for Canada at the 1998 Nagano Games and is the publisher of The Curling News:

Sarah Harmer’s song ‘Silver Road’ was part of the soundtrack to the film Men With Brooms, and the front man for the Tragically Hip, Gord Downie, was on backing vocals. In the video, Downie was an ice technician working lonely hours at a curling club. And in 1998, another Canadian band called Gob went curling in their video for ‘You’re Too Cool.’ But this is the first time any curling team, much less Olympians, have done anything like this. It’s completely over the top and I think it’s great.

Nine years after their chaotic on-ice experience, pop-punksters Gob remain fond of the ancient sport known as The Roaring Game. Lead guitarist Theo Goutzinakis:

We are huge fans of the sport, we think it’s pretty fascinating. We spent $2,500 on that video. Aside from bruised knees, and broken brushes – and we lost a curling rock during the shoot – all went according to plan.
We were originally going to call that album Music To Curl To.

Norberg and teammates Eva Lund, Catharine Lindahl and Anna Bergstrom have won five consecutive European Championships and open their Olympic campaign Feb. 13 against Canada’s Shannon Kleibrink. Many pundits are predicting that matchup to be a preview of the eventual gold-medal final.

Hammerfall’s most recent album, Chapter V: Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken was released in March 2005 via Nuclear Blast Records. According to the All Music Guide, the band “have become one of the toasts of the Eurometal scene.”

The video for Hearts On Fire is available for viewing, here in Windows Media Player and here in QuickTime. Other links: Team Norberg and Hammerfall.

Wow. That was exhausting.

On to the weekend, and here's your friendly Friday links roundup:

• there's a nice Stefanie Lawton feature here;
• 400,000 or almost 35 per cent of Turin's tickets are unsold;
• the Russians are pushing disabled (read: Paralympic) sports and just missed out on building a wheelchair curling squad from scratch;
• The M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors start tomorrow and will have draw-by-draw, wall-to-wall coverage on CurlTV, including tiebreakers and semi-finals (finals on CBC). That is a whole whack of curling, folks. Also, here's a look at Northern Ontario's junior women's team:
• Playdowns continue this weekend: in Alberta, John Morris will be putting on his pants at the SACA showdown, while the Northern field is wide open;
• Finally, CBC-TV's morning show came to Hamilton, Ontario – and a curling club – which brought the frenzy of Canada's federal election right onto the ice. However, fans seemed more interested in one particular TV host...


Dean Gemmell said...

Another nice roundup, George.

One thing — that last link doesn't seem to work.

nocurling said...

great stuff, george. always my first read in the morning.

peter woodcox
olympia, washington

Dan said...

The search engine said there was a mention of Team Becker winning the Big Chief Bonspiel last weekend and now competing in the MCA Spiel. Can't find it, but we TEXANS were also in the Big Chief and got to meet them and exchange some pins.

I am rooting for them for both the MCA and Olympics except if or when the play Pete Fenson. Got to root for PETE and USA first....but Team Becker is a great group of curlers.