Fratello Metallo

Fratello Metallo

Hey, you know that one Swedish metal band whose lead singer dresses up like an evil pope? Know why we haven’t added them to the Weird List yet? Cuz they’re fucking posers, that’s why. This week’s weird band is fronted by an actual, practicing Capuchin monk. So kneel before Fratello Metallo, all you Ghost fans, and pray for forgiveness.

The story goes like this: Back in the early ’90s, Father Cesare Bonizzi attended a Metallica concert. Why? No one seems to know why, just roll with it. Anyway, the good friar was blown away by the energy of the performance and decided to start his own metal band, figuring he might be able to turn a few impressionable young kids on to God in the process. He called both the band and himself “Fratello Metallo,” which is Italian for “Brother Metal.” Pretty catchy, right?

For some reason, no one really cottoned to a sixty-something Capuchin monk howling metal anthems in Italian until about five years ago, when Bonizzi released his 10th album…or maybe it was his 18th, if you wanna believe this Reuters video, or his second, if you wanna believe the Metal Archives. That album, Misteri, got all sorts of international press and scored Fratello Metallo an opening slot at Gods of Metal, Italy’s biggest music festival. They played before headliners Judas Priest. Bet the Gods of Metal organizers high-fived each other when they came up with that one.

Anyway, all the sudden attention apparently overwhelmed poor Father Bonizzi, who after all was still a fucking monk. Last I checked, they’re not really in the habit (monk pun!) of preaching the Good Word to thousands of screaming, drunken heshers. So in 2009, barely a year after Fratello Metallo started really blowing up, Bonizzi pulled the plug on the whole metal-monk thing and went back to his convent.

The music of Fratello Metallo was no big shakes. Mostly, they sounded like a bar band that had just started writing their own stuff after playing Iron Maiden and Dio covers for 10 years. Although you gotta admit, Father Cesare’s metal howl at 2:30 is pretty badass for a 62-year-old.

But what really earns Fratello Metallo a spot on our Weird List was their live shows. It’s not every day you see an actual Capuchin monk in the full beard and friar’s robe rocking out with a bunch of hairy metal dudes. I bet all the other monks still give him shit about it. “Hey, remember that time you tried to be a rock star? Good luck flagellating away that one, buddy!”