It’s been an agonising two days, but finally international football is back with the first of the two semi-finals: an all-Iberian affair between El Furia Roja (Spain) and the Not So Furia Roja (Portugal). Will today be the day we finally get to see Ronaldo cry? By which I mean it’s been a couple of months since the last time. Or will today be the day we get to see Xavi… no probably not… will today be the day we see Inies… will today be the day we get to see Sergio Busquets cry like the enormo-jawed bitch that he is? Probably not, but maybe he’ll break a nail or an arm.
Spain: Dark Moor – ‘Swan Lake’
Dark Moor are far from the best symphonic power metal band on the go, but in terms of sheer what-the-fuckery it’s hard to beat the eight-minute epic ‘Swan Lake,’ which appears to be based on Tchiakovsky’s ballet and the Russian influence can be heard right down to the bizarre lack of articles in the chorus: “Her soul will be swan until she feels the love of nobleman.” All in all, it’s good to see somebody still clings to some standard of medieval Russian romance. I bet Andrey “I’d ban women from driving” Arshavin loves this shit.
Portugal: Extreme – ‘He Man Woman Hater’
Of all the countries featured in the series thus far, Portugal has probably been the most problematic (with the possible exception of the Czech Republic and Croatia) – in many ways, Portugal is just a crap Spain. However, while Spain undoubtedly has the edge in terms of classical guitarist, it’s Portugal (or, strictly speaking, the Azores) that can boast a true metal god in Nuno Bettencourt. Extreme have always gotten a harsh rap as Van Halen clones (frontman Gary Cherone didn’t help by agreeing to an unsuccessful spell as a stunt Sammy Hagar), but in Nuno they have probably the most technically gifted guitarist of the pop-metal era. Check out his ‘Flight of the Wounded Butterfly’ intro here and the face-melting solo around the 4:25 mark.