Metal and Match Pairing: Io Shirai vs. Mayu Iwatani

Credit: Stardom

Match: Io Shirai (c) vs. Mayu Iwatani -Stardom Gold 2016

Album: Hamferð-Támsins Likam 

In the tradition of the famous Wizard of Oz/Dark Side of the Moon mashup, allow me to present a combination of music and wrestling that enjoys its own set of synchronicities. To experience it, play the album and match (hyperlinks above) at the same time. Watch the action as the songs play in the background. Enjoy.

01. Fylgisflog

An eerie aura sticks to the air as the tag team partners stand in opposite corners of the ring in this World of Stardom Championship match. A ghostly guitar plucks. Iwatani is wrapped in a swirl of blue streamers.

In the champion’s face, an intensity burns. And under Shirai’s glare sits a sadness, perhaps born of reluctance to battle her sister-in-arms, that matches the music’s pained tone.

Hamferð Támsins Likam Artwork by Costin Chioreanu

A hymn, part Gregorian, part demonic, begins as Iwatani and Shirai shake hands, as they watch other warily. The opponents coil together, shifting for position, reaching for a limb to control.

The vocals shift into hellish growling just in time to accompany the wrestlers’ kicks and forearms hammering down on each other.

Despite their friendship, this is no athletic competition, it’s an expression of acrimony. You can feel it seethe from their faces, from the fury of their boots, from the growl of the guitar.

02. Stygd

Io seizes control of the challenger, stomping her, walloping her, looking to leave no doubt. The distorted guitar buzzing in the background is her dark heartbeat.

A choir from Hades sings. A military drum rattles. Shirai twists Iwatani’s leg and pulls the joints toward their breaking point. All part of this archaic ritual of pain we are witness to.

Mayu makes a gutsy comeback full of fists and fearless leaps. Soaring, piercing guitar is the soundtrack to her resolve, to this divine fight. She is unsteady but unwavering in front of a frosty, fragmented musical scrim.

Credit: Stardom World

03. Tvistevndur Meldur

Io squeezes her challenger’s head and face unrelenting but is soon paid back. Mayu batters her with kicks that strike in time with the bashing drums.

Both wrestlers roll on the mat. The bass throbs. Cymbals crash.

Iwatani and Shirai trade punches and under their back-and-forth slugfest power chords crunch, seemingly growing more forceful as the strikes get harder.

Caught in a Texas Cloverleaf, Mayu stretches desperately toward the ring ropes. She slides her body along the canvas in search of escape. Operatic vocals ring out and heighten the danger she is in, to supplement her anguish.

The music slows and leaves white space on its canvas as the warriors both tire. Io, splayed out outside the ring is barely able to stand, much less hop back into the fray. The deep and weighty mournfulness of Jón Aldará’s singing elevates the violent story these women tell with their bodies.

04. Frosthvarv

In the climax of the championship match, what sounds like a heartbroken bard’s song plays. This is the Ballad of Mayu. It is a song of hurt and disappointment.

Victory is slipping from her grip. She rolls awkwardly into the corner, fails to pin Io after a frog splash, and cannot write her happy ending.

During her last charge, the music weakens. We hear the lightest tap of the drum. Aldará’s voice sinks into a smoky near-whisper. Even the song knows Mayu’s time is up.

After Io’s trademark moonsault, the referee counts to three, and a sorrowful soundtrack billows up. By the time a drained Io raises her hand in victory, with trophy and gold in hand, the guitar rides in hard, pounding, marching like a triumphant soldier.

Credit: Stardom World

It is not yet time for a change of the throne.

Check out previous metal and match pairings: