I don't know about you, but ever since the rise and dominance of the Live DVD, the need and want for metal music videos - especially those with a deficit of creativity - has sharply declined. Who gets excited over a metal music video any more, unless it's completely awesome? Here's a basic guide to metal videos which will save you time (and possibly money); once you get around 30 seconds into a video, you'll instantly recognize it as part of one the genres below. Once identified, turn off your television, put on the record it came off and simply figure out the rest. Alternatively, you can imagine a much cooler video in your head. Actually - produce and direct a better one...ahh, let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Band Playing in Disused Warehouse/Old Church/Ruins
The old standard. Helloween used it, Iron Maiden used it, Judas Priest used it; it's good enough for any metal band on a strict budget that just have to release a video. Features nifty cuts and close ups of shredding, odd panning or steadicam work and the band pulling tough faces so the director can prove that he is able to operate the equipment to an acceptable standard. Occasionally the director might throw in some weird shots of buildings, children crying, forest running or other creepy shit for shits and giggles. Also: the thrashier the band, the crazier the camerawork.
Examples: Arsis - We are the Nightmare, Children of Bodom - Trashed, Lost and Strungout; Mercenary - My World is Ending
Band Playing Gig
Did you know Motorhead faked an entire live set for their first home video? Well, taking cues from that wonderful premise, bands also save heaps of cash by sticking some cameras in amongst a wild gig. They splice together the footage, forming a perfectly releasable video. Occasionally there's some narrative thrown in; but it's getting in the way of the shredding! Isn't that why we're still watching?!
The greatest cash saver I've ever seen was the In Flames/Soilwork "rivalry" videos: It featured them both insulting one another out on the snowy streets of Gothenburg and having them both show up at each other's gigs (contrived of course) to cause all sorts of mischief! In the same venue! With the same crowd! Genius! You can also have a gig in a warehouse, which fulfils both wishes simulteneously.
Examples: In Flames - Jotun, Amon Amarth - Death in Fire, Soilwork - Rejection Role
Band Playing in Fantasy Setting
If the director's pitches of "in a warehouse" and "one of your gigs" falls short, the ultimate fallback has the band playing in some weird fantasy land that sort of doesn't look like a warehouse (even though nine times out of ten, it sort of is.) Castles, clouds, Middle-Earth, snow-capped tundras; they're all not warehouses, therefore fulfilling the band and director's objective of not having the video filmed in a warehouse.
Examples: Helloween - If I Could Fly, Nightwish - Nemo, Rhapsody - Unholy Warcry
Actually Cool Videos
If you're actually up at 4am after a huge night out and you decide to turn on Rage, you may indeed win the proverbial metal video lottery by actually witnessing one with a skerrick of inventiveness. Granted it doesn't happen very often and even the better ones are merely variations on a theme (such as Sentenced's Ever-Frost which has them at a gig not actually playing the gig). The truly great ones abandon conventions and dig up ideas further afield from the obvious, such as the David Lynch inspired ThereIn by Dark Tranquillity or the slick detective story (OK, they're still playing in a warehouse; but dressed up in rather dapper duds) from Blind Guardian in Another Stranger Me. Also, who can forget the amazing Hangar 18 by Megadeth? (Fair enough; a hangar is just a warehouse that stores planes, but this one had like, aliens in it and shit.) The only completely awesome video I've ever seen would probably have to be the one for Trollhammaren by Finntroll because it depicts a troll party and troll parties are awesome.