Will Shatner, the ultimate 'Iron Man'

So just when you'd managed to excise every last trace of the lava-bed crunch-munch of plodding, misanthropic metal mayhem that is The View from your cranium, shameless hambone thespian William Shatner crashes the random-heavy-metal-news-sweepstakes party with what's gotta be the most cringe-worthy version of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" ever committed to tape.

Before Gimme Noise goes any further, you should probably just, um, click "Play" and leap headfirst into... this.

Words are tough to come by for this. Gimme Noise has seen and heard a great many horrific things in his time, but this video is in a class by itself, not just because the viewer can vicariously share the searing strain that Shatner is subjecting his vocal cords to but because you can tell that some serious woodshedding went into preparing for this recording session; dude put away at least a couple bowls of Wheaties before the chauffeur ferried him to the studio.

The stage-whisper line readings and quaking-with-Method-Acting-rage are more than worth the price of admission, but the fourth-wall-shattering element of this video separates Shat's "Iron Man" cover from previous storied windmill-tilts like "Common People" and "Mr. Tambourine Man"; when those songs found their way into the world, we never got to witness a dazed, wiped-out James T. Kirk slumped in a chair listening to a playback with an engineer or pumping his fist while pureeing his larynx and rocking a Venom baby-tee. (Just kidding about the tee-shirt; I threw that in to see if you were paying attention or you were thoroughly consumed by the Shat-man's vulgar display of Pentagram power.) What really comes across here, to me, is this: William Shatner is getting on, isn't he? He's mortal. On television, pancake makeup and clever lighting let us fantasize that we'll have him to kick around forever; we won't, of course, and it's entirely possible that this bizarre interpretation of a canonical standard is one of his final epically batshit public acts. Unless, of course, Ozzy invites him onstage for an "Iron Man" duet during the next Sabbath reunion gouge.

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