Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Action Summit was pretty hardcore, and a video that went viral over the weekend has since given it a fitting soundtrack.
The 16-year-old Swedish activist kicked off the summit with an impassioned and emotional speech to the UN General Assembly in which she chastised world leaders for failing to take action to slow the effects of climate change.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,” Thunberg said with tears in her eyes. “Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
When New York City-based thrash metal drummer John Meredith heard Thunberg’s words, he knew exactly what he wanted to do.
“I was very impressed by her passion and outrage,” Meredith, who calls himself John Mollusk online and performs in a band called Suaka, told Rolling Stone. “And the words she chose just evoked the darkness of the metal music I love: Entombed, Gojira, At the Gates, Sepultura.”
Meredith improvised some death metal instrumentals to accompany Thunberg’s speech, according to Rolling Stone. Since her voice didn’t sound “metal enough,” he sang along in his own growl.
The resulting video, which Meredith posted to YouTube on September 25, has been viewed over 3.1 million times.
“I guess I didn’t really have a specific intent other than to turn her brutal words into a metal song,” Meredith told Rolling Stone.
He acknowledged that the music adds humor to a speech about a serious and urgent topic.
“Teen angst can be a powerful and important driving force in society, for instance the Arab spring,” he said. “But there is an element of satire and levity regarding the tone and the music. I mean, I have never sung like that before in my life. I think humor and [positive mental attitude] can be at least as powerful as anger and outrage, and there is a place for both.”
Thunberg seemed to accept the humorous take on her speech, and weighed in on the video in a Twitter post: “I have moved on from this climate thing… From now on I will be doing death metal only!!” she wrote.
While Thunberg was, of course, joking about that career change, Meredith’s video is really leading him to pursue some new projects.
“Even before the video went viral, my friends were suggesting other speeches to do,” Meredith said. “I had so much fun doing this one, I will probably do more.”