Posts Tagged death
Heavy metal artists and fans alike consider death frontman Chuck Schuldiner as the most significant force in the genre that came to be known as “Death Metal”. From the sheer brutality of “Scream Bloody Gore” to the technical wizardry of “Symbolic”, Schuldiner constantly took metal in directions it had never been before. However, what few headbangers realize is that Schuldiner is a legend of equal or even greater status in the Southern hip-hop scene.
Rapper Juicy J, seen wearing a 1991 era Spiritual Healing tour shirt in the video for his song “That What A Pimp Does”, recently recalled how Death’s music was a major influence on his decision to begin his musical career with several of his friends.
“Paul (DJ Paul), Richard (Lord Infamous) and I were sitting around discussing the merits of Keynesian economics. Richard was really into the whole Austrian, invisible hand scene at the time and was going on and on about methodological individualism. Now, Paul and myself were strictly Frankfurt School guys and had been reading heavy amounts of Marcuse and Horkheimer at the time, so we weren’t hearing it. As you an probably imagine, things were starting to get heated.”
“Anyway, we had on Death ‘Leprosy’ in the background and the song ‘Pull The Plug’ came on. The whole conversation stopped and we were mesmerized. A week later, we started Three 6 Mafia.”
According to Paste magazine editor Atticus Flinch, Three 6 Mafia is hardly the only rap group that was inspired by Death. “It’s hard to not hear a little bit of Schuldiner’s work on nearly every record that’s come out of the so-called “Dirty South” over the past twenty some odd years. Be it the 808 kick drums, the auto-tune vocals, the gritty, nihilistic lyrics about the everyday struggles associated with urban life or the frantically-paced, melodic guitar solos. Pick up anything from Waka Flaka Flame to Souljah Boy and you’ll see Schuldiner’s fingerprints all over it.”
The tribute record was put together by Chicago based rapper Chief Keef, but will feature some of the top names in hip hop as guest artists including the man some have taken to calling “Evil Chuck Jr.”, producing icon Shawty Redd. Shawty, whose name in real life is Preternatural Transmogrifyer, was 10 years old when “Individual Thought Patterns” first came out.
“I remember asking my parents over and over again to take me to the store to buy that album. At the time, I was deeply interested in gardening. I used to play ‘Cosmic Sea’ off of ‘Human’ to my begonias at night to help them grow. I remember running into my bedroom when we got back from Sam Goody and hearing that crazy opening from ‘Overactive Imagination’ and knowing, at that moment, the true meaning of love.”
“Trappin’ Da Corner” is due to drop on June 12th. If you see it on the floor, please pick it up and place it back on the shelf or, better, find a customer service person to help you find the correct place to put it.
Famed metal music guitarist James Murphy has a surprising new gig!!! After years of playing music dedicated to the worship of evil in all its forms, Murphy has become a Seal Healer. He’s currently saving the lives of hundreds of sick seals at Tampa’s famed marine mammal park SeaWorld. Murphy, who is himself a mammal, has been responsible for over 239 spiritual healings since his return from a Tibetan ashram last fall.
Murphy, who is best known for his work in Obituary, Disincarnate, Cancer, Konkhra, Testament, Agent Steel, Aggressor, Artension, Abigail Williams, Death, DAATH, Firewind, Gorguts, Malevolent Creation, Nevermore, Solstice, Vicious Rumors, Captain and Tenille, Cancer, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Count Basie and His Orchestra, The Oakland Raiders, Robocop, George McGovern’s failed 1976 Presidential Campaign, the Russo-Japanese War and Broken Hope, was hired by Seaworld after he gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a Hump Back Whale named Shalamar during an August visit to the park.
After Murphy’s heroic moment, SeaWorld discovered that he was a man of uncommon abilities, able to rescue seals from certain death using a bizarre form of chanting and telepathy taught to him by famed monk and Las Vegas crooner Wayne Newton.
“James is a magician. He looks into their sad, wounded eyes and revives the spark of life within them. He is a Level 27 Cleric, a healer, a saver of seals,” said SeaWorld International President and CEO Toro Jublio.
Murphy, who was recently the recipient of this year’s Man of The Year Award from The International Ex-Seal Clubbers For Christ organization, has been quite humble about his accomplishments. “Really, saving seals is quite simple. I’d like to eventually work towards greater accomplishments like teaching advanced calculus to dolphins and instructing tuna fish on how to live happy, fulfilling lives without the need to be in water.”
Murphy plans on taking his Seal Revival show on the road this summer during his tour with the Italian disco-metal band Seventh Seal. The band will conclude each set with Murphy playing an instrumental version of Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” while bringing a seal back from the dead. During the New York show at Madison Square Garden, he plans on reviving Stumpy, a Harbor Seal that died proudly serving his country during World War II.
Pig Destroyer plans to open for them during the North American leg of the tour.
Back in June of 1995, I was lucky enough to have met and spoken with Chuck Schuldiner. Myself and several friends were at a Death concert at The Roxy in Long Island and through a bizarre series of events we ended up on their tour bus.
Meeting Death was, for me, the equivalent of what I imagine Christians might feel having been in the presence of Christ. Seriously. For me, Death albums were transcendental experiences that explained most of the mysteries of the universe. Chuck was a mystic to me, Gautama with a guitar, The Great One sent down the mountain to help us see the invisible boundaries that we have created to lock away the most creative, life-affirming aspects of our being.
I’m sure I made a total fool of myself. I was your average 13-year-old girl getting backstage to meet Justin Beiber. I was stumbling around for words. Saying anything that came to mind to try to prolong the time we were in the man’s presence.
It was actually an uncomfortable feeling in retrospect. I didn’t want to mess up my one shot at actually asking the man the questions that had plagued me for the entirety of my being. This man had answers. No one could create like he did and not hold the key within him.
Finally, I worked up to asking him the meaning of the song “Vacant Planets” off of the album “Human”. I had somehow worked up a theory in my mind that this song was a comment on the nature of reality and life itself. I had pondered this song for hours and hours. Understanding its meaning consumed me.
There was something to the urgency of this song. It demanded to be understood. There was something deeper to it. Beyond meaning. Beyond rational thought. If he could just explain it to me, I’d have found the missing piece that explained this demented jigsaw puzzle I was living in.
I ambushed him out of nowhere with a rambling, semi-incoherent question about the song. “Chuck…I need to know about the song Vacant Planets. I mean, that song…that song. There is something within that song, you know. The planets around us are so empty. But, ‘in a realm so vast, we sit among the Vacant Planets’. They are vacant and without life. So is our planet, you know.”
“There is nothing to us. We are empty vessels. We eat, we sleep, we decay, we die. Over and over. And it all amounts to nothing. We want endless life, but for no reason. We don’t want to discover the universe around us, we simply want to not die. There is so much possibility wasted. This place is a void. No different than the emptiness on Mars or Mercury. We are a Vacant Planet! There is no meaning to any of it.”
During this whole disjointed explanation he regarded me with a great deal of kindness. He had a very empathetic expression. He was listening. He understood.
“Chuck, I need to know, am I right? Is this it? Is this what Vacant Planets means?”
He looked composed his thoughts for a second and looked away. I felt embarrassed. Had I said too much? Had I wasted my moment?
Then, he looked back at me. Stared directly into my eyes with a half smile on his face.
“Man…the song is about outer space.”
If there ever was a testimony to his genius, it was that answer.
Greetings fellow metal heads! This is Richard Simmons, and I’ll tell you what, a lot of guys across this hibernation nation are writing me to find out where they can buy XXXXL leather pants and bullet belts before the summer concert season hits like a ton of bricks.
You don’t need a new wardrobe, you just need to get metal thrashin’ mad at that out of shape bod, and get your old anorexic, bean pole shape back. “How the #$%^# am I going to do that?” you ask? Well, I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements for my famous “Sweating To The Oldies” workout programs that have helped a lot of people get back into the best shape of their lives, right? Well, I’m happy to say that with the help of Full Metal Racket Productions, I’ve got just the thing to get you back to your twiggy old self again. Sweating To Death!
I hear you growl, “Sweating to Death? You mean “Death”, as in THE best death metal band in history?” That’s right. DEATH! Sweating To Death is going to revolutionize your self image and get you back into the shape of a fence post. Many people don’t realize that I just love death metal to death. When I was a rebellious teen, my Uncle Garth bought me death metal cassettes from all over the world and I was hooked like a heavy metal Mr. Limpet. I discovered that heavy metal was the key to getting into shape and getting the respect I deserved in the mosh pit.
Sweating To Death has been such a success that Bulimic Corpse Magazine calls it, “A masterpiece of metal and fat melting moves. Six horns up!” This program was even instrumental in getting Rammstein back into shape after their bratwurst and beer binge tour. Till Lindmann was in tears when he went from being a heavy metal monster, to slim, trim, pyrotechnic mad man once again. Never fear your mom putting your favorite concert tees in the dryer ever again!
So, move over “Screamin’ For Benchpress”, and get lost “Too Fast For Lovehandles”, because Sweating To Death is going to succeed where other programs fail. The secret is in the space age combination of hyper, double-bass blast beats with a mixture of hand picked, fat burning exercises such as:
- Kettle Mills – Every metal head knows that windmilling for 3 hours solid can build a neck like a centaur on steroids. I’ve added resistance to this classic move for insane, neck ripping power. The trick is to duct tape a 15lb. kettle bell to the end of your hair and windmill like there’s no tomorrow. Just be sure to watch out for those ceiling fans or mom’s going to slip a gear!
- Crabcore Jacks – The superb health benefits of crabcoring can not be understated, but I’ve added some devilry to these crustacean fat melters that will get your thighs begging for a merciful fate. The trick is when you get your thighs parallel to the ground, have a modest weight friend leapfrog onto your shoulders and then perform an explosive jump. I recommend spandex pants for these seam rippers!
- Amp Head Presses – Upper body strength is your friend, in the mosh pit and out, so I’ve incorporated an alternative to boring barbell presses, Amp Head Presses. This exercise is a bit tricky, but with proper form, your arms will look like they belong in a Manowar photo shoot. Keep a straight back and hold the amp head overhead for the length of two Tool songs. That’s it. Remember to keep a straight back and don’t lock your knees, and your guns will be ready for the next battle of the bands in no time!
What are you waiting for? Pick up that phone and scream bloody gore! The first 666 callers will receive a free bonus disc containing my new abdominal workout, “8 Minute Grind Core”. That’s 75 songs to inspire you to get that abominable abdominal look the ladies go crazy over! Call now, supplies are limited!
The war over Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 100 metal albums of all time just got more heated. On Thursday morning, metalhead activist Steve Dalkowski lit himself on fire in his living room in Asbury Park, New Jersey in an attempt to show his anger at the recent Top 100 list. The fire consumed two-thirds of his house and his entire collection of Pig Destroyer live DVDs. According to a note left by Dalkowski, he could “no longer live in a world where Borknagar’s 2012 release Urd is not given its proper respect by metal fans and the media as a whole.”
Dalkowski’s note, which railed against several notable omissions from the list, was scrawled on the back of a gatefold vinyl copy of “Anthems to The Welkin At Dusk”. It included a scathing critique of the list, which he noted “failed to include anything by Darkthrone, Mayhem or any of the early Gorgoroth records.” Further, he added that “the doom genre got totally and completely ignored. What sort of Top 100 list would leave out anything by St. Vitus?” He finished the note by excoriating the writers at Rolling Stone for “not even knowing which Death album James Murphy was on.”
Rolling Stone’s list has been criticized by many metalheads for including bands that are not traditionally considered heavy metal. Number 23 on the list, for example, was Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde”. The Shins “Oh, Inverted World” and Kanye West’s “Late Registration” were also considered worthy of being in the Top 100 causing great consternation among those who follow metal. Still, Dalkowski’s reaction is considered extreme.
Dalkowski’s self-immolation is the latest in a string of metal related self-disfigurements. Two months ago, Nevada metalhead Jim Loudermilk doused himself in sulfuric acid to protest Cryptopsy’s failure to use fretless bass on their recent self-titled album. Last week, metal fan James Riley drowned himself in a giant vat of mustard in order to voice his displeasure that Bolt Thrower is not being allowed to play two sets at this year’s Maryland Death Fest.
Dalkowski is currently in critical condition at Mount Sinai hospital with burns over 90 percent of his body. Doctors expect a full recovery but believe he might never again be able to grow hair on his tongue.
On the eve of this years’ Democratic National Convention, President Barack Obama is facing tough criticism from death metal legends Carcass. Obama, who regularly uses the splatter-grind classic “Regurgitation of Giblets” as intro music before his speeches, was asked to “cease and desist” from using the song until his policies match “the spirit in which the song was intended.”
According to Carcass singer Jeff Walker, “Regurgitation” was meant “to address the deeper themes of dehumanization in the work place, consumer alienation and the effects of modernity on the human form.” Guitarist Bill Steer reiterated Walker’s statement and added, “The song certainly wasn’t meant to help elect the President of the United States, a nation that is, after all, the largest dehumanizing, alienating force in the history of organized society.”
Obama, a die-hard Carcass fan, had been using the song to contrast the campaign’s message of stability and progress with the Republican themes of blind panic and race-baiting. He has even managed to use lines from it in a campaign speech in Dubuque, Iowa last month. “Romney’s America is one where the average American will be spewing up his or her collective sanguined guts into a wooden box. I ask you, do you want to be trapped in that type of sarcophagus? Is that the sarcophagus we want for our children?”
In deference to Carcass, the Obama campaign will no longer be using the song. They have decided to switch to either Clinton era favorite “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac or “Epitaph of the Credulous” by Suffocation. However, the campaign plans to keep distributing the 30,000 Carcass themed “Festerday In America” pro-Obama tee-shirts that they have been handing to supporters at campaign rallies.
This is not the first time that an American political campaign has run into trouble over the use of a song. Back in 1984, Bruce Springsteen strongly objected to Ronald Reagan’s use of “Born in the USA” as a campaign anthem. In 1840, the band Cattle Decapitation went to court to stop William Henry Harrison from using the song “I Eat Your Skin” in several television commercials.
Occasionally, however, metal bands lend their support to help a campaign. In 2000, metal godfathers Death re-recorded their first album under the new title of “Scream Albert Gore”, in order to support the Democratic Presidential candidate. While Gore did not become President, the album was credited with helping him win the hotly contested State of Florida in his campaign against George W Bush.
Works of art, painted black
Magniloquent, bleeding dark
Monotonous palate, murky spectrum, grimly unlimited
Food for thought, so prolific
In contrasting shades, forcedly fed
Abstraction, so choking, so provocative
A canvas to paint, to degenerate
Dark reflections – degeneration
A canvas to paint, to denigrate
Dark reflections, of dark foul light
Profound, aesthetic beauty
Or shaded, sensory corruption
Perceptions, shattered, splintered, mirroring
In deft taints, diluted, tinted
Spelt out, in impaired color
Denigrating, going to paints to pain – not a pretty picture
Works of heart bleeding dark
Black, magniloquent art
Monotonous palate, murky spectrum, grimly unlimited
Prolific food for thought
Contrasting, fed with force
Abstraction, so choking, so provocative
Bleeding works of art
Seething work so dark
Searing words from the heart
Heartwork is a statement of purpose. Its story belongs not only to Jeff Walker and Carcass but also to anyone who has ever spent a significant stretch of time staring into the abyss. Why do we gaze into the darkness? What are we looking for? What is it that makes some people gravitate toward existential questions that are presented in extreme music? Heavy metal, for all intents and purposes, is a death factory. Trying to find ten songs on your hard drive that don’t deal with some form of horrific strife, violent rage or terrible suffering is a nearly absurd task for those who are obsessed with The Sound. Even power metal, with all of its uplift and ecstatic jubilance, often contains elements of profound sadness and pain. To spend your life pondering terror, strife and human suffering hardly seems to be time well spent, but its appeal, at least for me, is undeniable.
There seems to be a popular school of thought that encourages people to “think happy thoughts”. The idea of perseverating on horror is felt by many to be a recipe for dangerous feelings of sadness and detachment from the world. On one level, there is something that seems correct about this idea. Good vibes in, good vibes out. Perfect equilibrium. Yet, no matter how much goodness and light we choose to bathe in, we still suffer and we still die. Spending life trying to fill ourselves with the beauty around us may be the best way to live for some, but it feels disingenuous to me. Death and suffering are all around us. We are, in fact, all living out a slow motion disintegration. I cannot hide from it; I cannot pretend it isn’t there. My fear of the eventual fate that awaits me is a critical element of who I am.
There is an authenticity that comes with accepting one’s fate. Beyond that, there is a strange feeling of liberation that a person can achieve by coming to terms with the worst elements of existence. Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a samurai whose insights were collected in a book the Hagakure in the early 18th century, makes a fantastic case for this sort of thinking. One of the most stirring passages of the book says, “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”
This meditation on death seems like a morbid exercise, but how else is a person supposed to rationally process the mortal terror that comes with the recognition of one’s finiteness. We cannot change it, but we do not have to run from it.
In the song Heartwork, Walker is stating the necessity of recognizing the dim, murky reality of our being. The artist, coming to terms with this awareness, can do nothing of value but create an art that reflects the degeneration of our spirits and bodies. The goal is not to shock people, nor to frighten people, but simply to state in no uncertain terms, that everything is not okay. This type of dark art can provide the audience with the gift of catharsis. We are not alone in our terror. We may have to accept the terrible terms of our existence, but we don’t have to do so by ourselves.
Here’s the video…..
The second song on the record “Carnal Forge” is one of the more lyrically challenging songs I’ve encountered. When I first got a copy of the record, I sat there with a dictionary for an hour trying to figure out what on earth Carcass was talking about. Jeff Walker is known for having a remarkable vocabulary and this song proves it. Unless you scored in the top one percentile on your college boards, you are going to need help with a few of the words he uses. As a service to our readership with IQs below 160, I took the lyrics and clarified them a bit.
(A massacre that takes many different forms)
(A vulgar, disgusting display of death)
Sublime enmangling steelbath
(A glorious, destructive bath)
Of escheated atrocities
(Of things lost to the State through terrible acts)
Enigmatic longanimity of ruminent mass graves
(Quiet graves that show a mysterious ability to suffer without sound)
Meritorious victory, into body-bags now scraped…
(A great win worthy of recognition that is shown by a high body count)
(The authority and power of piles of dead bodies)
The dead regorged
(The dead shot out of their graves)
Osculatory majestic wrath
(A union of beautiful anger)
This carnal forge
(Human forms beaten and molded like a blacksmith working with metal)
Desensitized – to perspicuous horror
(No longer able to feel the awfulness of horror)
Dehumanized – fresh cannon fodder…
(Humans reduced to objects and killed on the battlefield)
(Something awful being praised for its greatness)
(An obvious massacre)
Dehumanized – cannon fodder
(Murder in a way that is clean and neat)
(Murder made holy)
Desensitized – to genocide
(No longer capable of feeling what is wrong with mass murder)
(Piles of dead bodies ruling over the land)
(Death shot upwards)
(Being drenched with blood)
(Bloodshed and death turned into something else)
In the cold, callous dignity of the mass grave…
(Respectful mass graves without feeling)
(Violence taking different forms and leading to a massacre)
Cruel, mendacious creed
(Evil, lying system of belief)
Sublime, murderous bloodbath
Of fiscal atrocities
(A massacre having to do with money)
Inexorable mettle in redolent consommé
(Unstoppable courage blended into a pleasant smelling soup)
An opprobious crucible of molten human waste…
(A disgraceful furnace of melting bodies)
(Bodies piled up to the sky)
(Endlessly shot upwards)
The smelting butchery
(A process of separating metals, a process of slaughtering animals)
Of the carnal forge
Desensitized – to pragmatic murder
(No longer feeling the horror of murder which is committed for practical purposes)
Dehumanized – into cannon fodder…
(Turned into non-human form and destroyed without feeling)
“Carnal Forge” is a searing study of the horrific nature of war. The whole “war is bad” theme has been done to death in heavy metal, but through the use of clever language and Joycean puns, Carcass is able to breathe life into a hackneyed lyrical concept. The major motif in the song is the monstrous merger between mechanized and human form. The effect is that the listener has a difficult time distinguishing between the two. This melding of forms stresses the concept of dehumanization in an even more immediate way. When Walker sings of “inexorable mettle in redolent consommé” he is giving the image of a soup made from mettle (courage) but also a soup made from metal (the human form turned into scrap). “Fiscal atrocities” means the destruction of capital, but also is meant to imply physical atrocity (the destruction of the human form). In these puns, we see a world where the lines blur between the animate and inanimate. When this line is obliterated, so are we. Our willingness to see humans as objects makes it possible for us to murder those who share our likeness. It is in the Carnal Forge of war that our human characteristics are lost.
The ultimate irony of this destruction through desensitization is that it is so engrained in some circles that it is not greeted with horror. Instead, it is celebrated. Soldiers who return are feted with parades; those who do not are given dignified, stately memorials. The dead do not care about these things. They do not care about the flags that cover their caskets, they are not interested in the soldiers firing skyward in their honor, and they do not gaze proudly at their names etched into stone walls. They cease to feel anything in the name of country or God or safety or resources or land or whatever-reason-was-given-to-them as they take their final journey into endless night.
There is no honor in death. The dead only know coldness and silence. Yet through a stroke of pure madness, many believe that the great wrongs that have been committed can be righted through ceremony. The louder we shout our love for the soldiers, the easier it is to forget the great waste of life that has been sacrificed in our names. Even the veneration of the dead is an act of objectification that makes future suffering more possible and even more likely.
Remembrance of their anguish does not wipe the slate clean. It is not for them; it is for us. A genuine act of contrition would be to create a world where massacres are entirely unacceptable, no matter who commits them. We do not live in that world. Instead, we live in a world where idle actions and traditions absolve us of our responsibility to stop the madness of war.
(Special thanks to Metal Matt Longo for his brilliant edit of this. Thanks to his fine work this article is being simulcast by the good folks over at MindOverMetal.org. Stop on by. Tell’em Keith sent ya!)