Posts Tagged Music
Posted by Keith Spillett in Articles I Probably Shouldn't Have Bothered Writing on March 27, 2013
In a year packed with anxiously awaited album releases, few have garnered as much enthusiasm as Amon Amarth’s “Hypogonadism Of The Thunder God”, expected sometime later this year. The record focuses on a period later in Thor’s life where he experienced issues with reduced libido, rapid mood swings and hot flashes. Amon Amarth often focuses on well-known Norse mythological themes, but this album sheds new light on a time in Thor’s life that he was often embarrassed to speak about publicly.
After Thor’s second battle with Jormungand, he went through a particularly difficult stretch of time where he felt a significant decrease in energy and an overpowering urge to read the poetry of Robert Bly. His lack of masculine enthusiasm caused resentment from many of the women in Thor’s life, including his wife Sif. Even Thor’s once mighty hammer began to lose its potency. In order to “get his groove back”, Thor left his home and meekly wandered around the Land of Giants for several years until he found Viagrund, the Norse god of male enhancement. Upon drinking a magic potion, Thor reclaimed his vitality and triumphantly marched back to Asgard ready to punish those who opposed his ever-stiffening will.
Amon Amarth’s tribute to Thor’s season of listlessness will feature several powerful tracks including “For Testosterone Or Death”, “A Beast I Was” and “Thor Barely Rising”. The first single “Wrath of The Dysfunctional Norsemen” is expected to hit the airwaves in the next few months.
Rumors have been swirling that the Albanian Ailmentcore scene will be a major influence the new Amon Amarth record. Singer Johan Hegg recently did a concert while wearing a Pica shirt. Pica is, of course, the Albanian Ailmentcore band that made headlines after eating two guitars, a bass, a drum kit and 100 pounds of potting soil during a concert in February. There were even reports that the band was considering covering a song off of Fish Odor Syndrome’s seminal 2008 debut album “For The Halibut”, but the band has denied that any covers will be on the LP.
In an attempt to revive sluggish sales of their new record, Ilud Divinum Insanus, Florida death metal band Morbid Angel ate all four members of 60’s pop supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in a paganistic blood ceremony last night in Des Moines, Iowa. While the move was thought by many to be too extreme, Morbid Angel felt that they owed this to their fans. According to Vincent, “Several of our legion of metal warriors were disappointed by the latest release. We wanted to reach out and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that we are still committed to the values that once made us great. In eating these aging rock legends, we sent a message that Morbid Angel is back.”
Apparently, the band had been hunting Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for over a month. After several near misses, they finally captured them backstage at the Iowa Peace and Freedom Festival after a beautiful encore of “Teach Your Children”. Initially, the band had only considered eating David Crosby, but the opportunity to devour the entire group proved to be tempting to resist. Morbid Angel was particularly lucky to have consumed the band in the State of Iowa, one of three remaining American states that have not outlawed cannibalism. “Every once an a while the good lord hands you a golden opportunity,” said guitarist Trey Azagthoth, “we knew it was the right thing to do.”
The eating of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young follows a recent trend of gormandizing grizzled rock veterans. Earlier in the month, Deicide singer and all around nice guy Glenn Benton ate the leg of Scottish singer songwriter Donovan during a spirited version of “Hurdy-Gurdy Man”. Country Joe McDonald, of Country Joe and the Fish fame, survived an attack of bloodthirsty members of the band Malevolent Creation by hiding all night in an abandoned farmhouse waiting for police. Clearly, Morbid Angel’s devouring of an entire band was meant to up the ante and bring death metal to the next level.
Since last night’s attack, Morbid Angel has received nearly 10,000 rambling letters of support. One letter was nearly 800 pages long with nothing but the phrase “Mormo loves me, Mormo loves us” scrawled again and again in red finger paint. Vincent claims he has been asked by several fans for his recipe. “Young was quite dry. It was important to add a good deal of cumin and sherry to overcome the taste of years of whiskey and bad living. The rest of the group required very little seasoning. Graham Nash was particularly delicious!”
As of now, Morbid Angel has no plans to eat any other celebrities, although with the declining economy, many Americans are expected to resort to cannibalism as grocery store shelves become emptier by the day. Morbid Angel’s record label, Seasons of Mist has already begun to capitalize on yesterday’s events by selling tee-shirts with “Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young” crossed out and replaced by “Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner”. Rumors have circulated that a Morbid Angel human cookbook called “Morbid Angel Cooks With The Stars” may be available in time for Christmas.
Heartwork, the 1993 release by Carcass, is easily one of the most compelling metal albums ever recorded. First and foremost, it is an explosion of monstorous guitar riffs, frenetic drumming and raging energy. The music is captivating and overwhelming. Heartwork is a remarkably powerful lyrical album that deals intelligently with issues like globalization, dehumanization and existential dread. The music has been widely praised by many music journalists. The lyrics, however, have been given scant attention. Jeff Walker, the band’s singer, bass player and chief lyricist, envisions a world that is entirely devoid of human feeling or empathy. Walker’s adept use of language, particularly double entendre, lays bare the man’s inhumanity in all of its baseness. His world is an empty one, filled only with sorrow, guilt and deep-seated hatred.
The album behaves like a book, each song a chapter examining a set of widely held beliefs and contrasting them with his vision of a world gone completely insane. Over the next few months, I will attempt to analyze the themes and ideas song by song in an attempt to convey the inventiveness of Walker’s lyrics as well as the perspicacity of his message.
Welcome, to a world of hate
A life of buried dreams
Smothered, by the soils of fate
Welcome, to a world of pain
Bitterness your only wealth
The sand of time kicked in your face
Rubbed in your face
When aspirations are squashed
When life’s chances are lost
When all hope is gone
When expectations are quashed
When self-esteem is lost
When ambition is mourned
…All you need is hate
In futility, for self-preservation
We all need someone
Someone to hate
Buried Dreams is a nightmare vision of a world completely unconnected to its humanity. It serves as an overview of the themes that are addressed in each song and is a great starting point because it contains the most unambiguous lines on the record. In Walker’s “world of hate”, humans begin their journey in life filled with hope only to see that hope slowly eroded by the fixed nature of reality. This reality is the death and pain experienced by all humanoid beings. It is immovable, unchangeable and constant. Humans search blindly in the dark for some reason, some deeper meaning that will connect the dots and make the pain they experience intelligible. We fill ourselves with illusions in order to soften the blow of this horrible truth. As the truth becomes more real, we grasp harder at the illusion but ones commitment to an illusion will never make that deception a reality. We slowly come to terms with the understanding that there is no connection, there is no one tending the fire and the center simply does not hold. Once this veneer of meaning has been stripped away there is nothing left to hold onto but pure visceral hatred.
By experiencing hatred for something, we are given the ability to overcome our basic alienation from ourselves all the while connecting to the other beings around us. Love would be another way to connect, but the drawback of love is that it is fleeting. Its initial joy is snuffed out by the understanding that our basic existential problem, death, will cause love to one day give way to sorrow and despair. If you connect with hatred you never have to feel loss because the eventual vanquishing of your foe will be greeted with a feeling of joy and accomplishment. No one mourns the death of their enemy.
On the surface, the lyrics could be read as a simplistic explanation of the rise of fascism in Europe in the 30s and 40s. A society like Germany, which was drowning in debt and filled with impoverished humans recovering from the insanity of years of mindless trench warfare, was ready for the message of hate that Hitler brought. I believe the song is meant to have much more of a timeless message with broader overtones about the human condition. The line that universalizes this song is “in futility, for self-preservation, we all need someone…someone to hate.” This is a Hobbesian view of a world of beings so frightened of death that they are willing to do anything to avoid it, even if they know that their actions are eventually pointless. We are willing to create a Leviathan that may kill us for our disobedience in order to be safe. The wall each of us run into is death and we are willing to embrace any idea that allows us to fully avoid thinking about our eventual consequence. We are willing to embrace ideas that are self-destructive in order to escape the fear of death. If this isn’t true, then how do you explain war? This horrible irony of our basic condition is that we long to avoid death, but we do so in a way that often hastens its coming.
And so our dreams are buried as we are carried kicking and screaming to our own certain demise. We mask our fears with delusions of enemies all around us. We think that we can stop the inevitable if we bomb that thing or execute this thing but with our last dying breath we are reminded of the futility of all of it. Even hate cannot save us. The final, horrible irony of our Buried Dreams is that we will eventually be buried next to them.
(I am pretty darned excited to announce that this series will also be running at MindOverMetal.org, one of my favorite metal sites. Special thanks to my homeboy Metal Matt Longo who not only agreed to run the thing, but even gave me a fantastic title for the series and some killer editing ideas. Anyway those dudes speak truth and wisdom over there, check’em out)