Posts Tagged Music

2014 In Review: Year of The Metal Subgenre

69_photoA near tsunami of new metal bands came to the forefront of the American music scene in 2014.  After Obama signed the controversial law in 2013 that outlawed country music, boy bands and songs by coke addicted former Mouseketeers, metal began to take off as the most popular form of musical expression in the land.

A wave of new bands brought in a flood of popular subgenres.  After all, how can you possibly catch the attention of an audience numbed into a near coma by a never-ending stream of cute kitten pictures on their computer without some sort of hook?

Years back, a number of metal bands figured out that by coming up with new subgenres you can effectively con the audience into the belief that they are experiencing something totally state-of-the-art.  This was a brilliant assessment, because truthfully, there are only so many ways you can cook an egg.  If you take the story out of metal, it’s mostly just a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people making loud noises for a bunch of sweaty, badly dressed people who are apoplectically staring into The Nothing.

Honestly, how different is one three and a half minute thrash song from another?  Is technical death metal really all that unique in comparison to, say, regular old garden-variety death metal?  Thus, God created the subgenre and gave us a way to turn tiny, obscure distinctions into whole schools of thought and belief.  One man’s doom is another man’s sludge, as the old saying goes.  Or something.

When the next civilization digs through the rubble a thousand years from now and finds all the 2014 issues of Metal Maniacs it will be clear, this was The Year of The Metal Subgenre.  So, it is with great pleasure that I present to you the best new subgenres created in 2014 along with the band that best represents that style.

New Wave of Soviet Socialist Metal (NWOSSM or NWOCCCP)

When I think about 1980’s power metal, my mind often drifts to the Soviets.  Many people would argue that very little great creativity came out of Russia and its satellite states in the 80’s.  Clearly those people haven’t heard some of the early albums by Lenin’s Tomb or Khrushchev’s Shoe.  As young Russians look back on the glorious days of bureaucratic inefficiency that marked the end of the Soviet Empire, many of them have started playing the music that dominated that era.

Best Band:  Iron Curtain

Unblackened Yachtcore

This quirky fusion between the raw, earthy tones of Christian black metal and 1970 and 80’s soft rock caught fire in 2014.  Many music aficionados were looking for a way to reconcile their passion for the music of Michael McDonald and the songs of Darkthrone.  This cutting edge subgenre gave them the perfect combination.  Lyrically, it blends elegant prose from the New Testament with poignant stories about the dreams and inner longings of Yuppies.

Best Band:  Captain Trips and Tenille

Proto Originalist Doom

Who would have believed that doom metal could possibly be blended with the text of Supreme Court decisions written by Antonin Scalia in order to create a new style of music?  Dark, heavy, Sabbath inspired guitar riffs are used here to celebrate the spirit of unbridled judicial restraint and the idea that just about every thought that was formulated after 1787 is entirely worthless.

Best Band:  Woe vs. Wade

Post-Marxist Extremely Technical Progressive Rawlsian Eco Thrash (PMETPRET)

More of a social movement than a style of music, PMETPRET bands have attempted to use technical death metal as a tool of creating social justice and encouraging recycling.

Best Band: Fates Warming

Anatomical Glam Grindslam

Grindcore was a dying subgenre until it caught an infusion of hair metal earlier this year.  Something about the idea of putting together the catchy, party rock stylings of bands like Poison and Cinderella with the fierce brutality of early Carcass and The County Medical Examiners struck a chord with the American public.

Best Band:  Twisted Blister  

New York City Viking Hardcore (NYHVC)As most Americans know, a Viking gang crime wave hit New York City in early 2014.  Alienated young teens joined Viking gangs in droves and pillaged many of the stores and homes that were not guarded by people with assault rifles and high capacity magazines.  NYHVC has become a way of expressing their rage at our dysfunctional social order.

Best Band:  Freyahazard

Heideggerian Ontological Powerviolence (HOP) 

If you are like most Americans, you feel deeply offended that you grew up in a culture that has been thoroughly shaped by Cartesian Dualism.   You also probably wonder how you can best disclose being-in-the-world as a whole.  And you probably own at least the first four Spazz albums (the ones they did before they sold out).  It is not a coincidence that HOP music caught on overnight and became the top selling subgenre in metal in 2014.

Best Band:  Being-Toward-Death-Angel

Old School Hebraic Nu-Metal

The most surprising comeback in 2014 was the resurgence of Nu-Metal, only this time instead of “borrowing” style and imagery associated with African American culture these musicians began stealing traditional Jewish themes.

Best Band:  Limp Brizkit

Symphonic Free Market Hayekia’N’Roll

In an attempt to connect with younger, hipper Americans, The Heritage Foundation, in conjunction with the Koch Brothers, have spent over 30 billion dollars creating melodic death metal records in order to spread the message of free market intellectual titans like Milton Friedman and the guy who invented the chicken sandwich.

Best Band:  Children of Serfdom

 

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New Amon Amarth Album To Focus On Thor’s Bout With Male Menopause

Amon_Amarth_2005In 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.

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The Sound of Joyous Suffering: A Retrophiliac’s Review of Horisont’s “Second Assault”

Listening to the new Horisont record “Second Assault” is an adventure in time travel.  You don’t simply listen to the record, you hurdle backwards towards it.  I am in a darkened, smoke-filled bar.  Twenty or so spectators in different states of inebriation hoot and howl arhythmically as the band spews molten rock’n’roll.  Half the crowd looks like Popeye Doyle, the other half look like Tuesday Weld.  A poorly dressed, ratty haired bunch of skinny kids reach into their chests and pull out their guts in the quixotic attempt to find a higher plane if even for a moment.  Their suffering is ours.

It’s an imperfect fantasy, mostly because of the smoke.  That itchy, uncomfortable feeling of unfamiliar scum clouding your vision.  Not knowing whether to choke or sneeze.  Somehow it doesn’t matter and it does.  Rock’n’roll itself comes with a bit of discomfort.  Loving it is a masochistic pursuit.  Horisont gets that in spades.  They explode everywhere, like a wayward roman candle knocked on its side.  They are dangerous, blistering and blood-fanged; they are the sweat in your eyes and the exhaustion of endless impossibility.

The 70’s reek of old carpet and cheap cologne.  The food isn’t nearly as good, the beer is almost always flat and no one seems to have air conditioning.  The world was a dark and foreboding place.  Nearly every worthwhile movie of the era ended with the protagonist getting his or her head blown off and the great forces of evil crushing the spirit of the individual.  Hope seemed ridiculous.  As they marched to the hangman, they wore a gallows cool on their sleeve that those living in the airbrushed, cleaner than clean, hyper polished new frontier no nothing of.  Horisont belongs there and not here.  When I hit play, I am there with them.

Occasionally, I hear a record where song titles don’t matter to me.  I don’t want to know what the tune is about, where it was recorded or who produced it.  I could care less about the album art and knowing the town where the band started playing is simply an annoyance.  I just want to hear the music.  Again and again.  When the album completes its long-winding journey to nowhere, I can think of nothing but finding the button that will make it start all over again.  For me, Horisont “Second Assault” is that type of album.

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MTV to Manowar: “We’re Sorry About All The False Metal”

In an unexpected move, MTV and their parent company Viacom today issued an apology to the metal band Manowar for what they referred to as “crimes against true heavy metal”. Kurt Jamerson, MTV’s Vice President of the Council on Metalhead Affairs, issued a short statement thanking Manowar for their commitment to “keeping it real” all these years and refusing to play on anything below 10.

“At first, MTV started with the best intentions, but soon, our programming became a hodgepodge of hair metal and, eventually, rap metal.  We left no room for artists who were committed to true metal in its most pure, unsullied form.  For this, we are deeply sorry.”

While MTV did acknowledge that it had shows like Headbanger’s Ball where some true metal was played it admitted that for every one true metal song they played viewers would see “Talk Dirty To Me” by Poison or “Cherry Pie” by Warrant over a thousand times.  According to statistics revealed by MTV, the network’s true to false metal ratio was as high as 1 to 100,000, an unacceptable number for a network who prides itself on being on the cutting edge of music.    After years of extensive lobbying by Manowar, the network has admitted its mistake.

In the press conference following the announcement, Jamerson, who has been with the network for 24 years recalled “I remember getting a letter from Manowar.  The one they talk about in the song Blow Your Speakers.  It was a sheet of paper that had the words ‘What’s going on, man.  Don’t you care about me’ scrawled on it in barely legible handwriting.  Below it was a childlike drawing of Thor driving his hammer into the head of Vince Neil.  I was deeply touched by the words and picture.  I realized that, as a network, we’d been playing on about 7.  That day, I swore an oath to one day get the network to admit its faults.”

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MTV has no plans to follow the announcement by adding more true metal to their programming.  Instead, they announced in the same press conference that they plan on extending the series Jersey Shore to a 9th season.  Jersey Shore, along with several other programs featuring highly intoxicated, perplexed looking white kids wearing their pants too low, currently comprise 20 of the network’s 24 hours of daily programming.

Many industry analysts have speculated that the announcement was part of a settlement with Manowar.  The band had brought a 523 billion dollar lawsuit against the network for being “posers”, but the lawsuit was unexpectedly dropped last Friday.  During the press conference, MTV offered each member of Manowar a Whitman’s Sampler, but there is no evidence that money changed hands.

The True Metal Reparations Movement, created by Manowar to heal historical injustices against the armies of true metal, still claims to be at war with most of the major rock radio stations in America for being “losers who better learn that no one controls our goddamn lives.”

Whatever the outcome of the trial, Manowar have vowed to not stop until the armies of true metal triumph over the years of historical oppression.  “When Odin is in the Valley of Doom and Slepnir rides across the starry, blood filled skies, those who did not sell out and wear polyester suits or other crackerjack clothes will be redeemed,” read bassist Joey Demaio’s lawyer, Abraham Freidman, in a written statement given at the MTV press event.   “No one can tell us that we must turn down…..NO ONE.  No one can tell us that we do not control the night……NO ONE.  We are the immortals.  We have won a great victory for metal that is real today.  Tomorrow, we conquer the world!”

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The Purest Man In All Of Heavy Metal

Blak Dan after winning his award. He refused to show his face to the camera out of the fear of losing some of his purity.

The Tyranny of Tradition is proud to announce that this year’s prestigious award for The Purest Man in All of Metal was presented this morning to BlaK Dan Krutzmeyer of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  BlaK Dan won the award in 2010-11 for his undying commitment to the cause of real, black, pure, true heavy metal.  We had a chance to catch up with him after this morning’s ceremony at The Radisson Hotel in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Tyranny:  BlaK Dan, we are really excited to catch up with you on such an important day.  How are you feeling?

BlaK Dan:  Bleak, man.  Bleak.  Before we go any further, I need to straighten something out with you.  My name is no longer BlaK Dan.  Two months ago I had it legally changed to XxxxZyr.  XxxxZyr was Odin’s nephew’s horse.  The original name of the horse had some vowels in it, but I removed them because vowels are feminine and, thus, impure.

Tyranny:  Vowels are feminine and impure?

XxxxZyr:  Yes, vowels imply weakness and girlishness.  Allowing any form of femininity to enter into my soul would make me less pure.  I refuse to use vowels.  It takes away from my inner purity.

Tyranny:  So, do you have a girlfriend?

XxxxZyr:  No, I refuse to weaken myself by communicating in any way with women.  I rarely will talk to men either.  When I do, I try to communicate in a long dead language like Aramaic.  That way, our conversation will be more pure.  I have agreed to use an impure language like English for this interview as part of the terms of receiving my award, but I plan on never using this contaminated language again.

Tyranny:  Okay, moving right along.  XxxxZyr, I’ve heard you are in a metal band.  What sort of music do you play?

XxxxZyr:  My band is a one-man project.  We are called grrrvkw, in honor of the sound humans make when yawning, one of the few truly pure things a person can do. To play my music, I go out into the deepest part of the forest with my guitar.  I find a cool, quiet spot as far from civilization as possible, where I can capture my inner essence and then I roll around in leaves for an hour.  When I emerge from the leaves, I play one dark note and hold it for three hours.  I do this four times a day.  I will not defile my music by playing it in front of an audience or recording it.  I’ve got to keep it pure, man.

Tyranny:  What sort of music do you enjoy listening to?

XxxxZyr:  Okay, first of all, I do not enjoy anything.  Enjoyment is a weakened state.  It allows one to become out of touch with their inner-purity.  I enjoy nothing.

Second of all, I will only listen to the purest forms of metal.  Nothing impure will enter my ears.  I used to listen to bands like Iron Maiden, but I realized that by recording their music, they sold out.  The only pure thing they did was a recording Steve Harris’ mother accidently made of him crying when he was two days old.  I own a copy of it on vinyl and listen to it from time to time.  That was before they started selling out and playing music for “people”.  Everyone who has ever recorded anything or played anything in front of other humans or even thought for one second about the effects of their music on others is a sell-out and I have no time for them.

Tyranny:  What are your goals and plans now that you have been declared the most pure man in all of metal?

XxxxZyr:  Well, first of all, I want to make it clear that this award doesn’t matter to me.  I don’t need to be told I’m pure by anyone else. You are speaking to a man who spent a lifetime looking into the darkest and purest of internal voids.  I need nothing from you.  As a matter of fact, your very presence diminishes me.

In terms of goals, I am looking for a job where my understanding of purity will be an asset.  I long to one day become a metal message board administrator.  I could spend the next 60 years of my life making sure that threads are not polluted by comments that go off of the exact theme that the person who began the thread meant.  All sarcasm, humor and other weakening agents will be eliminated under my reign.  This sort of defilement of message boards should be punishable by death.

Tyranny:  Congrats on the award, XxxxZyr, and good luck.

XxxxZyr:  Okay, again, you are missing the point.  I feel nothing but hatred in its purest form in this moment.  As the gods intended it.  I do not accept your praise, because by doing so I am lessening myself.  I plan on tossing this award into a blazing fire when I return to my cave.  I have polluted myself by being near others.  This ritual is shameful and I hope to never experience anything like it again.

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Members of Morbid Angel Eat Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in Bizarre Promotional Stunt

CSNY Only Moments Before Being Ingested By Morbid Angel

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.

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Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past: A Psychological Review Of Gentlemans Pistols “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure”

I wish I could go back to 1972, listen to Gentlemans Pistols new record “At Her Majesties Pleasure” in the era it was meant to be recorded and stab Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman in the skull with an ice pick.  Okay, maybe not the last part.  Haldeman wasn’t such a bad guy.  He rocked that weird flat top hairdo that became the style in mid-90s rap music and became the best chemist Lompoc Federal Prison ever saw.  He would have dug the new Gentlemans Pistols record for it’s pure grit and bile-ridden effluence.  He was as malevolent a man as ever walked the earth. Supposedly, he tried to have Jim Nabors killed because he wouldn’t play Julie Nixon’s wedding.  I heard that once from a guy in a sauna in Davenport, Iowa.

Gentlemans Pistols is a collection of outstanding British musicians including Mr. William Steer, who gave my life meaning by writing riffs for Carcass that would have made Ed Gein recite Walt Whitman poems to a crowd of smiling 3rd graders.  Steer hasn’t lost a step.  The riffs that he and James Atkinson put on this album are pure roll around-in-the-gutter filth.   They buckle your knees like a 3-2 curveball and do not ask for your permission to continue.

Backwards in time to another place.  Transported to all that was seedy and repugnantly gorgeous about 70’s bar room rock’n’roll.  You are in a pool hall swilling cheap, half-flat beer being stared down by two menacing looking Hell’s Angels.  Not the modern Sons of Anarchy watching yuppies who go cycling between trading soybean futures, but the old school Sonny Barger led head-mangling, spleen eater types.  “Midnight Crawler” bellows in the background and you are completely there.  Everything is in its place.

At some point the whole retrofitted 1970s rock thing is going to get old.  The formula is, in fact, criminally simple.  However, put in the hands of poets like these a 3-minute-song can feel like a shimmering vacation into the dark heart of all that is ugly and cruel.  Something in their tone screams for your undying allegiance.  You would crawl through glass just to hear “Into The Haze” once more.  They are on the mainline, hooked into the Universal Generator and driving ceaselessly into the storm.   This is the purpose for which rock’n’roll was intended.  Not to be background music in the local Target or to be recited soullessly by an army of never-ending American Idol contestants, but to remind us of what visceral chaos lives just below the surface of our pristine, orderly world.

Bob Haldeman Would Have Understood

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U.S. Supreme Court Bars Morbid Angel From Putting God-Awful “Radikult” Song On New Record

The Supreme Court today ruled 7 to 2 in a case forcing Morbid Angel to take that terrible Radikult song off of their soon-to-be-released Illud Divinum Insanus album.  The record, whose title translates to ‘This Is Probably Going To Alienate Our Fanbase”, is anticipated to be one of the most significant releases in metal this year.  The song has reportedly caused spontaneous vomiting and bleeding from the eardrums among its first listeners.  In a majority decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “What the hell were they thinking?  That’s gotta be the worst song I’ve ever heard.  We have reason to fear for the health and sanity of anyone who hears it.  I need to take a damned shower after hearing that thing.”

The case, People With Good Taste in Music Versus Morbid Angel (2011), is the first time the high court has ruled on a song that sucks.  The Court decided to create a precedent in this case because they believed that Radikult was so miserably bad that it was their solemn duty to intercede.  Roberts seemed to be appalled by everything about the song.  “It starts off with the silly 80’s techno sounding drumbeat and you think they are going to break into a cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison’.  Then, David Vincent starts saying ridiculous things that just don’t belong in a metal song or, really, anywhere else.  When Vincent says ‘We’ve been crossing the line since 1989,’ I looked over at Justice Thomas and just started laughing.  We could not believe it!” noted Roberts in the decision.

Several fellow Justices filed strong concurrences in support of the ruling.  Justice Antonin Scalia’s began his with the words, “Free speech be damned! It is the right of listeners to not have to ever hear anything that bad.  The First Amendment was clearly not written to protect people who write horrendous industrial metal or shady looking Floridians. “ Justice Samuel Alito chimed in writing, “Is this the same band that wrote Chapel of Ghouls?  I mean, this is Morbid Angel…MORBID FREAKIN’ ANGEL!  These guys were Gods!!!!!  There is no place for this sort of garbage in a free society.  If I had my way, we’d have banned that horrendous Destructos vs. The Earth song as well.”

In an equally vigorous dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg replied, “I have a good deal of respect for Morbid Angel for trying something new here.  Okay, yes, it is a complete train wreck, but I worry this sort of ruling will have a chilling effect on other bands trying to take a more experimental route with their music.”

The Court has ordered that Morbid Angel take all copies of the album containing the “Radikult” song and dump them in a landfill 12 miles north of Passaic, New Jersey “with all deliberate speed”.   They have also ordered the National Guard to Clearwater, Florida to make sure the band complies with their ruling.

Listen to Radikult here before listening to it becomes a felony…..Living Hardcore Radikult!!!!!!

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Dissecting CARCASS’ “Heartwork” – First Incision…Buried Dreams

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.

Buried Dreams

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)

Click here to get to Part 2 of the series

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Rock The Cradle of Filth

Scream For Me Kindercare!!!!!

Reconciling your life as a headbanger with your life as the parent of small children is not always easy.  Questions like “Should I play my 3 year old the entire Bathory discography before he starts kindergarten?” or “Should she really be wearing that Gorgoroth onesie to her 2nd birthday party?” are standard fare for metalheads who have decided to become parents.  Thanks to the wonders of capitalism, there is a purchase that solves nearly every possible human dilemma.   This case is no exception. A company known as Rockabye Baby! has lullaby renditions of some of your favorite metal and hard rock artists.   If you want to fill your child’s head with Black Sabbath, Tool or Nine Inch Nails songs as they drift off into dreamland, you can do it!

I recently picked up the crown jewel in the Rockabye Baby! collection, Lullaby Renditions of Metallica.  The description on the website said the following…” Say your prayers, little one. Tonight these gentle versions of Metallica’s essential masterpieces of metal will gently rock you to sleep. Enter sandman.”  I had to buy it.  Immediately.

Funny thing is, it’s really a great record.  The songs hold true to the originals without scaring my children into hellish nightmares about bats eating their brains.  The version of “Fade To Black” is downright wonderful.  I catch myself listening to it before I go to bed from time to time.  I think I like the interpretation of “Wherever I May Roam” on here more than the one on the Black Album.  Michael Armstrong, the composer of this album, is a Metallica fan with the rare ability to write beautiful children’s music.

The record contains mostly Metallica hits, although Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) makes an appearance.  It’s not a great take on the tune, but it will be nice car music for our first trip to the dentist.  As a whole, however, the song selection is a bit lacking.  I was really hoping to have the chance to indoctrinate my children to the wonders of “Trapped Under Ice”, but alas, that may never happen.  He did have the good sense to not put any Saint Anger songs on. The last thing I need in my life is having to tell my son or daughter “Stop humming Invisible Kid or you are going to your room!!!!!”

The full Rockabye Baby! catalog looks like it might be worth checking out.  I bet the Pink Floyd one sounds great even though the Syd Barrett years are completely ignored.  There are a few records in the catalog that would be good to have around if you run out of syrup of ipecac and your child swallows a quart of Drano.  Nothing would induce vomiting faster than having to hear the lullaby sounds of Coldplay or U2.  On their website, they actually have a place where you can request what band they will cover next.  I’ve spent the better portion of the morning recommending they do an Emperor cover album.  After about 500 times I stopped, but I plan on getting back to it later today.   I Am The Black Wizards as a lullaby…think about it!  If you have a moment, please drop by their site and submit as many votes as you can.

Rockabye Baby! site (type Emperor and help teach young children to love Black Metal). A few hundred thousand hits should do the trick.

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