Metal Lyrics: Fragments

>Shattered hope became my guide
and grief and pain my friends
a brother pact in blood-ink penned
declared my silent end

>Naked and dying under worlds of silent stone
reaching for the moonshield that once upon us shone.
–In Flames, “Moonshield” (The Jester Race, 1996)

>One day you’ll live in happiness
With a heart that’s full of joy
You’ll say the world “tomorrow” without fear
The feeling of togetherness will be at your side
You’ll say you love your life and you’ll know why
–Helloween, “Future World” (_Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II_, 1988)

Metal’s evil, eh?
>Nowadays the air’s polluted
ancient people persecuted
that’s what mankind contributed
to create a better time
–Helloween, “Eagle Fly Free” (_Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II_, 1988))

>In moments of silence when you are alone
You feel the desire is burning still strong
Open your heart and remember the day
When I sent you out on your way

>I’m a wandering man, the heir of the crown
A lonely knight, I’m roaming around
I’ll never rest, I’ll never give in
Until my quest, has come to the end
–Freedom Call, “The Wanderer” (_Crystal Empire_, 2001)

Research Notes

On Death Metal:
>But unlike the garbled sound emanating from the lovable and occasionally frenetic Cookie Monster, death-metal vocals seem to come from a dark spot in a troubled soul, as if they were the narrator’s voice on a tour of Dante’s seventh circle of hell… Early death-metal bands such as Death and Morbid Angel that emerged from Florida in the mid-’80s helped create the musical template that characterized the blasting sound as well as that of its Satan- and occult-obsessed sibling, black metal: fast, relentless drumming often featuring two bass drums; grinding, rapid-fire chording on guitars; squealing guitar solos; muted electric bass; unexpected sudden tempo changes; and a sense of theatricality that’s inevitably threatening–“a horror film put to music” is how Monte Conner, a vice president at Roadrunner Records, sees it… To be a true Cookie Monster vocal, said Mr. Conner, who signed some of the subgenre’s biggest bands, including Sepultura and Fear Factory, “it’s got to be really, really guttural. It should sound like they’re gargling glass… If you want to make music that’s terrifying, you have to sing about ripping people’s heads off. Singing about puppies and kittens isn’t too cool.”…[^cookie]
[^cookie]:Jim Fusilli, ”That’s Good Enough for Me: Cookie Monsters of Death-Metal Music.,“ The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2006,

>But metal cannot be conceptualized as a mere steam valve for psycho-social pressures, even if the turning of that valve is conceptualized as an active process. The notion of perceptual agency is at the heart of the death metal participant’s ideology. While much of metal in general and death metal in particular is energetic and aggressive, the musicians I spoke with were quick to disabuse me of the misconception that metal is merely angry music. Saladin explained that metal was about exploring all the emotions that hold a person back in their life… Over and over again, the metalheads explained that music listeners must not merely let sound wash over them, but they should listen to music _actively_, engaging with the msuic and making it meaningful. What distinguishes death metal and underground metal in general from commercial hard rock and pop metal, they said, is that the music requires active listening…[^steamvalve]
[^steamvalve]: Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p173.

>While it is not clear to me if the motivating power of death metal is generating a vanguard of energetic youth or drawing artistic and creative young
people into a trap of naive individualism, I believe that the political significance of musical sound is rooted in the meanings that the participants
constitute and the consequences of those meanings for the participants’ lives and the larger society.[^motpower]
[^motpower]:Harris M Berger, ”Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,“ _Popular Music_ 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p175.

>The tonal dimension of music and the meaning sthat emerge from it are constituted by the subject’s active, perceptual organization of the sound in time.[^tdimen]
[^tdimen]:Berger (1999), p161.

>Starting from widely divergent perspectives and serving widely divergent conclusions, most scholars of metal have interpreted the music as an expression of the frustrations of the blue-collar young in a de-industrializing society that neither requires their labour nor values their presence.[^bluec]
[^bluec]:Berger (1999), p169.

>Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato warned in The Republic that “any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited… when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.”[^platowarn]
[^platowarn]:William S Fox and James D Williams, ”Political Orientation and Music Preferences Among College Students,“ _The Public Opinion Quarterly_ 38, no. 3 (Autumn 1974).

_word_ METALLIC adjective: grating, harsh, jarring, dissonant.[^metalthes]
[^metalthes]: Christine A Lindberg, ed., The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p576.

_word_ HEAVY as an abstract adjective which also apply to its use in the term _HEAVY metal_.: weighty, forceful, arduous, onerous, dense, overcast, torrential, tempestuous, intense, immoderate, sad [^heavythes]
[^heavythes]: Christine A Lindberg, ed., The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p423.

_word_ EPIC 1. noun: heroic poem, saga; 2. adjective: heroic, grand, monumental, ambitious, great.

_word_ BRUTAL adjective: savage, ferocious, wicked, ruthless, sadistic; heinous, abominable. __antonym:__ gentle, humane.

_word_ INTENSE 1. adj: extreme, fierce; exceptional, extraordinary; harsh, strong, powerful, potent, overpowering. 2. adj: passionate, vehement, fiery, spirited, vigorous.

Link: Unphotographable: a text account of pictures missed

Unphotographable: a text account of pictures missed
A neat blog with weekly(ish) posts, each describing a brief moment in time as if it had been photographed… Great to use as prompts or something for exercises, or even just to get ideas flowing.

This is a picture I did not take of a Muslim man, pushed to the limit by an evangelizing Christian, who swaggered in front of the Muslim, mocking Islam and calling the man schoolyard names, nor is this a photograph of the punch the Muslim man landed on the Christian man’s ear, a punch thrown from behind,

[From Unphotographable: Muslim vs. Christian Over Chicken]

about [murmur]


[murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people’s personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot, and engaging in the physical experience of being right where the story takes place. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.

It’s history from the ground up, told by the voices that are often overlooked when the stories of cities are told. We know about the skyscrapers, sports stadiums and landmarks, but [murmur] looks for the intimate, neighbourhood-level voices that tell the day-to-day stories that make up a city. The smallest, greyest or most nondescript building can be transformed by the stories that live in it. Once heard, these stories can change the way people think about that place and the city at large.

[From hear you are — [murmur]]

We Are Distracted by Michael Shay

I just found an essay on ADD in one of our books for class (In Short). Craziness. It’s kinda similar to the one I wrote, but from a very different perspective. This piece was a father writing about his 8 year old son, Kevin. My piece has the son writing about himself (Of course, mine’s fictional… right? :-D). Shay has crafted a wonderful depiction of the conflicts a parent experiences when raising a kid with AD/HD. He illustrates the real impacts that AD/HD has on Kevin’s life, and how he copes. and his imagery is fantastic, but he misses one subtle, but vital point about the ‘mechanics’ of AD/HD (at least as I know it. The thing has no definition so we could just be talking about two different conditions! But the rest of his story fits…) In the second paragraph, he writes about Kevin scaling a Colorado rock face:

We look up and Kevin never looks down. It would break his concentration, interrupt his communion with the rock, I think. To concentrate is everything for Kevin. He can’t do it for extended periods of time unless he is under the influence of Ritalin, a drug that helps him control his hyperactivity inspired impulsiveness. Right now, as he climbs toward the sharp blue Colorado sky, the Ritalin, a central nervous system stimulant, is working on my son’s brain…

None of this is really explicitly wrong (of course, I don’t actually know what it’s like for Kevin, but I assume this is a more general take on AD/HD. What Shay is doing is saying that a.) Kevin has trouble concentrating, generally b.) In order to concentrate for long periods, he needs Ritalin, and then c.) He’s taking Ritalin while rock climbing, which presumably allows him to resist the “hyperactivity inspired impuls[e]” to look down. I take issue with this last bit. I’m pretty sure that Kevin needs no Ritalin to climb those rocks. In fact, I’d be surprised if the parents could get him to look down even if they tried. People with AD/HD seem to have a hard time focusing, generally. But it’s really more a problem of controlling the focus. It’s easy to focus on something that one enjoys, since there is no coercion necessary. The problem arises when you put the kid in a classroom and try to get him to do schoolwork, or whatever. Suddenly he’d rather watch the bird out the window, or whatever else he can find that’s more interesting than the work he’s been tasked with (which isn’t hard, obviously. Especially since AD/HD seems to lend itself to intense curiosity (being interested in everything.

The rest of the piece is spot-on, and pretty cool. He addresses the stigma that comes with being labeled as “ADHD”, the different theories on what AD/HD actually is (and isn’t) and how to treat it. And then he ends with two segments that fit together beautifully; Shay shows himself as a loving father who truly wants his son to be happy in the world. The penultimate section contrasts the times when he hopelessly watches Kevin fall into loneliness and isolation, with those when he swallows his worry that Kevin might fall from the sky, as he flies away, up a rock face or into the tallest tree… The final paragraph is the strongest segment of the essay, and asks some profound questions about the nature of Kevin’s dreams, are they of falling or flight?

Kevin never has fallen. when he was two, he climbed the highest trees in the park near our Denver home. Fifty-foot-tall pines and spruces. The first time he did this, he looked down at me and yelled, “You worried, Daddy?”
“Yes!” I said, which seemed to please him.
So what if he falls? Randy, Freeman and I watch him climb and it occurs to them because Randy says, “Does this worry you?”
“Yes,” I say, “It worries me.” And it thrills me too. I’ve seen him all alone in the playground because the mothers won’t let their kids near him. I’ve seen him mark time in his room, usually because he’s been restricted in some way because he’s had trouble at home or on the school bus or in the playground.

Do rock climbers dream of falling or of flying? Do hyperactive kids dream of solitude on a granite mountain? Or do they dream of this: dancing and laughing, surrounded by friends, the mountains a distant mirage?

Fernando and Marisela by Bruce Berger

I found one particular element of this short, from In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction, Judith Kitchen & Mary Paumier Jones, Eds, particularly interesting. Bruce Berger opens this story with a curious and striking line; one that also creates a seemingly understated metaphor. He beings with a strongly worded metaphor — a promise to talk of nightstands and hexes against the long dark? –, yet he seems to veer from this course before even beginning. This story makes no secret of the author’s ignorance in the matter. He begins his narrative in the second line with this admission, For reasons unclear to me, I keep a piece of litter I found… The entire story is a fantasy, we follow the author into an imaginary world, whose purpose neither we nor he knows. Yet are we left with any more understanding at the end? Why is he haunted by [her] eyes? How does that give him solace? In fact, it doesn’t seem all that clear that Berger knows any more about his reasons for holding on to this scrap than he did at first. Is that ok? What about discovering something new through the writing?

I found this progress and understanding materialize in the penultimate paragraph. The entire fantasy world that the narrator has conjured up is summarily torn down, revealing that the very desert that so amazingly preserved his snapshot, is less and less able to keep what we throw away