Biases are one of the many things wrong with modern society. They fuel unnecessary and corrosive racial, political and social hatred, promote segregation and division, and keep us from becoming fully realized and well-rounded individuals. If you let them, they also keep you from enjoying some damned excellent bands.
A few years ago, I fell prey to a bias of my own. In this case, it manifested itself in the belief that no good music came from Australia. To my understanding, Australians were incapable of taking themselves seriously, and from AC/DC, to shitty radio rock offerings, even as far as their grindcore was concerned, it seemed like all Aussies wrote about was hanging out, sitting around, being lazy and getting laid. While that's since been rendered moot by the likes of Warsore, my first introductions to bands like Captain Cleanoff left me feeling unfulfilled (most likely from being spoiled by the sophisticated lyrical fare of Discordance Axis and Pig Destroyer and the diverse topical contributions of Napalm Death and Brutal Truth.)
Like every good sudden conversion of opinion, of course, it was sparked by a chance encounter. In my case, that encounter was with the Kill's 2003 album Soundtrack to Your Violence, the very slab of grind ferocity before us today. After hearing “We Want Blood” on the band's Myspace, I was impressed enough to download the album, yet the song titles kept me at arm's length. Looking up the lyrics on Darklyrics (really the only place you should be looking for metal lyrics, anyway) confirmed my suspicions: “Dead Babies” was about liking abortion, “Fuck Emo” was about (you guessed it) disliking emo (although the song's suggestion that emo bands start playing grind instead is, was and ever shall be fucking hilarious, world without end, amen), and I can tell you the full lyrics to the 1:03 “Tracksuit Pants Are Thrash” from memory: “Tracksuit pants are thrash / We are white trash.” Not exactly Garcia Lorca, if you ask me.
Yet the music kept me coming back. The album was two minutes long of being Amber Gray, and it assaulted with a more thrash take on the same ferocity. The guitars buzzed like Insect Warfare with a kernel of interest in songwriting, and the vocals made up for the fact that they weren't delivered by Jon Chang by being truly unhinged in their approach; I couldn't help but picture the lyrics being bellowed in my face with each syllable.
What's more, I began to stop minding them. That's not to say that my ideology changed; I'm not about to write lyrics about liking wrestling (“We Want Blood”) or fat men who would probably beat the shit out of me (“Gore”), but the songs suddenly became funny instead of annoying. Buying the rare vinyl collection of a heroin addict? Hilarious. Writing songs about track suit pants being metal? Pretty hilarious too. Babies looking like aliens? Also actually pretty funny.
Realizing how awesome Soundtrack to Your Violence really was made me look back at albums like Symphonies of Slackness and admit that lyrical silliness couldn't alter the fact that they were, musically, pretty amazing. Eventually I'd branch out from Aussie grind, realizing that even something like lack of song titles (Arsedestroyer's Teenass Revolt) or writing utterly offensive, mindless material (Anal Cunt, anyone?) doesn't have anything to do with whether you can grind or not.
If you're just going to judge a band on whether their lyrics could stack up to Nabokov or not (honestly, if those were your lyrical standards, you'd listen to exactly zero bands), you're going to have to ignore the musical talent of a good percent of pretty great groups. Same goes if you judge them on members' gender, sexual preference, race, or national origin.
The Kill's Soundtrack to Your Violence is an album that pulls no punches. It grinds you from the first note and doesn't let up until its 13:28 runtime is up, with a sense of grinding purity that's really quite elegant. No instrumentals, no bullshit boring doom track to close the album, and even no need for dialogue samples, something that would only dilute the experience. Simply put, if you don't have a copy of this record either on your cd rack, in your digital music library or in your vinyl crates (does this thing even come on vinyl? I sort of doubt it), you've got an ugly, irreverent Aussie-sized hole in your grind collection that needs filling ASAP.
now excuse me while i write a conceptual grindcore symphony about lolita.ReplyDelete
i suffer from the same problem. i've got a pair of eps i'm trying to write up now that are, lyrically, retarded when they're not outright vile. but the music has occasional flashes of inspiration. why oh why can't bands contract out their lyrics to someone with some literary flair?
Haha, if that were an actual thing, I would DEFINITELY listen to it.ReplyDelete
Stupid bands should just steal all their lyrics from awesome novels. In a perfect world, Anal Cunt would have an album filled with songs called "Pale Fire" and "Ubik" and "Journey to the End of the Night" and "Gravity's Rainbow."
perhaps graf orlock should run lyrics seminars for the lazy/untalented.ReplyDelete
The Soundtrack to Your Violence really is incredibly good, and I, controversially, don't like Nabokov too much.ReplyDelete
You know what other downright incredible grind band had some incredibly shit lyrics? Well, America's own Insect Warfare. I mean, it's not supposed to be funny, it's just that it feels like I'm supposed to be listening to a gangsta rap album, sometimes.
Direct transcript of the gem titled "Paranoia":
"you know where to find me, are you too scared? i've got guns and their aiming for you. i came to fight, but you dont got no balls. i know what you did and i want your blood."
In the end, it does crack me up.
Haha, yeah, Insect Warfare were funny like that. Really the only thing that mattered to Beau was writing riffs; he didn't even care if there were lyrics, and half the time the vocalist didn't even bother to write them. That might be what made them so great, though: that single-minded dedication to grind and grind alone, even foregoing lyrics if they'd get in the way.ReplyDelete
As for Nabokov, I'll save that conversation for another day; it does depend on what Nabokov you've read, though. The reason something like Lolita is so great is that Nabokov gives you so much faith in the narrator that you almost ignore the fact that he's a complete creep and a pedophile and just focus on the writing. I imagine that if you read Lolita and did focus on the pedophilia, it would be completely awful.
I just don't appreciate Lolita thematically, and I didn't particularly care (that is, didn't care as much as I expected to) for the (in fact, technically absolutely excellent) writing. I have also read The Enchanter (the presumed groundwork for Lolita), a thoroughly "Russian" novella (in its prose, as opposed to the "American" Lolita) and completely different kind of work, with similar results. Thus I declare that I don't enjoy Nabokov too much (on a purely subjective basis, as it should go without saying)!ReplyDelete
Get on goodreads.com, man. It's the last.fm of literature! ;D
I've been meaning to make a GoodReads account; I think I'll buckle down and make one tonight before my radio show.ReplyDelete