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Slayer's use of language

Slayer's use of language
May 02, 2007, 12:01:32 AM
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The song you're asking about must be "Angel of Death," by the death-metal band Slayer. The lyrics, which are in general quite repulsive, include this section: "Seas of blood, bury life/Smell your death as it burns/Deep inside of you/Abacinate, eyes that bleed/Praying for the end of/Your wide awake nightmare." Believe me, this is one of the more mild parts of the song.

Abacinate is a real word. It means 'to blind (a person) by placing red-hot pokers, or metal basins, in front of the eyes'. It comes from Medieval Latin, ultimately from a word for "basin." There's an entry for the word in the Oxford English Dictionary, with no citations at all: it exists solely to support the entry for the nominal form abacination, which itself only has one citation, from an obscure source. It's also in some other very, very large dictionaries that few people use today.


http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19970704

Did they use that word just to sound elite, or were they trying to make their music sound heavier by using Latin words and complicated English grammar?


Re: Slayer's use of language
May 02, 2007, 02:41:28 AM
Probably just a random factoid one of the band members picked up, especially when pitted against other Slayer lyrics from that time (same in principle, but nothing quite so esoteric).

Raise_the_Dead

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 02, 2007, 03:13:55 AM
The lyrics to Angel of Death make the song one of their best.

Another cool word:

Excoriate: 2.      to strip off or remove the skin from.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 03, 2007, 05:06:34 PM
You people actually like slayer's lyrics? I'm a big fan of theirs, and they're music is soem of the best, but i always found their lyrics to be very stupid and nonsensical at times. Reminds me of cannibal corpse lyrics. They just put random words together that sound cool.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 04, 2007, 01:45:22 AM
I think the one who does a better job being a lyric meister without sounding corny would be Glenn Danzig. As for Slayer, they did seem to have done to metal songs what H.P. Lovecraft did to horror fiction. Like that gore/splatter band Disgorge (who ripped off words from a medical dictionary to add to their grindcore music), metal songs are more interesting if the message is all about death and destruction couched in obscure jargon. It'd be boring if the singer     keeps shouting a cheerful "fuck you" over the mike.  

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 04, 2007, 09:30:41 AM
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i always found their lyrics to be very stupid and nonsensical at times.


At times, it sounds that way, especially on later CDs.

"Jesus is hate... Jesus is war... Jesus is bore... What a whore" etc.


Iconoclast

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 04, 2007, 10:43:06 AM
I have trouble listening to Slayer because the lyrics are so terrible.  Seems quite pretentious at times.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 04, 2007, 04:11:03 PM
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At times, it sounds that way, especially on later CDs.

"Jesus is hate... Jesus is war... Jesus is bore... What a whore" etc.




Haha, yeah, that song is fucking awful.

Surtr

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 05, 2007, 02:13:38 PM
I think you can't judge all Slayer lyrics the same way. I don't exactly know them all, but by just guessing I think the older ones are better than the newer ones (lyrics like ""Behind The Crooked Cross definitly rule).
To return to the first question: I don't know why they used such words. I thik it's also not that important, but it could be interesting if you compare their language to those of other bands of that time.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 05, 2007, 02:32:00 PM
I see no reason why not to use a wider range of vocabulary. It doesn't seem pretentious to me, some words just work well.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 05, 2007, 03:12:27 PM
Could it be that the effect these words have is dependent on the English mastery level of the listener? The two mayor groups of listeners: one of people who speak English as first language, the other one learned it later (in school).

For the second group, the words stemming from Latin (sophisticated English is basically all derived from Latin) are simply more entertaining to read (wow, what a crazy word!), listen to (they sound important) and decipher (many are not taught in school).

It also seems to help Death Metal achieve a more uninvolved narration, although this is maybe only so in the experience of the second group.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 05, 2007, 11:36:25 PM
Oh come on, give them a break. The lyrics to "South of Heaven" are an all-time classic, and I'd much rather hear the direct and to the point polemic of "The pestilence is Jesus Christ/There never was a sacrifice/No man upon the crucifix/Beware the cult of purity/Infectious imbecility/I've made my choice. Six six six!" compared to the whining pussyfooting that Deicide has been doing since 1997.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 06, 2007, 06:44:11 AM
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You people actually like slayer's lyrics? I'm a big fan of theirs, and they're music is soem of the best, but i always found their lyrics to be very stupid and nonsensical at times. Reminds me of cannibal corpse lyrics. They just put random words together that sound cool.


Now i think Slayer have developed a unique systematic message, confronting any religion in the world, with sophisticated language. I too used to share your beliefs, but i realised how important their current lyrics are and am trying to embrace them.

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 06, 2007, 07:59:26 PM
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 For the second group, the words stemming from Latin (sophisticated English is basically all derived from Latin) are simply more entertaining to read (wow, what a crazy word!), listen to (they sound important) and decipher (many are not taught in school).  


That all applies to the first group too - words like abacinate and excoriate don't get taught to first language English speakers in school.

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I see no reason why not to use a wider range of vocabulary. It doesn't seem pretentious to me, some words just work well.


There's using a wide range of vocabulary in a natural manner, and then there's going through the dictionary to find obscure latinate terms in order to sound cool, because your lyrics don't really mean anything. Burzum's lyrics are the most insightful of any metal band, and they are all in relatively simple language (not having any knowledge of Norwegian, I can't assess whether this is the case with the lyrics in the original - they certtainly tanslate into simple enough English, and the songs in English are simple enough, apart from the use of occult terms on the first album). Wasn't there some philosopher that said something about muddy pools?

Re: Slayer's use of language
May 06, 2007, 08:13:37 PM
"Abacinate" has become a fairly popular and well-circulated word among logophiles.  I've seen forms of "Excoriate" used a couple of times within the Metal world too, most notably in Infester's "Excoriation Killz the Bliss".

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There's using a wide range of vocabulary in a natural manner, and then there's going through the dictionary to find obscure latinate terms in order to sound cool, because your lyrics don't really mean anything.


Consider too that "abacinate" can be found within the first three pages of even the largest unabridged dictionaries.  I think that explains how Slayer picked it up.