Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Metal and lyricism

Metal and lyricism
April 18, 2009, 08:55:09 AM
Could we say that metal is a non-literal form of art, as opposed to rock which is lyrical. The lyrics and singing are very important in rock - they are almost primary to the music Most of that which rock communicates is given through the lyrics, not the instrumental music. In metal it must be said that the lyrics are unimportant. We cannot deny that lyrics are integral to Bob Dylan's message, no more than can we say that comprehension of the unintelligible vocals in Dismember would increase the quality of the music. Intonation, melody and interaction with instruments is unimportant in metal. There are people who think in visual ways (painters), and those that think in words (writers). I would say that metal listeners are made up almost entirely of the former. We listen for musical contrasts and textures, key and time changes and visual and pictoral representations of the music. A textual person would quickly lose interest in metal because there's no text, which they place in the foreground of their thought.. Listeners of other modern music would be listening to the words and understanding and interpreting their message. Visual people would be confused because they would ignore the lyrics and not understand them because these people place the instrumental music upfront in their minds.

Re: Metal and lyricism
April 18, 2009, 05:26:26 PM
That's where rap fails, as mostly everyone would agree. A cyclic, redundant beat created digitally to accompany the lyrics in an attempt to glorify it further. There are thousands of rock bands that rely solely on good lyrics (and I define this loosely) to save their music, in the sense that rap does, because it's nothing but shit without it, coincidentally exactly like rap. Nowadays many people of lesser intelligence judge quality music based upon the lyrics alone, and the only thing in the structure that matters is if it's catchy or not. Modern pop is also the same in its concept of this, "HAY LETS PUT A RLY GOOD SINGER UP THERE SO PPL WILL THINK HER MUSIC IS NICE!". Notice how all three of these play the same role in the industrialization of music, because stupid people listen to stupid music. People hate metal because they can't interpret the lyrics right off the bat, because their lives revolve around materialism and thus their demeanor is enveloped by it. Then they hate how fast and "hard" it is because that's not pleasing to their ears, anything that's void of instant gratification and takes zero understanding of anything at all is positive to them and their simple lifestyles. What redeems metal is its structural integrity (obviously) and its ability to be narrative in conceptualizing and capturing an idea to express it in this or that way, this is what fends off the hordes of idiots because (I got this quote from someone on here some time ago) there's nothing the herd hates more than being reminded of their own insignificance and cowardice.

Nile577

Re: Metal and lyricism
April 18, 2009, 05:30:57 PM
I think that lyrics in death and black metal are mostly undistinguished but occasionally break through with idiot savant honesty in artists like Deicide/Sepultura/Paul Ledney. I suppose death/black metal vocalists are much more about the tone of their voice than the content of the lyrics (outside of general themes). Bands like Deathspell Omega / later Gorguts have quite interesting lyrics and I find Xasthur's use of mirrors as a conceptual device for music and lyrics to be of note. As for visceral impact bands like Carcass and Cannibal Corpse can be quite nauseating, though these require consultation of the lyric sheet. I enjoy simple, unpretentious lyrics in death metal from bands like Deeds of Flesh, Immolation, Krisiun and Angelcorpse as well as Vaderís occult stuff, though all of these are more like comic book stories than poetry.

Doom seems the most lyrical genre of "extreme" metal: Warning is great but sometimes feels self-pitying ("all bad poetry is sincere"); Esoteric has interesting lyrics but they are not a focus; early Cathedral is successfully depressive; Neurosis can be quite evocative in an oblique way.

Grindcore has its fair share of idiot savant truth but also a few more intellectual, theoretical offerings that sometimes become overtly political.

Side point: are there any death or black metal albums that contain no obvious grammatical errors/misspellings in the lyrics booklet? I own about 1,000 cds and I've never found one.

Re: Metal and lyricism
April 18, 2009, 06:38:49 PM
Grindcore has its fair share of idiot savant truth but also a few more intellectual, theoretical offerings that sometimes become overtly political.

I think that Disharmonic Orchestra really hit the apogee of complex lyricism with Expositions Prophylaxe and Not to be Undimensional Conscious. Instead of the anti-everything drivel of many bands attempting smart lyrics theirs plays on metaphors of psychoanalysis in an almost confused way that matches up nicely with the strange guitar work. I find a thematic consistency in the albums despite the absence of narrative structure, and this I think is due to the agreement between lyrical presentation and guitar style.

So maybe some metal doesn't have to use the traditional narrative lyrical structure, but needs to have textural and communicative agreement between the direction and styling of guitar and the way that lyrical phrases are placed and used. This is still much different than rock in which vocal sections are packaged in with the same repeated hooks and melodies with little variation.

 I really enjoyed the textural accomplishments on Darkthrones Total Death where echoed vocals dampen the rythmic intensity for a moment, changing the tonality of the music for periods within the same riff.

'Visual People" seem to be those more sensitive to externalities rather than seeing themselves in everything. So these visual people would need things of quality as they are not quite able to be rationalists about things they come in contact with, they see everything as real.

Re: Metal and lyricism
April 19, 2009, 11:22:46 PM
Could we say that metal is a non-literal form of art, as opposed to rock which is lyrical.

Yes, certainly! The lyrics are frosting on the cupcake, but the "bread" of it is the songwriting itself. Metal lyrics at least in underground metal aren't designed to be understood.

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 07:13:10 AM
Metal lyrics are at worst garbage, at best cheese, overall just directionless and juvenile. Nowhere in metal is this as pronounced as in Black and Death Metal, where lyrics are either ham-fisted attempts at profundity or just utterly stupid from the outset (hey, at least they're being honest). It follows that music will be as pointless, directionless and shitty as its lyrics, if they have nothing of value to communicate thematically. I can't think of a single black or death metal song with lyrics that I can honestly call "good"; you're welcome to dish out your favourite gems to me for a couple of laughs, I'm sure "suddenly... life has new meaning" will figure in somewhere because it's like, so deep.

Saying "but it's not about the lyrics, bro" is pretty much relegating metal to the realm of absolute music, which in and of itself is nice I guess if you're bored and have nothing better to do than occupy yourself with abstract noise.

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 07:28:05 AM
Metal lyrics are at worst garbage, at best cheese, overall just directionless and juvenile. Nowhere in metal is this as pronounced as in Black and Death Metal, where lyrics are either ham-fisted attempts at profundity or just utterly stupid from the outset (hey, at least they're being honest). It follows that music will be as pointless, directionless and shitty as its lyrics, if they have nothing of value to communicate thematically. I can't think of a single black or death metal song with lyrics that I can honestly call "good"; you're welcome to throw out your favourite gems for a couple of laughs, I'm sure "suddenly... life has new meaning" figures in somewhere because it's like, so deep.

Saying "but it's not about the lyrics, bro" is pretty much relegating metal to the realm of absolute music, which in and of itself is nice I guess if you're bored and have nothing better to do than occupy yourself with abstract noise.

Honestly, why haven't you moved onto post-rock yet? It makes use of emotional, heartfelt melodies, introspective lyrics with an intricate vocabulary that reads like a psychological dictionary, and is generally viewed by most artists and critics today as a respectable, talented form of music. Metal as a form of music is something I listen to beyond aesthetics, and I'm probably an idiotic faggot for that. First and foremost I enjoy the organic expansion of theme of Renaissance choral music, the Baroque period, Classical music, and early Romanticist music. These organizations of theme in a narrative context create a reverance for reality when transposed to perception that I find unrivaled. No other music than death and black metal has achieved the organization of themes in this fashion, and it can and has been easily observed by those not even educated in the composition of music. Where the disagreements occur is idealogy. Just because black and death metal have this quality in structure does not render that quality one that people are prone to accepting or building values from. Nevermind that it has inspired me towards organizing volunteer events, becoming politically active within my high school career, succeeding in supporting a lack of suburban expansion within my home-town, and forming myself into an excelling long-distance runner; this is all idiotic faggot stuff that only metal cares about. You need to go home to the aesthetically perceived-only frontier of underground, avant-garde, post-rock, as metal (like a faggot) does not find any value in these sort of concepts.

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 07:48:02 AM
Nobel prize candidates or not, I (nor the several poets that happen to be in my family and friends) don't see how anyone can claim this kind of pieces lose to other forms of lyric in artistry, content, vocabulary, anything.

Eyes Upon Me
Watching Me In My Perpetual Sleep
Dreams Deceive Me
My Future Depends On A Mindless Dream
I've Fallen From Promises
Damned To Take Risks On My Own
The Masterful Science That Freezes Your
Mind And Your Soul
The Wretched Dream Is Realized
The Human Race Is To Be Crystalized

Thoughts Of Laughter
Filling The Head Of The Master In Charge
Worlds Of Wonder
Is This A Cure Or A Painless Death
I'll Fight And Resist
Till They All See The End That Is Near
The Doctors The Lawers And G-Men
Are Living In Fear
Living My Life With One Distant Hope
A Cure That Will Kill My Invincible Foe


(Slayer - Crionics)

Nocturnal flight, no shadows cast
a distant symbol of our beyond
life lies in front of us
Sacred Ground, Rotten Earth
Ashes To Dust
Flesh Decomposed
Caressing the sacred ground
where the deadened corpses lie
A sepulchural misty night
with a whiff of the Macabre
Silently watching the stones
put there as a symbol of death
Our minds united; A force is lit,
and insight creates
A humanoid watchtower, reaching for
their souls to the Sky
For a glance onto
The Other Side....


(Darkthrone - The Watchtower)

The pyramids tremble, darken the sun, (the) sky tums red
They reached the wall of no return (and the) breeze has stopped
Who wore the crown will never be known - might is broken
For all we'll drown into the sand - what will remain?

Inverted horizons, denied truth and blinded eyes
The Titans arise, the monuments fall, we cannot halt
Wishful pleads at last came true, some always knew
The clouds burn - or is it fire? ... the gods wince

Human pride and megalomania - The Titans watched it all
The trace led to nowhere - Wrath had to come
As ushers at the gates - To ecstasy and excess
AII turn their backs - They won't give us any rest

(The) fires won't redeem, illuminated's the night - the eternal summer
When they came high from the sphere on shrieking wings ...
Now they're trapped to the ground, to heat and dust
And the eye is glowing above ...


(Celtic Frost - Eternal Summer)

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 07:56:17 AM
Nobel prize candidates or not, I (nor the several poets that happen to be in my family and friends) don't see how anyone can claim this kind of pieces lose to other forms of lyric in artistry, content, vocabulary, anything.

Eyes Upon Me
Watching Me In My Perpetual Sleep
Dreams Deceive Me
My Future Depends On A Mindless Dream
I've Fallen From Promises
Damned To Take Risks On My Own
The Masterful Science That Freezes Your
Mind And Your Soul
The Wretched Dream Is Realized
The Human Race Is To Be Crystalized

Thoughts Of Laughter
Filling The Head Of The Master In Charge
Worlds Of Wonder
Is This A Cure Or A Painless Death
I'll Fight And Resist
Till They All See The End That Is Near
The Doctors The Lawers And G-Men
Are Living In Fear
Living My Life With One Distant Hope
A Cure That Will Kill My Invincible Foe


(Slayer - Crionics)

Nocturnal flight, no shadows cast
a distant symbol of our beyond
life lies in front of us
Sacred Ground, Rotten Earth
Ashes To Dust
Flesh Decomposed
Caressing the sacred ground
where the deadened corpses lie
A sepulchural misty night
with a whiff of the Macabre
Silently watching the stones
put there as a symbol of death
Our minds united; A force is lit,
and insight creates
A humanoid watchtower, reaching for
their souls to the Sky
For a glance onto
The Other Side....


(Darkthrone - The Watchtower)

The pyramids tremble, darken the sun, (the) sky tums red
They reached the wall of no return (and the) breeze has stopped
Who wore the crown will never be known - might is broken
For all we'll drown into the sand - what will remain?

Inverted horizons, denied truth and blinded eyes
The Titans arise, the monuments fall, we cannot halt
Wishful pleads at last came true, some always knew
The clouds burn - or is it fire? ... the gods wince

Human pride and megalomania - The Titans watched it all
The trace led to nowhere - Wrath had to come
As ushers at the gates - To ecstasy and excess
AII turn their backs - They won't give us any rest

(The) fires won't redeem, illuminated's the night - the eternal summer
When they came high from the sphere on shrieking wings ...
Now they're trapped to the ground, to heat and dust
And the eye is glowing above ...


(Celtic Frost - Eternal Summer)

I don't think you understand, this is true artistry within lyricism:

Ghosts in the photograph
never lie'd to me.

I'd be all of that
I'd be all of that.

A false memory
would be everything.
A denial my eliminent.

What was that for?
What was that for?

What would you do
if you saw spaceships
over Glasgow?
Would you fear them?

Every aircraft,
every camera,
is a wish that
wasn't granted.

What was that for?
What was that for?

Try to be bad.
Try to be bad

(Take Me Somewhere Nice - Mogwai)
I believe this is what Godkiller is attempting to teach the forums with his infinite wisdom; that metal sucks and is for idiots, and great laughter is derived from being intentionally controversial. Can you not see the intelligence?


Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 02:33:42 PM
Under a Funeral Moon, Transilvanian Hunger, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, Pure Holocaust - all have a number of songs (if not all songs) that have good lyrics.  Juvenile?  I suppose, but it works perfect for metal.  I find it tasteful to not attempt what you can't pull off.  I actually prefer art that is "juvenile," exuberant, instinctual, un-intellectual, feral.


Cold Winds of Funeral Dust

Under a bloodred moon in the cold wastes of Thule
Where wintershadows lies untouched
Where I dwell at the mountains of madness
In these shadows of death I march
In the blue mist of evil

Through the dark Northern valleys
Where only winds of funeral breathes
Hovering through the whispering darkness
With frost in my eyes

Only seven winds are heard
Chaiming through the dark Northern valleys
Eternity I pass eternity I seeked
For the darkness my spirit
For satan my black soul

Under a bloodred moon in the cold wastes of another world
Where wintershadows lies untouched
Where I dwell at the mountains of madness
Entering with the cold winds of funeral dust



What do these lyrics "mean?"  I don't know - but they SOUND good.

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 03:46:03 PM
Quote from: Godkiller
Saying "but it's not about the lyrics, bro" is pretty much relegating metal to the realm of absolute music, which in and of itself is nice I guess if you're bored and have nothing better to do than occupy yourself with abstract noise.

What exactly is wrong with absolute music?  You don't think the communication of abstract concepts is a valid pursuit?

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 11, 2009, 09:23:33 PM
Could we say that metal is a non-literal form of art, as opposed to rock which is lyrical.

Yes, certainly! The lyrics are frosting on the cupcake, but the "bread" of it is the songwriting itself. Metal lyrics at least in underground metal aren't designed to be understood.

Please make your metaphors consistent. Make your mind up, are you saying metal songs are more like cakes or sandwiches?

Re: Metal and lyricism
May 12, 2009, 04:27:15 AM
Metal lyrics are at worst garbage, at best cheese, overall just directionless and juvenile.

Oh, the controversial internet warrior, just too different to be contained by the current paradigm. Only he knows the truth, even if he just keeps on sitting in that airmchair and feeling snug, at least until the money runs out and he goes back to filing those papers. Bartleby?

I always liked the way Slayer used metaphor, Suffocation mimicked the language of social machinery, and your Sacramentum, Burzum and Celtic Frost types restated themes from Coleridge and Blake.