Bolt Thrower - Armageddon Bound
On the edge - spirit begins to break
Chances unsure - not much more you can take
Weakness grows - nerves start to crack
Far from safe - there is no turning back
A fine line - between victory and defeat
At the midpoint - uncertainty complete
Confusion prevails - unsure which way to move
Holding no hope - there is nothing more
nothing more to prove
Trying to discover what is right
And what is wrong
Judged by false criteria
Lessons learnt before
Decisions now justified
Perpetuate this war
This battlefield wide open
No territory gained
Within this wasteland
Here in no mans land
No mercy can be found
The first stanza is reminiscent of "You Can't Go Home Again" by Thomas Wolfe. We can't return to the innocence of childhood, or regress into a more primitive evolutionary stage, or reconstruct a better, more sane historical age long past. We must face our problems as adults. This responsibility is a heavier burden than most can bear in this era, so they deteriorate internally.
It is a collection of cliches. "on the edge," "spirit...break," "no turning back." They're really dry cliches too, a lot like Chuck Schuldiner lyrics during their later era. You can put all sorts of profound ideas behind them, but all they really are: a string of abstractions. Show; don't tell. I would much rather hear a narrative showing how childhood cannot be traveled back to. Let's express our ideas in creative ways, use concrete objects as symbolism, maybe even some elements of inventive wordplay. Anyone can write lyrics like Bolt Thrower; it sounds like the "poetry" I wrote when I was 13, before any formal training in poetry or creative writing on a university level. Now, maybe there's something about this primitive style that evokes raw emotions in some people, and I'll respect that, but let's not pretend it's more sophisticated.
It also sounds like you are reading deeper into these lyrics than the band intended; what was written was vague and can be interpreted in many ways, a lot having nothing to do with what you said. lines like "Far from safe" are pretty insipid, too. That has got to be one of the most dry, lifeless, awkward lines in this whole song.
The second stanza describes the problem of nihilism in a nutshell. We as a people(I'm referring to Western Man) are unable to hold any strong convictions, and have convinced ourselves that we have nothing left to achieve as a culture. There is no consensus-we have nearly lapsed into the Hobbesian state of nature, that is, every man against all other men.
Bolt Thrower's lyrics didn't say that. All they said is that he is confused and doesn't know where to go. You're really just trying to match it all up with your ideas and the ideas of thinkers you admire. If Bolt thrower meant to say this, they did a poor job getting theiir message across in an accurate or interesting way.
The third stanza tackles the decay of our moral standards and the hypocrisy that is a result thereof. It also hints ironically of our inability to apply the harsh lessons that the histories of other great civilizations that had fallen from grace could teach us (misfortune predictable/lessons learned before).
Whatever happened to the whole ANUS idea of music not having a message? If the music is saying all this, it sounds pretty preachy to me. Oh, but no, these are merely ideas that you are imposing upon this poetry. Well, I'm afraid anybody can do that with anything. Your ideas, however, are not that complex. They are typical, pessimistic tripe of little value to our civilization, at least as anything disguised to be new.
This quandary has entangled modern man for little more than two centuries, and in that time we have not come any closer to alleviating our confusion or unifying our disparate, atomized citizens into a functioning society, as the fourth stanza so aptly demonstrates.
It's really just a victim of all my prior criticisms.
The fifth stanza is a summary of the previous passages, and also serves as a reminder to the attentive listener that if these dire straits are not navigated prudently, it could spell the end of mankind.
I would much rather have had an artistic, juicy narrative poem than this mediocre philosophy. That's a good job Bolt Thrower, leaving me emotionally and intellectually unstimulated, and unimpressed. I have been brought to tears from lyrics, had chills run down my spine, had orgasms, had spells of love and fits of rage, been moved to my knees... this is just, well, your average death metal lyrics.
This, by the way, is not my first exposure to Bolt Thrower. I have always thought they were a band with far better music than lyrics. Bolt thrower make some good metal, but the lyrics, like a majority of death metal, are very weak when compared to heavy metal. I know my criticisms were harsh and unrestrained, but I feel compelled to get it across that I do not like these lyrics, or like the ideas you infer from them, and I find it very aesthetically unappealing, boring, and dull. It's way too vague, tailored with the integrity of a fortune teller.