• Axl Rosenberg

Guys, I have to admit, I am enthralled by the new Bring Me the Horizon video, for the song “Alligator Blood” (above). Not because I think the song or video are especially good — the song, like all BMTH, is generic metalcore, and the video is above-average but not at all mind-blowing or anything. No, I am enthralled mostly because there are so many different metaphors at play in the song and video that I have no clue what concept the band was actually trying to express, and I’m not convinced that they did, either.

So, the first thing you should know (assuming you don’t already) is that the song’s title is a poker reference. This random poker website I just found on Google define’s the phrase “alligator blood” thusly:

Used to describe a player who plays fearlessly when short-stacked and wins, or optionally, a player who plays for a long time short-stacked, winning just enough to keep them in the game. Also can be used to mean the complete lack of concern for other people’s well being at the poker table.

Alright, so this is going to be a song using poker as a metaphor, right?

Wrong. This is the chant that opens the song:

Let’s play a game of Russian roulette
I’ll load the gun, you place the bets

Okay, so, granted, I have never played Russian roulette, nor have I ever attended a Russian roulette match (They’re called “matches,” right?). But I have seen The Deer Hunter, and so I feel qualified to say that of the however many participants in a game of Russian roulette, none of them would have the job of placing bets. Wouldn’t the only people placing bets be the spectators? And even if the players were allowed to bet on the game themselves (and, presumably, the International Russian Roulette League’s rules regarding gambling are slightly more lax than those dictated by, say, the NFL), why would you ask your opponent to place your bet for you?

Maybe they meant to say “I’ll load the gun, you take the bets?” Although that seems like a faulty plan, too. There should really be a third party involved, no?

Anyway, this in’t the biggest deal, except that the song almost immediately begins to get stranger thereafter:

Over and over and over again
We play the same old game
Cards kept close to our chest, that’s where your secrets kept

But there are no cards in Russian roulette. And, yes, I understand it’s a metaphor, but Russian roulette was just a metaphor to begin with, right? I mean, the song isn’t LITERALLY about playing Russian roulette, is it? So now the metaphor is all mixed-up and, frankly, very silly. And then it gets sillier:

So wear your poker face, hands to the fool, hands to the thief
And you can’t see

The purpose of a poker face is to ensure that your opponent can’t deduce whether or not you have a decent hand. But in Russian roulette, neither player knows where the bullet is; there is literally and figuratively no such thing as “a decent hand.” So you could pretty much sit there with any expression you wanted on your face, including this one…


…and it would make no difference to the outcome of the game whatsoever.

And, no, I have no clue what the “hands to the fool, hands to the thief” thing is about. Those lyrics might be Biblical references — specifically, Ecclesiastes 4:5 (“The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh”) and Ephesians 4:28 (“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth”) — but that would make even less sense than all the nonsensical shit which has been said already.

Moving on: the next set of lyrics once again fall back on poker terminology which has no real place in Russian roulette, despite the utilization of the word “dead” —

My alligator blood is starting to show
I know that you know that I know that you know
Can’t call a bluff with a dead mans hand

This is actually my favorite part, simply because of the use of the phrase “I know that you know that I know that you know.” I’ve long hoped a band would try and work an Abbott & Costello routine into their lyrics, and now my wish has come true!

ANYWAY, the video further confuses the poker/Russian roulette metaphors by introducing even MORE metaphors into the mix, including:

  • References to the films Eyes Wide Shut, Hellraiser, and The Seventh Seal, all of which have story lines involving games and risk-taking of the highest order, but none of which involve Russian roulette. In fact, the characters in Eyes Wide Shut and Hellraiser don’t even realize the severity of the risk they’re taking until their fates are sealed. I suppose you could say the same thing about someone playing Russian roulette, assuming that someone was a retard who was somehow unaware that a bullet in the brain will almost certainly kill you.
  • Some kind of game played with tarot cards. (Are there games to be played with tarot cards? I did not think that was the purpose of those particular types of cards.)
  • Vampires.
  • A literal alligator. (This is the most impressive part of the video. Renting an alligator for a few hours is probably not cheap.)

So… what the what is really going on here? I, mean, I know what’s really going on here: I just put more thought into this song’s lyrics and video than anyone else involved did. I’m not saying those people are dumb; I don’t know them and I can’t make that particular judgement. But if they’re not dumb, then I’d have to guess that they said “Well, it’s just, like, rock n’ roll, man — it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as it’s cool.”

To which I would reply, “Hey, you know what’s actually pretty cool? Having your shit make sense.”


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