Question Of The Week: You’rrrre The Maaaan In The Box
You’re an old hand at this: Up to your ears in jungle, you and a small team of trusted super soldiers are moving in for a high-risk extraction. A few meters from where you stand, a guard; beyond him, a nondescript bunker. That’s where your former commanding officer, long thought to be dead, will spend the night under watch of a small, deadly terror cell. His time is short, you must strike now. But then — lights, dogs, gunfire at your six. The words at your lips — “Oh shi-” — are stopped by a rifle butt to your teeth. Surprise. You’ve been captured. But how!
That’s when you spot Wilman, your old rival, now a goon for hire. That fucker sold you out. You wipe the blood from your eyes, glare into his, and curse yourself for sparing his life all those years ago. Then, another blow. A flash of pain. Darkness.
You awake crouched in a small windowless room. Welcome to today’s Question Of The Week.
You’ve been imprisoned and tortured. But after six weeks, you have won the sympathy of one of your captors, who agrees to change the song that’s been blasting 24/7 into your tiny underground cell. Quick, which song do you want?
Choose wisely. You’ll be hearing it continuously for a year or two.
Let’s think of this intelligently. There are plenty of songs by Slayer or Motorhead that I could listen to many times in a row, but they’re all between two and six minutes long, so I’d be hearing them over and over. So I’d choose “I” by Meshuggah. First of all, what an awesome band and what a killer song. Second, it’s a song with movements, with a flow that alters speed and atmosphere and is never too repetitive. (Imagine hearing, say, “Back In Black” for a week straight?) Finally, it’s 21 minutes long, so I would only have to hear it three times per hour. That way, while I may here the band’s grinding, bizarre riffs in my head for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have heard them quite so much.
Alice Cooper‘s “Hey Stoopid.” The album is one of the first metal CDs I ever bought with my own money and I listened to it — and its title track — obsessively. It hits the mark right between unbelievably “catchy” and “just torture.”
In a few of my super-favorite songs, there are riffs or backing vocals that would totally insanify me right away; such a doodly-dee lick or yeah-yeah chant is fun for only a few minutes — and definitely not riddling an otherwise infinitely bearable jam. So it’d have to be free of earworms, but also be multi-staged and fun so I can kinda go deep into it. I’d also ask the jam to help me cope with my crappy situation, so it must vibe madness and loss of (bladder) control. Sounds like a job for Faith No More :)))
Well, considering I had been tortured for six weeks, I would forego my usual go-to’s like Carcass and Bolt Thrower. Something more mellow would likely fit the bill: Jesu‘s “Friends Are Evil.” After listening to the outstandingly depressing lyrics day in and day out — and realizing that my friends may not find me deep in the caverns of the mountainous hellscape where I’m imprisoned — I’d end up beating my brains out against the rock wall á la Martyrs and die cold, alone, and forgotten. Win win!!
“Suffer” – napalm death
Ever been hooked on a song, only later to get hooked on a different version of it? That happened to me this year with Denver black-goth-post-pop outfit Tollund Men‘s “Fire.” I came to know them through the version of the song that appears on their Door 7″ (below): compact, warm, fuzzed out. Then I discovered the longer version of “Fire” that appears on their 2012 Tour Cassette, which is colder and dancier. Finding the songs in that order was like meeting a girl at a club, drinking too much, dancing too hard, puking in the back alley (together, and you held her hair back like a gentleman), going back to your place for a quick fuck (the cab fair was cheaper, her roommate’s a total dick, gate codes are hard to remember, etc.), then laying together (cigarette cliche, if you are so inclined) and blabbing about how y’all are soulmates. But in reverse.
Necros Christos‘ cover of Black Sabbath’s “Electric Funeral” because it’s all I’ve listened to (besides arguing and bad jokes) for the entirety of this tour. It is fucking immense. (And if you’re catching any dates on the Orange Goblin US/Canada tour, stop by my merch table and say hello. I am way nicer in person.)
Just as I’d been cheated, I’d cheat my captors (that works out somehow): Jesu‘s “Infinity” is both a song and an album. At nearly 50 minutes, it would offer enough variance to not get sick of it right away. And though the whole thing is kind of a mess, there are great parts. Plus, as a captive (sigh) audience I might come to appreciate the parts I haven’t had a chance to warm up to. (Of course I’d likely grow to hate the parts of the song I like.) But “Infinity”‘s geological structure means that I won’t have any changed feelings until I have grown a full-on Saddam/George Bluth Sr. beard. This is all assuming that I don’t off myself after prolonged exposure to “Infinity”‘s epic gloom. Still better than “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” though.
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Meshuggah‘s “I”. I mean, shit, it’s an EP, but then again it’s one continuous song (which could be said for Catch 33), but then again again it’s like a few different, related songs strung together with eight-string deathblows! What is it! Impossible polyrhythms and insane weirdo solos and ballsy vocals and drumming from outer space. And there’s the thing with Meshuggah: You can never exactly remember how a song goes — a weird tempo shift always catches you off guard no matter how many times you spin each track. Hit repeat, see if I care!