Wednesday, May 04, 2011

the orthodoxy of Black Sabbath may help keep us sane

Great article by James Parker in Atlantic Monthly ,

"How Heavy Metal Is Keeping Us Sane"..

Excerpt from a fascinating section on Black Sabbath:

guitarist Tony Iommi redirected the spiritual drag of the blues into an uncharted world of bummers and black holes. Bassist Geezer Butler, a mystical vegetarian, wrote the lyrics. Raised Catholic, Butler as a youngster had entertained thoughts of the priesthood, and for all the band’s occult trappings, his view of things was essentially orthodox, if a little on the medieval side: God over here, Satan over there, man flailing and biting his nails in the middle. “Lord of This World,” from 1971’s Master of Reality, made it all very clear:

Your world was made for you by someone above
But you chose evil ways instead of love
You made me master of the world where you exist
The soul I took from you was not even missed

Relaying these panoramas in a bleak, monastically removed voice was singer Ozzy Osbourne—pre-solo-career, pre-reality-TV. Ozzy was a failed burglar, with meaty, tattooed fingers and the eyes of a worried child, who had once—without quite knowing why—daubed the legend IRON VOID on a roadside wall. Vocally, he filtered Butler’s Boschian sensibility through his own late-20th-century depression, in front of a band almost overloading with musical power: early live footage reveals the musicians “bobbing,” in the superb phrase of the metal historian Ian Christe, like “marionettes in the hands of God.”

And this section reminded me of Bono's classic comments about gospel music's dishionesty:
...The great scholar of heavy metal Robert Walser, doing research for his 1993 book, Running With the Devil, interviewed a Twisted Sister fan who told him that the easy-listening music favored by her mother had made her paranoid. In Walser’s words: “It so obviously seems to lie to her about the world.” An Avenged Sevenfold fan might say the same today about the music of Jack Johnson, or John Mayer, or Jason Mraz, or any of the golden troubadours on heavy rotation at your local Starbucks. I don’t mean to be ungracious about Starbucks—I happen to spend a good deal of time in Starbucks—but heavy metal reminds me that Starbucks, like much of modern life, is a fiction. Go through the membrane, break the crust, and everything is metal.


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