will's insanity

The Ramblings of a Mad Man

Category: Music Posts

The content of the genre known as “Metalcore”

So this is an interesting post. Probably the first time a blog post has ever really been written for a class, at least for me. I’ve decided to take some of my favorite songs and analyze the content of their lyrics.

Now some people might be saying “Wait, metalcore has lyrics? I thought it was all just incomprehensible screaming!” and on the screaming part, you’d be right! Metalcore is defined as “a broad fusion genre of extreme metal and hardcore punk. The name is an amalgam of the names of the two genres, distinguished by its emphasis on breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages that are conducive to moshing.”(Wikipedia) There is usually a lot of screaming involved in this genre but it’s not incomprehensible, and depending on the type of song, there is usually a fair bit of meaning in these lyrics, and they aren’t as angst-ridden, although that seems to be a large theme.

Let’s start with the first song off of an amazing album: “Provision” by August Burns Red off of the album Rescue and Restore. Before we start, please go take a listen. it’s an amazing song, I promise it’s worth the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oaVSvi9L-M

Now that you’re back, we’re gonna be looking at the second verse. It goes a little something like this

“I am the deceiver, I’m not getting any better
I’m the thief, the whore, the murderer
It’s times like these, It’s times like these
you forget to remember who you are
The way up is down, truth is found when life throws you out
And kicks you to the curb
I’m just as much the problem as the man behind bars
He did with his business what I do in my heart
You wronged me, you crossed me, I’ll never let it ruin me
Lessons are learned deep down within my heart, in my heart
The worst men make the best stories come true
The past is a part of me
But not who I am”

These lyrics are about how the band was wronged by someone financially and they thought he was getting his just deserts. However, the singer and screamer for ABR realized that even though this man had cheated them out of a lot of money and had done them wrong, they had things just as bad going on inside of them. The Christian influence on the band is extremely obvious here when he talks about what he has done wrong in his heart. He uses these lyrics to show that even though he has done wrong, he forgives himself and is forgiven by God. But now, we are going to make an extreme tonal shift in lyrical content. We are now going to go to the amazing world of Atreyu.

Probably my favorite band of all time, Atreyu is back with an amazing album, called Long Live. Musically and lyrically it has really come into it’s own after the band has returned from a four year long hiatus. One of my favorite songs off of the album is the song “Do You Know Who You Are?” take a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADSAww_42eY 

“It’s the end of the world and nobody cares
We got problems of our own
So nobody stares at themselves in the mirror anymore
A good hard look can shake you to the core, so,”

These are the lyrics that hit you when you first start the song. Alex Varkas, lead screamer for Atreyu has stated in his commentary for this song that it is about how “a lot of people need to look in the mirror and see if they’re doing something to make society better or even just help the small world around them… Or are you just a self-serving son of a bitch and a part of the problem.” Again, another song, albeit a little more straightforward with this idea of reflection and change. This song really gets you to question if you are doing things for the betterment of humanity as a whole or if you’re living on your own.

Honestly and truly, there seem to be a lot of lyrics about change rather than angst or self loathing. Suicide;Stigma by The Color Morale:

“When I speak such a word,
Are you uneasy with how it’s heard?
The stigma will never leave
Unless all of us can just start talking.”

Throne by Bring Me The Horizon:

“So you can throw me to the wolves
Tomorrow I will come back
Leader of the whole pack
Beat me black and blue
Every wound will shape me
Every scar will build my throne”

Again, change and continued improvement are the halmarks of this genre lyrically. Yes the screaming is there, yes it’s not for everyone’s taste, but the thing you have to admit is that lyrically, it’s better than the number one song right now “The Hills” by The Weekend:

I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me, babe

Something to ponder the next time something hits number one.

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Understanding the “monster”

Recently I’ve been listening a lot to the song “Monster” by The Almost. The chorus goes; 

“If I were a monster
Would you wince
When you looked at me?
If I were a freak would you stare?
If I were a leper
Would you say unclean?
If I was lost,
Would you help me get free?”

This is a song about the awareness of God and his constant presence, but how sometimes we doubt whether or not he’s actually there. We expect instant miracles and granted, sometimes they do come, but most of the time the signs are less subtle. Well, in the spirit of this song, I had an interesting experience recently. No, I’m not gonna go into detail. Why do you need to know? HUH?! heheh, just kidding…… sort of. Anywho, I had to make a call about myself and life got complicated. And while I was expecting a miracle from the Almighty, things of a negative nature began to arise. I began to see a swirl of chaos, and I turned into a “monster” to cope with the utter insanity of these things. I, like the author of this song, began to question where God was. Now the thought that God was always with me, yeah, that works sometimes, but most of the time, if He wasn’t doing anything for me, I brushed him off. I turned into the freak, the leper, and the lost. I became someone whom I as a person did not like. I knew I needed change, but I didn’t know where to begin. During this time, prayer became a constant part of my life. That sounds like a good thing until you realize I was doing it for the reasons of just trying to hear nothing, but that never happened, and honestly and truly, it annoyed me. Life would have been so much easier if just one night I felt nothing as I prayed. Now this wasn’t the doubt of the existence of God, just the wish that he would leave me alone for 2 seconds, which sure as hell wasn’t gonna happen.  Then one night, as I was beginning a routine, a friend called and asked to talk. Now you, dear reader, are immediately thinking “Well is this the part where he says it was no miracle, but an ordinary person who turned out to be a miracle?” I laugh at you and say no. I say that God still worked in an instant miracle. Maybe not one with a laser show and a spotlight, or one with hospital equipment and a defibrillator, but one through prayer. Before the beginning of this routine, I prayed for help. And as cliche and almost redundant as it is to say, God listens and hears, and if we do it with an honest heart, He gives us what we need. Not what we WANT, but what we NEED. God had begun that miracle as soon as I opened my mind for prayer. He immediately began putting wheels in motion to help me. He knew what I needed more than I did. Anyway, long story short, I’m not perfect. but it is a goal I strive for. The goal of UNDERSTANDING the “monster” that plagued me instead of vanquishing it. After all, the monster is me, and my job is not to vanquish myself, but to use myself for the continuation of God’s work on the earth. And sometimes we need help doing that. 

 
This brings me back to my song, and the last chorus is changed, now reflecting this revelation of mine and the author:

“When I am a monster
You never wince
When you look at me
When I am a freak, you never stare
When I am a leper
You never say unclean
And when I am lost
You come and get me free”

Kind of scatter brained, but hopefully coherent.