ABOUT EXTREME MUSIC
Why bother about the tempi in a Wagner opera or the orchestration of a Schumann symphony if one can at the same time listen, not literally of course, to one of the most extreme forms of music on the planet, Deathcore, and actually enjoy that? Why bother about contrapunctal finesse in Bach and Mahler when all it takes is an unholy barking from the pits of hell to entertain oneself? Does brute primal force not exclude layered, 'civilized' craft, and vice versa?
If extreme music only was about relentless noise, about extremism as a goal in itself, about violent mayhem as a gimmick, than those questions - with ears apparently not in need of distinguishing racket from music - would meet an answer that could exist of just echoing the question: indeed why bother. If the vocal lines were only about moaning like an animal, without context, listening to it would not have been fun but in music, good music (see/hear the accompanying clip for illustration) that shakes and slides over the gravel pit chords of a drop D-tuned guitar, the grunt becomes an ingredient in a meal with more than just one taste. An exciting & fascinating seasoning of sounds in which the song escapes the syntax (and the predictability) of a simple chorus-couplet scheme. Out of guttoral vocals and heavy instrumentation a world emerges, an aural representation of a state of being; a force of nature, mentally and physically, in which one recognizes things that forces one to awe, things that one most likely prefers to keep at an appropriate distance in daily life.
Isn't that exactly one of the beautiful things in art? To enjoy and enrich oneself, to get to know something, with what one prefers to avoid otherwise? It is an emancipation of dissonances, a way to tell with dissonances, disturbing sounds, a story that in the core is sensitive to the things most beautiful and thus vulnerable in life. It is music, in my experience, that cares for the love in life, rather than for hate and/or nihilism.
Topics in the genre often range from teenage angst, depression to downright suicidal thoughts. They testify to the hardship of life and provide, at best, a channeling of emotions. They are, if possible, an airbag for life's heavy incentives. The lyrics are testimony to the sensitivity of its musicians, something that is certainly not to ignore, but as it is with programme music (e.g. symphonic poems by Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss) it are one's own associations with the music, rather than a literal understanding of the accompanying text, that makes for the real impact. In deathcore (and death metal for that matter) it is the part that can't be put into words that converts the breath of death into a pledge for life.
- Wouter de Moor
Leave a Reply.