Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Salute to Death Metal



Being a music fan, one of the television programs that I enjoy watching is VH1 Storytellers because it allows the songwriters to elaborate on the origin of their sometimes cryptic lyrics. It is worth noting that this is completely unnecessary if the song is fairly straightforward. Case in point; I was at a concert once where the artist spent five minutes explaining that they wrote the next song while remembering what it was like to spend time playing with their dad on a farm and the first four lines of the song were
I was remembering daddy
Just the other day
We grew up on a working farm
But we still found time to play

At any rate, the incident reminded me of a mental exercise I utilized to amuse myself while working at the music store. Along with mainstream acts you would expect to see in an entertainment media retailer, we carried a rather large variety of “specialty genres.” One of these was Death Metal, a sub-sect of heavy metal that made Metallica sound like the Toy Story 2 soundtrack. I became amused at how far each band would push the envelope in order to create the most offensive song titles and lyrics possible.

One of the groups that would always catch my attention when we stocked the shelves was a Buffalo-based conglomerate named Cannibal Corpse. Their macabre decadence was the fodder of legend, even resulting in countries banning their entire body of work at various points in time. I would scan over the song titles of their albums and try to imagine sitting in the audience of their Vh1 storytellers while the band’s vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher fields questions from fans and waxes poetically about the inspiration for some of their catalogue:

“Thank you for the question Terry. I was inspired to write “Sanded Faceless” while cashing in my son’s tickets at the Chuck E Cheese prize redemption counter….”

While death metal has not met with the commercial success of more mainstream genres (Cannibal Corpse took eight albums and thirteen years to break one million in sales worldwide and they are considered industry leaders) these morbid metal heads are unparalleled in the art of unique song titles.

A sampling from the Cannibal Corpse catalogue:

·         Meat Hook Sodomy (code word for a Gilmore Girls marathon)
·         Force Fed Broken Glass (would it have gone down any other way?)
·         Mummified in Barbed Wire (don’t fall asleep at an Egyptian frat party)
·         Frantic Disembowelment (why it is dangerous for Taco Bell to serve food until 3 AM)
·         Edible Autopsy (the worst Barbie accessory pack ever)
·         Blunt Force Castration (both Marty Smith & shop class were forever changed)



In my naivety, I was convinced that Cannibal Corpse had cornered the market on elaborately offensive song titles. This all changed on a brisk spring day when I opened a box of compact discs and discovered the San Diego trio Cattle Decapitation. Despite the implied bovine animosity of their name, the group is comprised of staunch vegetarians and environmentalists. In fact, a large percentage of their lyrics are devoted to preventing the mistreatment and consumption of animals.

Like Cannibal Corpse, when it comes to song titles they leave no nauseating adjective unturned:

·         Icepick Gag Reflex
·         Bludgeoned, Beaten, and Barbecued
·         Bathing in a Grease Disposal Unit
·         Open Human Head Experiments With Bleach, Lacquer, and Epoxy
·         Colonic Villus Biopsy Performed on the Gastro-intestinally Incapable


Argue if you will, but coming up with the titles must be creatively exhausting and while I could not consider myself a fan; I must applaud their dedication to their craft. With that in mind I have compiled a list of song titles that I would be willing to sell to an “up and coming” death metal band in need of creative consultation:


·         Laceration-Induced Epidermal Decomposition
·         Reverse Power Saw Colonoscopy
·         Quagmire of Festering Entrails
·         Gangrenous Puncture Wound Lobotomy
·         Festooned by Putrescence
·         Organ Harvest Malfeasance
·         The Hungarian Ravioli Debacle
·         Parasitic Harpoon Impalement Massacre
·         Amputation Miscommunication
·         Erroneously Released Flatulence
·         Reconstituted Hemorrhaging Pustules (Cindy’s Song)

So if you are the member of a struggling young death metal outfit and are lacking song titles, feel free to contact me so that we can work something out. 

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