Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pleasant, Controlled Screaming

George Carlin once said something to the effect of singing just being a form of pleasant, controlled screaming. I don't agree that that's the case with all singing, but there are some bands out there which fit the bill.

Last year I finished a novel partly inspired by the Diabolical Masquerade album Death's Design. Near as I can tell, it was released under the guise of a soundtrack to a movie that, in fact, never actually existed. Something about people being between life and death and quite literally running for their lives, trying to get out a neutral zone in between. The novel--which I've tentatively titled "Up in Hell" and, though finished, has not been subbed anywhere since I've yet to work up the nerve--turned out to be about puppets trying to survive in hell. When I'd started it I only aimed to make a short zany story about a sock puppet freaking out in amusing ways as its set upon by demons. It turned out to be something a  lot harsher and probably a lot less funny.

It's funny how music can drag you along sometimes. More recently, the band Alcest struck the same chord that Death's Design had, with a track off of Ecailles De Lune called, coincidentally, Ecailles De Lune (Part 2).

There's something beautiful in the contrast between words delivered in a hoarse scream and carefully controlled, occasionally dreamlike instrumentals. It's chaos rocketing over a well-ordered landscape. Can't think of a better way to describe it than that. When the screaming is only a part of a larger whole, and its placed against something more serene, it actually feels like it serves a purpose other than being loud. It feels like a fight has broken out and some lone individual is trying to make themselves heard among something more ordered and easier to listen to, if that makes any sense.

I'm not big on throaty scream metal, most of which sounds anywhere between ridiculous and unlistenable in my opinion. This parody video by a band calling themselves the Black Satans hits what I'm tallking about dead on. A lot of that really hardcore metal just piles on the evildarkgrimevilsatanblackness until there isn't enough contrast for it to mean anything.

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