Sunday, August 7, 2016

Video Review: CASKET ROBBERY Pray For Death by Heather Dawson

Pray For Death
From 2016 full-length Evolution Of Evil
I recently reviewed a great video by the band Revocation in which I commented on the intelligence and depth of the band's music. In my own musical career, I have come up against the sublime vs. the ridiculous when trying to write/sing for certain bands. (i.e.: 'I'm not saying the word 'hobgoblin' in a song - I'm just not.") So while this tune is not of the same ilk as my brush with bombastic idiocy, Casket Robbery's 'Pray for Death' comes pretty close. Not to malign the entire effort - the music, the hook, the vocals are all wonderful, truly. Another extremely tight and tidy speed / death metal combo who can, without a doubt, kick the shit out of a song. However, if you are going to make an entire video focused on your horror lyrics, they better be Wes Craven and not Ed Wood. Using the trite term 'guts' as the central theme of your chorus is banal. There are so many better words than 'guts' to describe that which falls from the core of you when you are disemboweled. I'm not going to list any here.
I guess it's my own desire to lift metal to a higher plane than to that which it has been prescribed by society, the mainstream music press and, of course, parents. Metalheads are, for the most part, a well-read, literate bunch, and frankly, we deserve better than just blood splatter, to which I am not at all opposed.
Why is this person being split ear to ear and stomach to sternum by what I can only imagine is a mad man? I want answers - I want context, again especially since the whole point of this video is the LYRICS. What we get is basically an autopsy as clinical as if it were being conducted in the John Hopkins' Operating Theater. The beauty of the music in this track demands a more detailed presentation of the facts.
To the contrary, it's relegated to the back burner while we are subjected to prose unfitting of the song. As usual, there are priors for the theme of this songs central idea - your dying a horrible gruesome torturous death but dammit you're still fucking alive! And - even if you can't feel anything (read: Metallica's 'One') due to shock or brain damage or not having much of a body left to feel - you are trapped within your frame - no way to get away and stuck aware of your impending death. Now, in this case, I believe the victim is feeling every ounce of this pain - fair enough. But we don't get that connection - the real torture in this torture is the aloneness - the 'oneness'. I'm trapped in this feeble position while Jeffrey Dahmer eats me starting with my ears and makes me watch. We do get the taunt "no one will miss you". So clearly this is a person on the fringes being mutilated - I assume a woman cause of the cold steel running "up your thigh".
It's me I know - I want Edgar Allen Poe and this is Grindhouse. Maybe it's this intelligentsia stick up my ass needs surgical removal - I'm not sure. But I love Alice Cooper - Marilyn Manson. These are old school yes but they said something about the horror of society through the individual horror of existence and more often than not with a bit of humor. I'm not feeling that here...
But holy shit, with all my bitching, if this isn't an amazing track musically; the hook gets under your skin like a fillet knife. In spite of my overactive brain I really dig this song. The perfectly executed solo is so spot on gets the blood boiling. Sometimes – and this is an issue I have - sometimes the simplest language can be the best at expressing an idea. And I feel the idea here, the arbitrary brutality of life at times, is expressed simply and genuinely. So there is no specific reason for this reptile to be torturous to this tied and bound woman - he just digs it - it gets him off and he's not going to stop because he ENJOYS it. No higher answer - just blood and emptiness. This in itself is a perfect answer to my criticism at the start - sometimes man is an animal - and is beyond reason, beyond the touch of thought and reason, and can't help but sate these baser instincts with blood, cold steel, thighs, and guts.
In the end, Casket Robbery has offered us pause and a look into the evil nothingness humanity is fully capable of exacting. I think I personally spend so much time trying to negate this fact, I reject the reality of the brutality of life. My bad. -Heather Dawson

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