10 Songs for your final seconds, or: can I take my iPod to hell?

WTMD features a list of “10 Songs for the Apocalypse” (via The Constructivist)…while it’s not altogether useless, it still reads like a mainstream radio jockey’s work template.

It needs more boom, I’d say. Here goes:

1) Kataklysm: 10 Seconds from the end

  • You can’t say that they aren’t warning you – cataclysm – and you sure know what hit you after any one of their songs. The bass drum in that song must be the fastest ever played by a non-mechanic entity – not to say that it sounds like coming from the drum computers that Dan Swanö is using on some of his records. Kataklysm’s pooled on apocalyptic resources before, of course – their 1998 album “Victims of this fallen World” took up that sober political narrative voice so characteristic of some Carcass and many Napalm Death records, all stripped of the usual Death Metal-mannerism, and employed it to some effect in songs like As my world burns and Imminent Downfall.

2) Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

  • The video, aired fairly regular even now, goes not for an entropically cold world end, but rather for a heat death, and consequently you see people going…strange in the video, as they would on your regular summer day down South, just a little more intense…and death-like.

3) Misfits – Don’t open till Doomsday

  • Personally, I’ve never had an issue with the new Misfits – growing up with the old Misfits and postMother Danzig peacefully side by side, I hailed the return of Jerry Only & Band, when they re-debuted with American Psycho (from which the song is taken) back in 1997. Sure, they’re more commercial, more groomed to attract younger audiences…but I can’t see this is a bad thing. It meant/means young people listening to pretty cool music, in an age when music in general is no longer as susceptible to subvertive tendencies as it was in the ’70s and ’80s. The lyrics of Don’t open till Doomsday, then, read like a Lovecraft pastiche, cueing in “immortal secrets” that man shouldn’t know (but still digs up – the opening of the black box IS doomsday, of course, and it’s already there as the band is singing its death waltz), and there’s also a reference to a malevolent “transmitter”, ready to summon the outside forces once it’s activated, via HG Well’s War of the Worlds.

4) Nick Cave – City of Refuge

  • In the days of madness, my brothers, my sisters, when you’re dragged toward the hell mouth – you will beg for the end, but there ain’t gonna be one, friend, for the grave will spew you out… ” – the end (of all) is one of his more regular themes, usually, but not always, explored in a Christian context.

5) Farin Urlaub – Apokalypse wann anders

  • The man is ordinarily responsible for vocals and lead guitar on German band Die Ärzte. On his 2005 solo album, see above, he includes this song – which, irrespective of its quality, uses “apocalypse” as a mere synonym for “catastrophe”.

6) My dying Bride – The Cry of Mankind

  • The British band’s 1996 record The Angel and the Dark River opens with a 13 minute aria compressing all the ennui and world weariness they have come to be spokespersons for. Sitting on a blasted, ice-covered heath and waiting for the end, you should switch on your mp3-player for this song. Its slow, painful resonance – no longer hoping for an answer, no longer waiting for one, has always reminded me of WH Hodgson’s The Night Land and its cloyingly morbid sense of isolation and outsideness.

7) Dead Can Cance – Anywhere out of this World

  • Speaking of Hodgson’s Night Land, this song (the opener on Within the Realm of a Dying Sun) tries to come down on a very similar atmospheric note – bright, light, yellowish (sound) structures covering a morbid and deadly weary undergrowth. By coincidence, that record also always reminds me of the first installment of Unreal, the game, where the soundtrack bore obvious references to Dead can Dance.

8] Elizabeth Anka VajagicIceland

  • Her 2004 debut album, properly, was called Stand with the Stillness of the Day. I don’t know any other singer so absolutely not moving anywhere anymore. This is inertia refined to such an extent that it even sells her (alas – too few!) songs – kudos to the woman who can make me listen to a 7.5 minutes rant on how she would like to ambulate through Iceland. Reviews of My dying Bride albums usually come with the warning that the songs are not for the suicidal – this warning is a lot more appropriate here.

9) Ani DiFranco – Self-Evident

  • Her take on the apocalypse (not “catastrophe”) of 9/11. It moved me deeply when I first heard it. “America is not a real democracy”, from the song, is not quite the stupid catchphrase it sounds like even when she is making it. Political systems regulate and administrate time, and what is more important to the apocalyptic plot than time? Nothing indeed! Henry Adams used his fin de siècle apocalyptist’s stand to reflect on the rise and demise of the democratic state, and so, of course, did his brother Brooks Adams in The Law of Civilization and Decay.

10) Elvis Costello – Waiting for the end of the World

  • Right he is. Ain’t we all?

Unholy Mutations

Speaking of unholy mutations, here is the new Melvins video, the first one in over 10 years, a work of such grandeur that you’ll inevitably hoot for a timeout to stand back and wonder: Jeez! What humans can do! What the Melvins can do! I’m awed. Be awed…