The last couple of days my day job has had my head in a fucking vise. I’ve barely had time to create posts for this site, but haven’t had much time to browse other metal sites I usually frequent in order to keep up with what’s happening in the metal cosmos. I did a little catching up last night, and found two stupendous videos that have just been released over the last 48 hours.
Because I’m a little slow to find them, you may have seen the videos already, but I’ve got to put them up anyway because they’re both so cool — in very different ways. Both of them made me exclaim “Holy Fuck!” (hence, the really imaginative title of this post).
The first one is a video of “Alas, Lord Is Upon Me” from Behemoth’s most recent album, Evangelion. I saw a censored version of this video on a couple of other metal sites, but this morning I found an uncensored version that’s now out. The only difference from the censored version is that there are a couple of flashes of nudity (as a priest in his vestments has sex with a naked woman in a church). The images in this slick video (even when they don’t involve nudity) are striking.
The second video is a live pro-shot performance by the reconstituted Polish death-metal band Decapitated. I got excited about this one mainly because Decapitated’s heavy-grooved, technical music is just so damned awesome, and this performance appears to be the first since the awful 2007 van accident that killed the band’s drummer and left its vocalist in a coma.
In fact, the only original member of the band still left is guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka. But based on the evidence of this video, Decapitated can still kick your ass into the stratosphere. (both videos are after the jump . . .)
Here’s the uncensored video of “Alas, Lord Is Upon Me”. Behemoth has dribbled out a series of “the making of” videos for this thing, none of which have I seen. Maybe they disclose the symbolic meaning of the images and the story, as intended by Nergal (Behemoth’s ailing frontman) and the director. But nothing compels a viewer to interpret a movie or video in the same way as the creator. We can interpret it as we see it.
In the video, Nergal portrays what appears to be some kind of aboriginal chieftain (or a fallen angel?), being led in chains by other enslaved aboriginals to a church. They’re being whipped and bloodied by masked thugs under the direction of clerics. At the church, Nergal is unchained and walks into the church where he confronts a regal-looking woman. And then he explodes in rage, and all hell breaks loose.
I’m not giving much away by providing that summary, because the video is filled with all sorts of other images, as well as some opening and concluding frames, that are open to interpretation (the meaning of which I haven’t quite figured out). Worth watching. Music’s cool, too, of course.
UPDATE: Behemoth sent out a bulletin today (Aug 17) that YouTube had forced the removal of the uncensored version of this video, which of course caused our embed code to fail. So, we’ve been forced to substitute the censored version for the uncensored, for those of you who happen to visit this post hereafter.)
What did you think of that? If you’ve got any interpretive ideas, feel free to leave ’em in the comments. Or, if you think the thing just flat-out sucks, well, feel free to say that, too.
Now, here’s the video of Decapitated performing “Spheres of Madness”. I think this was their performance in London on February 8, 2010, where “Spheres” was the last song in the set. Decapitated is currently part of the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour — which is only one week away from its stop in Seattle, and holy fuck, are we stoked for that!
The Behemoth song is okay, I suppose. Never really got into them, but I’ve liked what I have heard. Maybe not something to make a priority, but who knows, maybe I’ll be in the mood to get an album or two.
Now, as for the video. I didn’t like it. In fact, I kind of hated it.
Now, I know Nergal (and maybe the rest of the band) have a problem with church, and they had issues a couple years ago. I don’t know if it’s just some of the shit that does down (sometimes in the name of God, sometimes not) or with religion in general – or if it extends beyond church to anyone who is a Christian or considers themselves a ‘believer’. Hell, we may as well include other religions as well, even though Christianity is the usual target (more on that another time, perhaps).
Point is, that doesn’t necessarily make for a good video, and I think this is one such case. Some of the imagery does deal with certain issues, things which are NOT indicative of religion in general. The children with their lips sealed shut and the priest banging the chick in the church are two examples. Yes, there are problems and it’s not just the Catholic church. But whatever may go on somewhere is not representative of religion or churches in general.
Point is, this did not translate well when put in front of a camera, regardless of production values. The fallen angel outfit looks tacky. The blue palette doesn’t do wonders for the cinematography. And is Nergal trying to emulate Beelzebub at the end with all the flies that cause the chick to slit her own throat? WTF? I still don’t know what to make of the parts where Nergal and eventually others are submerged in thick black liquid. Where the woman comes out clean is obviously played in reverse, but why she’s shown clean instead of all gooey is beyond me.
Then again, I probably won’t bother watching this yet again.
As for the other video, you sure this is pro-shot? This looks and sounds like a video recorded from a balcony, with audio quality to match. But at any rate, its great that the band is still going. It’s one thing to lose one band member, but to lose two? Not many bands can rebound from that. I really hope Covan can make a full recovery, but it’s going to take time and I’m sure Vogg will be able to help out more by bringing Decapitated back out.
I guess I should explain myself. I certainly don’t consider this video high art. It’s very heavy-handed, and much of the imagery is indeed murky (no pun intended). But I’ve become so used to seeing metal videos that are just crap and add nothing to the music (even detracting from it), that whenever I see something that’s professionally produced and involves some thought and creativity, I tend to get all excited. The church-bashing I can take or leave. Doesn’t offend me, but doesn’t make the video more appealing for me than it would be otherwise.
Actually, compared to some videos I’ve seen, this is rather tame in that regard.
Maybe I’m a bit jaded and being too cynical about this one, but the blue tones, Nergal’s elaborate metalwork and the segments where they’re submerged don’t make for a compelling video. Given that the song itself makes up only a couple minutes of the total length of this, I’m left feeling underwhelmed. They could have done so much more with, all without going over the line where I start to feel really uncomfortable.
I don’t mind much if a band has a different opinion than I do about certain things. That’s just how things go, we all have different thoughts, ideas and opinions. Simple enough. I can even handle some of that coming through in songs or videos, but sometimes it’s too much – and I should make clear, I don’t think this video crossed that line (for me).
As I’ve noticed in the past couple months or so that I’ve been visiting/commenting here, we’re not going to be on the same page with some of what you post and this is one such example. The song isn’t all that bad, but I don’t think the video has enough to go beyond the “well, that was interesting” stage.
Join the crowd. Both of my two collaborators are convinced that I like everything and don’t apply a sufficiently rigorous filter. You’ve just about convinced me that I was too hasty in my praise of this video, probably due to the fact that I’m a complete fiend for Behemoth’s music and thought their last live show in Seattle was amazing. But that’s no excuse.