Oct 262012

(It didn’t take long to get our first guest post in response to our solicitation of two days ago, and even though I hadn’t planned to start rolling out our guest series until Nov 5, I’m going with this one now. Please welcome Tyler Lowery.)

Since the birth of extreme metal, there has always been gore in one sense or another. Be it lyrical content, album covers, stage performance, or music videos, metal heads love to see blood and guts. It’s engrained into the very nature of the music. That being said, there can only be so many decapitated bodies floundering around while a band screams about it in the background, right?

As I’m sure we’re all aware, Cattle Decapitation recently released an extremely gory video for their song “Forced Gender Reassignment”. The video displays sexual assault, rape, and the mutilation of human flesh. With the sophistication in special effects, prosthetics, and computer-generated graphics, making the filthiest video possible is now easier than ever! And because of this, the question has been raised about the feasibility of excessive gore in music videos.

As the post here pointed out, Travis Ryan made the following statement about that video: “It seems nowadays you have to be over the top in your presentation to get anyone to think about anything anymore.” This reminds me of the recent comment made by Ann Coulter about the presidential debates in which she called Barack Obama a “retard”. Whatever point that bat shit crazy nutbag was trying to make was immediately lost under the reckless comment she made.

Besides, let’s be honest here. For those who actually made it through the video, how many people were thinking about the political statement being made behind the thick wall of genital torture and forced circumcision? In addition, without the press conference tagline, I would think it is near impossible to divine the social / political commentary of a guy ripping another guy’s sack off with a pair of vice grips.

Cattle Decapitation are not the only band willing to spend their video budget on buckets of blood either. Rwake (for “It was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour”), Cephalic Carnage (for “Ohrwurm”), and Impaled have all created disgusting displays of dragging entrails and sadomasochistic bloodbaths. Can anyone say that they remember anything about any of these videos? I cannot bring a single detail of any of them to mind, and therefore I don’t even remember if any of them had a point at all. Within the time it takes a new band to find a legal way to shoot a bestiality scene, “Forced Gender Assignment” will be long forgotten.

Also, these videos that cram as much gore into the usually short runtime as possible often take the lower road when considering production value and quality of the actual video. There are only so many ways you can tastefully shoot a disembowelment. However, there are still bands who put out decent quality videos that include plenty of gore. “Tarnished Gluttony” by Job for a Cowboy has been the most recent video that was half decent to look at but still contained a substantial gore element, and to my knowledge, there was no commentary on sweatshop workers in Indonesia. I don’t remember when this video was released, but I still remember the guy carrying that kid into the water.

So here is the point: Metal music and mutilation seem to go hand in hand. There is nothing that any internet bitching can do to stop that. If someone wants to volunteer to have their bodies mutilated through the miracles of prosthetics and pig’s blood, by all means. I wouldn’t consider this as thought-provoking art by any stretch of the imagination, but hey, different strokes, right? However, if you are going to produce a video with the intention of commenting on a social or political issue, try not to bury it under 6 feet of disturbed and incredibly violent gore fests.


  1. How very well this excellent, almost detached observation of the metal scene fits in with the analysis I encountered of the Red Bull Stratos hype (for those who read Dutch, http://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2012/10/22/sprong-baumgartner-slechts-mijlpaal-marketing-waar-blijven-echte-durfallen/).
    It thus appears that there are bands and companies who have (oh harbingers of a new era) dropped the unwritten convention that a nice vehicle for bringing a message to your public needs to contain… a message. As long as it is shocking enough, or otherwise draws attention, it will bring free publicity for the sender. A sad omen that the nihilistic moral void in which we dwell will continue to expand.

    Some will undoubtedly be disappointed by this conformity of the metal scene to the real world, but in the end those bands need to sell music and merchandise to real customers, of course.

    Fortunately, we can still listen to metal, and I’m looking forward to the excellence that the end-of-year list will bestow upon us. For, some bands still decide to expose their technical brilliance, rather than their capability to throw meaningless pig blood around – although I may have presented a false dichotomy here. In the end, we all desire music more than the so often pointless promotional efforts that accompany it.

  2. But once you realize(registers in your head), that all these videos are just some neatly arranged prop work(“miracles of prosthetics and pig’s blood”) ,then it does kill the effect it sets out to accomplish. and that Goes for all made-up gore clips out there.
    I’d rate the most repulsive video, the one that was made/shot by the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs,Ukraine. This actually involved killing a recovering Cancer patient. … Seemed to convey a stronger message than such videos, even though the killers were unaware of the message themselves. Although one cannot possibly recommend artists to take that path of realism.

    • I’ve long heard of snuff films and the ultimate quest for realism. That’s a moral minefield, and rightly so. Also, I would think that anyone who watches videos like this understands that its all fake, so I couldn’t conceive a reason why anyone would need to be shocked into seeing someone’s point of view.

      Also, excellent choice for your handle name.

      • Well said.. and i couldnt agree more. The fact here is that, i was referring to two kinds of people, based on their differential perception for gore laced cut scenes. There are the ones who
        find it repulsive in spite of knowing its all fake in the first place, and the others who actually have it registered within them that this is all such a farce.. I am of the opinion that it all depends on pre-exposure and is not a reference to strength of character or something along that line. For instance if you watch ‘the making’ of any given gore horror flick, its best to avoid watching the movie after that. I unfortunately had to watch the movie ‘hostel’ after i accidentally stumbled on
        its ‘the making of’ video. It played out to be a parody of what it was supposed to be. The movie was crap anyway

        @handle name reference.Ah yes.. Diablo 3 sucked, but deckard shall live on. He will probably be there on the next installment and in the ones after that as well. Hes that guy who attained ‘immortal’ status when he was well into senility.. What a bummer. The mans screwed for eternity. hehe

  3. The Cattle Decap video seems to be about nothing other than shock value, a way to grab attention by being ridiculously and disgustingly over the top . . . and it has sure succeeded in that goal. The JFAC video certainly includes some NSFW scenes, but like Tyler, I found it memorable and emotionally affecting. Interestingly, the same guy — Michael Panduro — directed both that one and the Cephalic Carnage video for “Ohrwurm” that was mentioned in the post.

    As I wrote in another post, I had a different reaction than Tyler to the Rwake video for “It was Beautiful But Now It’s Sour”. It’s certainly bizarre and definitely drenched in blood (fetal pig blood, to be specific). But I don’t put it in the same category as the Cattle Decap vid. I found it fascinating instead of repulsive, and an ingenious match for the music. But maybe that’s just me.

  4. This is what happens when the videos you choose are from shitty bands who made a career on making generic “brutal” music for little kids who have a hard-on for unnecessary gore and anything that makes them seem extreme.

    • Thoughtful indeed. Cattle must be some of the worst musicians ever… their previous albums completely negated by one video and all… pretty much Jimmy Buffet in different clothing…

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