In the midst of a time when it is all too easy to feel desperate and demoralized by forces both human and viral that seem bent on crushing both life and hope, it is worth remembering that humanity has been here before. Remembering such times, and the efforts of valiant people who survived and transcended them, can itself furnish hope. And maybe we can learn something about how this is to be done, as well.
In their new album Forthcoming Humanity, the Greek black metal band Yovel have devoted themselves to such remembrances, and others. A concept album, it is based upon the poems of Tasos Leivaditis, a brilliant poet and a revolutionary, who himself lived through harrowing times, including the second World War. Born in 1922, he died in 1988. Yovel themselves explain:
“Tasos Leivaditis lived and wrote for the hopes, struggles and losses of the Greek people and Greek left movement. We found in his writing mourning; but also radiant hope, rooted in our own history but also in touch with the history of the peoples of this world and their struggles up to date. Hιs work stands as a tribute to that history, but also as a statement for our present and our future.” They quote these words of Leivaditis himself (from Confession, The Manuscripts of Autumn):
“One day I want them to write on my grave: He lived on the border of an indefinite age and died for things far away that he once saw in an un-certain dream.”