Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vol. 9 - War

We're ten proponents of honesty here at BBHQ, and there's but one reason for the lackage of posting: Asa's total laziness. Sorry, alright? Right, on with the show...

Chris: Vindensång - Mountains of Bone

If there's any war I love to death, for whatever macabre reasons, it's World War I. I'm a junkie for everything WWI, despite being a pacifist. I'm actually really into the music of WWI, and thought about straight up putting a song written for the war effort here. However, I didn't think it would fit that well. That is, until I just recently listened to Vindensång's "Mountains of Bone". This fits quite a bit better. The song takes a British WWI song, "It's A Long Way to Tipperary" (I think the particular recording is John McCormack's 1914 version), loops it, and adds a layer of noise (gunfire, static, etc.). The juxtaposition of such a cheery, whimsical tune with the grave and violent sounds of war IS World War I to me. Total war.

Aesop: Discharge - /A Hell On Earth / Cries Of Help / The Possibility of Life's Destruction

Once again, as the oldest Blog Body, I will drop the age card. See, these young pups probably don't remember the Reagan/Thatcher '80s where these two monstrous figures of global politics graced the covers of any punk records worth a salt. Why did their gruesome visages leer back at us from so many albums? Perhaps because it was a time where everyone, punkers, rednecks, squares, all lived everyday with the notion that nuclear armageddon was just a pussy hair away, and Reagan and Thatcher symbolized western aggression and nuclear proliferation with sculpted hair and forced smiles.

It's tough living day to day under constant threat of global annihilation and nobody felt or expressed the urgency of the time better than four lads from Stoke-On-Trent, Discharge. Their take on war was so blunt, and never wrapped in poetic metaphor, you could tell they were absolutely serious. It was almost as if they bore the very real and tangible scars of Hiroshima and Nagasaki just under their spiky leathers, they seemed to speak from a higher understanding of war, as if they had been there. As a teenager in a comfortable suburban setting, their matter-of-fact descriptions of the horrors of war were most uncomfortable and troubling, and in turn they spurned an interest in finding out just how bad the arms race and these horrible weapons could be.

So while other kids my age read Thrasher and V.C. Andrews I jumped headlong into John Hersey's Hiroshima. I have chosen this trilogy of war(ning) songs from Discharge's unflappable album
Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing because of the middle section with the sounds of burned and bloodied infants crying out in pain, this passage still affects me, fills me with rage, and constantly reminds me of the terror and unfettered destruction that man can unleash on fellow man. War.

Jess: Deströyer 666 - Blood For Blood

Like true warriors, Destroyer 666 erupt in chaos. This track highlights the violent lust of their 2009
Defiance. Hot. Sweaty. Dark. Blackened thrash should sound that way, period. "Blood for Blood" is relentless in hatred as much as it is playful with ass-kicking riffs. There's nothing pretty about this track, other than the guitars. They propel every transition, like wind carries a loose loin cloth tied on a sweaty barbarian. (Yum!) The bass drum kicks like leather boots in mud. And vocals, the best part, bark much like a wombat that sees red. This playfulness suits these Australians. Yet, they save their mind tricks only for their most vulnerable victims. Before they draw blood, they unleash their war cry. "We shall have our day—we shall defy—we shall not cower beneath the tyrant's heel—before the master's whip we shall not yield." Now, it's time to die.

Jason: Devo - Cold War

One of my favorite Devo songs. Catchy, quirky and not nearly as violent as Zyklon B or Marduk. Devo offers up a light and airy reflection on love and war.

I'll keep this write up short and sweet like the song itself and let the music speak for itself.

Hasan: Amebix - Coming Home

These Bristol crust punk legends weave a tale of loss, disillusionment, and redemption in the mind of a soldier. Beginning with the opening lyrics "I just buried a friend," Amebix present the feelings of disgust that most soldiers feel when on the frontlines. Taking ques from fellow countrymen Black Sabbath and their song "War Pigs," Amebix question the motives of those in power and what purpose soldiers have for fighting someone else's fight. Blending the sounds of Motorhead and Killing Joke provides for a very atmospheric backdrop, detailing the uncertainty of the soldiers' role ending with a resolution of all downtrodden soldiers to put down their arms and go home: "The boys are coming home."

Bitsy: Stars - Celebration Guns

It’s outrageous- the number of songs that have been written about war; many politically charged-- some subtle and some not so subtle in their opinions and oppositions. Surprisingly enough, I managed to stray away from anything too littered with politics and landed on some innocent, eloquent, indie pop. “Celebration Guns” by Stars has just the right combination of carefully chosen lyrics, gentle female vocals, and heartrending instrumentals to generate its moving imagery.
In my experience first listening to this song, I pictured a group of Afghan children playing in the streets, laughing, just before a score of missiles rains down. Now after reading interviews with Amy Millan (vocals) and learning that the song is about Guantanamo Bay detention camps, it’s equally if not more moving. I dread the day when my children look at me in astonishment and ask if these things truly happened while I was growing up. In all honesty, I'm still trying to come up with an explanation for that myself.

Tyler: Sam Spence - Classic Battle

Despite the best efforts of my friends and family in reserves and combat, I have an extremely glorified vision of war. Maybe seeing more
Bernie Bernards will help me understand the horrors and humanity of it, or maybe Sam Spence has ruined me beyond sufficient empathy. Spence spent decades composing movements that would hypnotize kids like me into taking slo-mo NFL Films pieces way too seriously, soldering the foolish sport-as-war comparison into America’s psyche. Near as I can tell, he composed purely to crank listeners’ adrenaline; ‘Battle’ has the added bonus of making me paranoid. Maybe it’s nothing like being on a battlefield; I don’t ever want to find out.

Quinn: Drive-By Truckers - The Sands of Iwo Jima

One enters war knowing that they might possibly die. In order to fight and to face such a reality, one has to become comfortable with death. In fact, forget war. You need to be comfortable with death in order to truly live life. War tears a man apart. War is a mix of emotions running the spectrum from horribly depressing to incredibly happy. You can read about what war does to man, you can watch what it does in movies, but you will never really know the true impact it leaves on a man's mind and spirit. Here, Drive-By Truckers give a portrait of post-war life for a World War II veteran. This track defines the word "poignant" for me. Apparently, Patterson Hood's uncle actually once said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima."

Asa: Miligram - Let's Kill

The college Chris, Quinn, and I attend (and Tyler graduated from and Bitsy once attended) recently paid Karl Rove an honorarium somewhere along the lines of $45,000 to speak at our college for all of twenty or so minutes (the rest of the two-plus hours were Q & A with students). At some point during the evening, in the midst of answering a question, Mr. Rove remarked that "Now, y'see, our army is
very good at killing people." I could only shake my head at the former Senior Advisor/Chief Deputy of Staff's bluntness, and as such have picked a similarly blunt song bearing a (I think) sardonic title, given the rest of Milligram's discography. Jonah Jenkin's powerful pipes rage beneath layers of guitar fuzz and splashy, punishing drums as the song's drudging riff, recalls a the unwavering intensity of the thousand-yard stare.

Adam: Bilskirnir - For Victory We Ride

Perhaps it was my nerdy upbringing spent playing fantasy games or maybe it was my realization that the civilized warfare of today is not only just as barbaric as that of yesteryear, but a thousand times more boring! Either way, I, at the age of 21, still love glorified and chivalric valour more than most. But who could possibly be even nerdier and like this stuff even more than me? The answer is quite simple: National Socialist black metal dweebs.

Bilskirnir, who is the project of
potential skinhead (read: potentially sexy) Widar, is not only one of the best black metal projects I’ve ever come across, but also has its fair share of nerdy-ass moments. There’s nothing harder (sarcasm) than a vaguely-Germanic dissident spouting off lyrics like “the battle has begun/for victory we ride!” In the end, “For Victory We Ride” is the triumphant call to arms and the subsequent vanquishing of all those who oppose the great Widar: Z.O.G., AIPAC, and that nefarious NWO!

To download the War mixtape, click


  1. Fuck I love the way you folks write. I've never downloaded anyhting from this blog but I try to make time to read it as much as possible. I have a pretty busy schedule of working, getting high, drinking, hiding in my room with a book, and watching sports. When ever I get a chance to read Blog Bodies though I cant help but to laugh and smile and think about music and life. You dudes are fucking awesome.


  2. hey. now that's a compliment.

  3. Awesome mix with classical and ambient music, plus the brutal crust, black metal and punk (I still listen to this stuff?).

    I found this blog because of the Audio Savant and the almighty Aesop's blog Cosmic Hearse.

  4. If we could all just be happy with each other and share. We wouldn't need to have all this conflict.

    -Zane of ontario honey