Welcome to Emotional Overtones, the feature setting out to overcome genre borders and create a more intimate relationship with music! We here at Everything Is Noise think that genres can sometimes be a little limiting, which is why I created this feature. Every episode of Emotional Overtones will feature a certain emotion (for example: Melancholy, Euphoria, Apathy) as its topic and writers will write about records they associate with this emotion. There are no limits to genre, length, style, or band; everything is allowed as long as the writer feels it’s right and can explain their stance. This feature will be an ongoing series for varying emotions of varying complexity.
Today’s episode focuses on Weltschmerz. Weltschmerz is the pain you feel when seeing the injustice and inequality in the world. I felt like it’s an emotion that’s easy to relate to while still being up for interpretation and interesting views. These are the thoughts of our writers Billie, Jonce, and Andrew on this topic:
‘If it all went away tomorrow/ Would there be anything worthy of the salvage?/ Or would the world be swallowed by the sea?/ A blissful silence in return to harmony/ And would there be any need for possessions?/ Cultured regret/ The lost of progress/ The passing of the flesh/ Marrow to market/ Burn for the treasure/ But remember the children who won’t have it any better than this/ What has been left for them/ Where there once was hope/ now there is only pain/ The great gift of the world‘
The opening lines to Hellbound by Fit For An Autopsy to this day give me chills, and are still some of my favorite lyrics ever. I could leave this piece with these opening lines alone and it would be perfect to convey what Weltschmerz means.
But it doesn’t end with the opening track: ‘I am human/ I am horror/ I am the creator and the destroyer‘ is another powerful set of lines from the very next song. “Still We Destroy” tells the classic tale of humans screwing the world up, as we do so well.
Rife with songs about two-faced governments lying to the people and humans slowly killing our planet, Fit For An Autopsy doesn’t hold back on Hellbound. While a lot of the lyrics can be cliche, they deliver them with a fiery animosity and the lyrics don’t beat around the bush with metaphor. It is an album written in anger at the world’s state of affairs, and the intro to “The Great Gift of the World” in particular conveys a certain sadness at seeing nobody doing anything to reverse the inevitable. This is definitely a ‘Screw the world, I want off’ kind of album I always go to when I feel the worst about humanity.
It seemed like every thrash band from the 80s and 90s was political. Once I picked Anacrusis (whose entire discography can be freely obtained here), I had to pick an album by them, and that’s where things got tricky. With so many introspective songs alongside so many political ones on their four albums, I had to settle on the best one musically.
Enter Screams and Whispers from 1993. Both the world and America simmered with growing ethnic, religious, and political polarization.
Anacrusis’s singer/guitarist Ken Nardi did not preach his thoughts about these things, but rather about how they affected the emotions of the people around him, how they affected the human condition.
Back to the music: Anacrusis might have been the first American band to combine thrash and progressive metal (in Europe, that mantle belongs to Mekong Delta, but I digress.) They stayed in a guitar-bass-drums bubble for their first three albums. On Screams and Whispers, they added sequenced keyboards, samples, and other elements which most metal bands of the time would never have considered. Nardi alternated between screams and clean singing in the same song (sometimes in the same line) long before any djent band or Fear Factory thought to do so. Anacrusis displayed phenomenal musicianship, a knack for melody, and a respect for the art of writing to express big thoughts about the hypocrisy in self-righteousness (“Sound The Alarm”), the lines we draw between ourselves (“Division”), the world-weary need to disconnect from everything once all is said and done (“Release”).
In Screams and Whispers, Anacrusis made an album that both musically and lyrically could have been made a month ago, let alone 1993.
Weltschmerz: the realization that the cards have been stacked against you your whole life. It’s the realization that “Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat”.
I get this feeling sometimes, but it never lingers. There’s an underlying pragmatism when I feel this affliction. I take to the streets with leaders who feel as I do. We do what we can to change the world around us for the better. Like the old adage goes, ‘Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.‘
2012 was the year I traveled outside of America for the first time, and I realized I had been lied to. My perceptions on the way the world worked, and my place in it, were shifted upon realizing the ways in which people are held back and abused. As I traveled further abroad and at home, I began to see travesty in everything. I guess Architects must have been having similar thoughts.
There is a cynicism to tracks like “Black Blood”, describing the way our planet has been pillaged. But on tracks like “Behind the Throne” and “These Colours Don’t Run”, Architects points out the culprit,
‘I’m struggling to find any poetry in this
Someone beat me to the line ignorance is bliss
So I guess I’ll just say it how it is
You had it all, you fucking pigs!’
Six years later, and the pigs haven’t budged.