Saturday, April 30, 2022

Song Highlight: Black Sheep Wall - Metallica

It is hard to write a compelling 33 minute song, especially if the song features a handful of repeating guitar riffs extending ad nauseam. Remarkably, this is exactly what the Southern California-based sludge metal band Black Sheep Wall have done with the song “Metallica.” The song is of their 2015 album I’m Going to Kill Myself, which features memorable album art of two colorful monsters, as if out of a children's book, with one telling the other “I’m going to kill myself.”

The song “Metallica” is a narrative where the protagonist decides that he no longer wants to be alive anyone, and writes a suicide note, the entirety of which is presented in the song. He is disgusted with himself and dreadfully bored with his life, remarking that the most significant accomplishment in his life was waking up everyday for 38 years. The vocalist screams every word of the suicide note in a protracted manner, as if each word were its own sentence. This is all set to the monolithic pounding of a guitar riff that drones on, repeating over and over, with very little modulation. It is as if the very structure of the song was crafted to emulate the incessant boredom of the protagonist. Despite this repetition, I cannot help from being mesmerized every time I listen to the song as I get lost in the pounding thrum of the guitars. 

If you have a spare 30 minutes, listen to the song and read the lyrics, presented below for your convenience:

Slower than life itself, Jon opened his eyes, and Karen beamed back with the same fake optimism she'd had since Bible study when she was nine

"Rise and shine, love."

Jon grinned back, searching for a trap for his eyes, but the mole on her neck was the best he could find. She rose from bed with a yawn that couldn't have fooled a bigot and approached the bathroom. Jon caught a glimpse of her wings tattoo and privately scorned as if to compensate for having just slept in her bed. His mind wandered to nowhere and back. He was still laying in a shrine of reminders he wished were covered. As if there weren't enough, the alarm clock went off to Karen's favourite Taylor Swift song and Jon took a moment to embrace life's harvest before turning it off. The shower ran and Jon picked up the remote; he applied it with force. It was the most control he had with anything, even the car's brakes were going out. There was nothing on so some infomercial did the trick; a hole that his attention fell in and never found its way out

It seemed like seconds before Karen's necklace graced his nose as she kissed him goodbye. Jon's lips mustered a circle, but applied no pressure or suction; a ritual that kept him from any awareness. She reminded him about the laundry, and left in a hurry even though she was early. Jon walked to the kitchen and found a pen and paper. He began to write:

"Those who know me will say it makes no sense, let me offer you this - I agree. Consider this the script of my head, a declaration of the things I haven't said. I'm 38 years deep in skin I wish was dust. And before you jump to any conclusions, I'll admit it, I'm tired of all of you but it's myself I just can't stand. This isn't depression or a crisis, I'm just so fucking bored. If someone could have talked me out of this, I'm glad they didn't

Mom, guess I'll address you first. You should have known from the cesarean birth, I haven't ever desired to exist. Thanks for the food I guess. We both know Todd was your favourite and I don't blame you. I don't give a shit what Freud would say. Boring is about the extent we have in common. Shouldn't have cheated"

Karen burst through the door, "Forgot my report!" Jon waited for her to be on her way again and looked her in the eye for the first time in weeks. Confidently, but without emotion or dramatization he opened his mouth, "Bye", and she left. He started where he left off...

"on Dad, we knew you'd end up alone. Judging by your boredom at Grandma's funeral, I imagine you'll be the same at mine

Dad, there aren't enough sighs left in me to show you anything. If guilt exists in these lungs, it's for you and I'm sorry. We could have been closer if it weren't for me. Too many barriers got in the way, like the time I got the belt on Christmas Day. I've been your burden and I appreciate the roof, thank you. But your greatest lesson was in misogyny. Between Mom and Cheryl you know just how to pick them. I knew I'd hate my wife someday. You know exactly what I mean

Todd, best of luck with the UFC thing

Karen, don't know how the will thing works but you can have it all. I looked into life insurance but it doesn't cover suicide. There's a penny in the account for every vibrant verb you wish I was. I've never had goals to succeed in disappointment but I can feel yours in me, let's make it easy on you. I know you've always hated the ring, and I hate mine too, but not because of the way it looks. Life is just easier when I take it off. Since the day I promised "I do" I've been watching us fade to black - maybe that's what Hetfield meant. We're some kind of monster that couldn't bear an infant. As much pain as you are, at least we never had kids... it's easier to beat them in my head. Regardless, I'm happy this is on my own accord. Remember the time you caught me jerking off to Groupon? That wasn't the first time or the last. I'd rather watch senior porn than deal with the biannual anniversary sex. Those files in my computer are bound to shock you so be cautious. If you ask me, it's a miracle I've made it this far. My greatest achievement is waking up 14,000 days in a row

While pictures may inspire deceit, I'm already as dead as I'll be in five minutes. Say what you want, but take my guidelines into consideration: If they call me brave, remember that I was weak. And if they call me careless, be honored I took the time to write the note. Just don't ever call me special

I'm going to kill myself."

Buy Black Sheep Wall’s music here.

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