So, not long ago I had a discussion with an acquaintance (since we’re both too metal to be friends) of mine about Cerebral Bore, and how he thinks they’re overrated. I disagreed with most of what he said, but I was able to let it slide since he was almost as supremely metal as I am, and I just chalked it up to him not having figured out I was correct yet. He made a somewhat valid argument, right up until he ruined it all for himself and immediately voided his own opinion by saying: “…not to mention the lyrics are retarded as shit.”
Really? You care about CEREBRAL BORE’s lyrics? Do you actually listen to them and comment on the lack of poetic value that the text of a brutal death metal band fronted by a 19 year old Dutch chick possesses? Without reading them, tell me what parts of this song’s lyrics you dislike so much:
Oh, that part? Hmm, maybe I should get my ears checked, because all I heard was a bunch of pigs getting thrown into a garbage disposal whenever she sings. And you know how I feel about that? I think it’s fucking awesome. I don’t know many humans that are able to pull off a sewer drain imitation decently, let alone get it spot on. The fact that she can do that is the shit. My acquaintance can’t sound like that, and yet he’s trying to dismiss her as a vocalist because her lyrics aren’t amazing? Yeah, no.
It’s time the people knew: thinking lyrics have any impact on the quality of a metal song is the mark of a poseur. Even if they ARE good, they ultimately make no difference 100% of the time. 3 good examples of this are Devourment, Cryptopsy and Exhumed. All of those bands have awesome death metal lyrics, and all of those bands would be just as enjoyable to listen to if R. Kelly wrote for them. Look up the lyrics to Defenestration, Baby Killer and In the Name of Gore, then listen to the song (assuming you haven’t done this 1,000 times already, which by the way means you still have much work to do), and try to tell me you can understand everything they say so I can call you a poseur and mock you endlessly for thinking that we don’t automatically know you’re full of shit. It’s quite obvious that they just recorded vocals first and wrote lyrics afterward, which is fine because they are kickass vocalists who can get away with that since we don’t need to understand Devourment’s lyrics anyway, as the music is equally retarded (if not moreso).
If I want to listen to lyrics about mindbending concepts and deep philosophical questions, I’ll listen to Tool, but since Tool isn’t metal, I won’t listen to lyrics about mindbending concepts and deep philosophical questions. Instead I am perfectly content to throw on Tomb of the Mutilated and assume Chris Barnes is singing about killing people in grotesque ways. I’ve covered Cannibal Corpse songs before without even having to know the lyrics, because face it, no one knows what I’m saying anyway.
If you got into metal because of the lyrics, you’re going to stop listening to it once you lose your virginity, and that makes you a falsie. I listen to metal because it’s the best music in the universe, not because I want to shock the headmaster of my boarding school. If I found out today that all of Vomitory’s lyrical content was actually more like John Mayer’s, I wouldn’t stop listening to them. Hell, if anything, I’d start to like them more for making supergay love songs so deliciously brutal.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Xandemic, all you’ve mentioned so far are death metal bands, what about other genres like power metal or thrash where the vocals are more understandable?”
To which I say this: are you going to listen to Blind Guardian for what Hansi has to say? No, you’re not, and he knows that, which is why his lyrics haven’t made any sense for a decade now. He’s more focused on writing awesome music than lyrics you tweens can post as your facebook statuses. Lyrics don’t matter - not even in power metal. I’ll explain every Manowar song concept for you right now: “We’re the kings of metal, we play really loud, we’re brothers in metal, look at our manly man muscles, posers die.” Enjoy.
Still not convinced? Read me the lyrics to your favorite 80’s thrash song. Is it still your favorite? Yes? Then the lyrics have no bearing on the music. Thrash was created by drunk teenagers who flunked all their English classes in the USA, and by drunk teenagers who aren’t native English speakers in Europe. I’m sure you can find plenty of stuff in those various discographies that rival Shakespeare in quality of prose. Not. Go do a backflip off the top of a skyscraper. Thanks.
Lyrics, as fun as they may be to write, don’t impact metal songs at all in terms of enjoyability. Stop worrying about what you’re saying, and start worrying about making music that doesn’t suck. I’m looking at you, All That Remains.