A Critical Look at Aliens at the Dulce Base from a Philosophical Standpoint

aliennewstag3Start out with the basics before reading this article

UFO Hunters investigation on Dulce base:

The Thomas E. Castello interview:

Concerning the "Dulce papers":

The only 5 pages of the actual "Dulce papers" out of the alleged over 100 page document that is available:

John Lear's letter concerning the Dulce document:

dulce_papers2Ufologists have been claiming the existence of a secret underground base centred in Dulce New Mexico for more than a decade. What's incredible is that for locals around this area, this seems to be common knowledge. While the fact that the surrounding area has some of the most frequent cattle mutilation cases and UFO sightings is a verifiable fact, but yet the actual substantial proofs to an underground military base has never been found.

So where does this claim stem from? It all comes from a collection of papers named the "Dulce papers" which were allegedly taken out of the base by a guard named Thomas E. Castello who actually worked in the alleged underground base. This collection of papers is supposed to uncover the horrifying human-alien genetic engineering that goes on in this base. Allegedly, Castello has answered in an interview that in this base there are atleast 5 different non-human "races" working together with human researchers on extreme genetic experiments, of which the so called reptillian "Dracos" are of the upper caste of races in charge of the faciity. Several races of "Grey" type aliens work under them virtually as working slaves.

Anybody who will take time to read the transcripts of this alleged interview that went on, will realize that this shit is way beyond the craziest imaginations most people have. I mean it is a literal culmination of alien and terrestrial conspiracy theories of every sort that it just doesn't sound real. I suspect this is all bullshit, but I also have several philosophical questions on the contents of this interview.

Castello's description of some of these alien races seem curiously embedded within human cognitive and epistemological prejudice. Apparently some of these races were disinterested in feelings, sympathy or any concept of human ethics for the sake of pure scientific research and knowledge. But who is to know how aliens think given the fact that humanity hasn't leanrt to cope with figuring out the epistemological functions of their own value-creating systems?

Even scientists at Harvard figure positive concerning the exitence of extra-terrestrial life forms and I don't object to this. Their arguments are formed on the basic deductive probability that in an infinite universe, it is just more than probable that life has formed in other planets. But what I find most interesting in their views is that there is absolutely no reason why these other lifeforms take humanoid form. If the circumstances of evolution and the planetary environment is radically different from what we take as normative on Earth it is reasonable to figure that alien life forms can take such shapes and sizes, let alone cognitive and sensitive systems that are completely beyond our imagination. There is no reason ETs need to have eyes, mouths, ears or fingers or anything that resembles a human being, but somehow the images we all create concerning aliens always have humanoid forms. Why?

This leads to another speculation. If extremely different environmental contexts give birth to radically different intelligent life forms, how are we to judge how their cognitive and epitemological foundations work? In other words how can we even understand their value-judgments given they sense and perceive the world differently from a human being?

roswell-crashThis brings back to my claim that the Castello case sounds curiously anthropocentric, that is I claim the whole story a fabrication since it is written on the basis of taking human cognitive and epistemological foundations as centric. What I mean is Castello's descriptions that some of these aliens were hyper-scientific in their values, meaning they had no concern for feelings, sentiments or ethics sound curiously like an extreme version of our own scientific value system created by the ideals of the 19th century Enlightenment. The whole idea that scientific data exists in contrast to feeling or sentiments, that the subject who researches natural phneomena can detach themselves from what is being researched is a tremendously human set of value judgment that was given birth according to a particular course of human history.

Now Enlightenment epistemological ideals have become diffuse in today's society where it is taken for granted that people take data as if its something that can be detached from the observer. Many philosophers, psychologists, and vanguard scientists have been criticizing this simply because its such a naive way of perceiving the placement of the human mind in relation to the world. Simply put the subject and object distinction Enlightenment positivism strengthened just cannot be sustained in the reality of man's existence. And I am pretty sure that this kind of outdated epistemological model will gradually see a paradigm shift as higher levels of technology advancement will also necesitate a much natural epistemological foundation that sees the subject and object as a undetachable continuity. Thus my idea is if ETs are supposed to be super-technologically advanced and intelligent, it is unprobable that they will be working on such anthropocentric epistemologies, let alone an outdated scientific model of the human 19th century Enlightenment. SO what does this say about the Costello papers? That it's bullshit. It just prooves the lack of creativity in writing fantasy, the author of these interviews just could not think beyond what is probable to the human mind as normative.

Plus, nobody's proven if this alleged Mr. Castello even exists. And while I have seen 5 pages of this so called "Dulce Papers" the other 100 pages that is supposed to have gone into some researcher's hands is just unavailable, nobody has seen them. So what is my conclusion? This is some kind of disinformation, there maybe top secret somethings going on under the US government but it probably has nothing or if it ever does, very minimal to do with ETs. So I will agree to the view taken by the police agent of Dulce New Mexico who has been investigating the cattle mutilation cases around the area. There has been numerous black uncategorized helicopters sighted around cattle mutilation sights, very human equipments such as gasmasks and glowsticks has been found left behind at some of these sights, what this all seems to suggest is that cattle mutilation is not necessarilly done by aliens but by human beings, to what effect? Well that's what's been hidden from us and we'll probably never know. All the rest about reptillians and greys in the Dulce underground, let alone if there EVEN IS A base in Dulce is pure paranoid imagination based on several uncredible and unverifiable sources that sound tremendously curious in terms of authenticity.

As an anti-Enlightenment thinker who is very much critical of the positivist and naturalist epistemological paradigms which has become the basic foundations of human "scientific" world-views, I just find it highly unlikely that aliens, if they are to posess the amount of knowledge and intellect some of these Ufologists attribute to them, so advanced that they have undertstandings of psychokinesis, telepathy, and other paranormal cognition and perception, will be endorsing such an outdated world view which will definitely not help in understanding how such "mystical" occurences work and make sense.

So my greatest hypothesis is that the Castello case and the alleged conspiracy theories surrounding it are fabrications which reflects our own fears and concerns concerning the state of modern civilization and the future of technological advancement which may impede with the reality of our being. So some of the claims of other debunkers who claim the Castello interview was forged by certain New Age groups, may be very probable given their anti-scientific, pro-spirit, apocalyptical views.

Finally lets fit this discourse into the context of a Foucauldian critique of the Enlightenment venture:

"The history of science and of knowledge doesn't simply obey the general law of reason's progress; it's not human consciousness or human reason that somehow possesses the laws of history. Underneath what science itself knows there is something it does not know; and its history, its becoming, its periods and accidents obey a number of laws and determinations." - Michel Foucault

Problem is the consciousness of what people have taken for granted in the epistemological presumptions forged by the history of reason and Enlightenment ideals is not something that is readily problemetized rather often neglected due the fact that this paradigm of understanding has shifted itself to "common sense," but a simple analysis of a document like the Castello interviews already reveals to us that human beings have such feeble abilities to fantasize so much so that even their fantasies are embedded in the presumptions of Enlightenment thought. Even if we consider that the document was forged by New Age groups who are supposed to be those into the recovery of the "spirtual" side of man - this level of embeddedness to the hegemony of reason as central to human discourse is just gravely tragic. So when can humanity really reconceive and self-critically reasses their own being from the side of all the things scientism and naturalist epistemologies neglected, marginalized and oppressed within its own systematic hegemony??? Obviously fantasizing on ETs and UFOs aren't helping us do this.

The Flower Kings - Space Revolver

b473f633.jpgThis album is in my opinion one of the crowning achievements of The Flower Kings alongside their first several albums. As a self-consciously over blown celebration of retro prog rock this is as good as it gets. While The Flower Kings tend to be too hyped in borderline cheesiness and John Lennon-esque revival hippy optimism to really garner a triumphant sense of the mythic in their lyrical dimension, some of the tracks in this album actually does have a convincing sense of lyrical content and to that extent is probably one of the reasons why this album gets continuous playback on my playlist. Well to be honest, this compliment is reserved especially for the sole track A King's Prayer which is one of their best tracks alongside The Church of Your Heart and Thee is More to This World from Stardust We Are and Retropolis respectably.

Though the members of this band really suffer from a sense of duality that opposes the forces of "good" to "bad" within a superficial sense as value-based moralism (read Roine Stolt's lack of understanding of what constitutes the essence of black/death metal in the liner to his solo album The Flower King) leading them to be unable to consciously penetrate into the chaotic powers of the grand affirmation of Being beyond moralism, when Lennon-esque dreamer mentality is given this much substance I got to accept it as a genuine achievment of sincerity and hope. And it is in this sense this album and their live album Alive on Planet Earth makes a good round up of the maximum potentials of their artistic/spiritual/rational abilities (I say "maximum" since I do not think this band ever topped the glimpse of purity found in these albums ever since, making me conclude atleast for the meantime that this was their apex).

Musically speaking, this band utilizes everything that makes a retro prog rock fan's wet dream with their appropriation of the sense of dramatism, theatrical narrative taken from early Genesis added with a catchiness nicked off Sgt. Pepper era Beatles and added with a sense of lyrical softness and melodicism taken from Camel enhanced with a trademark Scandinavian emotionality which penetrates well in Roine Stolt's sweet guitar style reminiscent of a cross between Andrew Latimer, Carlos Santana and David Gilmore. We do know that such dream-combinations of past musical feats does not always mean splendour. In the case of The Flower Kings the negative appears in their occasional addition of light flirtations in more "modern" heavy guitar chops which sounds rather forced like superficial attempts to gain a more "modern" sensibility (something that I do not necessarilly find to be a mandatory nor a smart choice in retro style prog bands, see Anglagard as the absolute example of not having to do anything of the sort) and the aforementioned sense of cheesiness (which is a result of them not being able to create a sense of selfless myth, absorption in the creative narrative they imagine, in other words the inability to fully reside in the imaginative space they create - which IS the significance behind the majesty of the better 70's prog bands whose music still stands strong today).

While this album is also helped by a stronger influence of jazzy, Frank Zappa influenced quirkiness that brings a much needed variation in their often-times over done trips into candy-cane emotionality, I cannot deny that some of the tracks still sound unnecessarily long (a negative feature that culminated with subsequent albums - pathetically long song length DOES NOT MAKE PROG!!! It is the sense of narrative and musical coherence and mythical splendour that made the magnum opuses ofretro prog such intense listening experiences, not their physical sense of length - it is for this reason that ELP's sole achievement, the Tarkus suite actually sounds better than anything else they made). But even with that in mind, this is one of their better albums in terms of the sense of coherence created out of the inter-flow of every track thus making the album listening experience quite a pleasant trip which ofcourse culminates with the final two tracks making A King's Prayer such a massive experience. In a sense the whole album is there to create that flow to be totalized within A King's Prayer (which is the reason why this song makes a lasting impact than Church of Your Heart or There is More to This World) and for that reason I return to my initial conclusion that most of my compliments for the album really reside in that track alone. While I detest light hearted dribbles in John Lennon-esque optimism and quasi-spirituality that praises positivity with the expence of closing the doors to true multiplicity as chaotic affirmation, The Flower King's track alone is witnes to the fact that even such dreaded mistakes of the 70's can be surpassed in artifice and substance if taken to its maximum exhertation in dedicated craft. From this we learn that even from works that are weak and incomplete in substance, so comes others who can make a better world out of such influences due to their ability to "read" (which is more like an unconscious process of forging higher significances from the margins of the work regardless of its inherent lack of substance) into their influences a more coherent and majestic mythical narrative.

A King's Prayer
Goodnight, it seems that it won't be the last goodbye
How strange we see the hours fly, the voices slowly fade away
Still walking tall, come walk with me that royal rocky road
Dividing the evil from what's good and soon the judge will pass the score

I had the world in my hand, the peace and the power, a love divine
I had the land at my feet, but bad is bad when loose ends meet
One bad apple can spoil them all

How long will matter have the power over mind
How long before we leave the wars behind
The leaders write our history in blood
What would it take before science serve the matters of the heart
Instead of keeping half the world apart...
The other seeing profit as it's god

We had the world in our hands
The sea and the forest, the lonely land
We had the land at our feet
We had it all, but still it seems it's not enough
Enough for the most of us...enough for the most of us

A King's Prayer live at Tilburg 2006

Church of Your Heart

Doom or Be Doomed : ドゥームメタルに関する哲学的考察

最近はドゥームメタルばかり聞いている。随分長い間ドゥームはご無沙汰だったんだけど昔のデスメタルの本当の良さを今に体現しているバンドはないのか?と色々探しているうちにFunebrarumと言う素晴らしいバンドに行き着き、そのバンドのメンバーの内二人がEvokenと言うドゥームメタルバンドを他にやっていることを知る。Funebrarumがあまりに良かったのでそうかじゃあEvokenも聞いてみようと手を出してみたわけで。すると何、これがまた90年代初頭あたりの初期My Dying Bride、Anathemaやオーストラリアの伝説的ドゥームデスバンドDisembowelment(ドゥームなのにブラストを使うという世界初のバンドじゃないかと思う)あたりの影響が濃い硬派なドゥームデスで巷のトレンディーなストーナー系ドゥームとは別次元の真のドゥームメタルであることを知る。

ドゥームメタルが急激により単純なロックンロールなノリを重要視するストーナーロックとかと関連付けられて語られるようになった2002年あたりから詰まらなくなってドゥームはもう良いバンドが出てくる基板が終わったんだなと思って遠ざかっていた。そしたらここ2年ぐらいでちらほら「フューネラルドゥーム」とか言う新しいドゥームメタルを表現するカテゴリーの名前を耳にするようになった。ぼちぼちその代表格たるWorshipやPantheist、Esotericあたりは聞いてみてはいたもののたしかにストーナーの軽いノリとは対照的なCathedralのファーストアルバムに忠実なしっかりとクラシック・フォーク譲りのメタルの様式美そのものを受け継いだだけでなくCathedral以上にロック色が皆無なとにかく遅くて異常に重いドゥームメタルをやっているのは分かったが、そこまで「ピーン」と来るものではなかった。と言うよりもFuneral Doomが全体的にまるでスイサイダルな(Suicidal)、自殺志願的な雰囲気、ゴシックメタルにも見られる生ぬるい自己愛の表象に過ぎないself-pityを元にした「死」への憧れみたいなものを持っているように感じたのが気に食わなくてあまり深い興味を見せなかった。自分はself-pityってのは全ての表現活動の敵だと考えている、その理由は人間の精神を後退させるill-conscienceと深い関わりを持っているからだ。「自分は辛い思いをしている」、「誰も僕を好きになってくれない」「だから自分は可愛そうなんだ」、そのために「死」を美化し憧れの的に祭り上げしかし、実際に死ぬ覚悟は無くその「死」へ憧れ辛い状況にある自分自身に陶酔するかわいそうな自分が好きでしょうがない人間をself-pityの極みだと思ってもらいたい。Gothicシーンに良くいるタイプの連中だ。存在の闇や死と言ったものを美化して大げさに表現するこういった傾向は最近のGothic Metalには良く見られるものではっきり言ってクサイし、より強大な実存的地平そしてその精神の成長と一つであるより広大な創造的地平へと飛躍していこうとする意志に欠けている(それも当たり前か、何背かわいそうな自分達の現状を維持したい事が彼らの大前提なのだから − その点self-pityが存在にとって後退的または停滞的精神の動きであることは明白だ) 。まあ、自分はドゥームメタルもそんな方向に落ちちゃったのかなーと思っていたわけ。

しかしそこにきてこのEvokenだ。なんだこれは全然ヤラセっぽい暗さや大げさな闇の美化とかも無い、しかし信じられないほど遅く暗く奥深さを感じさせるドゥームデスメタルだなと感じた。ゴシック的な本質よりも遥かにこれはデスメタルの本質を持ってドゥームやってるバンドだと感じた。まあメンバーの大半がFunebrarumみたいなデスメタルもやってるんだから当然かもしれないが、そこでもう少し最近のドゥームを本腰入れて聞いてみようじゃないかと言う気になった。Evokenみたいなバンドもいるわけだしもしかしたらこのアングラシーンは今良い流れにあるのではないか、それならLets give doom metal another chanceと思ったわけだ。

聞いた聞いた、とりあえず聞きまくった、論文書いてる時も料理してる時も徹底的に最近のドゥームメタルバンドを聞いた。昔さらっと聞いたけどちゃんと評価できるまで聞き込むことがなかったWorship、Pantheist、Esotericはもちろん、オーストラリアのMournful Congregation、ドイツのOphisやFuneral Doomの祖とされるフィンランドのThergothon、Skepticism、もうFuneral Doomと言うジャンルが音楽要素的に固定化され始めていることを明白にするより最近のCollosseum, TyrannyやCatacombsなど。この中でもThergothonとSkepticismは別次元に位置するバンドだってのは分かった。またバンドによって大分精神的傾向と言うか表現世界に差があるのも聞き取ったが、感じた所で特に良いドゥームバンド(これは特にfuneral doomやdoom death系のより極限的なドゥームメタルのスタイルに限ってで、この文ではよりロックンロール的な方向性を持つストーナー繋がりなドゥームに関しては触れない)に共通する「本質」は以下のようなものだ:



3)この手のバンドは歌詞の内容からもより広大な意味での暗い「詩的」また「美学的」探求を感じるが死を賛美したり、自殺や自己憐憫を謳うことは無い。彼らは絶望や悲しみと言った感情・現実を哀れむべきものと考えるよりも自然な現状として受け入れむしろそれと完璧に統一し、極限的状況へと持っていくことによりその内在的ポテンシャリティーを「旅」することを楽しんでいるように感じる。これは彼らがこういった実存的「闇」をたんに一方的に「感情的」にとらえるのではなく「感情」と「物質」即ち「心」と「体」を一つのものとして象徴的な形で空間的に(即ち「存在そのもの」と言う形而上学的感覚として)とらえていることを示唆しているように感じる。聞いている時に感情よりも精神を旅する空間性の構築(spatial atmosphere)を感じさせるSkepticismとThergothonがこの点を最も良く体現している。


5)近代のCathedral以降のドゥームメタルの殆んどはデスメタルを発端とする音楽だけにデスメタルの本質の一部でもあった「神話的文化」の無意識的復興、即ち人間の価値観と予想的論理に束縛されているアクチュアリティーの表象的「形」の世界を体現するのではなくそれと表裏一体でありまたその源である無限に広がり続ける「想像性」「ポテンシャリティー」「差異」(これらは上記の項目で用いた「現実」と言う単語と同意である)の世界を想像力豊なある種の物語的、神話的narrativeを持った音楽構造の創造を通して体現していることも興味深い。初期のMy Dying Bride, Paradise LostやAnathemaと言ったドゥームデスメタルまた彼らの影響の濃いFuneralやSaturnusあたりにこの傾向は非常に強く現れている。彼らの詩的方向性からも英国ロマン派文学からの影響を通して「神話」的傾向を感じることが出来る。これはいわばキリスト教を代表とする各宗教の救済の夢が終焉を迎えた冷戦後の世界でただもがき苦しみ宛もない空虚感に苛まれていたグランジロックの若者達とは正反対の精神的動きであり、それは人類が自らを閉じ込め、跪く対象としてきた価値観の構造としての「宗教」を再建するのではなくNietzscheの言う所の真の意味での「神話」、いわば自分たち自身の「肯定」と「世界構築」の力を源とするカオスとしての創造性の世界を意味する「神話文化」を音楽を通して体現することにある。


leadSkepticism - Lead and Ether
同じくフィンランドのバンドだけにFuneral Doomの創始者として認識されるフィンランドのThergothonの音楽性をそのまま推し進めていったバンドだと感じる。Thergothonと同じように曲は極限までに単純な構成要素からなっておりその演奏はファーストアルバムのころのCathedral以上に遅く、またリフにはロック的ノリの良さは皆無である。Thergothonのようにキーボードが非常に重要な役割を担っており、このバンドではギターが異常に遅いリフを繰り返す後ろでオルガンが遅いメロディーとコード進行を鳴らすことにより音空間の奥行きを与えている。またこのバンドの最大の特徴は曲の構成がインドアーリヤ系民族に共通するトラディッショナルミュージック的であり、ある種儀式的、祭式的であると言うこと。曲は単純なメロディーの繰り返しであり、時にギターリストの行うミュート無しの連続的コード鳴らし、タムを全く使わない遠くの方で鳴り響く地響きの如くスローなドラミングは共にフォーク・祭式音楽的であると言える。そういう意味では電子楽器でフォークをやるようになってからのBurzumやより祭式音楽的な雰囲気の時のGravelandや80年代のDead Can Danceに近い曲構築を感じなくも無い。Skepticismの音楽から得られる雰囲気はさながら太古の忘れ去られた神々の孤独、意味や連続性を持たない「記憶」の断片として表れる闇の祭典を見ているようだ。



Deep in layers unwarm drifting
Lower in depths still descending
On wide billows slowly floating
In colder streams smoothly drifting

Beauty unleashed
Light wind flowing
Heard Silence

A dance to abyss would soon follow
Once another would soon swallow
Darkness as the light most silent
Silence as the darkest of voices

From Silence and anything
To Silence and nothing
Is the path of final solitude

エーテル *古代ギリシャの物理学で光や物質を生み出し構成していると考えられた根源的物質、霊体や精気、天空と言った意味もある





彼らを聞いているとどこか「ムーミン」を連想する。それは日本のアニメのムーミンで見られる人間味のあるヒューマニスト的ムーミンではなくTove Jansenの原作小説版ムーミンであり、喜びと楽しさにありながらもしかしどこまでも孤独的でありこの世界に自分達しか居ないと言った感覚。しかしそれが哀れなのではなく肯定に値する美しさ愛しさを持っていると言う温かさ;闇と喜びが表裏一体である現実。社会や近代文明を好かず孤島で半ば世捨て人のように孤独の中でムーミンを書いたJansen自身の精神が投影されている所も大きいだろうがもしかしたらフィンランドと言う土地柄もSkepticismやThergothonと言ったフィンランドのドゥームメタルに見る感覚とムーミンとの共通性を生んでいるのかもしれない。先日Dutch Doom Daysと言うドゥームメタルのライブイベントで彼らをライブで見ることが出来たが、人間自身も不思議な雰囲気の人たちの集まりだった。Tシャツ買った時に少し直接会話をしたが決して敵対的ではないのだが何か人を寄せ付けない雰囲気をもっていて、それでいて何か温かい雰囲気と言うか。。。格好もメタルをやっていると言った感じではなくとにかく彼らの音楽そのものと同じく不思議な雰囲気だった。

Skepticism - Aether

Skepticism - The March and the Stream

fromn these woundsFuneral - From These Wounds
ノルエーのfuneral doomバンド。こんなに精神の本質を掻き毟るような美しい音楽を聴いたのは久々だ。このバンドは音楽的にはとてつもなく危なっかしい橋の上にいるといっても過言ではない。セカンドアルバムまではいかにもfuneral doomだと言いたくなる様な異常なまでに遅くはっきりとしたメロディーの無いギター演奏にデスボーカルが乗るスタイルだったがこのアルバムでより聞きやすいドゥームデスへと転換した。その聞きやすさの一環はちょうどドゥームデスからゴシックメタルの形成へと移り変わり始めたIcons〜Draconian Times期のParadise LostやPentecost IIIからThe Silent Enigma期のAnathemaあたりのゴシックメタルの影響を消化していることにあるのだが、さもすれば直ぐにやりすぎ大げさでクサクサな音楽になりがちなその要素を彼ら自身の精神性の深さに由来する「中身」の密度と「本質」の違いで完璧に説得力のある音楽へと形作ることに成功している。正にドゥームデスメタルとしては最強のバランスだ(他にこれほど上手くやってのけているのはデンマークのSaturnusぐらいだと思う)。しかもはっきり言ってこの音楽転換のお陰でドゥームメタルの本質に背くどころか今まで以上に良いバンドになったと言える。彼らの音楽の暗さはTheater of TragedyやTrail of Tears系のいかにもなゴスメタルの作り上げる自己憐憫とヤラセ感抜群な「闇」ではないので音楽の「本質」が違うのは当たり前の話だがとにかく暗い、しかし本当の意味で美しい。このバンドのそう言った深みは彼ら自身があまりにも「死」に近かったことにも由来しているかもしれない。かつてのベーシストEinar Fredriksenは2003年に病死、またこのアルバムでギターを演奏していたギターリストのChristian Loosも残念ながら2006年に自殺している。このような形で友人達の死を目の当たりにしたことは間違いなく彼ら自身の世界観や精神的探求に実存的影響を与えている側面はあるだろう。何にしろこのアルバム1曲目のThis Barren Skinがこのバンドの全てを物当たっていると言っても過言ではないので、この曲を徹底的にレビューしようと思う:

出だしは美しい聖歌コーラスに始まり、まるで天から天使たちが舞降り立つ光景を見ているようだ。そして正にドゥーミーで重いギターが入ってくる、しかしボーカルはデス声でなく優しい声質で語りかけるようなスタイルだ、また多重ボーカルスタイルの利用方法も巧みでハーモニーの付け方から歌詞のどの部分でもう一人のより繊細な声のボーカルが歌うかと言う曲の物語性を強調する構成能力も申し分ない。この辺はAmazing BlondelとかPentangleあたりの昔のフォークバンドのボーカル技術の巧みさを連想させさえする。そしてコーラスパートで展開される重く暗く引きずるようなドゥームリフと対比するように表れる天に昇っていくようなギターメロディー。ここで自分は文字通り昇天した。言葉が出なくなるほど美しい。この曲を聞いて終始脳裏に広がるイメージはまるで人類が滅んだ後の闇に包まれた廃墟だらけのどこまでも広がり続ける土地の上を非情にもその元で広がる人間の苦しみなどには興味もない天使達が美しい舞を空中で繰り広げていると言った感じだ。絶望と希望、美と破壊が複雑に交差すると言った感じでこれほどまでにそういった要素を完璧に体現して説得力抜群に表現している曲は珍しい。

歌詞など読まずとも聞いた一発目でこのバンドが他のバンドと別次元にいることは明らかだったが後からこの曲の歌詞を読んでさらに惚れ込んでしまった。ドゥームデス系のバンドはMy Dying Brideしかりボーカルは結構な詩人が多いが、ここのバンドのボーカルの歌詞は詩的な美しさを重視する言葉選びの巧みさだけでなく正に「意味」のある深みがある点でずば抜けている。


This Barren Skin
May I wear you this night
As we marvel at our death
I would wane within your art
As you would become me

Like ashes circling the pyre
With virtues of the seraphim
While prancing indifferently
Amid the devil's fingers

The sun, the moon
Our garments of glee and distress
In their wake we are born dying
Voicing insignificance

Awake with me into glacial skies
As the earth below lies august
Should time be meek we may drink
Of oceans of ageless silence

The north is unfurling
It's presence welded on us
Latent - a monument
Amid ethereal bosoms

We kneel in tragedy on tundra
This barren skin
Ailing slaves to the word
Within the rigid commandment of woe

Shackles corrode lesions
In the morning regions
Where the pores expose
Beneath a cynical host
Designs of irony
Raped and bereft of all
In a sigh of ephemeral room
And eternal baptism of fire






潜在 - 記念碑のように




文学や詩に精通している方なら理解できると思うがこの歌詞での比喩の利用は非常に深みがありまた美しい。しかしとても複雑なのも事実なので説明を加えたいと思う。まずこの曲の題名はThis Barren Skin、和訳すると不毛な皮膚と言った感じだ、皮膚は基本的に物事の表面的表れの比喩として使われることが多い、内在的「本質」に対してそれを覆い隠す外皮と言った意味だ。よって「不毛な皮膚」と言うとその本質を覆い隠す外皮、表面的、物理的形の世界の不毛さを意味している。最初の4節で使われる「あなた」とはこの皮膚を意味している、「我々が自分たち自身の死に驚嘆する」は本質を失い心が死んだ我々人類のことを指していると考える、よって内在的本質を失った人類はそれを覆い隠すため「あなた=表面的外皮、物理的形の世界」を着込むことを選ぶわけだ。しかしその恐ろしさを意識することなく、よって我々は「外皮」と言う芸術に圧倒され怯えることになる。この曲はよってこの「皮膚」を着込むことを選んだ(物理的形と表面的美への価値観に埋没することを選んだ)人類がその「皮膚」そのものに蝕まれ未来を失う現状を謳っている。その不毛な世界は人類の足かせとなり、「悲劇の中で」「大地に跪」かせる、そしてその皮膚の一端を担っている人類が自ら作り出した信仰の数々も「容赦なき苦しみの戒律の中で」「奴隷達を「言葉」に酔わせる」に過ぎず、何の救済ももたらすことは無い。この曲の中で表現されるのは人類が自ら選んだ道のために自らを絶望的状況に追いやったと言った状況だ。その「皮膚」による腐敗の進行は壮絶で、最後の数節で見られる通りそれは中身の人間を完全に腐食させる。「朝日」に象徴される真理の灯りの元に照らされた「皮膚」はその傷の隙間から「無常なる部屋のため息と永遠なる洗礼の炎の中で犯され全てを失った皮肉なる構造」に成り果てた人間を照らし出す。まさに表も裏も救いの無い絶望的状況だ。しかしその中で彼らが最も強い意志を込めていると感じるのはコーラス部分の歌詞であり、こんな極限的なまでに皮肉で絶望的な人類の状況の中でも彼らは自らの力での救済を示唆する:


彼ら自身はより宗教に対してストレートに批評的な曲も書いていることからキリスト教に対しても批評的だと思うが(この曲の中でもcommandments of woeと言うのはキリスト教の戒律、即ち排他的宗教構造への比喩だろう)ここで見て取れるのはアブラハム系(キリスト、ユダヤ、イスラム教を意味する)の宗教文化の系譜に位置する一種の「超越」への憧れの影響を受けた比喩だと自分は感じる。この絶望的な物理的世界を乗り越えた天への憧れ、しかしここで重要なのはこの天へ目を向ける動きを決して彼らは他力本願にしていないところだ、大空へ目を向けるのも目覚めるのもその人次第だと言うこと。また彼らは決してこの天そのものへと向かおうと言う意図は謳わない、この歌詞の筆者は天に目を向けるのであって「八月の眠る大地」から離れようとは言わない(八月と言うのは夏の日差し、真理の光が土地そのものに眠っていると言うことの比喩だと理解する)、この物理的世界を捨ててありもしない救済を求めるのではなく悪まで有限で無常なる「時」が支配する世界でその人が大空の美しさを真に見つめる瞳を目覚めさせることが出来るならばその「時」の動きの狭間でさえ「永遠」を見ることが出来ると「時柔和ならば共に飲めるかもしれない時間無き静寂の海から」と歌う。


Funeral - This Barren Skin


Deathevokation - Chalice of Ages

b1ba7089.jpgRegressing to older forms of music for a lack of creativity or to gain mainstream credability through adaptations of rock and pop medium is one thing, but deliberate regression to former forms of death metal in order to reconsider the potential of this music that once was a hotbed of creativity is a totally different matter. While the first is a product of a dispassionate mind, the second is a product of a well-centred passion and a yearning for a further understanding of a particular form of music.

Deathevokation is a great death metal band from California that proves to us that "death metal" today is not only about Devourments and Suffocation ripoffs or the metalcore bullshit that somehow passes itself as "death metal." The band proves a worthy lesson learnt fron early 90s death metal mostly from the British, Swedish and Finnish school of death metal including Bolt Thrower, Benediction, Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Demilich, Demigod, Amorphis, Abhorrence and the like. They play heavy mid-tempo centred death metal with a good balance of melodic riffing thrown in which reminds myself of a less epic sounding 1st album period Amorphis crossed with Bolt Thrower with occasional Swedish death styled fast paced moments thrown in. The original sense of structural narrative found in early death metal lives on as a prime focus in this band, as this band understands the importance to construct music that actually gives more to its audience than mindless mosh riffs: a field of narrtive expansion and imaginative exploration - something modern bands don't seem to be able to manifest.

The Bolt Thrower influences in this band are apparent especially in their usage of slow and memorable melodic riffs repeated over midtempo beats, but when Bolt Thrower will construct their songs out of a variation of said melodic riffing in addition to heavier groovier riffing, Deathevokation evokes a much variable sense of musical palette in traveling through carefully lineated structural build-ups. While the band's carefully controlled sense of linearity does not have the space to give the grace of the unity of chaos and structure whirling in one mixture as is the case with truly awe inpsiring extreme metal entities, their careful studying of what made past death metal great is well executed in its modern slab of narrative death metal. Guitar work often times harkens back to the basics of heavy metal in constructing blues based melodic leads that are in their setting very much effective in increasing the emotionality of their musical world-view.

All in all a very enjoyable album and a pleasant finding for anybody who likes old death metal and for clear reasons. The sense of romanticism behind this band for the search for a lost golden age of death metal, while is in some senses restricting, it is all the more powerful in enhancing their passion for music. If one hopes to learn from what was great in the past and actively re-live it in the present through a sincere love of the craft, this cannot be any kind of regressive life-force given that the passion stays. Their conviction evident in their quote from the inlay: "Music that doesn't follow trends is meant for the ages" is without a doubt well manifested in their musical creation.

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