I woke up this morning thinking (for some reason) about the symphonic black metal band Limbonic Art, and their wonderfully deranged song Behind the Mask Obscure.
Black metal is generally not something I’m into – neither the sound, which varies between someone being strangled on top of a pipe organ and an Airbus A380 digesting a flock of geese, or the attitude, which seems to involve burning down historic churches and stabbing people to death in “self defence”, or at least singing about such things – but symphonic metal does have some redeeming features, mostly because of the symphonic bits.
Behind the Mask Obscure is a fine example of this. It starts with xylophones, drums, bells and strings playing music that wouldn’t sound out of place at a circus parade (albeit one with particularly scary clowns). The music gets progressively heavier and heavier until the guitars, drums and synths kick in, and it sounds like the apocalypse is nigh. The music then devolves into the more typical metal sound of chainsaws dismembering live cattle while someone screeches lyrics about forests, darkness, prophecies, graveyards, being undead, wandering the land and inventing inhumanity (the kind of stuff Tom Riddle would have written in his diary if they’d had Emos in 1943). Finally it pulls itself out of the pit and goes back to the more symphonic sound, wrapping up with a flourish of strings, drums and guitars.
The middle section with its assorted moans and growls really holds no interest for me – it’s the symphonic bits I like. There is one bit of lyrics during the symphony however and it was this I spent much of my morning puzzling over. At about the 1:12 mark a male voice choir (or at least some guy with a heavy echo effect) sings…
In distance from the light, I redeem my Gloria,
In darkness I have sights, a high esteemed fantasia,
…I wonder what that could mean. Let’s take a look at it phrase by phrase shall we?
“In distance from the light” is no problem, it’s just a somewhat pretentious way of saying “In darkness”. The next phrase however is more puzzling. “I redeem my Gloria”. As far as I’m aware the verb “redeem” has two main meanings in modern English.
The first to make up for past transgressions, or make something that’s gone bad, good again. You can for instance redeem yourself by doing good things after a disgrace. You can redeem something or somebody’s reputation by making people think well of it again.
The second meaning is to exchange something for a promised reward. You can redeem a gift voucher that someone has given you. You can redeem tokens cut out of the newspaper for a chance to win a car. You can even (theoretically) redeem money for gold or silver at your nation’s central bank (although they’ll probably shoot you if you dare to try).
Neither of these meanings seems to make much sense when applied to “Gloria”, which usually means a prayer or hymn in praise of God. It seems unlikely for instance that you could hand in a prayer or hymn for the chance to win a Toyota Camry. You could perhaps redeem a poorly written Gloria with a bit of judicious editing, which is probably the meaning we’re going to have to go with.
The second line begins “In darkness I have sights”. Presumably the lyricist (who I imagine like the band is Swedish) got their inflections wrong and actually meant “sighted” – but we’ll work with what we have. There is only one possible grammatically correct interpretation of “In darkness I have sights”, which is “In darkness I possess sights”. “Sights” of course when used as a noun refers to things people see, and more specifically to things people will go out of their way to see, such people taking part in the practice of sightseeing.
So, we may ask, what sights does the singer possess? Well helpfully he explains this in the rest of the line. He has “a high esteemed fantasia”. This could be any number of things, but to me it sounds like some kind of themepark.
So, the final analysis of the lyric works out to “In darkness I edit my poorly written prayer while operating a themepark”.
I’m glad we’ve got that sorted out! 🙂
Not much else to report really. I’ve been wearing in a new pair of Docs (and as a consequence hobbling around like Torgo) and doing some work on a fairly insane post-nuclear mutant skirmish game. I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time wandering around Albany on Google Streetview (now that they’ve launched it in Australia) and avoiding as much of the Olympics as possible. Oh, and reading FreakAngels which has just started it’s second book (I’ll have to get on and update the Google Earth File).
Also, Dragons Landing is back on the air after a length hiatus. I may just send them a voicemail. Or I may not, since I’ve got a rather sore throat and any recording I make will probably sound like black metal.
Anyway, got to walk down to the village and buy some laundry detergent, otherwise I won’t have any clean clothes to wear this week. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!
(I’m quoting The Sound of Music. Someone, please shoot me).