Saturday, October 3, 2015

True Will by Liturgy - Review

As many of you know, I love classical music. When I was five years old I had already decided that I was going to be a concert pianist and tour the world playing my favorite song, Beethoven's Fur Elise. Well It's been fifteen years now and although I am no where near touring the world as a concert pianist, I have long been able to play Fur Elise. I am going to college now as a major in piano performance. I am surrounded by classical music every day and I love it. Almost every CD I own is classical music and my first purchases on iTunes were of the same ilk. When I was fourteen my ring tone was the opening lines of Beethoven's 5th. As you can see, classical music is a defining factor in my life. However, there are many other kinds of music I enjoy listening to, such as jazz, Gregorian chants, pop, indie, hymns, bluegrass, 20's and 30's music, classic rock, country, and rap.

This photo is not mine, here is where I got it from.
One of the things I am really enjoying since starting college is the music club that a friend of mine started. Every week we pick out songs and send it to my friend and he puts it on CDs and passes them out to everyone in the club. On Friday we meet at ten o'clock with snacks, tea, and coffee to talk about the music. We love exploring new artists and styles of music and try to pick out the most obscure ones we know of. Consequently almost every song is one that I have never heard of before and I love it! This weeks CD had a lot of good songs on it but one in particular I found especially intriguing.

True Will is a heavy metal song by a band named Liturgy. In the beginning the song starts out with three or four vocals singing a simple chord progression that creates what sounds very much like a lament. About a minute into the song the voices are dropped and in comes the drums, electric guitar and a man screaming incomprehensibly.  Starting at 3.25 the drums and the screaming man drop out and we endure a grueling forty-five seconds of a horrid chord that is repeatedly hammered into our eardrums. Finally the sound is resolved and the screaming man returns. The chord progression at the beginning of the song returns with the guitars. Next the drums and the man drop out again and the song closes with the electric guitars still echoing the vocal lament at the beginning of the disorienting cacophony.

If you recall, heavy metal is not one of the music genres I named earlier. I didn't like the song but there were a few aspects of the song that kind of struck me as noteworthy.

The opening lament, in my ears, is a sad acknowledgement of brokenness that brings back memories of a time I wish was forgotten. Following that is chaos. Wretched despair best describes the way this part of the song made me feel. If I were to go back eight or nine years that sound would be the sound of my internal identity. Then we have the bit starting at 3.25 where the same sound is sustained far beyond what I was comfortable with. The repeated sound was like the feeling of being forever stuck in that suffocating turmoil. Finally I can catch a breath at 4.11 and I return to the lament, no longer a simple acknowledgment of circumstances beyond my control but instead, with angry shouts. Exhausted, the sound dies down to the lamentation of electric guitars alone, and the anger gives way to the one question, "Why?"

I was convinced there were absolutely no words to this song and that it was just noise but when we discussed it at the club meeting the one who submitted it informed us that there were actually real words. Looking up the lyrics online I found them to be cryptic and I am still not any closer to understanding what they mean. This is a song that I definitely would not listen to on the regular. It brings back too many painful emotions. I appreciate how the sound of this song so closely resembles the reality of my life but I'd still rather not remember that past reality so vividly. Besides, the song doesn't capture the whole story. God has turned the heavy metal song of my life into a joyful song of praise. How the song makes that progression is what makes even the ugly part beautiful.

I love classical music but I am glad to be exposed to music that I don't normally listen to through our club. I'm enjoying my studies as a piano performance major and look forward to getting more involved with the classical music world. Even so, there is so many different kinds of music out there and I am glad to be a part of a music club designed to explore as many different kinds as possible.

Blessings to you all and please don't worry about me... I still don't like heavy metal. ;)
Elise

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