While I wouldn’t say that I have the broadest musical taste, I believe that I do have a taste for music outside of my “main” genre – hip hop. For most of middle school, and a bit of high school, I listened to rock and pop bands such as Breaking Benjamin, Skillet, The Black Eyed Peas, and Three Days Grace. Therefore, I would not consider myself ignorant or close-minded towards other genres of music. I appreciate good music when I hear it, regardless of the genre. That being said, I seriously do not understand why fans of death metal enjoy the music – specifically the band “Cannibal Corpse.” I listened to their most popular songs “Make Them Suffer” and “Hammer Smashed Face” hoping to find something likeable about it and I could not. I had preconceived notions regarding the song titles but my mom taught me to never judge a book by its cover, so I listened.
The first thing that set me off when giving these songs a try was the overwhelming instrumentals (heavy electric guitar and drum use) that made it hard to hear/understand the lyrics. Good instrumentals are important characteristics of a successful song, but don’t necessarily mean the song is bad without them. Next, I read along the lyrics while listening to the songs and I did not like the lyricism at all. The text spoke of death, agony, and other malicious acts being performed or felt by people.
When I listen to music, I tend to stick to upbeat artists that sing on inspirational material, with the occasional stereotypical rap song thrown in when looking for a song to have fun to. I suppose that may have been my own bias when listening to death metal. I try to have a beginner’s mind when trying something new but the song titles, instrumentals, and lyrics gave off the vibe of satanic and demonic-type music that made me feel uneasy when listening to death metal.
The first song that I listened to by Cannibal Corpse was “Make Them Suffer.” I searched popular songs by this music group and found this, hoping that since it was popular it would be the type of song to open me up to this type of music. Like I said before, I like to come into new things with an open mind so I tried not to let the song title throw me off and give me a biased opinion before listening. Unfortunately, the song did exactly what the title said to me. The heavy electric guitar, drums, and vocals called “death growls” together made an unpleasant sound that made it both hard to follow along and to take seriously as a respectable genre of music. Furthermore, lyrics such as “Make them suffer! Make them plead for cessation, entirely demoralized and close to mass extinction…” did not appeal to me.
Immediately, I looked to the comment section of this YouTube video to read what viewers found appealing about this music. Numerous people stated that the song was “soothing,” “this is what I listen to when I want to relax,” and after a hard day, “this is what I needed.” Others said that they related to this song with regards to how they felt about the world. A few also commented that it brought back pleasant memories for them.
“What pleasant memories could be brought when listening to this song?” “What kind of life have these people lived that they turn to death metal music to ‘soothe’ them?” Perhaps these people have some repressed (or not-so-repressed) anger towards the world. I can only imagine what they have been through during their childhood or adolescence. It is a scary thought, honestly. But since I do not know their struggles, I can only continue to imagine. My ignorance was clearly showing, so I decided to think of the positives and see from the point of view of fans of this music. It seems like Cannibal Corpse’s music would be great to pump you up for a workout at the gym. Who couldn’t get pumped up when listening to such fast paced, heavy music?
The second song I listened to by the Cannibal Corpse was “Hammer Smashed Face.” The lyrics in this song were a bit more brutal than the...
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