The accomplished decade has been loaded with adverse deaths for metalheads. We’ve absent some of the greats, amid them Ronnie James Dio, Pete Steele of Type O Negative, Joey LaCaze of Eyehategod, Paul Gray of Slipknot, Dave Brockie of GWAR, Warrel Dane of Nevermore, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer, Malcolm Young of AC/DC, Jason McCash of The Gates of Slumber, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, and fucking Lemmy, whose above accomplice in abomination Wendy O. Williams additionally larboard us way too soon. That’s not alike counting the metal-adjacent icons like abhorrence administrator Wes Craven and, best recently, alien celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
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Every time one of them dies, amusing media assault up with praise, memories, and ardent condolences. And lately, the adage of the hour that comes with it is, “Rest in power.”
“Rest in power.” Man, fuck that. What an accidental toughening of death. What an accessible attack to not complete like a weakling, and try to accomplish afterlife all about blame ass. “Rest in power,” as admitting all that affairs back you die is courage and access and all the added babble you’ve been affected to affliction about during this long, annoying life.
Why do we do it? How do we absorb so abundant time alert to music about death, abandoned to gussy it up in a beef clothing back life’s annoying activity comes to a close?
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Culturally, “rest in power” is a added loaded appellation than best bodies on the Internet ability think. These days, the appellation is heavily acclimated in advertence to those who died unjustly, and their disability to absolutely acquisition accord while the arrangement that unfairly asleep them charcoal in ability (it’s currently the name of a book about the annihilation of Trayvon Martin). This has continued out to added icons whose legacies of activity and activity assume at allowance with abiding sleep. As such, it about feels like a appellation for ghosts, absent souls who cannot blow until things accept been fabricated right.
But that’s not the “Rest in power” that crosses my Twitter and Instagram feeds every time some tattooed riff aristocrat dies. I don’t get the activity metalheads are saying, “Ralph Santolla of Obituary and Deicide cannot blow until we cure cancer.” The vibe I get is that heshers appetite their agreeable idols to be continuing on some bean belvedere killing demons with guitars that shoot lightning. And hey, if you appetite to see that, go put article up on Deviantart. But in the face of absolute death, that feels so abundant abate than the truth. It’s the accessible aegis apparatus of a ability whose agent runs on skull tattoos.
The admeasurement of the asterisk metalheads put abutting to their adulation of afterlife is astounding. Songs about abandoned battles and chainsaw anamorphosis are fucking rad, but discussing absolute annihilation and beheading is uncalled for. This became bright to me back I briefly wrote a cavalcade for Metalsucks alleged ‘Metal Ways To Die’, absorption on barbarous and affecting methods of afterlife throughout history. I accepted metalheads to get it, to accept that afterlife is both animal and fascinating. Instead, the comments area was abounding of bodies calling me ailing and casting me as some psycho jacking off to ache porn.
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Back afterlife is a fantasy accident to academic victims, metalheads adulation the abstraction of beheading or decapitation—but the acrid realities of afterlife either never cantankerous their minds or are too absolute to consider. All the Metalocalypse-ish allocution about atrocity is aloof addition bank erected amid the adviser and the truth, like beard metal’s unrealistic sex or ability metal’s sword-and-honor warfare. Back it comes time to absolutely allocution about death, the bodies whose T-shirts apprehend “Only Afterlife Is Real” are the aboriginal ones to abrasion the kid gloves of the religions they so generally assemblage against.
It’s abnormally awe-inspiring how generally admirers of a brand that proudly spits in the face of the afterlife appetite to accept there’s an afterlife. Lyrically, metal usually focuses on two post-mortal themes: a) there’s nothing, and this activity is Heaven or Hell depending on what we accomplish of it; or b) there’s Hell, which’ll be abounding of blaze and alarming Boschian demons with flamethrowers for cocks (the accepted Door #3 is Valhalla, the abiding mead anteroom of Viking warriors asleep in battle, but let’s be real, that’s aloof Heaven with booze and punching).
The minute their idols die, though, metalheads acrylic this aflush account of some catholic accolade for agitation so hard. Randy Rhoads and Cliff Burton allegation be jamming with Chuck Schuldiner in some amphitheatre on Fiddler’s Green, right? But didn’t those bodies bedrock abundant in life? Should they now accept to animate out the cliché of winking bottomward at us from the clouds? Or are we so afraid of our own lives catastrophe that we accept to brainstorm the musicians we adore active on forever? Come on, guys, afterwards all this allocution about afterlife and darkness, I anticipation we’d be bigger than that.
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This doesn’t beggarly it’s metal to be apathetic appear death, which is its own affectation of weakness. It’s about adjoin afterlife for what it is, both a concrete absoluteness and an affecting tragedy. Some high-profile metalheads accept done this right: Randy Blythe of Lamb of God had the stones to appointment the parents of the Czech fan for whose afterlife he was put on trial, and admitting I acquisition their PR approach banal as fuck, Ghost showed absolute chic by endlessly their appearance aloft advertent an attendee had died and allowance to accession money for his family. But apprehension how none of these musicians corrective their asleep fan as some ass-haulin’ demigod. They aloof laid ‘em to rest.
Because let’s be honest, that’s what a lot of these guys wanted. I never got the activity that Pete Steele fabricated music to beat the world, and one attending at Lemmy’s accommodation told you that he wasn’t aggravating to appearance off. Like best artists, the metal gods fabricated music because it completed them. It gave them purpose. Now that they’re dead, I achievement they never accept to anguish about annihilation again, and I agnosticism they affliction about their names alveolate throughout eternity.
That, I get. All I anytime do is action for what little ascendancy I can get. I assignment my ass off and try my best to advice those I love. But usually, the apple about me feels like the tide, affective according to rhythms I can’t ascendancy and consistently accessible to ambit abroad any advance I make. And yet my dream isn’t that back all this is over, I get to be the one in charge. I don’t appetite a fucking speedboat to blast through the course with. That sounds exhausting. The point of life, I’ve consistently thought, is that afterwards it’s over, I get to go to bed. No account fees, no hangnails–bam, I’m out. I ambition the aforementioned for everyone, but abnormally for those bodies who spent their lives afraid and agreeable so I could feel beneath alone.
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I apperceive metal is all about activity bigger and louder than best of us get to be in our arid lives. But that’s why afterlife is special. It allows us to attending inwards rather than amplitude outwards, because it reminds us of truths bigger and louder than annihilation we can imagine. We’re all fabricated of meat, and we’re all activity to die. And yeah, that sucks. But what’s worse is disturbing adjoin the absoluteness of it by aggravating to accomplish it cool. This is the one honest moment anyone anytime gets to accept in this world. Don’t ruin it by cogent them how swole they look.
Christopher Krovatin is asleep animate on Twitter.
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