* ®ock & £iter@ture *

Books enlarge the ability to think... Music enlarges the ability to dream...

* The Silent Enigma * (Anathema)

- The artwork:
Angel over a grave displayed on Nightwish's Once album

- The poets:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Edward Young
Robert Blair

- The music genres:
Black metal, doom metal and death metal

- The black metal gang:
The Inner Circle


- The relationship:
Several rock genres feed upon the contemporary preoccupation with death. Black metal, for example, deals with obscure topics through lyrics exploring the darkest aspects of life, such as war, misanthropy, desolation and the Apocalypse. One of the most noticeable features in black metal is facial corpsepaint, the use of black and white make-up to make the wearer look like a decomposing corpse or plague victim. Black metal is also characterized by raspy vocals and the inclusion of baroque elements, organs, keyboards and female voices. Deathlike Silence Productions became the first label to dedicate itself purely to black metal. Typical black metal bands are Dark Funeral, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and Venom as well as the Norwegian bands Darkthrone and Mayhem. The Black Metal Inner Circle was a group comprising members of the Norwegian black metal scene.The group itself got involved in some murders as well as the burning of churches in Norway.
Doom metal focuses on pessimism, evoking an atmosphere of darkness, despair and misery. Examples of doom metal bands are Paradise Lost, Anathema, Katatonia and My Dying Bride. Some groups such as Thergothon and Funeral also play funeral doom, a style that takes the slowness of doom metal to further extremes, and that puts a strong emphasis on an atmosphere of despair and emptiness. Death metal, on the other hand, basically includes violent or dark lyrics which focus on death as a nihilistic metaphor and is characterized by vocals known as death grunts. Typical death metal bands are Morbid Angel, Entombed, Grave, Obituary, Sepultura, Pestilence and Deicide.
In the 18th century the Graveyard School of Poetry included poets such as Edward Young (1683-1765) and Robert Blair. Both of them wrote typically melancholic poems dwelling on the theme of death in a graveyard setting.
In his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) introduces a concept even more fearful than Death itself: the deathly-pale woman called "Night-mare Life-in-Death"...

- My comment:
Though Nightwish is really a Finnish symphonic power metal band and cannot be associated with the music genres dealt with in this page, I chose the artwork displayed on the cover of their album Once because I think it best captures the atmosphere of the ideas expressed here...
Many artists, especially young ones, find inspiration in the topic of Death... I think that it is naturally human to be attracted to the dark mysteries that our minds cannot easily grasp...
As for the title, when Anathema sings about "the silent engima" they really refer to a lady returning from the dead... I used it, however, to refer to the issue discussed here because what can there be more silent and enigmatic than Death itself?

*** What do YOU think ***