Jun 6, 2005

Exodus takes exception to ignorant flag-waving

There are a few things that I've been uncomfortable with in the metal scene over all these years, the first being the overwhelming predominance of white men who find solace in the scene, and how it becomes a haven for chaunvanistic nationalism - as a last refuge for antiquated visions of race, gender, and so-called patriotism. I have felt scared, more of the fans than of the music, though there are clearly some bands that cross the line on all counts. Still, for each of these groups on the fringe, I am reminded time and again that more than anything, many folks in the metal scene are ideological mavericks, or even angry progressives, and the music affords them the ability to be aggressive and yet say something meaningful at the same time. As a result, some of my favorite music in the genre has killer riffs and strong/powerful lyrics.

Case in point: I just came across the latest album by Exodus, one of the Bay Area bashers from the late 80s who had seemingly lost their way after releasing a string of brutal and funny albums. Enter 2004, and the band released Tempo of the Damned, a return to grace, from what all the reviews have bene saying. I have only heard one song so far, called the "Scar Spangled Banner." When I saw the title, I feared the worst - the unfortunate juxtaposition of nationalistic bravado and hokey re-envisioning of tried and true themes. But it shocked me - first because of its intensity, then, Steve Sousa's razor-laden vocal delivery, and believe it or not, the lyrical content, which you have to see to believe. I guess even an old vet of this scene can be surprised sometimes:

Scar Spangled Banner
Oh say can you fucking see
The missiles fall like rain
Bloody mountains majesty
Dead bodies on the plain
By the bombing's eerie light
See the crimsons waves of red
What so proudly they all fell
The twilight of the dead

America - the violent
The indifferent
God shit its grace on me
America - the arrogant
The belligerent
Will live in infamy
We the people, for no people
Secure the blessings of tragedy
Do or dare we have established
The scar spangled banner

We pledge allegiance to no god
Only to the blood
Liberty is just a dream
When dying in the mud
This, the land of the deceived, home of the depraved
Bombs, they drop like falling leaves
And the deadly flag still waves

Red - the beautiful color of blood
Flowing like a stream
White - the color of bleaching bone
Lovely and obscene
Blue - the bruising color of flesh
Battered, ripped and torn
The colors of the flag of hate
Of violence and porn
What you see is what you get
You haven't see the bloody trail yet
I'm no patriot, just a hate-triot

Blood sport, my sure bet
See the flag, get a body bag
Salvation from a .44 mag.
Nothing left, no one saved
Cause our goddamn motherfucking bloody ass
Banner still waves

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