In the meantime, we soothed ourselves with the idea of starting a wholesome grindcore band. I look Tibetan (like Gomo Tulku), and she is Scandinavian (like Alissa White-Gluz), and we were vegans. (I still am).
With our crazy mops, we were either going to be called Zen Zero or Decorticated Disenchanted Strands (DDS), because we wanted to cut our long sun kissed hair down to the skin with revulsion or grow very long yogi dreadlocks like the guys in Carcass (see below).
What I had in mind for Zen Zero/DDS (The Agonist)
Devi and dragon (angel and titan), we would jointly sing the lyrics she wrote in a special notebook in class along the lines of Carcass (classic British vegan grindcore) coroner jargon, girl bands, Cannibal Corpse (a comedic, carnivorous American band made famous by their appearance in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective), Cradle of Filth (dark British death metal), Dimmu Borgir (reptilian Norwegian black metal and our first concert experience), Deicide (darker American metal), Kittie, Dead Kennedys (San Francisco punk rock), and smaller wannabee bands of ALL kinds in Los Angeles.
If Carcass and other vegans could sing that meat eating is as gross as cannibalism with no one noticing, surely we could certainly extol the Dharma without anyone caring. And we'd feel good about it.
There's a way to rage at the universe with themes of disgust, dukkha, mindfulness of death, craving for liberation from samsara, and corporeality in general. Dress Goth, date around, and have music soothe the savage breast.
Sometimes renunciation grows to a fever pitch and becomes aversion (dosa) wanting nothing more than magical powers (abhinna) and enlightening everyone that things are empty and repulsive.
Carcass taught us that things "reek of putrefaction" in a "jigsaw quandary," and it seemed so Buddhist/tantric/yogic to cover their song "Carneous Cacoffiny." That's a song from their hyperintelligent album/medical tome "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious." We had a really good sense of humor back then. I guess I was a bad influence on her. But she won complete freedom, so it all worked out. And they were her lyrics after all.
CARCASS: Sometimes it's fun to scream Zen-style.
...Striking up my discordant underture
A carnal cacophony perversely penned
But don't hold your breath
As you wait for your god or the void
Or the abyss of nothingness
Your usefulness isn't through
Your productivity I resume...
My sordid, soiled handicrafts
Will be your afterlife's handicap....
My corrupt crescendos...
Will leave you out on a limbo...
Your disposition I unleash...
You will rest in my piece...
With deadly dynamics
You're dead, buried, and barred
Your remains dampened and fingered
Your mortal coil is barbed
The death-bells are peeling
Ringing out as you flake
Shrieking out their recitals
A celebration of your wake...
Enter my funereality
My world two meters under
A curious habitat
Your muddy trench I plunder
Pass on to ethereality
Churned out under the sextant's blade
You live your life in wretchedness
And death is no escape
And death is no escape
And death is no escape
The Zen of Screaming (Melissa Cross)
A None-more-metal Dharma-Burger
The latest entry from the ever-expanding realm of metal/Buddhism crossovers is the cover and title of the new EP by the great doom/drone band, Queen Elephantine:
The Tibetan-thangka-style art is one thing, but it doesn’t really get more metal than “Garland of Skulls,” does it?* (Queen Elphantine has dabbled in imagery from world religions and cultures, what with album titles like Surya and Kailash, and song titles like “Search for the Deathless State.” And you can download their record, Yatra (as in the Hindu term for “pilgrimage”) for free here.)
Hear the slow, dirgy, powerful track, “Potency,” from Garland of Skulls, here.
(See here for another recent — and recommended — Buddhism/metal crossover.)
- *Note: I have dibs on the band name SkülCüp.
For a while now I’ve wondered about the band Yob. (Their name refers to a classic Warner Brothers cartoon; I distinctly remember being a teenager in bands and seeing the cartoon and thinking, Good band name.)...
The last words in the shorter version of the sutra are “Gaté Gaté Paragaté Parasamgaté Bodhi Svaha!” The basic translation, as I understand it, is “gone (or ferried) with everyone to the other shore right now!”
A little more Googling about Yob and Buddhism turns up a quick reference in a Rebel Extravaganza interview with vocalist and guitarist Mike Scheidt, in which he responds to the interviewer’s question about the use of the word bardo in the song “Ball of Molten Lead” from 2004’s The Illusion of Motion LP:
I’m surprised that one jumped out at you, man! A bardo is a term used in Buddhism. A bardo is a segment of life. The Tibetan Book Of The Dead goes into it, the bardos of life… the stages of life and death. More in depth, when you get into the places where the book deals with learning how to die. We go through time periods of trying to understand and remember who we are outside of this life.
And the band has a track called “Asleep in Samsara” on 2002’s “Elaborations of Carbon.” Is all this a coincidence? And more important: does it matter?
I’m not saying that Scheidt is a Buddhist or that YOB is in some way a “Buddhist band.” (And either way, they get points for clearly not trying to cash in on Buddhism’s cultural cachet. They’re hardly hitting us over the head with the references here.) They probably wouldn’t want to be identified as a Buddhist band, even if they were. And I’m not saying they are. All I am saying is this:
1) Metal can be a lot smarter than some would ever think.
2) Buddhism can be way more metal-confluent than some would ever think. (It can also be way more punk- or hip-hop- or baseball- or business- or whatever-confluent than some would ever think, too.)
3) It’s refreshing... More
Now, comments on the piece, so far, don’t seem to be in the Rapping Lama’s favor. But listen and see what you think.
Of course, there’s nothing new about the Buddhism/hip-hop crossover. And like anything, the results have been all over the map. Find some gems — and otherwise — in the Horse’s archives...
- VIDEO: "Thank You Pain" (The Agonist, Alissa White-Gluz)
- VIDEO: How to piss off your girlfriend: Canadian death metal
- A death metal band in India
- Do I have potential for a (death) metal band? (girl)? - Jul 13, 2011
- Give me your opinion on dating a death metal girl... - Dec 1, 2009
- Would a girl rather listen to heavy death metal or French pop
- Is there anything wrong with being a girl and liking death metal...