Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Death (Metal) Music and Real Death

Full uninterrupted news clip (9:11 mins)

Does Buddhism have anything to say about music? People resonate with their dominant emotional states as expressed in musical choices. Most of the world is dominated by sensual desire (lobha, greed, lust) rather than hate (dosa), delusion (moha), or fear (bhava). All are present in our mental makeup. But since lust dominates for most of us, our musical choices reflect that.

Pop music around the world is therefore all about love, ego, possessions, and loss. Slipknot is an example of music that veers in the other direction -- to extremes of anger, self-loathing, rejection, and alienation. These topics are the dark side of our society, the shadow selves we dare not face or come to terms with.

Death metal explores these and even darker, more explicit subject matter. Yet for most of us the causes of suffering (our own lust, hatred, ignorance, fear) remain unexplored. A threefold craving -- for sensual desires, eternal existence, and for annihilation -- was pointed out as the primary cause. Whereas rock 'n roll's clarion call was to "party on" (think Wayne's World), death metal stars encourage fans to "stay brutal," which is not exactly what Gray's bandmates have done:

Slipknot unmasked mourning death

Slipknot bassist died of drug overdose
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Autopsy results show the bassist for heavy metal band Slipknot died of an accidental overdose of the [painkiller] morphine and fentanyl, a synthetic morphine substitute, police said Monday. Paul Gray, 38, was found dead in a suburban Des Moines hotel room on May 25. A hotel worker told a 911 dispatcher that a hypodermic needle was found near Gray's body and that pills also were found in the room. The autopsy shows he died of an overdose, Urbandale police said in a news release. [Given that the heart is literally corrupted by hatred and other negative emotions, it is no surprise that] they also said the autopsy revealed signs of significant heart disease. More>>

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