This year Amy bought me 2 tickets to see one of my favorite bands, Gojira (BEST. PRESENT. EVER.) They are a death metal band from France, but instead of lyrics fixated on gore, suffering, dismemberment, and other creepy stuff, they tend to write about environmental, spiritual, and social issues. I admit this sounds like a strange combination, but the energy, intricacy and intensity of metal actually makes the messages come through far more forcefully than if they were accompanied by a softly strummed acoustic guitar.
Their most recent album, The Way of All Flesh, is an exploration of life and death, but takes a surprisingly sophisticated perspective on mortality. The songs explore our connection to each other and to the planet where we evolved, the fear each of us feels when we contemplate the end of our existence, and what (if anything) awaits us when we die. The album came out just before my grandfather passed away, and I listened to it over and over during that time. Here is a passage from the title track that was particularly meaningful to me:
I find it hard to believe that this picture on the wall is everything
I do understand all the prayers, life is so sharp and hurts so bad
What does it mean to be dying, what if you take the guts and brain away
Is it this blood and heartbeat that you call life?
Every effort to ignore it is unavailing; we all have to die
Is it too late to dull the edges of the pain, I have to try
This is another dimension
You can scatter ashes to the winds and even buried in the ground I'm still here
Do not be afraid you are dying
and the four great elements of your body are collapsing one into the other
It feels as if you are being crushed by mountains
The light of this world has faded completely
But the light of the next world has not yet appeared
Your breath is now still, no warmth to your skin
Do not be afraid, there's no way that you can stay here
You are leaving this world
All lights are fading away now
Leave behind the loved ones and all you know
Do not be afraid and let yourself go
And another passage, this time from the song A Sight to Behold:
The way we all behave is not understandable
It is so sad to see the wealth of our planet fade away
We all behave like children, taking off the head of our teddy bear
to see what's inside, taking, not giving back
We drain the oceans and suck all the blood out of the soil
We spend the time we have left fighting and killing each other
Lust for comfort, entertainment becomes an obsession
And there is so much time to kill
The show was at El Corazon, a small venue across the street from the downtown REI. We were at the very front of the stage for the whole set, and it was an incredible performance. Excellent musicianship, fantastic stage presence (they actually smiled throughout the set!), and they thanked the Sea Shepherd Society for coming to the show to distribute information and spread the word about conserving marine life.
Best of all, Amy actually came to the show with me and I think she had a good time too!