Monday, December 22, 2008

Pelican - "The Woods" from the EP Pelican

Pelican EP CD cover
As much as I like the concept of a modern metal band without vocals--meaning there's one less thing you have to overlook in order to like them--I like the title (and the thrust) of this song even more.

Working within a genre that so often looks to an overworked Christian mythology for its symbols of heaviness and "evil," Pelican here point to something much more primoridal for their dark symbology, reminding us that if you take the racial memory back far enough, there was once nothing more terrifying and evil than whatever it was that lay past the treeline.

Think, if you can, of a Little Red Riding Hood removed of the ironic Looney Tunes veneer we veterans of the Industrial Revolution have brushed over it. Think past the Brothers Grimm, who were sometimes waylaid by their dreams of German unity. Think, instead, of the source folk tale, of the menace of the wolf, the very deadly dangerous and cunning carnivore of the deepest darkest reaches of the Woods, bloodthirsty and absolutely unpredictable, long powerful jaws dripping with drool, likely to attack at any moment, to leap from the shadows even in corners of the forest you had been naive enough to think might have been safe.

Or think of the cannibalistic witch of Hansel and Gretel, whose sinister phantasm trap of a gingerbread house also lay deep within the forest that is considered by the stepmother to be nothing less than a death sentence for the two children. Or of the similarly anthropophagic Baba Yaga, whose home within the Woods rested on magically animated chicken feet, and whose palisade without was made of human bones, with a ring of skulls perched atop.

These are the myths we created once upon a time in order to explicate our fear of the dark and of the unknown that lived within the Woods. And though we've forgotten about them now, or turned them into Saturday morning cartoons, the way that they rationalized our most primal fears was once essential.

Baba Yaga
These ultimately pagan myths of the ogres, monsters, wolves and witches rumored by fabulists to dwell within harken back to the neolithic Hercynian Forest: a vast, dense, dangerous place where the sun could not reach and where man for the most part was nothing more than additional prey. It was a place where he simply did not belong, and the consequences of being caught there were dire indeed.

This is all grave, powerful, heavy stuff that taps deep into the medulla, and as the Pelican tune awakes, and stirs, as it throbs with menace, as the minor key dissonance explodes into a thunderous roar, as the final chase through the dark copses plays out, all you can think of as the listener is how perceptive Pelican were to tap into this, and remind us of the older, primordial fears.

'Coz Slayer are a great band and all, but in the end, Pelican are here to remind us that, when it comes to horror and dread, Satan's nothing more than a goddamned newcomer.

Pelican - Pelican - 04 - The Woods.mp3

This file was removed February 5, 2009. If you're still way interested in coming up with a copy of this--and really can't figure out where you might get one--drop me an email and I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out for you.

File under: Post-metal


rastronomicals said...

Noted without comment because I haven't heard it: Black metal band Cirith Gorgor and their EP Through Woods Of Darkness And Evil

The Biggest of Als said...

A lot of something has gone into this blog and I am not sure what it is but I thoroughly enjoyed reading