Posts Tagged ‘Pagan’s Mind’
I read two papers every day – the Chicago Sun-Times and the London Daily Telegraph. By “read”, I of course mean “read on my phone” – seriously, who has time to pull an actual newspaper out of its plastic sheath, unless you’re itching for some Sudoku (which of course is also available on one’s phone) or the nostalgic innocence of reading Dick Tracy with the smell of newsprint in your nose?
I read the Telegraph because I like to get a global perspective on things. I’m sure I could get a similar perspective by simply sticking with the Sun-Times, but by the time I make my way through the “Crime” section, I’m exhausted. The Telegraph is useful because not only do you get breaking news on the international cricket scene and the machinations of Parliament, you also get a heavy dose of coverage on the Euro crisis. This is helpful in case you forgot your morning tradition of banging your head into your bedroom wall sixty-seven times, or if your spouse is refusing to honor your request to smack you in the ass with a cactus because it “builds character”.
The Euro crisis is an insult to common sense, and it’s been this way for months. One day Europe’s headed to Hades in a hand basket. The next day, hope is on the horizon and the continent is suddenly re-galvanized. Up and down the yo-yo goes. I don’t know how a reporter can cover this ridiculousness and not go completely insane. Every animal-related cliché is in play here: the dog chasing his tail, the hamster on the wheel, the donkey trying to lick its own ass, the monkey trying to knock himself off of a branch by smelling his own – ah, never mind.
One morning I read that such-and-such body has approved a three-trillion bailout. Twenty-four hours later, Greece is back on the brink of default because the amount isn’t great enough, and oh by the way, the Germans hate the French. This is pure, unadulterated insanity. It’s self-serving, politico-elitist poppycock that only parasitic politicians could think possesses some shred of dignity and logic, while their constituents suffer on a daily basis. Until the ruling class suffers along with the average person — and until “let’s throw more money at the problem” is flushed down the Crapper of Bad Solutions once and for all — it’s difficult to believe that any politician or banker has a sincere interest in bringing an end to the madness.
Earlier I used the phrase “hope is on the horizon” – unfortunately, when hope is the S.S. IMF carrying a boat-load of money, you’d better grab that rosary again. It’s a sad day when our “leaders” believe that throwing money at a problem like this will actually work. These politicians are so greedy and so enamored with money, and all of the financial spin and mathematical tinkering and economic minutia that exists to inflate its worldly value, that they’re blinded to the sociological/anthropologic aspect of the crisis, and the idea that a workable, long-lasting solution can only come once the problem is attacked from this point-of-view. To think that a country like Greece is suddenly going to “wise up” and start acting the same way the Germans do simply because their coffers are a quarter full again is laughable. Same goes for Italy, Portugal, Spain and Hungary.
I always thought Europeans were more grounded than Americans, and less materialistic/money-driven — but day after day I’m proven wrong. I will temper this statement by saying that the American financial district surely has a hand in “sorting all of this out”, which is the last thing the Europeans should want at this point.
These are dark times – hopefully they preface some reawakening in common sense, values and decency, but for now it sucks to watch.
Looking to the sky for help –
I listen to Pagan’s Mind a lot, a practice which leads to all sorts of existential thinking about who we are, where we’re from and where we’re going.
Our “material” evolution – the ability to make things smaller, faster, better – continues at light speed, just as it has for the last hundred years. The jury’s still out on the “spiritual” side of things, but recent advancements made on the material side, particularly in terms of science and space exploration, have got me wondering more than ever: where exactly is all of this leading us? To what end do we march? Maybe “end” is the wrong word – “next phase” is more appropriate. But as we reach out towards the space around us, gradually expanding our knowledge of it and in the process deepening the mystery of what it is, who/what else populates it and how we fit in, the question becomes: is it a quest best suited for the body or the soul?
“Spirit Starcruiser” is a song by Pagan’s Mind, and while I don’t know the band’s exact meaning behind the title and lyrics, listening to it always makes me reflect on the theory that the soul is the ultimate spaceship – and (forgive my morbidity) death is the ultimate launching pad. Following this train of thought, perhaps there are regions of corporeal space inaccessible to any man-made construction, and reachable only by the spirit. Of course, it also may be that the regions accessible only by the spirit are in fact not part of corporeal space. Which gives rise to yet another question: is “the beyond” simply a far-off region of corporeal space that we haven’t accessed yet, and may not have the technology to for another million years — or does it exist in a different plane/dimension of reality altogether?
So many questions. So few answers. Here to help us out are Nils, Jorn and co. “Spirit Starcruiser” has one of my favorite outros of all time – and not just because it commences with my favorite guitar technique of all time, the artificial harmonic.
Earlier this year, a friend sent me a link to a website called www.mapofmetal.com. I can sum up this site in four syllables: “fu – cking awe – some”. Whoever created it is a genius on the same level as Arthur C. Clarke and Gary Dahl. Before MOM, my progressive metal library consisted of Dream Theater – and if we expand the category to include anything “progressive”, you could throw Yes in there too. Side note to my good friend, Denver Super Fan Tom Pretty: yes, the Scorpions are metal – but they aren’t progressive metal. Nevertheless, they treten sie arsch all day long. Anyways, through MOM I became acquainted with several incredible prog metal bands, and have since been on a quest to discover more. The site has changed me forever – I feel like I’ve evolved from hunched-over knuckle-dragger to upright worshipper of the best music earth has to offer.
Which brings me to Pagan’s Mind, a progressive metal band hailing from Norway – a snowy land of majestic fjords, fair-skinned beauties and, oddly enough, home to two fraternity brothers of mine. I don’t know how we ended up with two Norwegians and a Swede in our frat (I hate using that word, but I already used “fraternity”) – they must have slipped in while I was tumbling drunk down sixteen rows of bleachers at the CU/Miami game in September ‘93. But back on topic: Pagan’s Mind is unbelievable. The singer, Nils K. Rue, sings with a voice that can only be the product of a titanium-reinforced larynx. The guitarist, Jorn Viggo Lofstad, has a unique sound which, a la Zakk Wylde, incorporates a lot of artificial harmonics – probably my favorite guitar technique. Every time I hear one, I have the same reaction: my face reflexively scrunches up, my left index finger starts to shake and I make a “Beyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeerrrr!” sound.
Not only is Pagan’s Mind talented musically, but many of their songs are about aliens and the ancient astronaut theory – so if you listen long enough, I guarantee you’ll feel a tickle in your pineal gland. Trust me. Along these lines, Rue admits to being a big fan of the movie Stargate — which, if you did away with the subplots involving a) James Spader’s hot but unnecessary love interest and b) the pack of intergalactic orphans that follows them around throughout the last half of the movie, would have been really good.
Here’s a live performance of a song called “Supremacy, Our Kind”. Yes, it’s about mankind being spawned by aliens.