Monday, 27 January 2014

Like blood from The Beloved

by Claire McDermott

Blood. The remarkable fluid that flows inside every living creature. This viscous fluid that heals and protects, sustains and drives each and every one of us. How often do you think about the billions of blood cells moving around inside your body right now and at every moment of your life?

Does the thought of a bleeding wound make you dizzy?

Do you relish the thought of eating a bloody steak?

Have you considered the danger that blood presents at spreading disease?

Can your blood type reveal more about you as a person?

Do you feel the need to say the word 'blood' like Bela Lugosi?

At SUB on 1st February we will spent time reflecting on this multi-faceted miracle of nature, considering the extent of power and horror that blood can inspire. This will be an informal gathering, but be prepared for some serious engagement. There will be blood!

Monday, 20 January 2014

Extol, a brief history

One of my favourite metal bands is Extol. Hailing from Norway, they are surrounded by amazing music, legends, history and visual wonder. Over the last few decades, Scandinavia has produced a significant number of important bands in the many flavours of the metal scene. Extol reflect this somewhat in moving from extreme / black metal beginnings through death metal into progressive and thrash metal stylings. To those unfamiliar with these nuances, it basically means that with each subsequent release you can actually understand more of their lyrics without having to refer to liner notes.

Forming in 1993, the band released their first 3-track demo, Embraced, in 1997, following that with their first album, Burial, in 1998 and presented 3 Burial track remixes as their first EP, Mesmerized, in 1999 by the Swedish industrial groups Raison D'Etre and Sanctum. During this timeframe the band have toured in Europe and the States, played festivals, shifted lineups, signed to Endtime Productions and licensed by Solid State Records (a massive Christian music label) in America and Avalon Records in Japan.

Moving into a death metal style, the new millennium brought album Undeceived and in 2001 the EP Paralysis. Breaking from Endtime in 2002, Extol signed to massive secular metal label Century Media and morphed into a slightly more thrashy style for 2003's album, Synergy. For me, this move to Century Media is significant and notable of their approach. The band members identify themselves as Christian and their music is clearly influenced by this, but they haven't hived themselves off into a Christian musical cul-de-sac. They have taken their music into the secular world to be a light in that darkness. This is exemplified by them then being able to tour Europe and the US with Opeth, one of the most significant metal bands on the planet.

In 2005 they produced the album I favour most from their collection, and arguable their most accessible, The Blueprint Dives. Blueprint was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy and placed in the top 5 albums of the year in Norwey's biggest newspaper Dagbladet (because Norwegians love metal so much they have listings in their newspapers!). Extol toured this album with Opeth again, joined this time by two more heavy-weights, Mastodon and God Forbid.

Taking a break from 2007-2012 to work on other musical projects, Extol returned with a new death metal album in 2013, Extol. Sub have featured some of their tracks in Greenbelt services past. If you don't already know them and like this kind of music, I encourage you to check them out.

Monday, 13 January 2014

What's in a word? (Part 2)

by Kolyn Amor

Over the festive season my partner went to see the Mission perform in Köln (all right for some!) and got a little too close to Mr. Hussey for my liking!

Their latest album ‘The Brightest Light’ is quite reflective in many ways and contains a track entitled ‘Litany for the Faithful’ (or ‘Litanei für die Gläubigen’ if you happen to be German!) One definition of a litany is ‘a ceremonial or liturgical form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications with responses that are the same for a number in succession’ - the repetition of words one could say, in order to evoke meaning within a community in an attempt to be part of ‘The Word.’ Perhaps this song does or doesn’t fit within that definition, but as a repetitive reflection of life I personally find it works as much as any words can.

If the word’s on the tip of your tongue(s) then maybe you could try to ‘The Word’ up...

I've sang you songs of candlelight and razor blades
I've sang you songs of being loved and betrayed
I've sang you songs of redemption and righteous crusade
I've sang you songs that made you laugh and made you cry
I've sang the blues and I've sang you lullabies
I've sang you songs of flaming one night stands and long goodbyes
I've sang you songs that rejoice and celebrate
I've sang of love by design and by fate
I've sang you songs of ache and lust and appetites to sate
I've sang you songs of the holy and divine
I've sang you songs of devils and cheap wine
I've sang you songs of fawning courtesans and concubines
I've sang you songs of sadness and of pain
I've sang you songs of the needle and the vein
I've sang the songs of the tears washed away by the rain
I've sang the songs of loss of grief and despair
I've sang the songs of destruction and repair
I've sang you songs of hope belief and faith in prayer
I've sang you songs of birth and of death
I've sang you songs of air and of breath
I've given you songs born of cocaine and crystal meth
I've sang the songs of ageing ruin and decay
I've sang you songs of the hunter and his prey
I've sang the songs of disenchantment fear and dismay
I've sang you songs of blame and accusation
I've sang you songs of shame and recrimination
I've sang you songs of regret guilt penance and salvation
I've sang you songs the words of others and made you believe they're mine
I've sang the songs of heaven of Gods and stars that shine
I've sang you songs that have touched you sent shivers down your spine
I've sang the songs that made your heart sing
That made you feel like a bird on the wing
That made you soar and sometimes roar I made you sing
But I can't bring myself to sing
Of ever leaving you

Of ever leaving

Monday, 6 January 2014

What's in a word? (Part 1)

by Kolyn Amor

“For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."
T.S. Eliot

What’s the word?
Word up.
Give me your word.
I’ll take you at your word.
Actions speak louder than words.

Let me make it simple...

Semiotics classifies signs or sign systems in relation to the way they are transmitted. This process of carrying meaning depends on the use of codes that may be the individual sounds or letters that humans use to form words, the body movements they make to show attitude or emotion, or even something as general as the clothes they wear. To coin a word to refer to a thing, the community must agree on a simple meaning within their ‘language’. But that word can transmit that meaning only within the language's grammatical structures and codes. Codes also represent the values of the culture, and are able to add new shades of connotation to every aspect of life.

In other words...

The word you say only has meaning if the person receiving it understands what it refers to. The word ‘balloon’ is not actually a ‘balloon’ - it’s a series of sounds emanating from a mouth or something visually represented in some form. It only has meaning if the receiver understands that sounds or visual representations. If I saw a piece of plastic filled with air or helium, I could call it a 'kdshvb’ if the person I was communicating to would understand what 'kdshvb' referred to.

In the beginning was ‘The Word’. Maybe that particular ‘Word’ transcends all of that and actually is both signifier (word) and signified (actuality) - one that can be universally understood by all.

Next week I provide an example of how this can work itself out in a practical way.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Blood gathering

Just to confirm SUB will gather in Sacred Trinity on Saturday Feb 1st from 1-3pm. Claire will host with a theme of Blood. Come along if you can and if you plan on coming, let me know so we can wait for you in case you're running late.