Samsara

Band/Artist: Venom Prison
Album: Samsara
Best song: “Uterine Industrialisation” and “Naraka “
Worst song: “Self Inflicted Violence”

I’m not going to get into my dating life here (short version: I’ve not dated in ages because women sometimes pursue me despite my being a disaster person and I’m not interseted in them. I am incredibly stupid.), but I do enjoy getting glimpses of what dating is like for my younger generational mates .

I remember being this person a while ago, with various levels of success in the music vein – one loved Chelsea Wolfe, another loved that Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan album, that same second woman absolutely hated Braid – but I don’t think I did much in the way of TV outside of 30 Rock. But, with music, I find that experience pretty organic. I go to shows sometimes, but with the same people I’ve always gone to shows with.

My maturity – such as it is, being that I’m still a wildly immature disaster person – has come with the realization that Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity notion that we are who we are, not the things we like. It’s OK to like or care about things that don’t define us, but can. I share, as I’ve written in the Myrkur bit, a fandom that likely includes a lot of white nationalists, but I certainly couldn’t hang with them simply because we both like a Danish black metal lady singing in French. Those fucking people want me dead. I also made incredible connections with the people I went on a synagogue Israel trip with, despite the fact that we have exactly two things in common: we live in the D.C. region and we are Jewish.

For example: One of my softball teammates (approximately the same age as I am) is a delightful person, but she travels to see the Dave Matthews Band. If we’d known one another even 15 years ago, I would’ve thought her a dummy or worse because DMB was the worst band of my HS and college years. Now? She’s just someone with different taste.

I don’t have a transition here (the zipper is showing here and this is my blog. Like I said yesterday: You are free to leave. It costs you nothing to read and nothing to not read.), so I’ll just note that my black metal tastes are the type of thing that I imagine would make some of my friends blush. Venom Prison is hardly a huge band, but the Welsh feminist death metal outfit’s second album is one of my favorites of the genre. Everything the band does is brutal, in the best way, from the lyrics to the guitar sound to even the cover that emphasizes the band’s focus on reproductive rights.

Vocalist Larissa Stupar’s scream is unique for the genre and Samsara amps up her lyrical skills. Death metal lyrics are not heard as much as read – a scream almost always sounds like a scream – and Stupar’s lyrics are full of the rage that echoes the music. “Megillus & Leaena” tells the tragic tale of a trans person murdered for who they are, while “Uterine Industrialisation” is about exactly what you think it’s about. Joe Bills’ machine-gun drums litters “Naraka,” while Ben Thomas’ guitar solo amplifies Stupar’s hell – “Naraka” is realm of hell in Dharmic traditions – that is our declining climate. The songs take their darkness from different traditions, but they end up in the same place: fury, sadness and pain.

I get that death metal isn’t for everyone and even most of the extreme metal I enjoy – Deafheaven and Myrkur come to mind – is hardly typical of the genre. Venom Prison, on the other hand, is a typical version of the genre. In fact, it’s one of the best examples of the genre. I’m not going to recommend it to anyone I know, but it’s great nonetheless.

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