Shining Light On The Dark Ages: The Concept of Mind Over Metal
Throughout human history, music has been an ever changing and evolving art form. It has embraced and expressed the views of many tribes and nations, and the beliefs that make them unique. From Creation, music and sound have played an important role in molding and shaping the voices and expression of basic human communication.
Sound is one of the first senses that helped us develop our conception of the world around us. We distinguish different vibrational impulses from the moment we are born. Sound is vibration and vibration is life. Sound itself is living. When we look at how sound reaches us in everyday surroundings, and how it is used music, we realize that all life is music, and music is life itself expressed!
In all cultures and religions there are many theories as to how life was created, all of which involve sound and vibration. The most widely talked about are the big bang theory of evolution, which proposes that a spontaneous explosion of energy vibrated throughout the universe and brought particles of matter into a creative life-bringing motion. And then there’s the theory of creation, in which God created the Heavens and the Earth with the power of the word, breathing life into all living things. While there are many ideas about how we came into existence, all of them seem to be undeniably rooted in the belief that sound and vibration played a major role, whatever your personal view or belief of life’s humble beginnings.
All vibration carries within it a frequency of sound. Some
are inaudible but many are detectable by the human ear. Even in the insect and animal world you can find many examples of the living vibration of sound. These vibrations--by their depth, length, and timbre--carry with them certain effects.
Here we see a visual representation of sound in the form of a wave. As the sound changes in pitch and speed the vibrations increase and decrease forming an invisible wave of sound that we hear as sound waves.
Each person carries their own vibration. Our frequency resonates throughout our bodies and touches us somewhere deep within. This is why each of us is drawn to a particular sound and style of music. What brings satisfaction to one’s ear may be pure racket to another.
“It is the state of vibrations to which man is tuned
that accounts for his soul’s note.”
-Hazrat Inayat Khan
With this in mind, let’s think for a moment about what draws many of us to be moved, and uplifted, by the ferocious and sonic onslaught of heavy metal. For some it’s the release of a frantic energy built up inside us, for others it’s the raw power and passion behind the music. Metal has taken a great deal of criticism for its dark and largely misunderstood lyrical content, but in fact metal has long been one of the most spiritually uplifting forms of art, touching the hearts and minds of millions as a positive outlet for real, deep, dark emotions.
Often times metal has been praised for its ties to classical music. No other style since has displayed as much form, phrasing and dynamics the way as metal. Classic metal masterpieces such as Metallica’s Master of Puppets use authentic classical forms (in the case of Master of Puppets, sonata allegro form). It’s no great mystery why heavy metal has made an impact and continues to be a dominant force in the music industry.
Yet there are mysterious elements in metal music, in its sound and presentation, and the philosophical questions and concepts poetically expressed through its art. It is this mystical element beneath the music that drives the real connection between the music and its fans.
Whether the spiritual and mathematical concepts presented in progressive metal, the incantations and mythic chants of black and gothic metal, or the ever-pervading questions and commentary of life and death that are expressed in death metal, there is no denying it has long been an art form hell-bent on delivering the purest expression of the soul.
Through all the years of growth metal has never lost that underlining mystical element that draws listeners in for a truly transformative listening experience!
Also known in Italian as corna or, mano cornuta,the sign of the horns has often been mistaken as a demonic sign relating to satanic music. However, It is identical to the Karana mudra of Eastern religions. The late Ronnie James Dio later popularized it when he was a member of Black Sabbath. It lives on as a symbolic statement of rock n roll, particularly among heavy metal and hard rock bands.
Music is a living, vibrating energy and it's expression can take on many names and forms that may or may not compliment the essence of the sound they express, but it is the expression of these feelings through sound that stirs the soul and creates this mystical experience in which you and the music are united.
So in looking at how sound & vibrations have been transformed to express human emotions the way that Metal has we can see how these ideas can apply to musicality as a whole. But things of the spirit are beyond name and form and when truly expressing the feelings of the soul no name or genre can be assigned to it. However, I believe that by expressing yourself musically with a certain intention behind it you can awaken a very powerfully creative force within yourself. So by learning to fuse together your own human essence with creative expression we can then draw from that which has inspired us in the past and re-echo the sentiments of that inspiration in our own present musical expression leaving our personal imprint to sonically carry forth into the future.