Category Archives: Mental Metal

Crushing Hammers of Metal


After discovering that the word ’monolith’ is used in quite a few song- and album titles (here), I started to look for other words that are common in heavy metal. With the help of my buddies on The History of Metal forum on FB, I ended up with a pretty long list of songs, albums and band names that have the word ‘hammer’ in them. So what is the deal with hammers?

A heavy, crushing, smashing weapon made of metal. That represents the sound of many bands in our favourite genre. But it can also be a mysterious and mighty magic item, like Thor’s hammer in old Norse mythology. There is also the judge’s hammer of justice that has the power to change your life. And, of course, the construction tool that makes lots of noise, used to build up and break down structures. What do you think is the reason so many bands chooses to include hammers in their music? It’s not always obvious what they symbolize in the lyrics. What’s your interpretation?

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Proud Monoliths of Metal

220535712973040328_kVQMaV31_cThe other day something caught my attention. I kept seeing the word ‘monolith’ everywhere. Song titles, albums, band names… It popped up when I least expected it, always when I was spending time discovering new bands and albums. I admit, it’s a very good looking word. It feels mysterious and can be used in many different ways. The tall, often erected stone structure is historical, there are many old myths and legends about monoliths, made of one solid piece of rock either shaped by nature or constructed by humans. Maybe the mythical and mystical shape contributes to the fascination we have with these huge rocks?

It made me curious, how many symbolic meanings exist and what are they? How is the symbolism used in song lyrics and album titles?

Something solitary, standing proudly alone. It’s solid and can’t be moved by ordinary men, unaffected by all living creatures. It’s tall, reaches far above and overshadows everything else. Something strong and powerful that can’t and won’t be ignored.


Maybe these songs below will help in finding more answers..

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Mental Metal: Mordecai

This week let’s take a look at what could possibly be my all-time favorite song, “Mordecai” by Between the Buried and Me.  I am cheating a little bit on this one because the band’s lyricist Tommy Rodgers wrote out the meaning behind the song in the liner notes of The Silent Circus CD.  So, along with posting his explanation, I’ll put my 2 cents in also.

This song is about how selfish and confused everyone are… it seems like one day you can be the happiest person in the world and the next day you hate everything for some odd reason. We take everything we have for granted (trust me, I’m in the same boat)… and no matter how much shit sucks for each one of us…there are always worse off people and we need to always keep that in mind… this song goes out to everyone that I’m friends with and spent quality time with… you make life amazing. The title “Mordecai” is from the bird’s name in “The Royal Tenenbaums”… I chose this name because in the movie, Luke Wilson kept Mordecai around because he loved it… and he finally realized that the bird needed to be on its own in the wild (the idea of freeing yourself).

I get emails all the time about the word “shevanel and plip”… it’s actually a very bizarre story: there is a homeless man in Raleigh, NC named “Shevanel” and he has a pet dog named “Plip”… yeah I know that’s probably the weirdest thing you have ever heard, but it is true. “Shevanel” seemed to always be happy every time I saw him, and it amazed me that someone with so little could be so stoked on life. Life is confusing and horrible at times but doing the things we love can make it the best thing on this planet.

For me this song is about freedom.  Freedom to be you, no matter the cost.  When you are stuck doing something that you don’t like you find yourself unhappy.  The first part (the chaotic part) represents us when we are trapped in a situation where we just can’t seem to get happy or excited about something or our lives.  The line “Tragic day seems too peaceful to most, spoiled ambitions turned my heart to black, black.” pretty much sums up how we feel when we fail at something that could truly make us happy.  But without the darkness, there can be no light, and that is where the song shines.  The next half of the song transitions into a beautiful array of stunning and uplifting music that could crack even the most stone of hearts.

When you are doing something that you wholeheartedly enjoy you experience pure happiness.  For the writer of the song, music is his passion and creating it is his true love.  While he faced many trials in reaching his goal of being able to make a living out of writing music, he succeeded and this part of the song represents his joy, his reaching of balance.  He also states ‘Plip and Shevenel’ which tells us we don’t need everything in the world to be happy, just love really.  When you find it you can be truly at peace with yourself.  And that guitar solo, man each time I hear it I get chills.  One of the most powerful and moving pieces of music I’ve ever heard.  Such freedom and passion in Paul Waggoner’s playing, it’s overwhelming really.

My favorite line from the second part of the song is “From the reciting of the show, from the Plip and the Shevanel, from the grind that annoys, and the sarcasm they all hate.”  Who care what you enjoy doing, just do it.  They don’t like what you’re doing to achieve happiness, F’ ’em.  While this song is from a musician’s point of view, I’m sure you can insert your own context and find peace in it.

What do you all think of the song “Mordecai” and it’s meaning.  Do songs such as this help you through your everyday life?  Does it inspire you to push to become the happiest person ever?  What song inspire you to pursue happiness?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Music and lyrics after the jump.

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