“Do you hear the lurid call of the Wild Turkey? The furious gobble and the toileted hurl?” ~ James Fenimore Cooper
It’s Thanksgiving in LastRitesville, USA, and some of us staffers are overwhelmed with enough warm, appreciative feels that we thought it might be nice to compile some (possibly) appropriate music and cobble-cobble together some cordial quips to help vent our thankfulness. We encourage you to imagine each of these entries penned upon an applicable holiday card and hand-delivered to your actual real-life mailbox. Aren’t we a delight? Pass the stuffing, please.
The idea is simple: Pick a song that reminds you of the day, tell the world why you chose it, and give a nod to anything/anyone you’re thankful to have in your life. We invite you to do the same in the comments, if you’re not preoccupied by your pesky family or, you know, outside T-day territory.
And on a serious note, we are all very thankful to you, our readers, and for your continued support. Eat until stuffed, drink until drunk (or at least buzzed? Caffeinated? Hydrated?), and snooze until your uncle Gary tells you to get the hell out of his Throne de la Barcalounger.
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“Hail Mary” – Testament
A Testament song is a pretty obvious choice for Thanksgiving, seeing as vocalist Chuck Billy is proud of his Pomo heritage (wrong side of the continent, I know). But it wasn’t just the “Trail of Tears”-to-Low-to-“Hail Mary” thought process that did it, but the fact that holidays typically involve at least a couple of my religious fanatic relatives. For this, I am not so thankful.
What I am truly thankful for, however, is having a bunch of music fan friends that are older than me, so that I always have a reference when exploring yet another new layer of rock and metal’s history. This year, it was a ton of post-punk and goth sneaking into my life: Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy, etc. I got lots of help from our resident Captain and the man named Andrew for finally doing more than just cracking the surface of these and other bands. Also, thanks to former MetalReview/Last Rites editor “Eminor” Mooring for being relentless in getting me into Killing Joke. Obsession: initiated.
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“Cornucopia” – Black Sabbath
I’m Canadian, and we had the proper Thanksgiving a month ago in October. But regardless of whether you sport a toque or a “knit hat” when the weather gets colder, I think we can all agree – what kinda goddamn Thanksgiving would it be without a goat horn o’plenty, ‘spesh this one bursting with a fat amplitude of Iommi sheet-lightning riffs?
For this, I sure am thankful. Amen.
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“Thank God for the Bomb” – Ozzy Osbourne
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Now that I got that out of the way, this November marked my ten year anniversary working/writing/editing/harassing under the combined banner of MetalReview and LastRites. An effort such as this hasn’t been without its share of frustrations, I assure you, and although it’s generally a thankless job, I’ve certainly found quite a lot to be thankful for over the years: All the wonderful music provided by countless bands, the PR companies/individuals for their tireless dedication in helping to push this amazing genre, my comrades in arms (past and present), and of course the readers who make it all worth while. We rule the night.
MORE HEAVY GRAVY.
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“Indians” – Anthrax
For pretty much every American school kid, whatever iconic imagery of Thanksgiving that doesn’t consist of turkeys instead consists of Pilgrims and Indians eating a lovely dinner in their buckle hats and feathered headdresses. The idea of the natives and the invaders supping together peacefully certainly conjures up a more pleasant thought than anything dwelling upon what would happen to the natives in the next century or so, and that’s really what this song is about, of course — Belladonna’s obvious Native American ancestry informing a well-intentioned-but-slightly-hamfisted take on the plight of his people, replete with a few corny stock “Indian-sounding” riffs. “Even though they know how much their lives are really missing / we’re dissing them / on reservations, a hopeless situation” — it’s not poetry, really, but it rocks like hell, and I’m thankful it does.
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“Beaten and Eaten” – Troglodyte
What does a meat and potatoes death metal band have to do with Thanksgiving? Nothing, except that it will go along with your …er, meat and potatoes. Imagine how the holiday would be different today if the colonists had to fight off assaults from sasquatches instead of breaking bread with Native Americans before shamelessly slaughtering them and ripping them off over the ensuing centuries.
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“Aren’t You Hungry?” – M.O.D.
Ode to Billy.
Thank you, Dear God, for heavy metal as a means for young Lone to express all those crazy teen feelings of angst and rebellion, ungainliness and unrest. Thank you, My Lord, for dark humor that helped me explore heavy themes, like war and the poor and whether we care anymore, to reveal truth in-between the extremes. And when I heard songs like this one, splitting the Realist and Idealist in me, thank you most of all, Father, for Billy Fucking Milano, the picture of what not to be.
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“World Eater” – Bolt Thrower
I like to eat. A lot. I have a physical job, and I exercise regularly, so I have a pretty high metabolism, and, consequently, I’m hungry most of the time. I spend the morning thinking about lunch, the afternoon thinking about dinner, and when I go to sleep I dream of Tony the Tiger and Jimmy Dean. So, a holiday dedicated to stuffing one’s face is right up my alley. On Thanksgiving, after basking in the aroma of cooking turkey for several hours and downing a few couple beers to lower my blood sugar, you can bet your ass that I’m pretty pumped to chow down. As I approach the table, Hell-bent on eating everything in sight, Karl Willets bellowing “Worrrrrld Eaterrrrrr” invariably enters my head.
In the aftermath, as I doze through a football game, sometimes it occurs to me how lucky I am to live in a land where food is so plentiful, and to have the means to afford it. I’m often hungry, but I’ve never had to go hungry. There are all too many in this world who are not so fortunate.
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“Over the Middle” – Forbidden
Football has become as intertwined with the Thanksgiving holiday that the two are practically indistinguishable from one another. Whether carving up turkeys or defenses; preparing the stuffing or stuffing the running back; blitzing stores on Black Friday or blitzing the quarterback on 3rd down, they both very much embody the American spirit. The violence of ground acquisition is brought to life in full metal fury by Forbidden on the oft-maligned album Green, complete with the sampled voices of John Madden and Pat Summerall. “Over The Middle” will have you longing for the days when the sport of football wasn’t so pussified, and in turn, of Thanksgivings spent with your late grandfather yelling at the television.
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“Grateful” – Anacrusis
One of the things I always enjoy about Thanksgiving is its near-singular purpose: gratitude with a side of food and/or booze. No preoccupation with romance or pranks or costumes or gifts—basically, hope you had a good year thus far, now stuff your big facehole and buck up for holiday season. Invariably, one of the tunes that lodges in my head for the duration is “Grateful” by Anacrusis from their masterful 1993 swansong, Screams and Whispers. For me, it’s mostly due to the loose association with the title (and super-infectious ninety-degree turn halfway through) because the lyrics literally read like… what… Kenn Nardi had some relationship issues, possibly involving suspicious minds, yet was ultimately appreciative, perhaps sardonically? From a musical standpoint, this is one of the finest examples of how to tastefully integrate synths with progressive metal—initially rare during the genre’s nascence, and seldom duplicated as effectively in the 22 years to follow. But really, more than anything else, I’m still just rocking that chorus.
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Editor’s Note: Should we be proud or ashamed that no one chose Bloodbath’s “Eaten?”