The cover of A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die. The hand glows in the dark.
Probably my biggest fear in opening up The Horror Blog to outside contributors was the possiblity that they would show me up and reveal me for the fraud I am. I’m happy to report that our first guest blogger, Teresa, of the always edifying In Sequence, has done just that. Teresa is my comrade-in-arms from my days of haunting the comics blogosphere (as well as a superb belly-dancer as seen in the picture to the left) and it warms my heart to see one of the old guard still providing quality observations on the world of sequential art. Thanks again, Teresa, and if you like what you read below I urge you to visit In Sequence for more of the same.
The Flesheaters: A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die
When I first heard the Flesheaters second album, “A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die,” I didn’t think of it as being connected to the horror genre, a relationship that seems obvious to me now.
I was a teenager then, and the angst expressed by the punk bands I liked was what attracted me to them. Intellectually, I knew these bands were considered shocking and aberrant, but emotionally, they seemed like natural extensions of the feelings I had every day.
Listening to “A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die,” I felt drawn into an infernal yet sympathetic nocturnal world. The first cut, “Digging My Grave,” begins with a spooky slo-mo chant:
Joyride leading to jail
And as it breaks through the wall
A ten-year-old learns how to die
Headache under florescent light
The creaking noise beneath the chant quickly changes to a driving rock beat, punctuated by lead singer Chris D.’s screaming vocals and a piercing, demented saxophone. Marimbas chime in the background, creating a velvet mood.
The stories told in the album lyrics, all but one written by Chris D., are macabre. They begin with a grim tale of family murder and end with an ode to lycanthropic transition. The hand-scrawled lyrics contained on the album liner added to the sensation that the album was an urgent communication from a captive in a demon-filled insane asylum.
My favorite song on the album is “River of Fever.” The lyrics contain what I have always considered a profound meditation on fear:
Fear subdued by thought was no fear at all
And strength is left undone
Deep down you’re bold and clever
Til those fingers close round your heart
What it means to me is that fear is a primary, or frontline, emotion. True fear is not something that can be easily reigned in or overcome. Our more civilized or developed feelings, such as bravery or rationality or thoughtful planning may, in time, grow from having had a fearful experience. But in the moment, one does not quell fear. In the moment, fear is always bigger than one’s self.