Dragged Into Sunlight: When Misanthropy and Music Collide

DIS 1

When the prisoners of Plato’s allegory of the cave were compelled out of their subterranean domain, where they lived with the shadows of deception, into the light of truth, they convulsed at the onslaught of a relentlessly bright world. Only after their eyes slowly adjusted did they begin to appreciate, even adore, the world revealed to them. However, what happens when the sun is too painful because it’s simply not your natural environment? Like a vampire, werewolf, or ghost, your world is the world of darkness. So, if you’re dragged into sunlight against your will, your impulse will be, not only to return to the shadows from where you were found, but perhaps even seek the deeper recesses of your realm of choice. When the extreme metal band Dragged Into Sunlight was asked in an interview with Slug Magazine about why they perform with their backs to the audience on a dimly lit stage, they answered, “Dragged Into Sunlight is an ugliness best kept in the dark.” At the same time, the band also stated, “There is definitely some beauty to be found in the unknown.”

On Sunday, July 17, 2016, in the hot and humid cavern of Club Congress in Tucson, Arizona, I saw Dragged Into Sunlight perform for the first time.  They were touring on their recently released collaboration with Gnaw Their Tongues NV, which stands for “negative volume.” However, their set was a mix of their current release and tracks from their first full album Hatred For Mankind (2014). What I experienced in that small venue was an apocalyptic eruption of grinding chords, pounding drums, and vocals from the pits of Hell. True to form, the band played their roughly fifty-minute set in an alternation of dim stage lights and constant strobing, which was off-set with a huge candelabra standing in the middle of the forestage.  I never saw any of the band members’ faces once, including the bassist, whose microphone was setup to face the audience.

DIS 2

As for the music, the show opened with “To Hieron,” which is the fourth track on Hatred For Mankind. Like many song lyrics, the words of “To Hieron” evoke different things to different listeners. According to DarkLyrics.com, what is sung in a highly stylized voice of anguish and aggression are the words:

Watching, waiting, visible

Skeleton witch,
Starved for weeks

Dethroned, defleshed, and stoned to death,
Lashed to the grinder

Jaws locked around your face
Think before you fucking speak

With respect to the origins of Hieron, it is an ancient Greek word for “temple” or “sacred space,” in addition to being the name of a 5th century BC kingdom on the island of Syracuse. Does the song have to do with either of these meanings? Obliquely, at best. More obviously, in my mind, the song conjures an image of utter destitution and forlornness, the kind of punishment that only an angry god can inflict upon someone. What I’m trying to say, then, with regard to Dragged Into Sunlight’s performance is that “To Hieron” set the tone for the entire show, which was fucking loud and amazing! If William Blake were alive today to form an extreme metal band, it would probably be Dragged Into Sunlight. There is, indeed, a kind of beauty to the unknown. By the time the band ended its set, no one spoke to the audience once and the show suddenly ended with a completely darkened stage. No thank you or goodbye. It was a brilliantly conceived stage show. In the end, my long wait to see this band perform live was well worth it. In fact, it seems nothing short of a dark miracle that their tour found its way to Congress Street in downtown Tucson. I hope the forces of darkness send them my way again. Please enjoy the video clip I recorded below:

Photo and video credits: David Martínez

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s