Thursday, September 4, 2008

These are my tombs

I’m a fairly serious music fan. Or rather, music is a very serious thing to me. I have very firm opinions on what I like and don’t like. And above all, what everyone else should like. I’m always right. Except in some cases when I’m up against mistlur

But sometimes things happen that take it to a whole other level of seriousness even for me.

In November 2006, my friend Henrik passed away. I found out in a very strange way, that I won’t go into now, since it’s a long story, but I was at work and took it hard. I basically just packed up my stuff and rushed out of there. Like always, I pulled on my headphones and pressed Play.

Converge’s “Grim Heart/Black Rose” came on. It’s the only song off “No Heroes” where they use clean, melodious lyrics instead of Bannon’s tortured screams, and at almost ten minutes it’s five times longer than the average song on that album. It’s one of those songs that just builds and builds, layer upon layer of melodies and emotion, until it explodes in all-out Converge signature chaos. I walked to the subway in tears.

Since then that song has been associated with him, and his death, closely tied to the emotions I went through that day. I haven’t been able to listen to it unless I’m in a good mood.

The same goes for Come Sleep’s “For Sleep” (not the version on the album, strangely enough, but the one on the “I Am Ahab” demo – and yes, mistlur, I know it’s called “Skull of Ahab” but I consider myself hardcore enough to go with the first name) and System of a Down’s “Lonely Day”.

We were supposed to go see Come Sleep, Henrik and I, a few days after he passed away. I went anyway, and was again reduced to tears as the band dedicated that particular song to my grief and loss. And the SOAD song was played at the funeral. Again, tears.

All three songs are now tied to him, and those weeks around his passing and his funeral.

Today, on my way to my creative writing group, I went to visit Henrik at the graveyard. I sat on a bench, underneath the drooping branches of an old tree planted there, and listened to “Grim Heart/Black Rose”. At the other end of the bench a woman was sitting, smoking, staring at a vase of flowers on the memory stand. From the looks of her, I would say she was much more recently bereaved.

I felt at peace, and think that I may have, at least on some level, come to terms with the fact that he isn’t around anymore. I still think about him a lot, and probably always will, but the warm memories now far outweigh the horror of finding out he was gone. And so, I have through the passage of time, also come to terms with at least one of those songs. Time will tell if that goes for the other two as well.

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