MUSIC

The Bloodiest Bands of All Time

These guys are bats*it crazy, but it's Spooky Season after all!

Spooky season is upon us, and that means that it's time for us to pay respect to the bands and artists that genuinely terrify us.

The world of music is such a diverse and creatively open environment, which is both a gift and a curse. It's a gift in that self-expression, no matter how horrid, is (usually) welcomed with open arms, and it's a curse because self-expression, no matter how horrid, is (usually) welcomed with open arms. Let's take a look at the worlds spookiest musical acts and pay homage to those that have scarred us forever!

Slipknot

You can't talk about scary musicians without discussing the antics of Corey Taylor's 17-piece metal ensemble: Slipknot. Those spooky masks aside, the guys have all come clean about the absolutely bats*it things they've done as a band. From getting pissed on by two girls to huffing the scent of a jarred bird's corpse to get high on stage, these guys have a gauntlet of horror stories seemingly with no end. Also, let's not forget that they got into a fight using their own feces. Rock on guys, I guess.

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

MUSIC

Why Is Tool So Hard to Love? Is That the Point?

We're honestly asking. Any answers to the questions below would be extremely helpful.

The band Tool has returned for the first time in 13 years, and we don't know what that means.

Popdust didn't think the band's reunion was a big deal, considering how the band handled the extremely pretentious promotional process for Fear Inoculum. But it seemingly worked. Tool fans from all corners of the earth rushed to binge the 80-minute spectacle, and as the reviews started to pour in, the majority of them were positive.

We were left with a lot of questions. Tool is undoubtedly the greatest metal band of all time and have repeatedly challenged and changed the way human beings enjoy music. With that said, this listicle comes from a genuine place. We want to enjoy Tool. We really do. But as one can imagine, the task feels insurmountable for us normies. Below are a few questions we would really like answered before diving into the Tool sensation.

Why are Tools songs so long?

TOOL - 7empest (Audio) youtu.be

Why is "7empest" 15 minutes long? 10 of those minutes are just electric guitar. Their riffs have the same strange tempo, the same BPM, for 10 minutes. Is that the appeal? What is being said in those extra 10 minutes that can't be said in 3 or 4? If "7empest" was a short story, any good editor would insist on cuts. Why are people labeling the track as a masterpiece? What is this "journey" that the track supposedly takes everyone on? Am I supposed to be sober when I listen to this? Do Tool fans still love this stuff when you take away their Ketamine? Why does no one seem to mind that "Invincible" sounds just like "7empest"? What is the difference between the two besides the latter having 5 extra minutes of noise?

Why can't I tell their songs apart?

Chocolate Chip Trip youtu.be

Is it cool that their songs aren't the slightest bit catchy? Is it cool for everything to sound like one long introduction and have no hooks? Am I supposed to not have any sense of where I am or what I'm listening to as each track progresses? How do I differentiate the tracks from each other? Where am I?

Why are Tool fans so strange?

Why are Tool fans mostly comprised of heterosexual white people, and why do they all fetishize a group of 50 year old rockers? Why have Tool fans loved being toyed with for the last 13 years? Why did they tolerate the abuse and hatred of Maynerd James Keenan? Are Tool fans in an abusive relationship? Are they okay?



Can one "casually" listen to Tool?

Tool - Lateralus (Highest Quality HD) www.youtube.com

Or is that weird? Do Tool fans wake up, hop in their car, and think to themselves, "You know what would be a great way to start my day? A 10 minute metal song that lyrically and sequentially aligns with the numerical code of Fibonacci's work."


Why does Fear Inoculum sound the same if you play it backwards and forwards?

Is the band commentating on our gluttonous behavior as consumers? Is it meant to show how a capitalist society creates an inability to differentiate between whether the goods and information we receive are genuine or recycled? Is it meant to soundtrack the collective loop of human suffering? Or is it pure creative liberty in its truest form, demonstrating that everything comes back full circle and that we all live and die and that nothing is actually new?

What Does "Fear Inoculum" mean?

TOOL - Fear Inoculum (Audio) youtu.be

Does the album title refer to a literal injection of fear, or does it refer to the concept of aging? That at some point all of us will succumb to our own form of "fear innoculum" because we all fear dying and leaving the realm of our own understanding and subconscious? Is the whole album a commentary on the human experience? Is the human experience an existential lie we tell ourselves to keep us from succumbing to our own primordial impulses?

Do we even exist at all?

TOOL - Pneuma (Audio) www.youtube.com

Or are we all trapped in our own perceptions of reality? How do we know our existence is even real? How do we know we're not just comatose beings, floating in an oculus rift of our own perceived realities? Do we have the ability to escape our fleshy bodies and experience true enlightenment and revelation, or are our bodies a cage we are trapped in and which prevent us from reaching nirvana? Does true enlightenment come only in death? Does Fear Inoculum refer to the idea that we may never be truly enlightened or spiritually awoken until we die, and that our fear of dying is exactly what keeps us trapped in the cycle of human suffering? Am I a Tool fan? Is my inability to understand the meaning of Tool mean I'm a Tool fan? Does Tool want me to understand them? Do I even understand myself? Does Tool's music unlock the secrets of the universe?