When I recently reviewed Âme Noire‘s debut EP The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit, I was struck by the storytelling. The Melbourne melancholic death metal band have intriguingly used the release as a means of expression as well as creativity. We connected with Âme Noire’s vocalist Alex Hill to learn more about the meaning of the songs, and the presence of story (and horror) in the band’s music, both now and into the future.
“At a young age, horror movies scared me to death. Sleepless nights and countless checks for monsters under the bed are what comes to mind whenever I recall the early years of my life. As time went on, I began indulging that fear and becoming excited by it; the gore, the screams, the feeling of utter despair.
Over the years it became not only my favourite movie genre but one of my favourite things period. When I started pushing the extremes of music, I couldn’t help but notice the link between death metal and horror movies. I have always summarised death metal to be ‘the horror movies of music’ and I’ve always loved storytelling. So why not take my music to that same level: Tell a story. The goal was to write something that painted a picture in the mind while listening. Something I hope I’ve been able to do on our debut EP and will continue to pursue with every release.
The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit tells the story of a family torn asunder: A deranged and mentally unstable father (The Mortician), a heart broken mother (The Widow) and their orphaned son (Sick Fuck) inheriting his father’s disease and having it amplified by the abandonment of his family.
“What Lurks Below”
We start at the inevitable end: Death is a certainty.
Our opening track begins with the end of our story: all three characters are dead. There is a certain level of consciousness to each of the dead due to the nature of their crimes – they are stuck in a purgatorial state for all eternity (“Subject to the torture of a conscious death”). The song goes on to describe their almost ironic resting places in grotesque detail, explaining the process of rotting – not unlike the fruit the falls from the tree.
“Slave to the Grave”
A mortician turned righteous through the means of dealing with the aftermath of the wicked finally snaps. He deems sinners as “oxygen thieves” and believes that they not only deserve death but they must repay the earth for “stealing” the earth’s precious oxygen from the undeserving. He begins to kidnap anyone he deems as scum, torturing through disembowelment and planting a seed in the torso in order to harbour a tree, giving stolen oxygen back to the earth in death(“blossom into the tree, flora and flesh now splintered in harmony”). He then sees the irony in his own work, knowing in reality he is no better than those he slays, he performs the operation on himself in order to pay his “blood debt”.
Is there anything darker than what a broken heart can bring out in a person? Left behind by her lover to raise a child on her own this widow cannot come to terms with the grizzly and unnerving end of her beloved. She abandons their son, unable to withstand the resemblance of her late husband (“When I look upon our son, your face is all I see, such striking similarities torturing my being”).
She seeks out the family plot: a mausoleum where her lover is buried now overrun with roots and the limbs of trees. She bricks herself into the mausoleum to end her own life with her lover by her side (“…to spend eternity with my beloved slowly rotting side by side”). Regret sets in after realising she has abandoned her son whom is now destined for insanity and now must await death by starvation.
“The Wayward Home”
We have reached the result of a life of loneliness and a disease left untreated: a homicidal stalker roams the streets in search of any unsuspecting victim he may come across.
The blade his choice of weapon, he is almost aroused by death (“aroused at the thought of their lifeless eyes”). He photographs each victim to keep as a momento so he can admire it at his own pleasure. He embraces the dark side of his being (“Black Soul, Hail Horror”) until the constant cycle of murder and self medication (“wipe this slate, I soak my hands in bleach, repress these thoughts of agony and cleanse myself of memory”) he uses in order to deal with his sick crimes breaks him.
“The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit”
With the only information of his parents available in his father’s journal he stumbles upon the justification that his father used to end his own life: He is an oxygen thief and deserves the same, end the bloodline to end the suffering.
The story is an open letter to his deceased parents, questioning and cursing the fate bestowed upon him among realising that he is his father’s son (“they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”). Finally in the closest to a sober mind he has had in years, he finally snaps upon re-discovering the photograph evidence of his sick crimes. All he can do is laugh at the irony of being as bad as the man who abandoned them and caused the depression that consumed his mother. He ends his life after leaving a final note: “Slave to the Grave”
This story is my first proper attempt at actually writing for a release. While it’s not without its errors, I’m proud to have written something that I think is quite unique. I’ve learnt a lot about not only being a frontman but being a writer and for a piece of fiction. There’s also a degree of truth about myself in there. It has moments about struggling to comprehend my own demons.
I’m not a murderer by any means but intrusive thoughts happen to us all and sometimes I can’t help but destroy myself mentally for thinking these things (“A sick fuck”). This has been cathartic for me and has helped me vent my problems in a healthy way.
With the next release concept now locked in i have already outlined what story we will tell. With any luck I can continue to use this as an emotional release and push my creative writing to the next level.”
– Alex Hill
| HAIL HORROR |