Hey kids, it’s your pal, Dethtron, from Dick Move here.  I’ve finally managed to dig myself out and thaw out after the insane snowstorm that battered Chicago (and most of the rest of the US, as it happens).  Given the amount of snow that I had to deal with, I’m sure you’ve already deduced which army I’m here to talk about today.  You guessed it- the sons of Russ followers of Nurgle.  We’ll be thinking about just what it is that defines Nurgle and how we can set a sound track to that.

Nurgle is the lord of decay, corruption, and disease.  From his garden in the warp, Papa Nurgle dishes out unhealthy doses of every plague and pox known to man, celebrating in the corruption of all things living.  More than just disease, though, he is concerned with the finality of all existence.  All things must one day end, and Nurgle sees to it that they do so wallowing in corruption and disrepair. His followers are known for their putrid, bloated, and often cyclopean appearance.  As such it’s safe to say that his minions are slow and plodding (as is evidenced by many of his units having the slow and purposeful rule).

Musically, there are a number of ways that we can approach this.  First and foremost, anything that is thematically tied to disease and ruin would fit the bill.  After that I think we’ll need to address the issue of tempo.  I’m sure this is a rule that I’ll break, but slower tempos would seem to be better suited to such a lumbering god.  From there, we should be looking for qualities in musical selection that suggest decay.  This is going to be hard to nail down, but unsteady rhythms, volumes, and the like will probably play a key roll in this.  This should give us a pretty solid platform to work from.  As with the last few entries in this series, I think I was spoiled for choice in songs, so I’ll post a number of bonus tracks at the end.

The Horrors- “Sheena is a Parasite”

Easily one of the best groups to come out of the UK in recent history, the Horrors burst onto the scene with an angst and organ fueled debut full-length, Strange House.  NME has spent many waking hours since then whoring this band out without shame, and rightly so.  The first album is raw, raucous, and out of control.  Hot on the heels of a cameo on the Mighty Boosh, the group took a welcome, if unexpected, turn from their obviously punk bent towards a much lighter shoegaze sound with their amazing followup, Primary Colours.  As predicted, I’ve already broken my slow tempo rule, but I think this song is too fitting in its content, raw brutality, and even the video to pass on.  Produced by Chris Cunningham, of Aphex Twin fame, this video features actress Samantha Morton lifting up her skirt to reveal the most frightening parasite I think I’ve ever seen.  The plaguefather would be proud.  A play on the Ramones “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and the Cramps “Sheena’s in a Goth Gang” the song chronicles the long, drawn out decay of the punk scene at the hands of parasitic (read diseased) scenesters.  So we’ve got decay, filth, disease, and the most terrifying squidgina ever set to film.  Enjoy the full minute and a half that is “Sheena is a Parasite.”


Einstürzende Neubauten- “Alles (ein Lied im alten Stil)”

In the finest tradition of the German Late Romantic movement, this song clearly states that everything in society has run its course and become so corrupted and unmanageable that it must be destroyed that we can begin again.  This isn’t to be confused with the earlier, anti-enlightenment brand of Sturm und Drang romanticism that advocated backsliding into feudal roots as a way to create high art, just in case you were wondering.  The band’s name translates to “collapsing new buildings” (those buildings built after WWII, or Neubau).  Destruction and the finality of existence are so engrained in the group that their philosophy is built right into their name.  From there they create a platform from which to create beauty from decay and destruction.  Often implementing unorthodox percussion like plastic canisters, sand, smashing concrete, samples of engines, brake drums, springs, and PVC pipes, this band’s style has continually been co-opted and corrupted by the likes of Stomp and The Blue Man group.  This particular song comes from one of their more recent albums (the band having its roots in the early 80s), and is among my favorites from their large catalog.  In English, the song title is “Everying (a song in the old style),” referring both to romantic music and literature and the band’s own cacophonous earlier records which were as destructive as they were unlistenable.  Throughout the song Blixa Bargeld, the singer, lists off a number of society’s accomplishments and then declares that everything must be destroyed.  I’ll put up a link to the album version of the song, but the video will be of a live performance.  To see Neubauten live is to understand them.  It is one thing to hear somebody drop an armload of re-bar on an album, and another thing entirely to witness the destructive force of that act play out on video.  Watching somebody hammer away at the remains of plumbing, sheet metal, and any number of other broken objects (yes, there is a jet turbine on stage) lends a certain air of- dare I say- Nurgleocity to the event.

Original Album Version from “Silence is Sexy”


Marilyn Manson- “Angel with the Scabbed Wings”

Not only is this from the best album the Manson camp could ever hope to put out, but it’s damn near perfect for this little project.  Manson sings about a fictitious angel spreading disease and blighting crops.  At the same time, this angel is capable of giving salvation- just like Nurgle has been known to provide sweet release for those suffering the diseases of the world.  Granted this song is largely about drug addiction, but I guess that’s considered a disease now, so it still works.  Really there isn’t much more I can say about this.  During this period of his career, Manson was at the height of painting his Ziggy Stardust style picture of the decline of himself as a rock god.  He was seemingly obsessed with the very idea of decay and “the fall” as you can see from the supporting photo and video evidence.  The chipped paint, verdigris, general sense of neglect, and overwhelming stench of death present in his videos from the time are highly reminiscent of the early work of music video director Mark Romanek (NIN’s “Closer”) and speak to the larger feeling of mid-90s malaise that permeated the art of the time.


Skinny Puppy- “Spasmolytic”

Last up for today is this song from legendary Canadian industrial group Skinny Puppy.  Again, this song deals with drug addiction, but in so doing evokes a lot of the imagery of rotting and decline.  Though it’s often difficult to make heads or tails of Ogre’s stream of consciousness lyrics, there’s a lot of great stuff in there, like: “stale mattress slow throb bloating”……. totally gross.  There’s even something vaguely nauseating about the song’s structure.  The tempo is pretty mutable and there are lots of low, almost gurgling synth tones mixed in with the highly unorthodox vocalizations.  All of that adds up to a dizzying experience that makes me feel almost ill.


Bonus Tracks

Scott Walker “The Seventh Seal”– once frontman of the Walker Brothers, Scott Walker threw away a highly lucrative career in making bubblegum, bullshit pop music in the 60s to record some of the strangest music ever to be heard.  This song was recorded slightly after he disappeared from the spotlight only to pop up a few years later, batshit crazy and with no desire to please anyone other than himself with his songcraft.  The song is about Ingmar Bergmann’s film The Seventh Seal which happens to be a religious allegory about the black plague.  After the recording of this record (Scott Walker 4), he went completely off the deep end, becoming a complete recluse and experimenting sonically with recording the sounds of raw meat being punched among other things.  Like I said stranger music never has been made.  This song fits thematically, but really didn’t make the final cut as it is almost upbeat.

Pigface “Tapeworm”– this song and band is great, but I’ve already got one song about parasites above and one song with Ogre on vocals.  Pigface is a still active and ever evolving project from ex-PIL drummer Martyn Atkins and a revolving cast of players which has included everyone from Jello Biafra to Steve Albini to Flea to Penn Gillette {clip totally NSFW, btw} (of Penn and Teller fame) and nearly a hundred others.

Stephen Merritt “The Meaning of Lice”– From a very rare soundtrack album called “Plague Songs,”  this is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.  Well, that’s certainly not very Nurgly….probably why it didn’t make the final cut.  Still this song from the man better known for his work as Magnetic Fields has a pretty fitting set of lyrics.

SWANS “Blackout”– If you follow my blog, you’ll know this is my favorite band ever.  This early track has the tempo and grizzly feel I was looking for to it, but since it’s basically about alcoholism, I thought I’d leave it out- having already covered addiction ad naseum.

Plaguebringer “Impaled Faith”– Metal as hell.  Yay for grindcore.  It’s also fairly slow by metal standards, maybe I should have used this above.

Neurosis “From the Hill”– This song has a lot of stylistic things I was looking for, but none of the thematic ones…. 🙁  Let it never be said that Neurosis’ grooves are anything but plodding.