Chaos Music Tributes: Slaanesh

The prince of excess.

The prince of excess.

My friend Dan once asked me what is the real threat of Slaanesh. Pleasure is what humans tend to seek on their own, so what’s the harm in it?

At the time, the easiest answer I could give was good ol’ fashioned STDs. But that treads upon Nurgle’s gifts at bad times. Yeah, STDs can be dangerous, but what else? How can Slaanesh be dangerous of his own volition?

It was a question I’ve quietly watched people over, trying to find the answer.

And since that day, I’ve come across dozens of tiny examples. Slaanesh is not the lord of a thousand temptations for nothing. And none of them could easily take a person over the edge. But when either they start to mingle, or one is pursued to the brink of self destruction, you begin to see the real threat that Slaanesh can be to the soul.

The simple answer is, “Obsession is excess.”

I think if there is any director in Hollywood who understands the threat of Slaanesh’s appeal, it would have to be Darren Aronofsky. From Black Swan, The Wrestler and especially Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky has repeatedly proven that he understands the dangers of unchecked obsessions and the cliff they can send you flying from. There is an underlying psychology behind what drives many of these poor souls; a taste of the pleasures of considerable excess, followed by the pit of failure and hope to rekindle the fire that was lost, regardless of what the cost would be. And on the screen, he explains that best.

The pleasures of Slaanesh know a fairly wide number of symbols. Art, music, drugs and alcohol, sex, and food to start. What’s surprising is that these things are so mundane. We all need food, are exposed to art and music, we occasionally partake in alcohol and some of us do drugs or sex. The danger comes from overdoing any of these things.

You can drink yourself to death, overdose on drugs or alcohol. When a person pursues the perfection of art and music, it is quite possible that they can forget to do the things necessary to life, hence a twist on the phrase “starving artist.” And when people get bored of plain, ordinary sex, they can find themselves increasingly tempted towards more potentially painful, if not dangerous, acts.

As you might imagine, song writers and musicians have a strong affinity for Slaanesh, so it’s not difficult to find music that really fits the bill. Still, there maybe a few goodies in here you’ve never heard before. As before, a playlist is on the bottom, and songs with asterisks (*) are songs without lyrics.

  1. Bad Romance, by Lady Gaga. (You may also want to check out this cover by Halestorm if you don’t like this version.)
  2. Requiem for a Dream Remix, by Clint Mansell remix by Prince Negaafellaga.*
  3. Running Up That Hill, by Placebo.
  4. Don’t You Ever, by Republica.
  5. The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, by The Smashing Pumpkins.
  6. The Show Must Go On, by Queen.

Bow to the prince of excess.

Music Mining

I was quite amused when I first read the Dark Heresy core rule book on involving the chaos gods in the roleplaying elements of the game. It came with a warning not to take any of it seriously. I mean, after all. What’s the worst that can happen?

Anyway, this Chaos Music Tribute series is proving to be an interesting challenge.

Raziel4707 mentioned how he prefers grindcore style music for Khorne. I’ve listened to that style of music before with its thick lyrics and wild instrumentals and yeah, that’s pretty Berzerker wild. I considered for a while using it in my list, but I decided on more coherent music. My goal was to encourage Khornite thinking, as opposed to music that basically makes you feel like murder.

But it does create doubt. I listen to a piece and feel it is good. But is Khorne enough? Perhaps not. But I have to look at what I’m doing objectively, and recognizing when the point is made and when it is not. So on those grounds, I feel that I made the right decisions.

I actually finished both Nurgle’s and Tzeentch’s yesterday, but I hesitated about releasing them. I had issues about Tzeentch’s because, although happy with two-thirds of the music, I want to replace three songs. And I worried about some controversial content with Nurgle’s tribute.

But this morning, I reread Nurgle’s tribute careful. I combed over the words and felt I had kept myself safe from any controversy by pointing out the debate rather than engaging in it. I cited my sources, accept that the debate may still be raging. Feeling it’s good, I posted.

I’m actually going to hold off on unveiling Tzeentch’s until Sunday. I just want a little time to find better music for those three I’m not impressed with. So until then, I’ll finish up Slaanesh’s first. Just songs relating to sex, luxury, excess, you name it. Easy peasy.

Fulgrim

Not enough coffee for a witty remark this morning...

Not enough coffee for witty remarks just yet.

I’m not going to lie. I was a little adverse to reading this book for a short while. Let’s just say it’s an American thing many of us picked up in the 80s and 90s, when our heroes weren’t supposed to be beautiful. Guys like Bruce Willis and Kurt Russell played these bad ass roles where their characters were injured and made unattractive in the course of their conflict.

Oddly, if this book had come to me about 10 years ago and I had been into Warhammer 40k back then, I would have been all over it. In the past I was more into Japanese animation with heroes so gorgeous, the line between masculine and feminine disappears. I’m long over my pretty boy phase.

Another thing to discuss came up when I was talking to a friend. Also a Warhammer fan, he asked me what the real danger of Slaanesh was. The problems of Nurgle and Khorne were obvious, the threat of Tzeentch was more subtle but still there.

What is the threat Slaanesh really imposes? It’s a problem every parent faces for their pubescent teenage children. There is the threat of STDs and pregnancy. Obsessions too are an aspect, like a relationship where one side is far more possessive than what is reasonable. And then there are those whose limitations are so small, it’s dangerous. Like David Carradine.

And not just sex, since he is the lord of excess. It’s an issue when someone drinks themselves to death on alcohol, or eats their way to a heart attack. And I think anyone who has met a serious artist has seen some antics that worry them, such as the artist not eating or sleeping to finish their workload. There are drug users as well, some of whom push themselves into over dosing at times. Slaanesh is a god you don’t see coming because he is in the most mundane of activities we take for granted as being human.

I write all this because it’s what I gathered from reading Fulgrim by Graham McNeill. It’s a perspective changer. My rantings above were not a digression from the review. They are the point. McNeill takes the reader on a wild ride that blows several stereotypes and misconceptions out of the water. And the story that unfolds from the pages is disturbing and sobering enough that even non-Warhammer 40k fans will find something of value here, as McNeill succeeds in making the line between fan and casual book reader thinner than ever before.