'Tis the season to be frightened. Bring on the ghouls and goblins, doorbell abuse and slutty attire, candy corn and Treehouse of Horrors. A dentist's favorite holiday is haunting us once again. The final day of October has a specific song that you can’t avoid, wherever you go from the car to the club, you’re surely to hear a paranoid Scarface recall the night his mind was playing tricks. Every year we are returned to 1991, with Bushwick Bill brutally punching the concrete, trigger-happy Willie D ready to turn senior citizens into Swiss cheese, and that four corner room with the lit candles where the Geto Boys story begins. It’s a classic, riding shotgun next to "Thriller" for their annual visit. The imagery alone makes it Halloween appropriate, but in my late teens I discovered a song that summoned a different kind of terror, with imagery just as gruesome, Immortal Technique's “Dance With Devil.”
I don’t remember what started that search for music with meaning, probably the effects of radio having the depth of a kiddie pool. 17 is a common age to be filled with curiosity, hungry for substance and rated R movies. I poked around forums; one recommended an artist I never heard before, and a song that should be played after midnight in a lightless room. After following the criteria I pressed play, my ears fill with a gentle, melancholy piano. The Immortal's voice steps in unexpectedly, bombarding the sad tune with a dreary tone. He’s a storyteller reciting the history of a kid named Billy, whose mind only yearns for material possessions; riches, cars, chains, a gluttonous ambition to obtain the treasures won by street kings.
His primary concern, was making a million
Being the illest hustler, that the world ever seen
He used to fuck moviestars and sniff coke in his dreams
The story ends, and I’m left in awe. Sinister, brutal, hyper-realistic. I felt like I just swallowed a grenade and was waiting to explode. Immortal Technique’s lyrics felt like talons clasping flesh. It’s rare for a song to fill you with overwhelming grief and amazement. I was looking for depth, and fell down the rabbit hole. Years later, I had the same experience when I watched the final scenes of Larry Clark’s Kids for the first time. I’ve seen Freddie Kruger, Jason, and the Exorcist movies, but that was the first time I felt I saw a horror film. Reality shot from the right angle, or sung from the right perspective will show you the ones wearing the mask may not be the true monsters. Dance With The Devil is a classic in its own right, maybe not on the level of “Minds Playing Tricks On Me,” but once you hear it, you’ll never be able to forget. Every Halloween I hear the keys of that melancholy piano, and a slight echoing of words that sound like, “I'm falling and I can't turn back.”
[By Yoh, aka Doctor FrankienGRIND, aka @Yoh31]