Pop Life

Lions of Tsavo Hate Your Puny Humanity

For a while, Rocks Off worked at our day job with our drummer, and we would play a game involving the band we were writing about that day. We'd come running over to his desk in our socks and scream out the name of the band, and he would guess the genre.

If you would be so kind, could you guys pretend to be a disgruntled sheet music salesman an imagine us running up to you screaming, "LIONS OF TSAVO!"

What's your guess? Metal? Very good. Here's a cookie.

Just to judge by the song titles from the Austin band alone you'd know you were dealing with some pretty hardcore stuff. Hell, they have more tracks named after being killed by animals than we have non-black T-shirts.

Their music is a barbarian, shamanistic ritual of aural agony that dances the line between progressive and pure, unbridled hate. Having long since given up metal to the younger generation (at our doctor's insistence), we can nonetheless really see the subtle musical brilliance in tracks like "Strewn Atop the Antlers" and "Eaten By Bears."

That name though... The Lions of Tsavo? The Tsavo maneaters rank as two of the most prolific animal serial killers in human history. They claimed over 138 victim in 1898 before they were brought down by John Henry Patterson in Kenya. Why on Earth would you name your band after two lions who could apparently outrun frakkin' Kenyans in order to make Hot Pockets out of them? It seems in terrible taste even for metal.

There was only one thing to do, and that was clearly hide behind vocalist/guitarist Ryan Chamberlain's box of Wheaties and jump out screaming a demand to know why that name.

"I came up with the name one day at work, when I saw a book about the Tsavo Maneaters on a table," said Chamberlain. "I had been searching for a band name for quite awhile to fit a certain 'nature vs. humanity' theme, and instantly I knew I had found it.

"It is the absolute essence of nature vs. humanity/human progress condensed into one small fragment of history. The name is a perfect fit for our lyrical themes and outlook on the world around us. Mankind has had a tendency to view itself as 'god-like' throughout history, and all it takes is a single act of mother nature to bring us to our knees."

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner