It's a well-known fact that most band names are essentially gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're trying hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.
San Antonio is loaning Houston a band called Yes, Inferno this weekend. The best way to describe the few songs we've had the chance to listen to via their Facebook page is, well, you know the beginning of Metallica's "Unforgiven"? Well, speed it up by 20 percent and never get to the vocals. Now you have more or less nailed what Yes, Inferno sounds like.
As a singer, we are just never going to be that big a fan of purely instrumental music no matter how awesome it is. It's in our nature to fill in a song with lyrics. In Yes, Inferno's case, we are mentally filling in their song "Tunnels in London" with Slayer's "Seasons in the Abyss," but delivered in a 311 kind of style.
Despite that, we're willing to admit that the inherent disquietude of a song like "Something About the Skyline" does indeed leave few asses unkicked. Granted, sometimes it feels like Nickelback tried their hands at some of Bauhaus's weirder material like "The Sky's Gone Out," but it's got bite for all that. On our highly sophisticated Final Fantasy VI-based rating scale we give them a Cyan.
That name, though... Yes, Inferno? What the hell does that mean? First of all, you don't drop punctuation into the middle of a freakin' band name unless it's an umlaut.
"We really felt that a mash up of words was in order," said Ernst Bredvad. "Also we wanted a punctuation kind of bad."
Excuse us, but we're in the middle of the rant part of the column, okay? We rant about how silly your name is, then invent some highly improbable way of meeting you that usually involves a hovercraft, and then you get to talk. Please don't interrupt again.
Anyway, Where were we? Something about umlauts, wasn't it? Damnit, we've totally lost our train of thought. Fine, Bredvad. What else can you tell the nice people about your band name?
"We wanted something that meant absolutely nothing at all, so people could pay less attention to a name and more to the sound coming from the name," he said.
Answers like that, friends and enemies, are why your humble nomenclature ranger drinks in the morning. How on Earth can you assign a label to yourself without having any kind of meaning to it at all? Well, this is what we do the job for. We find the meaning even when there isn't one.
For instance, Yes, Inferno is an anagram for fiery neon (get lost, comma, no one likes you). Neon, of course is used to make signs signier. Obviously Yes, Inferno is a sign of something, right?
"You might be too clever for your own good," said Bredvad. "I suppose all signs point to yes...inferno."
Magic 8-Ball jokes. That's what we have to deal with at this stage of the game. He's trying to deflect us away from the truth, that's the only explanation. There must be more to it. The only course leads straight to hell.
Sure you knew when we mentioned a band with inferno in the title we were heading to Hades. Time to face it on. Let's bring on the Divine Comedy. After all, it's one of the greatest poems of all time, the basis for much of modern man's understanding of the punishment that awaits the bad guys in the afterlife, and a kick-ass video game to boot.
"Why inferno?" we asked. "Why not purgatorio or paradiso?"
"Because I'm sick of reading Milton," said Bredvad.
Sigh. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Dante wrote Inferno. We give up. There is no meaning. Everything is dark, cold, and empty. Might as well climb down and collect that $20 the devil owes us.
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Yes, Inferno (n): 1. Rape via punctuation mark. 2. Instrumental higgledy-piggledy. 3. Seriously, Milton's Inferno? Christ in a sidecar...