MTV, before becoming a home for some of the most mind numbing television that has been created, im looking at you My Super Sweet Sixteen, was once a home for the music video. Before the internet entered its prime, the art of video was revered. Now with the shortcuts of technology you or I could create a video in minutes. Costing thousands, taking up vast amounts of time and most importantly requiring actual talent, music videos were not a small undertaking. The free availability and instant gratification need society has been conditioned into leads necessitates is to have constant stimulation. Instead of sitting for hours in front of the TV waiting for that one song that you might hear, now we can just search it!
With a similar mind censorship has no application anymore,the Marilyn Manson’s are long gone, the “Left Behind“s of Slipknot aren’t set for a post watershed viewing because of the gory high standard as they once were. Sure we’ve got the likes of the gore ridden Cattle Decapitation videos to look to for violence but the real art of video is nothing like it used to be.
The free availability extends not only to the medium of music but film, binge watching on Netflix, which we’re all guilty of, causes people to watch passively. Absorbing information but not questioning ideas, creating cognitive paths of discovery that might have ignited a passion in film from one magic music video. Which begs the question of is the art of the music video dead? Polish video guerilla’s Grupa13, fabled for their striking visuals and controversial imagery aim to challenge this societal ideology. Readily established within the Metal community with their impressive work for Behemoth and their narrative for The Satanist, the groups work demands the listeners attention.
Utilising classic cinematic elements, the simplistic black and white qualities give a stark reality to their often unforgiving storylines. Pushing the boundaries, the lack of colour signifies the unfeeling qualities of both protagonists and the song’s subject matter. Not to mention leaving the viewer to feel without restraint. Often having to create a message and narrative in a minuscule slot of five minutes and with no soundtrack, imagery is paramount.
Returning back to my previous point of this quick fix style of society people often forgoe quality for quick release. Lyric videos are a main offender, personally I think they’re intriguing, particularly if you can’t really make out the lyrics and it cements the songs lyrics in your head however they show no artistic talent. No attention to detail, no hidden Easter eggs. Christ, even Ozzy Osbourne‘s “Bark At The Moon” as cheesy as that might have been had narrative that transfixed the audience.
From the drug induced madness of Mastodon’s “Curl Of The Burl” to the intimate personal experience of Whitechapel’s “Bring Me Home“. Both fantastic videos for polarising reasons, yet both containing a story as ludicrous or deadly serious as either might choose to be.
Imagery and narrative are of utmost important in the music video without it there can be no theme, no feeling, no interpretation. The latest to go through the Grupa13 rabbit hole are German Thrash legends Kreator. Creating their own theatrical triptych Grupa13 have once again thrown the gauntlet down in both vision and creativity. In an exclusive video Kreator frontman Mille Petrozza goes into detail what it was like working with the group and quite rightly the importance of the music video and its message!
So Mille’s point is a valid one, why not go all out if you have the ability? Choosing to release their three singles to create a visual triptych the man has a point of course. Bringing the magic of cinema back to our internet screens, well let’s be honest our phones bit if we’re able to be mesmerised by the artistic creation of not only a musical level but a visual level, perhaps the art of the music isn’t dead after all? Perhaps it’s simply an ever evolving entity that may well be coming to terms with the new faster paced times. Either way, we should never take the art of the music video for granted. Acting as a wonderful gateway creating a universal link between listener and band showing a tip of inspiration with fans interpretation filling in. The dialogue will never disappear but it’s simply going through a different dialect.
Kreator’s brand new record Gods of Violence is out now and is available as a Box set with Ash Grey vinyl!