Tag Archives: music

Heavy Metal Humanism: Personal Courage

On January 29, 2021 German heavy metal band Accept released their sixteenth studio album, Too Mean to Die. Here at http://www.humanistfreedoms.com, we don’t always connect with the latest releases in the heavy metal music scene, so we hope to be forgiven by the band for overlooking the release.

One song on Too Mean to Die has caught our ear. “No One’s Master”. We’ve provided a link to a lyric video for other humanist fans of heavy metal to connect with. Unlike many of Accept’s songs, which have carried credit to “Deaffy” all the way back to the 1980’s (actually Gaby Hoffman, the band’s manager and also Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffman’s spouse), “No One’s Master” is credited to band members Martin Motnik, Wolf Hoffmann and Mark Tornillo.

Still, it is absolutely essential when considering Accept, to identify Deaffy, who wrote the lyrics for the band’s most famous song “Ball’s to the Wall” (circa 1983). Who could forget a song that begins with the line, “Too many slaves in this world die by torture and pain”, and gets raunchier, bloodier and more rebellious from there?

Back in 1983, Deaffy also wrote the lyrics for “Fight it Back”, excerpted here as backdrop to the Accept song we’re actually listening to today “Always been the prophets who make the world evolve. Always been the average breaking it down. Majority, the unknown giving us the rules. It’s more than luck to get the standard. You’ll never find me like you hope that I am. You’ll never treat me like you think you can. Be always independent, surrendering no way. I won’t deal with crimes of society. Find myself in crisis, get near to collapse. Am I forced to live that boring life? God, I hate the average. Go and nuke it out. Go, piss the accepted, screw them all! Now, if you hate it, you gonna fight it back. Just try to change it. Fight it. Fight it back.”

Agree with the sentiments or not, Gaby Hoffman’s lyrics set out some clear perspectives on the individual’s role within their society. Now, let’s push forward to more recent days.

It appears that Tornillo, the band’s vocalist has written the lyrics for “No One’s Master”. Some time ago (actually 2012) Tornillo said that he enjoyed the opportunity to write socio-political lyrics. With “No One’s Master” Tornillo seems to be refining sentiments that Deaffy/Accept had established almost forty years earlier.

The “No One’s Master” lyrics take aim at the influence of media on people collectively while setting a rebelliously individualistic and humanistic ethic that is firmly set in the present.

Here is a “lyric video” version of the song, which is rather catchy in a rock-anthem kind of way:

For those who may not be enthusiastic fans of the genre, presented here is an abridged version of the lyrics:

The media’s controlling the masses
Stoking our anger and fear
Further dividing the classes
Serving the richest careers
Their mantra is lies and deception
When honesty’s all that I crave
I decline and there’ll be no exceptions
I am no one’s master
No one’s slave
Living in fear ain’t worth living
Wasting your life is the crime
The reaper will be unforgiving
Wake up, while you’re still in your prime
The guide of my life is my conscience
My way is the path that I pave
I treat, how I want to be treated
I am no one’s master
No one’s slave
I won’t rule; I won’t bow
I won’t sink my eyes to the ground
I won’t steal; I won’t kneel
I won’t bend my knee to the crowned
I pledge an oath to myself and to life
I’m not afraid of the sword or the knife
The guide of my life is my conscience
My way is the path that I pave
Equality’s all that I’m after
I am no one’s master
No one’s slave
No one’s master
I am no one’s
No one’s slave

The song and the genre are a terrific reminder that living a humanist ethic may occasionally require a bit of rebellion, a bit of anger and a lot of personal courage.


Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy ofhttp://www.metalrockmusicpodcast.com/accept-recorded-part-of-too-mean-to-die-with-remote-producer/
  2. https://www.acceptworldwide.com/accept-discography/too-mean-to-die/
  3. https://www.acceptworldwide.com/
  4. https://www.theaquarian.com/2012/04/13/interview-with-mark-tornillo-from-accept-living-the-metal-scream-dream/
  5. http://www.darklyrics.com/lyrics/accept/ballstothewall.html#3

Bad Religion’s Faith Alone 2020

Looking for a bit of humanism with a punk-rock beat? Maybe feeling a bit nostalgic for a decade when global adjustments to avert climate change was still a real (if ignored) possibility? Or just curious to observe one of the many ways that humanism finds its way into global culture. Whichever it may be, we got you covered on this one.

On August 6, 2020, Los Angeles punk rock band Bad Religion released a new version of their 1990 song Faith Alone. The new version feels more thoroughly produced than the original with very present piano and strings as compared to the punky, drums-and-guitars driven original. Greg Gaffin’s lyrics are very consistent, though perhaps a bit more wistful in the new setting.

The release of this memory-lane ditty seems to correspond to another Bad Religion release in the form of a biography of the band titled Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion. The book carries author credits jointly to Jim Ruland and Bad Religion. Perhaps this is all part of some kind of Bad Religion Revival. Pun(s) intended.

Or it may simply be in our nature to reflect on the past to help comprehend the present. According to Gaffin, “I think the message of ‘Faith Alone’ really resonates with everything that’s happening right now. Racial injustice, Trump, the COVID pandemic, the rejection of science, none of these things can be solved by burying our heads in the sand. We’ve always believed problems can be solved through reason and action, not faith and prayer. It’s what we’ve been writing about since the band started.” Ironically or not, Bad Religion’s 2019 album was titled Age of Unreason.

Faith Alone (the lyrics by Greg Gaffin)

Heard a sermon from a creaky pulpit with no one in the nave
I paid a visit to the synagogue and I left there feeling blame
No one could tell me what to do, they had not the capacity to answer me

What the world needs now is some answers to our problems
We can’t buy more time ’cause our tender isn’t valid
If your soul needs love you can get consoled by pity
But it looks as though faith alone won’t sustain us no more

Watched the scientists throw up their hands conceding, “progress will resolve it all”
Saw the manufacturers of earth’s debris ignore another green peace call
No one could tell me what to do, no one had the ability to answer me

What the world needs now is some accountability
We can’t buy more time ’cause time won’t accept our money
If your soul needs love you can always have my pity
But it looks as though faith alone won’t sustain us no more…

What the world needs now is some answers to our problems
We can’t buy more time ’cause our tender isn’t valid
What the world needs now is some accountability
If your soul needs love you can get consoled by pity
But faith alone won’t sustain us anymore
Faith alone won’t sustain us anymore


Citations and References

  1. https://riotfest.org/2020/08/bad-religion-faith-alone/
  2. https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmusic/article/Bad-Religion-Release-Faith-Alone-2020-20200806
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Religion

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.

Featured Photo Courtesy of riotfest.org


Version History: This article was originally published on August 18, 2020