Song of the Day: The Crucified - Path to Sorrow

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The Crucified is probably the most legendary Christian hardcore band of all time. They only released 2 full-length albums (plus some demos, and later re-issues) before disbanding in the early 90s. However, their influence cannot be overstated. Their blending of hardcore punk and thrash metal into a unique take on crossover thrash touched and influenced bands in genres as diverse punk, alternative, metal, hardcore and even industrial.

Their sophomore effort, The Pillars of Humanity was heavy, fast and bold. And it wasn’t just the music. They lyrics hit hard as well. Take “Path to Sorrow” for instance:

So I’m sitting here–all alone
It’s always worse when no one’s home
Why should I continue on
if death is the only final outcome?
To pursue some mythical success
that some have been fooled to think exists?

What made the lyrics even more eery is the fact they were spoken (not sung) over a plucked bass guitar line, dark and brooding, with feedback-driven electric guitar wails as background, just before the chugga chugga riffs rip into another speedcore romp. I remember as a teen feeling that the song was depressing. I was only partly right. Yes, the song evokes dark emotions. Yes, it’s intense and focuses on some dark themes. But what I was missing was the social critique. Call it the rat race, or the American dream, or simply success. The Cru were drawing our attention to the problems of quantifying the ever-so-elusive “success” by such temporal factors as the accumulation of wealth, or status and prestige. The chorus refrain is even more explicit:

This world betrays
This world, it feasts upon me

The band warned us of the volatility of such standards. Some listeners heard only the anger, the confusion, the angst, and were offended. Perhaps their offense tells us more than we realized. Their brand of Christianity was tied too closely to the very things the band was critiquing.

While the band broke up too early for the liking of most fans, fortunately its members turned up elsewhere: Minier, Applehead, Stavesacre, Mortal, Chatterbox, Outer Circle, Deliverance, Fasedown, Once Dead and probably a dozen others.

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