Track Premiere: Tyranny is Tyranny, “Kabuki Snuff Theater”

We're honored to debut this brand new track of lurching, angular noise rock from Madison, WI's Tyranny is Tyranny. So, let's keep the intro brief and let the band/music do the talking, eh?

"Kabuki Snuff Theater" will appear on Tyranny is Tyranny's forthcoming album, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, out June 13th on Phratry Records, and now available for pre-order on CD or LP, in a variety of bundle packages:

Pre-order The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Here's "Kabuki Snuff Theater," followed by a brief description, lyrics, and a mini interview with the band's guitarist/vocalist, Russell Emerson Hall.

The US government goes to great lengths to justify drone warfare and torture programs using elaborate memos that set out the legality of clearly illegal activities. This demonstrates just how important it is to prop up the disaster-capitalism complex and "security" industry, though any discussion of profit motive is conspicuously absent. Collateral damage includes not only innocent people tortured or killed, but also the moral and psychological damage inflicted on a public constantly subjected to these lies in the name of "safety." Dulled by this onslaught, citizens eventually relax and begin to accept the ideas of faceless assassination and enhanced interrogation as not only justifiable, but necessary.

There are those who walk. There are those who crawl.
Keep the fingertips away from the face.
Squaring up your target in the smaller box.

Not a predicate act. Threat of future harm.
Heap revenge on revenge. Three Oh Nine Three.

There are those who walk. There are those who crawl.
Every horror witnessed, wish my eyes would rot.
Stumble into daylight across the parking lot.

Comfort and control. Reticles align.
Judge and you will be. Short-circuit court.

Read at face value, the title "Kabuki Snuff Theater" almost comes across as one of those... I don't want to say "silly" song titles, but... "lighthearted," perhaps, if that makes sense? Do you know what I mean? It certainly carries a different vibe than the other titles on the new album. But I know you're not that kind of band, so my guess would be that there's a much more intellectual representation behind it?

I guess initially the title was a bit of a goof based on the fact that someone thought the opening riff had some vaguely eastern intervals during the writing process. As we worked on the lyrics about drone warfare and torture memos, the title gained more gravity. While reading a Der Spiegel article profiling US drone operators, we kept coming back to the parallels with this country's sanitized warfare and Kabuki dance (a highly stylized form of Japanese theater know for its rigid ritual). US foreign policy continues to be a snuff film dressed up to be more palatable.

This is the shortest and most straightforward composition on the record. Its lurching immediacy grabbed my attention right away. Was there anything in particular about this piece that lent itself to the more direct and streamlined approach?

I wish I could say that it was coldly calculated to enhance the flow of the album, but alas, that's just how the song came out. The forward motion of the initial riffs didn't seem to lend itself to anything more contemplative. We're all big fans of '90s noise rock (à la Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go) and sometimes we just like to rock out from start to finish instead of going for the orchestral slow-burn.

For the most part the piece is lyrically abstract, which I quite like. The call of "Three Oh Nine Three" is probably its most literal reference. I'm assuming that's an allusion to the "Presidential approval and reporting of covert actions" portion of U.S. Code Title 50? If so, that's some heavy reading. Not being all that politically-minded myself, I'm curious how the hell one becomes so intricately exposed to such information?

Nice catch. As I was writing the liner notes, it was suggested that I explain the 3093 reference in more detail. Turns out it wasn't needed—in other words, yes, that's exactly what it's a reference to. There's a wealth of information out there just under the surface of the mainstream media and what the disaster-capitalism complex wants you to know. At the very least, I would strongly suggest that citizens interested in arming themselves with information watch something like Democracy Now! and follow the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting blog, rather than getting news analysis from CBS or Facebook.