“Requiem Metal” is a recording of a short excerpt from Giuseppi Verdi’s “Messa de Requieum.” It’s a famous bit of music (one that parts of “The Storm” back on Bad for Good closely mirrored) and this version “produced and arranged” by Steinman doesn’t stand out at all versus other versions I have heard. It’s dramatic, booming, and terrifying–it’s a bit of music that has always sounded to me like a descent into hell, though admittedly I don’t know anything about its origins. To me, it feels out of place in the album, but it’s here for some reason.
Immediately following that dramatic interlude is another spoken word piece. There are sounds of wind behind but nothing else as Steinman details a story about hungry mirrors that send him in search of real-life beauty. His delivery is, as always in his speeches, excellent, full of dreadful anguish, as he describes the need to find what the mirror reflects and destroy anything that’s not beautiful enough.
And then comes what sounds like a real horror turn, as he says, “They’ve given me your image.” He suggests that the objects of his words is definitely so beautiful that the mirrors would finally be fulfilled.
Finally, he delivers the punchline: “Now, your place or mine?”
This is a fun speech but it’s lacking in the right specifics to nail down what it’s saying. Is it a comment about men’s treatment of women, using them as objects to fulfill their own image desires? Is it about the way people treat beauty, seeing it only as a means for entre to sex? Is it about the way the music industry treats its participants, sending them out in search of perfection to their own ultimate doom? It could be any of those and it’s so nonspecific that it’s difficult to say that one interpretation makes sense over the others.
I don’t enjoy this one nearly as much as “Love and Death and an American Guitar,” and I suspect that at least part of the reason is that it feels smaller and less meaningful even though it seems to fit a metaphorical interpretation where the earlier song really doesn’t. It’s still fun, but it kind of feels like three minutes of build up to a good-not-great punchline.
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