What does a reformed band of mostly original members do when they release their first new album together in 35 years? They release a kick-ass music , that’s what – and that’s exactly what have done. Just a day prior to 13‘s release, Black Sabbath debuted the “God Is Dead?” video, which has made quite a stir on the Internet, well mostly misinformed posts.
So, to clear things up, “God is Dead” is a phrase that the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche repeated throughout his works. Nietzsche’s ideas serve as the basis for this song and video. Basically, without God, or religion, to serve as humanity’s moral compass, we’re destined to plunge into chaos and nihilism. For centuries people have looked to God for meaning and guidance, but what happens when that figure is removed and God becomes irrelevant? And what’s replaced God?
Historically, the same answer applied to both questions – science. Consider the centuries that the Church had tried to keep science down. And today, as Black Sabbath have pointed out, science and technology have replaced God. Think for a second how much we covet our possessions, which are usually pieces of technology (the next iPhone, the next gaming console, the next tablet, the next software, the next film, etc.). And that technology usually serves to help us self-aggrandize. With our constant posts, status updates, selfies, and more, we’ve become the most narcissistic society ever to exist.
What’s interesting about the “God Is Dead?” video is that Black Sabbath have extended Nietzsche’s Western Judeo-Christian nihilistic viewpoint to include many other religions and believers. In the video, we see these believers lose their faith, seduced by science and a number of the deadly sins, and when they do, we’re treated to chaotic images of war, death, and destruction. Then, when we’re all in pain and have had enough, where do we look for answers, comfort, solace when we have nothing left? It’s a vicious circle.
Black Sabbath tapped Peter Joseph to direct the video using existing footage. The controversial filmmaker and social activist was hesitant at first, but ultimately chose to collaborate:
“After an initial hesitancy in the direction proposed using just existing footage from my films, I quickly realized it was to be an extremely interesting and original expression. The gesture of the song ‘God is Dead?’, with its subtle reflection on the often dark world we inhabit and questioning of how such a world can be if there was a god, resonated with me. …It was expressed at the start that my work had been an influence on the song to begin with, so that was very inspiring to hear.
I grew up listening to early Black Sabbath and am a big fan of the core message. Songs such as ‘War Pigs’ and the anti-war, pro-unity gesture found in those early albums are very much in line with my values. I was honored to help.”
In addition to being the man behind the controversial film series Zeitgeist , Joseph is also responsible for founding the global sustainability advocacy group The Zeitgeist Movement, founding/curating the annual Zeitgeist Media Arts Festival, and hosting an online satire web series called “Culture in Decline.”
I’m not a religious man, but all this has given me pause… fuck it, the song and video just!
Rock Hard \m/