Wednesday, 16 April 2014

PV Analysis: Black Gene for the Next Scene - "Welcome to Monster World"

Black Gene for the Next Scene (abbreviated as BFN or Black Gene) was formed in late 2011 by veterans of a multitude of other acts, currently following a theme of "Goshikaru transformer". Comprised of Ice on vocals, toki on guitar, Rame on bass and Sala on drums, they've released four singles and an album to date. Their latest PV for 'Welcome to Monster World' features an array of cinematic recall and considerable western influence in the visuals at play. The band talks about the PV in an interview, where they discuss the track addressing the nature of good and evil as well as the monsters inside us all.

The clip begins with an electronic whooshing like a device coming to life, breaking into the rhythm-on-rails of the song. The band is depicted in front of a European-style castle surrounded by snow, and also flanked by some spooky-looking trees as seen in classic horror films, as a creaky looking house looms in the background. There's a fence of sharp posts in front of them, and a huge full moon hangs heavy overhead. Much of the clip takes place here, featuring the band dressed in styles resembling some famous western monsters.

As they referred to in discussing the video, the band's internal monsters are manifested in their appearances here. The drummer Sala appears to mimic the classic look of Dracula, and guitarist Time calls to mind a wolf-man, complete with furred headgear. The others are less clear from the start; bassist Rame appears to be a cute Gothic take on a witch once the hat comes to focus. Ice's appearance is slightly less definable in the early part of the clip, wearing an armored and spiked shoulder pad that seems at home a metal-act's wardrobe in general. There's a demonic aspect to him that is cleared up later on.

Scenic elements of the setting appear superimposed on individual shots of the members, skewing their proportions in relation to their surroundings. A wider shot reveals skulls on the ground nearby, and an intricate spiderweb marring the gate on the fencing. The stage is well set with some classic Gothic/monster movie elements, striking a strong accord with the title and theme of the song.

There's some text superimposed on the screen, starting around the 50 second mark. I tried to transcribe it into Google translate, but the auto-detect seems confused by what I've entered as it interprets it as Swedish for the first portion and Danish for the latter screens. The first reads (in part) "Antiquity researchers Englishman Rawlinson and Frenchman Maspero show us pictures of (unknown) spirits who were believed (unknown) of ancient oldest civilized peoples". I think the gentlemen referenced are Sir Henry Rawlinson and Gaston Maspero, two researchers of Mesopotamia and Egypt, respectively.

We see a shot of a woman at a cauldron evoking a classical take on a witch, surrounded by drawings with eastern European and Egyptian influences. The screen text says that "the witches have concluded a criminal agreement with the devil". The subjects of the art appear to be bestial forms, and they're superimposed on shots of Ice. This dual-image visual appears to support his role as demon or monster in the piece, as indicated by his clothing here. However, if you look closely at his ears, bolts appear to emerge from them. This casts him as a modernized Frankenstein's monster, evoking the bolts on the monster's neck.

There's more text - "The floating figure at the top of the picture's a devil, that comes and (unknown) the witch by lifting her up in the air." This satanic contract is mentioned again as a portion of the next text screen references "Faith in evil spirits, sorcery and witchcraft". The last of the text doesn't translate as well, starting "What we see scars (unknown) idea (unknown) form..." and ends referring to Maspero again. The merging of the imagery and the font make the letters difficult to fully interpret, so these may be slightly off, but I think they're indicative of the tone evident in the imagery nonetheless.

Ice is seen in a red-curtained room with classical styling, looking contemplative, next to an ornate golden clock. He seems to be awaiting some event, his hands folded on his chin. The view shows the band once again, from a sweeping crane shot, and we cut back to the red room. Ice is seen in front of a door marked with an intricate crest, and we see the wide shot with superimposed gate again. This time a skeleton walks into the scene from the side where the skull rests on the ground.

Close to the 2:30 mark, what appears to be footage of an angry mob with torches from a black and white film is superimposed on the scene, much like the witch seen earlier. The effect here starts rather subtly, as the flames take a ghost-like appearance as the crowd fades into solidity. The mob footage seems to be culled from an early movie adaptation of Frankenstein, perhaps here to destroy the monstrosities the band seems to represent in the clip. The monsters within the mob themselves have been brought to the surface to deal with this perceived evil.

A series of solo shots of the band members surrounded by an arrangement of runic symbols aids in determining the band's monster-identities, if any doubt remains. Rame is more clearly seen as a witch in the spotlight here, as he waves a wand of some sort around in a circle in a bizarre conjuring. Ice's aspect is rendered more clearly in this sequence, as he appears to emerge from a blue fireball. Though not the traditional color of fire, I see an association with Prometheus stealing the fire of the gods as a correlation to the story of Frankenstein, as the Dr. 'steals' the electric life from the sky to animate his brutish monster.

By the 3 minute point, the runes are gone, and more black and white movie footage is seen over the band. This time it's clearly a Frankenstein reference, appearing to be the titular doctor of that work from the nature of his lab equipment. Ice appears to be looking in on the scene as we see him from behind, gazing towards the laboratory. He's clearly standing in for and thus portraying the monster from his position in the frame.

The wide angle shot of the mansion and band is seen again, this time with more skeletons, including one that appears trapped in the giant spiderweb on the gate. There's a distressed effect like old film as we see the band again. The red room is revisited, as Ice covers one eye while seated there, and the band is seen playing in these new surroundings. The cuts are quick near the end but we seem to see a monster running away from the castle before a slow pan towards an old graveyard ends the clip, with a burning husk superimposed as the impact of the angry villagers is seen.

The track is a strong electro-metal blend, and though I'm lacking the lyrics the video conveys the 'monster within' and 'nature of good and evil' themes rather well. There's a suitably Gothic tone to the stylings of the band's monster-personas. Mashing up vintage cinematic references with actual movie footage conjures a tone of primal horror on a number of levels, without resorting to shock-horror tactics. An intriguing melding of modern metallic sound and classic visuals coalesce to create a great showcase for Black Gene for the Next Scene, and leave the viewer wanting more by the time the PV concludes.

By Josh Campbell

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