Musical sound doesn’t frighten me anymore. It did once, when I was young. The sudden, jarring strangeness of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” once freaked me out to no end, a veritable boon to all who wanted to tease a chubby, overly sensitive child. Whenever she felt like being evil, my sister would turn to me and shout, “Mamma mia, mamma mia, let me go!” which would send me running out of the room in tears.
Wimp. Definition of a wimp. Today I recognize the utter campiness of the tune and have grown to love the better part of the Queen catalog. In fact music that once struck me as strange and dissonant has become more attractive, not more repulsive, in my adult years.
But lyrics still have the ability to get in my head and cause the spiders in there to revolt. I’m currently fascinated by — and a whole lotta disturbed by — a group called Jupiter Society. Their sound is prog metal, heavy on the synths, but the scenarios in their lyrics are all Stephen King in space.
For instance, the last song on their debut album, First Contact, Last Warning (2008), is “Presumed Dying,” about a star cruiser that’s the target of hostile fire. One of the passengers climbs into a space suit and escapes right as alien beings blow the ship to smithereens. Okay, fine, then what? The escapee slowly drifts toward the sun. Oops. (It sounds better than it reads, by the way.)
Other creepy goings-on include “Bismarck Explorer,” where a survey team finds the abandoned ship of Captain Kate Bishop, yet all the doors have been locked from the inside. But if her crew never left, where did they go? And in “Cold, Rigid and Remote,” a corpse is reanimated as a cyborg; he contemplates his lack of emotion about the situation and his newfound immortality as he begins his hollow second life.
First Contact, Last Warning could be subtitled “When Bad Things Happen to Space People,” but it is an enjoyable album. Just don’t listen too deeply, that’s all.