1. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Using Metal (and subgenres) As Psychological Warfare

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Cave Troll, Aug 24, 2016.

    I have been playing around with the idea for 2 of my MCs to use loud violent and aggressive music as psychological warfare in the final battle of the war. It has been banned, outlawed, and blacklisted by the controlling parties for at least 200 years prior to this whole battle takes place. (We are talking the 2700s, as a point of ref. for when this war is taking place in.)

    So I was kinda wondering if I could get an idea from you all, on how one might react to being bombarded with music that is so aggressive and violent. How would a soldier not prepared for an assault on his senses mixed with the already burden of being shot at and bombarded, react to the added psychological assault on top of that?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    'However you write it', basically. Sorry that's not much help, but I think it entirely depends on your characters' cultural conditioning and social atmosphere, which you're the expert on.

    Has the ban/outlawing/blacklist been effective? If so, and the permissible music is typically 'easy listening', it might come as an aural shock. But then, I think one of the best ways to get music listened to by the masses is by banning it...

    I'm sceptical that a soldier on the battlefield would care much about the music (after the immediate split-second when s/he's realises it won't kill her/him), even if it's being absolutely blasted. In fight or flight situations, the brain is very good at shutting off sections of itself that aren't necessary for the task at hand. I think it would have more application as a psychological torture method for POWs, etc.

    I'm also sceptical that 'metal' music as such would still be widely produced in the 2700s. Possibly it's archived metal from around our current point in time though. If not, I'd stick to descriptors like 'violent' and 'aggressive' without mentioning an actual genre (unless it's an in-universe genre you've invented). That also has the bonus that the readers can imagine their own preferred hard-edged music: there are plenty of genres besides metal that can be violent and aggressive.

    And for the obvious joke: who here has a rebellious teenage child?
     
  3. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    This is all based on a tactic that was used in the Vietnam War, by using their superstition about their belief of death to produce a sense of dread. As the Vietnamese had a fear of being forced to eternally wonder if they did not die in their birth region. So the military played the moaning, wailing, and pleading of the damned on loud speakers in the night.

    So instead of using superstition to intimidate and instill a sense of fear and dread, the use of reinforcing the fact that there will be little chance of surviving whatever they are facing. Forcing the enemy to hear all kinds of horrible ways to be killed outside of what they are conditioned to handle, as well as the relentless resolve of the party dispensing these horrific and horrible consequence for standing in the way. Though this will only work for a much shorter length of time than playing on superstitions. In a since if you cannot produce a devil, at least you can introduce the possibility of one long enough to demoralize the opponent.

    As for POWs, they are a non-issue considering that it is made very clear that no one is spared. Only those with any amount of value are captured, but only held long enough to get information extracted from them before execution. So in short order the sense of getting rid of the opposing force is literal annihilation, with the exception of those that go on the run.
    There is a constant that cleaning house so to speak is a time sensitive thing for the protagonists. Being the smaller force, must utilize whatever they can to ensure a quicker end to the whole affair.

    Also there aren't too many genres of music that get into talking about flaying people alive and other horrors.

    The ruling parties had managed to ban prostitution, so I think they have the resources available to get rid of pretty much everything else they don't want on a global scale.
    Largely though it will be a stumbled upon thing on the way, with little to no knowledge of it. So it will be fairly vague on the details, within the universe.
     
  4. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Perhaps you might find useful the story of the first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and the resulting riot. Basically, the first time this ballet premiered in Paris, the audience (fashionable, well-dressed, high-class and respectful ballet goers) snapped and went absolutely insane during the performance. They rioted, the waved their canes around like swords, one man started drumming on the bald head of the guy in front of him - it was crazytown.

    If you have 25 minutes sometime, this RadioLab episode might be helpful in this area (you can skip the first 7 minutes, not as relevant.) They talk to neurologists about what happens in the brain when we listen to music, how our brain perceives sounds we aren't familiar with, and why the Rite of Spring made people go temporarily insane. It could easily explain how soldiers, subjected to extremely loud, extremely violent music would become completely disoriented and/or do things contrary to their strict training. Especially if this kind of music is virtually extinct and most of the soldiers would have never been exposed to such sounds.

    Also, in some of the the Guantanamo Bay reports it states that death metal music played at deafening volume was used as a torture device. So, this is definitely in the realm of realism.
     
  5. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    I'd like to think I am the rebellious teenage child but the most rebellious thing I've ever done is watch anime when its banned in my house :cool:

    To the point, I occasionally listen to metal as well as pop punk, screamo (mainly to wind up my sister, she absolutely hates it) and dirty rock. If it is really loud and has a lot of dissonance as some pieces do I think it could really torture someone who's never heard it as @Lyrical says.
    I really like this idea by the way!
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Thanks @Lyrical, that podcast was most helpful.

    Now for an experiment (insert cheesy maniacal evil laugh here) :superlaugh:
    This will be an analysis based upon the observers feels, toward such a stimuli.
    One will just be music without vocals. One will have vocals.
    Participants should try to imagine being in similar situation to the example above.
    Battle field with no conditioning for this type of auditory assault to accompany it.
    (The less exposed to loud and dark music the better, but it would help to get any
    form of analysis).

     
  7. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    I seem to recall that US forces used loud music in panama while besieging the president's compound - that probably escaped the rules of war because it wasn't formally speaking warfare , it was also alledged (but never proved) that UK forces were using music with insulting content for sleep denial as part of psychological torture of inmates at Abu Ghraib.

    That said on the battlefield itself i suspect it would be less effective - a soldier is expecting his senses to be assaulted by the "din of war" shell fire etc so music isn't going to make much difference unless its so loud tha it qualifies as a sonic weapon where the sound waves themselves are causing damage to the soldiers ears/balance etc
     
  8. Freethesea
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    Freethesea Member

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    I was so apprehensive after reading your MC's intended use of your selections, that I turned my volume waaaaaay down and only when I was sure I would not be killed, did I ease it up again.

    Arch Enemy Cruelty Without Beauty hands down. Not even a hesitation.

    I didn't die but I'm pretty sure I was injured while listening.

    This was so much easier than trying to critique something in the workshop.
     
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  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Interesting, though I have had a ton of exposure since I was a teen . Though the slower pronounced notes in the cover of Fulgore's intro send a shiver up my spine for some strange reason.

    So are you saying that having disturbing graphic depictions of scientific people dissection, sung by a woman growling them is more mentally and physically jarring than the instrumental piece of a character in a fighting game that basically mutilates things without thought?

    Though Metal as a genres has been called the sensory equivalent to war, because it contains similar concepts while being pretty much harmless. Though it is unpleasant to be right up at the stage due to the percussive bass and the searing guitar, a wall of audio and physical pain at about 130 decibels that relentlessly blasts you. Though the worst thing it can cause long term is hearing damage. :)

    Thank you for your participation in my little study, it was most helpful. And since I am not so cruel as to ask others to do something for me. I will offer my time to doing a beta read for you or some other favor that you might ask of me. It is only fair since you got growled at by Angela Gassow (She is kinda scary.) There is no time limit on my offer to help you in anyway that you might need, only that it is there when you need it. :)

    Alrighty, score one for adding vocals.
     
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  10. Freethesea
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    Freethesea Member

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    Yes.

    I don't know. My mood sucks now (just kidding). :superlaugh::superlaugh:

    So let it be written. So let it be done. And that is very noble gesture Sir.

    That is correct.
     
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  11. Freethesea
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    Freethesea Member

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    I've been giving much thought to this responsibility I've assumed and now I'm reconsidering a more marketable decision, therefore, I have very dutifully returned to the keyboard to be more specific.

    Arch Enemy is to drive someone insane on a more effective but less enduring level, like maybe people would begin to leave the theater.

    Killer Instinct is to drive someone insane on a mainstream, big production level. Like the people would sit through the offensiveness and might even begin tapping their feet as the enemy is being annihilated--if the bad guys were hated to the degree of influencing comradery in your audience.

    There. My conscience is clean.
     
  12. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    I listen to Arch Enemy recreationally...
     
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  13. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Dr. Mambo Me too. (I only pull out the Russian Death Metal on occasion0 :p

    @Freethesea Pretty sure people around the globe know who Arch Enemy is. Killer instinct is an old console game. Neither is supposed to be offensive, that was not the point.

    This is offensive.
     
  14. Freethesea
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    Freethesea Member

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    Cave Troll, your newest musical selection made me laugh.

    Sorry, I selected the wrong word. Should I have said "sitting through the psychological warfare instituted by your MC's?" I was putting your book to screen (in case it made it there) and not just pages, which changed my viewpoint. Should have simply stuck to the research question you were asking.

    So I'm back to my original selection.

    I did not click on 'Whore' because that would be recreational and not work.

    You can't take your favor back either. It was written.

    Dr. Mambo's vote doesn't count because he likes Metal.
     
  15. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Freethesea Well I don't think we can really know what would be played musically in 26th century, let alone the 28th. So I was using a contemporary example, as a stand in. You said they were offensive, but they are at best just obnoxious noise to some people. Whore is actually offensive to the majority, as it glorifies being promiscuous, and even stealing other peoples partners and spouses just because they want to have sex with them. But as I heard in an interview with the frontman of Annihilator, is that right now the record labels are just signing 'everyone' a deal. Which kinda means talent-less and tasteless get to have a stage.
    Secondly, trying to move a book and imagine it as a movie is not the best way to think about it. It was suppose to get a better understanding of a concept based on specific parameters, though you have failed to offer any useful contribution as you BSed the first time and you clearly stated that you simply hate the music in the second. So to be fair objectivity was thrown out the window. It is one thing to throw a quick one liner for fun, but then to follow it up with something that adds to the discussion contributing to it in one way or another. So in a way opting for column D, there was no definitive contribution. So I can rescind what I wish, unless you have something that you would honestly like to bring to the table.
    Figure out what it is you want to say, but whatever it is, it should at least have something to do with the topic at hand. Check out the Debate thread, there might be a few things to be learned about keeping on point.

    And on the final thing, Dr.Mambo and I were sharing a common interest.
     
  16. Freethesea
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    Freethesea Member

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    Cave Troll, I was not BSing but I was was being absolutely sincere in answering your original question.
    Just so you know.

    An
     
  17. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    So basically how Mel Brooks killed Dick Van Patten in ''High Anxiety''?
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    You need a band for this? Nile.
     
  19. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    I'll participate in your experiment. My brother liked almost every genre of metal growing up, so I have some minor exposure, but I do not enjoy it myself. It's been years since I heard any metal, so let's see how the reaction goes.

    Selection #1: Killer Instinct - Imagining myself in a battle situation, ambushed by this song, with no previous exposure to these kinds of sounds, this intro would be truly terrifying. Once the guitar kicks in, it has something more like a melody. Oddly enough, that makes it a bit less scary. But it gets back to being crazy 3 minutes in. I feel that if the intro didn't make me pee my pants, I might actually be as motivated by the music once my brain found sense in the sounds. In fact, the longer I listen, the cooler I think this music is. I might save this and use this when I'm trying to write certain kinds of scenes.

    Selection #2: Arch Enemy - This intro is also pretty hair-raising. Overall, this piece is much harder. Oh crap, the vocals. Those vocals. Sounds like the demons of hell are crawling out of the speakers. Yep, this one is probably 5x more terrifying than Killer Instinct. The music is super dark and frightening, but the vocals raise the fear factor by about 1000. If I were assaulted unexpectedly by this, I would run in the other direction, certain I was about to be flayed alive. There is a lot more chaos in this one than in Killer Instinct. In a world where this kind of music doesn't exist anymore, this would sound like death has arrived to drag you off to eternal torment. This one does not get better the longer you listen - I felt hugely relieved when it was done.
     
  20. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Lyrical Thanks, I often wondered what would be considered more terrifying, just music or hardcore dark thrash metal. So was it the unnatural sound of the vocals and the lyric content that ultimately made it far worse? Cause I am wondering now if something similar to 5FDP would be just as effective, considering it is just raw and aggressive without being a growl. Of course Ivan Moody has a coarse voice when singing heavier songs.

    @Steerpike I think this would be a good backer to battle sequence. The swift meeting, followed by the lull surveying the field before rushing in to battle.
     
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  21. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Well, to be honest, the music and the sound of the voice itself were all overwhelming enough that I really didn't pay attention to lyrics at all. Not at all. I can't tell you what they were going on about. Seems fairly congruent with a battle, however, where the noise of the music and the percussion would be more jarring than trying to decipher lyrics growled by strange/demonic vocals. So I think the more unnatural the vocals, the more viscerally disturbing it will be. Lyrics seem to be irrelevent, at least on a conscious level.
     
  22. Jarvis XIX
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    Jarvis XIX Member

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    Hope you don't mind me adding some thoughts. I'm a huge Metal fan (not in a XXXL shirt kinda way), and I've been into the really brutal stuff long enough to have forgotten how heavy it really is when compared with ordinary music. In my day job as a builder, I meet a lot of people of different backgrounds, tastes and ages. One thing that amuses me mildly is accidentally (on purpose) exposing customers (after establishing enough of a working relationship, obviously!) to the far extreme end of my musical tastes. For example, I pulled up outside a customer's house the other day whilst they were gardening. I had the windows rolled down and I was listening to this loudly...



    He's 85, finds The Rolling Stones noisy...and he laughed at it. It was a talking point after. He'd never even heard the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, let alone comprehending the likes of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza (Best band name ever), Ion Dissonance and iwrestledabearonce. He just found the ridiculousness of it funny

    Compare that with my slightly younger grandfather asking me to switch off Green Day, looking a little shaken.

    I suppose where I'm going with this is...well...this - Music can have different effects on different people. Some of the soldiers on the battlefield may react in the same fashion as the first audience of Rite of Spring, especially when combined with the pressures of war and frayed sanities. Others would probably be so "in the zone" as it were that they ignore it. Others may react with mirth and ridicule. Some may even like what they hear (unlikely if it hasn't been heard for hundreds of years). I'd suggest a range of reactions, from complete breakdown to complete disregard. I guess it may depend on what kind of soldiers they are, green conscripts or hardened vets.

    Cool idea, anyway!
     
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  23. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Thanks to everybody so far and all the help. Now for fun, a headgame for you because I are evil. :supergrin:
     
  24. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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