The Burning Hell

It’s rare to find a band that surprises, excites, makes you think, gets you dancing, and causes unstoppable fits of laughter. The Burning Hell does all of these and then some. Lead singer/songwriter Mathias Kom may say that his band is dorky but I would have to disagree. The Burning Hell are the coolest kids around.

To try to describe the nature of The Burning Hell’s sound would be unjust. You will have to trust me and give them a listen. But to describe their intellectual and darkly humoristic lyrics, I hunted down Mathias Kom to ask him about his songwriting.

At the very outset Mathias made it clear to me was that his music has only three themes: death, things, and conferences. The first two of these shouldn’t come as a surprise; they are themes found in just about every artist’s music. But conferences? In truth, until relatively recently, Mathias taught history. As such, he is very interested in conferences (what historian wouldn’t be?); not only in how they produce important historical decisions, but more especially in the social anthropology occurring in the backrooms and behind the official text. Mathias told me that, “it is impossible for a conference to be anything but exciting and dynamic.” And he means it. If you ever have the pleasure of seeing them perform live you will question your life and wonder why you don’t attend more conferences. Here, about the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, from Baby released March 17, is ‘The Berlin Conference’.

The Burning Hell – The Berlin Conference

Mathias’ other major interest is death; talking about death, deconstructing it and proving that death is not necessarily an end. In our conversation he told me that he sees death as being a product of North American culture; that our obsession with health and fitness and living our lives stems more so from our fear of death than our embracing of life. Honestly, I find many of the Burning Hell’s songs on the subject pretty macabre, but to give you a taste here is ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ from their album Tick Tock.

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— , April 13, 2009    3 Comments