Anyone who claims that metal and politics don’t belong together either has their own political agenda or no idea about the roots of our music.
It is indisputable that Black Sabbath are among the founding fathers of hard electric guitar music. Already on their second album Paranoid (1970) there were several socially critical songs, including “War Pigs“ and “Electric Funeral“. On their third album Master of Reality, “Children of the Grave“ is one of the highlights, both musically and lyrically. In my opinion, the number is still an inspiration to this day.
When you read the lyrics, it’s obvious that Geezer Butler had an impending nuclear war in mind when he was working on the content. But “Children of the Grave“ is nonetheless completely timeless – it’s a pamphlet that stirs the attentive listener.
Revolution in their minds – the children start to march
Against the world in which they have to live
and all the hate that’s in their hearts
They’re tired of being pushed around
and told just what to do
They’ll fight the world until they’ve won
and love comes flowing through
I especially like the fact that the lyrics can be projected onto a revolting youth rebelling against existing grievances. If you’re not completely narrow-minded, you can see that there are a lot of young people nowadays who are socio-politically engaged and take a stand. For example, I am very happy to have Aidan in the Epic Metal Blog team. He’s a committed young man who always resolutely demonstrates his stance and does not avoid any discussion. He displays an idealism and fighting spirit that I have sometimes lost a little in the course of the last few years. And I would argue that it’s not just me. As you get older, you often become more cynical and indifferent. Therefore, one can learn a lot from the youth. You just have to listen.
“Children of the Grave“ portrays a deplorable actual state of affairs, which reminds me fatally of today, which is marked by the already spreading climate catastrophe – the latter has long since replaced the “atomic fear” sung about by Ozzy in 1971. It is a shame that we and the generations before us have exploited our wonderful planet in such a way – future generations are in danger of becoming “Children of the Grave”. I always get furious when right-wing or conservative politicians try to score points with the theme of “family”, but at the same time destroy the future of the young. How hypocritical can a person be? And how blind can the electorate be? Or should I rather say: how selfish?
Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today
Will the sun rise up tomorrow bringing peace in any way?
Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?
Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear?
In “Children of the Grave“, the outcome of the young generation’s revolt is not certain. Here, too, we see a parallel to today. The struggle is not hopeless, but the number of those who stand up is still too small – and the majority supports short-sighted policies that play people off against each other. Right-wing politicians in particular are masters at assigning scapegoats. Someone can always be found in this regard: foreigners, Muslims, Jews, gays, trans people, leftists, journalists, scientists – the list is endless.
So you children of the world,
listen to what I say
If you want a better place to live in
spread the words today
Show the world that love is still alive
you must be brave
Or you children of today are
Children of the Grave, Yeah!
“Children of the Grave” ends with a passionate call to action that one can only endorse today. Political metal from the 1970s can indeed serve as a soundtrack in the fight for the future of our planet. In this spirit: Listen to more Black Sabbath!