“Thrown to the Wolves” (Death Angel)

JoAnna Russ’ narrator in We Who Are About to . . . attempts to practice ars moriendi while her companions on a possibly uninhabited planet are preoccupied with the survival of civilization. While she doesn’t realize that her antagonists are also practicing the art of dying in a modern way, there is the realization that either option demands extreme violence. Analogically, different iterations of the christian guidebooks—or, currently, “best practices” manuals—to ars moriendi, at times, rehearse familiar debates about the propriety of innovation. This trax, from the album Ars Moriendi, exploits this tension by refocusing. The “pack” coming for you values “no compromise,” and managed banishment is their praxis. You won’t be left alone. The assault is constant and demands ritual sacrifices of whatever type of family you’ve culled together. There are no future decisions. One remains “hiding,” “choking,” and “beg[ging]. The key is that you’ve been “betrayed,” as there once was a promise since withdrawn by the state. What can be picked from the remains? Here, it’s the interruption of “worth” and the “dignity” of it all.


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