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The Aftermath

Discussion in 'The X Factor' started by LooseCannon, Oct 8, 2003.

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How good is The Aftermath on a scale of 1-10?

  1. 10

    14.7%
  2. 9

    8.8%
  3. 8

    23.5%
  4. 7

    20.6%
  5. 6

    17.6%
  6. 5

    8.8%
  7. 4

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. 3

    5.9%
  9. 2

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. 1

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Well, there I was, listening to The X Factor, when I heard the lyrics on The Aftermath. I haven't thought about them much at all. I think they deserve a closer look.

    To me they seem to be talking about almost the same event as Paschendale. Upon listening to the lyrics, one could almost be seen as a continuation as the other. "In the mud and rain" "In the smoke, in the mud and lead"...

    "Where mustard gas and barb wire bloom"
    "Lifeless bodies hang on barbed wire."

    As well, as we all know, Paschendale is the first battle where mustard gas was used.

    Obviously The Aftermath is about the war being over. I believe it to be about the end of the First World War. The line "Silently to silence fall in the fields of futile war". As Maverick has pointed out in his amazing commentary on Paschendale, World War One was the most futile war in history, both for the reasons behind it and the offensives within. Paschendale is the height of that futility. Men who were in the Western Front at the end of World War One have recalled the sudden silence that fell at 11:00 AM (The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) felt supernatural. When the guns ceased firing, guns that had been firing for four years and two months, men who lived through the carnage must have been awestrucked at how quiet it could be. As well, the war did not spurt out in most places. Usually the guns simply stopped shooting. There was no real warning that it was over until that surreal quiet occured.

    "War horse and war machine curse the name of liberty/Marching on as if they should mix in the dirt our brothers' blood"

    The values of nationalism and fraternity that united various countries during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Conscription, that is universal service in the armed forces, brought people of all social classes together in a manner they had never been united before. It was said about the British army before the Boer War: "Cook's son, Duke's son, son of a belted Earl". Before European nations had been rent internally by social divides. Now a Frenchman, German, or Briton would see all people of the same nationality as his brother in arms.

    The reference to liberty may talk about the three values of the French Revolution, Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality. I apologize for not putting them into French, but my French is, well, bad. It might also refer to the fact that the war machine, the apparatus used by the various Generals, now control the soldier's life. In WW1, certain generals (Haig, French, Nivelle, Falkenhayen) were notorious for their disdain for the lives of their men.

    "Once a ploughman hitched his team, here he sowed his little dream/Now bodies arms and legs are strewn, where mustard gas and barb wire bloom"

    This refers to the fact that the Western Front, that massive nation-long siege, wound its way through rural France and Belgium, destroying the livelyhood of thousands of small farmers. To this day men and women farming those fields uncover relics of WW1: unexploded bombs (Belgium has a special government department who's job it is to safeguard these), rifles, helmets, even human corpses. The latter are prevalent in the area of Paschendale where so many bodies were sucked into the mud.

    This brings me to the chorus:
    "In the mud and rain, what are we fighting for/Is it worth the pain, is it worth dying for?"

    Simply explained with the notorious muddy fields of the Western Front and the futility of trench warfare.

    "Who will take the blame, why did they make a war/Questions that come again, should we be fighting at all?"

    I believe this song is about a German soldier who survived WW1. Dispirited by the loss of his proud nation and the death of so many comrades, he's questioning the rationale of the war. "Who will take the blame" must refer to the infamous clause of the Treaty of Versailles that places all the blame for the Great War onto Germany. As we all know, the First World War began for a myriad of reasons, which I don't want to get into here. Marshal Foch, Supreme Allied Commander in WW1, said this about the Treaty of Versailles: "This is not a peace treaty. It is an armistice for 20 years." He was proven prophetic by the outbreak of World War Two in 1939, 20 years after Versailles was signed. "Questions that come again" at the end of WW2: How could our leadership take us into such death and destruction?

    Should we be fighting at all?

    Once again referring to the outbreak of WW1, in which Germany supported the aggressor, Austria-Hungary. Why should Germany have helped Austria? Why should anyone have cared? Why must we murder ourselves?
     
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    Brilliant comment, mate!

    I had thought before that this song was more about WWI than any other conflict but, due to the lack of time, I'd never gone round to re-write the commentary on it (and on so many others!).

    I'll keep it in mind for the next update! Well done indeed! [!--emo&^_^--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/happy.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'happy.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
     
  3. Onhell

    Onhell Mexican Revolutionary

    'the Aftermath'

    I think this is the perfect time to bring this up. Maverik keeps reminding us how little time he has, but we ( I am included) keep telling him what he should change or what commentary should be updated. I think there are people that visit this site regularly that are willing to volenteer (again I include myself) to write commentaries for songs that may need re-visiting. I only have seven maiden albums, being a college student I don't have much money for anything and when it comes to my music I like to diversify. However, I think it would make it easier on Maverik (and all the impatient people, I'm NOT including myself here) if we pitch in and wrote commentaries. It's just an idea.
     
  4. SinisterMinisterX

    SinisterMinisterX Illuminatus Staff Member

    'the Aftermath'

    Amazing, LooseCannon. Being a musician, I have always paid more attention to the music than the lyrics in any Maiden song. You (and Maverick, gor, Onhell and others) keep showing me things I never noticed before. Thanks! [!--emo&:bow:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/bowdown.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'bowdown.gif\' /][!--endemo--]

    Regarding Onhell's proposition: I'd suggest continuing to do what LooseCannon has done and post whatever you write. We can all get to enjoy it that much sooner. When Mav gets time to update the "official" commentary, I think one of two actions would be appropriate:
    1. Incorporate the info from the post into the commentary and give the poster credit
    --OR--
    2. Add a link from the commentary to the matching thread on the board.

    Again, great work LooseCannon!! [!--emo&:rock:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/headbang.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'headbang.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
     
  5. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    'the Aftermath'

    The only problem with that, SMX, is that the forums disappear after awhile if no one keeps posting on them. It might be more efficient to quote. But it's Mav's baby, I shan't get into this beyond that technical detail.
     
  6. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    I'm absolutely sure that i read in a steve interview that the song is about [a href=\'http://http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/beaumont/somme.htm\' target=\'_blank\']the Battle Of Somme[/a]
     
  7. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    'the Aftermath'

    Wow, gor, if you could dig out the interview, that would be amazing. The Somme was a horrible battle.
     
  8. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    i wish i could find it...


    also blood on the world's hands is about the serbian-croatian (1991) war according to the same interview.
     
  9. gor

    gor Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    [!--QuoteBegin-LooseCannon+Oct 8 2003, 11:39 PM--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE(LooseCannon @ Oct 8 2003, 11:39 PM)[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--] Wow, gor, if you could dig out the interview, that would be amazing.  The Somme was a horrible battle. [/quote]
    ok, i tracked it down, matteo at the imbb said "both of the info were given by Blaze in an interwiew to an Italian magazine back in 1995 (I guess it was Metal Schock but I'm not sure, I should check it)!"
     
  10. IronDuke

    IronDuke Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    Really good post, but you have a detail wrong *gasp*

    [!--QuoteBegin--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE[/div][div class=\'quotemain\'][!--QuoteEBegin--]As well, as we all know, Paschendale is the first battle where mustard gas was used.[/quote]

    Mustard gas was first used at the first battle of Ypres, in 1915. Passchendaele did not happen until 1917.

    Aside from that, it's a stellar post [!--emo&:)--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/smile.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'smile.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
     
  11. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    'the Aftermath'

    No, Duke. Chlorine gas was first employed at Ypres 2. Ypres 3 was the first for mustard gas.
     
  12. IronDuke

    IronDuke Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    Ummmm.......I don't know about that

    I'll recheck my sources.
     
  13. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    'the Aftermath'

    Read the bit on Paschendale I just bumped up.
     
  14. IronDuke

    IronDuke Ancient Mariner

    'the Aftermath'

    I just re-read (and double checked) my sources.

    I stand corrected, Mr Cannon.
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    Now you can read other visitors' comments on '[a href=\'http://www.maidenfans.com/imc/index.php?url=album10_xfactor/commentary10_xfactor〈=eng&link=albums#track6\' target=\'_blank\']The Aftermath[/a]' as well as post your own. Any contribution to the commentary will be much appreciated, may it be cultural references relevant to the song (links to related websites, interpretations that may have been overlooked in the Commentary, and the like) or personal essays related to the topic of the song. Just be aware that messages that are either off-topic or too wacky may be deleted.

    Likewise, as tastes are pretty subjective and personal, I prefer to leave the appreciation of the song to a democratic vote and you can rate the song here. It would also be nice if you could let us know why you like/dislike it.

    Cheers! [!--emo&B)--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/cool.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'cool.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
     
  16. Uwe

    Uwe Trooper

    'the Aftermath'

    Very dark and heavy, Blaze's voice fits in very well with the lyrical theme. The questions asked in this song are quite interesting actually, especially if one thinks about the aftermath of WW1, when a lot of things changed in Europe.
     
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    Amazing. Incredible. Words don't do this song justice. The best from the album and one of the best songs ever. The section that precedes the solo and the solo itself- how is it possible a human mind can come up with something like this?
     
  18. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    This song is incredible; Blaze's voice is probably at his best here, and the lyrics are thought provoking.

    I give it four and a half [!--emo&:rock:--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/headbang.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'headbang.gif\' /][!--endemo--] 's.

    A little as to why WWI was fought, from this site- [a href=\'http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm\' target=\'_blank\']http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm[/a] {LONG read}

    June 28 in Sarajevo

    We'll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened. The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of "one thing led to another" - otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

    The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo's Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

    Ferdinand's death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world's first global war.

    Austria-Hungary's Reaction

    Austria-Hungary's reaction to the death of their heir (who was in any case not greatly beloved by the Emperor, Franz Josef, or his government) was three weeks in coming. Arguing that the Serbian government was implicated in the machinations of the Black Hand (whether she was or not remains unclear, but it appears unlikely), the Austro-Hungarians opted to take the opportunity to stamp its authority upon the Serbians, crushing the nationalist movement there and cementing Austria-Hungary's influence in the Balkans.

    It did so by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia which, in the extent of its demand that the assassins be brought to justice effectively nullified Serbia's sovereignty. Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, was moved to comment that he had "never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character."

    Austria-Hungary's expectation was that Serbia would reject the remarkably severe terms of the ultimatum, thereby giving her a pretext for launching a limited war against Serbia.

    However, Serbia had long had Slavic ties with Russia, an altogether different proposition for Austria-Hungary. Whilst not really expecting that Russia would be drawn into the dispute to any great extent other than through words of diplomatic protest, the Austro-Hungarian government sought assurances from her ally, Germany, that she would come to her aid should the unthinkable happen and Russia declared war on Austria-Hungary.

    Germany readily agreed, even encouraged Austria-Hungary's warlike stance. Quite why we'll come back to later.

    One Thing Led to Another

    So then, we have the following remarkable sequence of events that led inexorably to the 'Great War' - a name that had been touted even before the coming of the conflict.

    Austria-Hungary, unsatisfied with Serbia's response to her ultimatum (which in the event was almost entirely placatory: however her jibbing over a couple of minor clauses gave Austria-Hungary her sought-after cue) declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914.


    Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilisation of its vast army in her defence, a slow process that would take around six weeks to complete.


    Germany, allied to Austria-Hungary by treaty, viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary, and after scant warning declared war on Russia on 1 August.


    France, bound by treaty to Russia, responded by announcing war against Germany and, by extension, on Austria-Hungary on 3 August. Germany promptly responded by invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route.


    Britain, allied to France by a more loosely worded treaty which placed a "moral obligation" upon her to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Her reason for entering the conflict lay in another direction: she was obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty.

    With Germany's invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King's appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed herself to Belgium's defence later that day. Like France, she was by extension also at war with Austria-Hungary.


    With Britain's entry into the war, her colonies and dominions abroad variously offered military and financial assistance, and included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.


    United States President Woodrow Wilson declared a U.S. policy of absolute neutrality, an official stance that would last until 1917 when Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare - which seriously threatened America's commercial shipping (which was in any event almost entirely directed towards the Allies led by Britain and France) - forced the U.S. to finally enter the war on 6 April 1917.


    Japan, honouring a military agreement with Britain, declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914. Two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan.


    Italy, although allied to both Germany and Austria-Hungary, was able to avoid entering the fray by citing a clause enabling it to evade its obligations to both.

    In short, Italy was committed to defend Germany and Austria-Hungary only in the event of a 'defensive' war; arguing that their actions were 'offensive' she declared instead a policy of neutrality. The following year, in May 1915, she finally joined the conflict by siding with the Allies against her two former allies.


    Basically, Germany used their alliance with Austria-Hungary to try to expand their empire; but the lost, and were severely punished by Versailles. Germany was forced to pay for all of the damage of the war and provide payments for the families of Allied soldiers that died. This took such a toll on the economy of the Wiemar Republic that it basically paved the way for the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, thus setting the stage for WWII.

    Here are some of the penalties laid down upon Germany- [a href=\'http://history.acusd.edu/gen/text/versaillestreaty/ver227.html\' target=\'_blank\']http://history.acusd.edu/gen/text/versaill...aty/ver227.html[/a]
    [a href=\'http://history.acusd.edu/gen/text/versaillestreaty/ver231.html\' target=\'_blank\']http://history.acusd.edu/gen/text/versaill...aty/ver231.html[/a]

    The Allies really fucked up by forcing Germany to pay for ALL of the civillian damages wrought in the war; even damages caused by other nations of the Central Powers.
     
  19. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    One thing that is somewhat interesting about this song is that it is called "The Aftermath", yet, the song takes place during the terror and makes no mention of the situation afterwards, except for the "After the war, what does a soldier become?" part.
    This song, therefore, seems to step into the mind of one of the fighting soldiers questioning the war he is fighting in and what will be if he ever gets out of it alive.

    I don't want to go too far here, but this, along with a number of details of the song, make me think the whole thing is directly based on the novel "All Quiet On The Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. As I don't have the book here, I can't quote from it and hope you all know what I mean and how I mean it.

    Some lines in the song bear striking resemblance with passages from the book. I know that, since it's the same situation being described, that could be coincidence, but still, the wording is sometimes the same. One line that struck me in particular was:

    "Marching on as if they should"

    Which made me think of a passage reading, paraphrased (and probably incorrect), "The dead lie there as if it should be so".

    I can't go on with comparrisons though, as I'd need the book for it, but it's not in my possession.
     
  20. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    'the Aftermath'

    Get hold of that book and write something, Perun. I'd greatly appreciate it! [!--emo&:)--][img src=\'style_emoticons/[#EMO_DIR#]/smile.gif\' border=\'0\' style=\'vertical-align:middle\' alt=\'smile.gif\' /][!--endemo--]
     

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