The Last Judgement by Hans Memling, 1466-1473
As you all know, all of the time you have spent preparing for finals and writing papers about Buffy in the past week has been for naught, as per a prediction by Christian radio host Harold Camping that says that the Rapture will occur on May 21, just after you'll get your grades back. On this day, God's elect will be taken up to heaven while we sinners will be cast into eternal flame. I refuse to prostrate myself in prayer in preparation for this day; instead I will throw up my horns and celebrate the coming of the final judgement with a marathon of apocalyptic themed music.
W. A. Mozart - "Dies Irae" from The Requiem Mass in D Minor
For a time, it was trendy for classical composers to create their own variations on the Catholic Requiem Mass. This period saw the creation of some of the heaviest music ever written. My personal favorite is Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor, featuring an absolutely pummeling rendition of the thirteenth century Latin hymn, Dies Irae. This is powerful music, even when heard so long after the decline of the power of the Catholic Church.
Bathory - "Dies Irae" from Blood Fire Death (1988)
The Requiem Masses of Mozart et al. detail a final triumph of good over evil. Bathory's 1988 black metal epic Blood Fire Death inverts this, telling of the sacking of heaven by Satan's forces through leitmotifs of evil. After "The Golden Walls of Heaven" are stormed, all Hell breaks loose as everything sacred in this world and above it is desecrated in the most unholy of ways. Eventually, Christ, the bastard son of heaven, meets his own Day of Wrath in the album's seventh track, "Dies Irae". Quorthon's hoarse shouts tell all of mankind that they are doomed to spend eternity in the flames of Hell, but not to fear this fact but to revel in it, for through death, one receives eternal life.
Massacra - "Final Holocaust" from Final Holocaust (1990)
The renditions of "Dies Irae" from Mozart and Bathory tell us contrasting versions of what will come on the Day of Wrath. On Final Holocaust, however, Massacra provides us a soundtrack to play during the apocalypse. Through speeding microsymphonies of nihilistic destruction, Massacra's magnum opus is mesmerizing in its darkness and aggression. "Final Holocaust" offers a look into the post-apocalyptic world, with lyrics telling of a religiously-inspired collective suicide while tremolo power chords and racing drums assemble a joyous celebration of this destruction.
When judgement day comes in the following weeks, I will be prepared, armed with some of the darkest and heaviest music ever written to fend off God's angels of death. And when this prediction of doom blows over, as do all apocalyptic forecasts, I will have to wait until December 21, 2012 for another chance to revel in the impending destruction of the world.