Friday, December 12, 2014

Delain – "The Gathering" (2006)

I see a world in anger
I see a world in pain

Lucidity, the 2006 debut studio album by the Dutch symphonic metal band, Delain, includes a song titled "The Gathering."

It seems that "The Gathering" was inspired by "Magic: The Gathering," a phenomenally popular trading card game.  

"Magic: The Gathering" – we'll call it "MTG" – was introduced in 1993.  MTG is usually played by two "wizards," each of whom uses a deck of 60-plus cards.  Different cards depict spells, magical creatures, and other items of use to battling wizards.  The outcome of the game is determined by what cards are in your deck, and what order those cards are in.

A rare "Magic: The Gathering" card
Here's one of the song's verses, which seems to describe the game:

My cards, the ones to choose from
The role they play tonight
Which ones embrace the loved ones?
Which ones will summon for a fight?

Players can buy packs of cards, hoping to get lucky and find some really good ones in their packs.  Alternatively, they can buy or trade for specific individual cards.  (Depending on how powerful a particular card is, it can sell for a few cents or hundreds of dollars.)

The best MTG player at any given time goes by the title "King of the Nerds."  Actually, that's not literally true.  However, it is essentially true.

By the way, there are professional MTG players who compete in tournaments.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake at these tournaments.  I've never seen an MTG event, but I picture the participants as being a group of pale-skinned, doughy, and smelly young guys.  In other words, not unlike World Series of Poker competitors, except I'm guessing the MTG players dress crazier, like guys who put on special outfits to go to the new Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie (which is almost certainly what these guys do).  

Speaking of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, 20th Century Fox has greenlighted an MTG movie.  The studio hopes its efforts will yield a similarly successful movie franchise.

Streamer cannon
When Delain performs "The Gathering" live, it usually deploys cannons that use compressed CO2 to shoot streamers or confetti out into the audience.

Earlier this month, Delain was performing "The Gathering" before an audience in Birmingham, England, when something very bad happened.

Schimmelpenninck van der Oije  . . . before
We'll let Delain's bass player, Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, explain what that very bad thing was:

After what can be described as one of the most unpleasant adventures I've ever had to endure, we're back home again from the UK. . . . Spoiler alert: you might want to read this another time if you were planning on having sex within the hour or so.

As some of you know, we use "streamer cannons," which shoot silver streamers into the audience, usually during "The Gathering."  We've been doing this for ages without any problems at all, but in Birmingham things went wrong. . . .

In my enthusiasm I did not pay attention, and happened to be VERY close when the streamer fired.  It hit me from the back, in my genitals.  Although pain was pretty bad right away, I was merely pissed off at myself for not paying attention.  During the next song, pain got worse though, and I had the feeling I was bleeding.  Pretty soon pain got to the point where I could barely stay conscious anymore, but for some reason I did manage to finish the show and even squeeze out some grunts!

[NOTE:  My mouth is agape in wonder at Mr. Schimmelpenninck van der Oije's physical fortitude and his dedication to his art.]

Big grapefruit
After the show the damage was more obvious: my scrotum was the size of a big grapefruit and I was in a lot (yeah, really a lot) of pain.  I was taken to the nearest hospital where after hours and hours of waiting, I was finally operated around 8:30 in the morning. 

[NOTE:  Assuming Delain's show ended around midnight, that means our victim spent roughly eight hours in a hospital waiting room, writhing in agony and unable to cross his legs.  That's socialized English medicine at its worst.  Thank heavens that our good old American health care system doesn't operate this way – although once Obamacare gets a stranglehold on health care in the U.S. of A., you too can expect eight-hour waits every time your 'nads get in the way of a streamer cannon.]

English hospital waiting room
It appeared that my left testicle had been ruptured as well as some arteries.  More than 500 ml of blood was removed from my scrotum and my testicle stitched up. 

[NOTE: 500 milliliters is 16.9 ounces.]

I stayed in hospital for the rest of day and night, and was discharged on Friday afternoon. From there I took the plane to Glasgow where I was reunited with my girlfriend and the Delain family. . . . 

I was very close to losing my left testicle, but chances are good it will be fine.  It will take about six weeks until I can find out though, when I have an ultrasound scan.  It will also be a while before I am without the very uncomfortable pain I am in now, but sadly, it's just the way it is for now. . . .

Again, thank so much for all your get well wishes, support and kind messages, it means a lot to me!

I don't know about you, but I'm going to say a daily prayer for Schimmelpenninck van der Oije's testicle until we find out that it has fully healed.

Won't you join me, brothers and sisters? 

Here's "The Gathering":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. Just to give an idea what 500 ml is--it's about how much a typical donation at a blood donor center collects, a little more than a pint.