“Hell on Earth” album explores philosophy

By Erika Heck and By Erika Heck

“Hell on Earth,” by a music trio consisting of Sandro Miller, John Malkovich and Eric Alexandrakis is the political-post-apocalyptic Halloween soundtrack of 2017. According to Music Promotion, the album is a sequel to a project of theirs called “Allegory of the Cave.” The website says the album is “a continuation of that story, leaving the synthetic to now contemplate words from Aristotle and Plato, after humanity has been wiped out.”

    I did not listen to “Allegory of the Cave,” but as a standalone album, this current work holds its own considering the relevance the words of the two philosophers to present day reality.

    The beginning of the album gave me a sci-fi feeling while I listened, with the trio’s use of synthesizer and what I thought were the sounds of technological sound effects like computer beeps and sirens. There are no lyrics until around the middle of the album so that only sounds allow you to create your own visualization of what is unfolding in the post-apocalyptic world.

    The album contains four different “skepsises,” terms which can broadly be defined as “a skeptical outlook or attitudes.” The four skepsises are subtitled: “Migration,” “The Order of the Universe,” “The Disorder of the Universe” and “Entropy.” The words of Aristotle and Plato are interwoven with one another to create a form of spoken word that range from well-known clichés, “The more you know, the more you don’t know,” Aristotle, to sayings that were unfamiliar to me “No one is a friend who does not live in return,” Plato.

    The quotes by the two philosophers touch on subjects such as education, democracy, happiness, personhood, mental stability, love and friendship, life and death, the environment and justice. All of these issues are relevant to our human lives in the present day, whether it be in our everyday social interactions or in the presence of social, economic and political discourses.

    All three skepsises have the technological tones to them, but in between “Skepsis 3” and “Skepsis 4,” the pace of the music gets quicker and the prominent sound of pianos appears into the two tracks’ transition.

    After “Skepsis 4” there’s a “Repurification,” a track filled with nothing but natural water sounds, like rain, crashing waves and dripping caves. Originally, I thought of dripping faucets before I thought of caves, but that was the beauty of being able to visualize the sounds and words of the album on my own — I could connect it to relevant things in my everyday life, though the overall album theme is post-apocalyptic.

    The final track at the end, “Electrorganic,” is a spoken word story about “citizens in chains” and the world they live in around them. The vocalist uses voice distorter to give an omnipresent vibe to the story being told.

    At ten tracks and a total of 23 minutes, the album is a good shower listen. It would also make for good background music or a good listen for any kind of Halloween party. The album can be found on iTunes.