V!C!M! #Der Baum der Gehängten


Plate 11: La pendaison, Callot 1633

[names of the songs and all lyrics are loosely translated, for the original lyrics in german please visit the german section of our homepage]

Der Baum der Gehängten [The Hangman's Tree] is not only the first song on the album but further the first song of the first cycle which bases on the 18 etchings of Jacques Callot’s Les Grandes Misères de la guerre. the etchings are an explicit portrayal of cruelty and human bestiality and were created in his hometown Lorraine during the French occupation in the Thirty Years’ War.

Rhyme 1

Recruited as mercenary,

brought into battle,

but what is being displayed,

was something unexpected.

The weeping willow, tall,

with its mighty trunk

and on each branch,

a hanged man is entthroned.

The first rhyme introduces a random person who is joining a random army and follows Callot’s intention, who also does not have any affiliation for any party and only concentrates on the portayal of actions during the time of war. Right now these horrors are only physical and you realize that the first victim of war is humanness.


High, upon the tree.

Hanged, you won´t believe.

Dead, two dozen men

and more just follow them.

The chorus ist just a translation of the pictorial language of plate 11 into lyrical words. Solely and non-judgemental it follows the maxime of Callot’s work which is also the basis for this song and which was the framework for this lyrics.

“These sentences describe the introduction of a protagonist into the world of war and is connected to the physical cruelties which confronted every young soldier during the times of war: the hanged men.” Τ.Φ.

Just like the song continues, every single line gets more explicit and describes the plate of Callot. It also shows already the consequences of such a cruel action and puts phrases like “heroic battle”, “fair war” or even “heroic death” into a solely rethorical state. The first song already questions such trivial expressions which are brought completely ad absurdum during the rest of the LP.

Rhyme 2

A swarm of crows

adorn the corpses

and my own blood

freezes in my veines.

What mind, so sick ,

could invent such things.

Its solely murder,

not battle nor war .

The composing of this title was one of the songs who wrote themselves nearly alone. You often wish for something like that, but it happens rarely. It was one of the songs where the guitar and the hands compose the song without a deeper thinking of the mind. Though it is one of the older songs, it was only slightly changed. One of the changes was the reintroduction of the chorus after the break, another was the bass line which follows tghe chorus. In a musically way its more of a rock song that quickly gains speed and provides an energetic introduction to the LP.

Μ.Χ. on October, 28, 2013

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