The second full length album from Murder by Death. Released on October 14, 2003 from Eyeball Records. It was greated with rave reviews from critics who hailed it is creative, original and atomospheric. It has been described as "a sonic boom that is part horror movie climax, part western barroom brawl and a gloss of wintry distortion."
Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? is a concept album. It tells the story of the devil wiping out a small town. It is important to keep in mind while listening that this album is ment purely to tell a story and the tracks should not be considered individually but more as chapters of that story.
The Story, Track by Track:
1. The Devil In Mexico
This song starts out with an introduction. The devil is sitting at a bar in a small midwestern town, driking whiskey and talking shit. He talks all night, until finally one of the towns people gets fed up with him and shoots him three times in the back.
Now the real story starts. The devil is now in a hospital. He has been shot three times and crude oil is leaking from his wounds. The local buisness men are collecting the oil and selling it (not a good idea!). He is still talking shit and planning his revenge. It is implied in a few places that the man who shot the devil had actually been in league with him, but betrayed him: "Black heart you shot the plan to hell". At the end of the song it is said "Someone say a Hail Mary for this house, bless the corners and burn the devil out." This last line implies that the devil is finally ready to get his revenge and it is not going to be pretty.
2. Killbot 2000
The devils first plauge. A poisionous mist ("a smell like cigarettes creeps softly through the vents") fills up the school and all the children get sick, their bodies deteriorate and they turn into zombies. There is one line in the song, "Datura flakes off from your lips", that many people don't understand. Datura is a hallucinogenic drug that turns people into zombies, putting them into a stupor and causing delusions. All the children die and at the end the parents come and carry the bodys to the cemetary] and bury them. (The lyrics to this song are much better than this, and rediculously self explanitory).
3. Until Morale Improves, The Beatings Will Continue
In this song the anti-hero returns to try and finish what he started when he shot the devil. He says "buckshot is my bread, and I drink whiskey instead of water". This is a reference to the wafer and wine at mass. He is very depressed, but feels it is his duty to try to sort out the mess he made.
4. Three Men Hanging
This song conveys the hopelessness of the townspeople when they realize what is happening. One line that is repeated is "Get on with it, can't you see it is time to quit." The narrator is urging the people to just give up and kill themselves because they can't win against the devil himself. "if i put this revolver to my head will god turn against me instead of taking pity on a broken man? get on with it."
Intermission brings to mind that this is indeed a story. It is like the break in the middle of the play.
6. A Masters In Reverse Psychology
The townspeople start arming themselves and get ready to fight the devil. Many people just sit in the wreckage of their homes, in the basements drinking themselves to death for fear of the devil. They tried to trick the devil but luring him into a house when he finally showed up and burning it down. But it doesn't kill him so they are left to pray for the dead and the living alike.
7. The Desert's on Fire
The devil is pissed off now. This song is about the devil taunting the townspeople telling them "I'll leave a trail of fire across this desert just to see the desperation in your eyes. You think you've suffered, well you ain't seen shit yet. The pain won't set in for a long long time. I've fought off angels with my hands behind my back. I've set the heavens all on fire." He is going to burn down their homes. The people retreat to bomb shelters where they hope they can hide from him until they can attack again.
8. That Crown Don't Make You a Prince
This is another song about the people fighting. Everyone has to finally take sides, and those who don't are "damned by inaction". The problem is, if they didn't have good in thier hearts the whole time, they are going to hell anyway. The song talks about how the devil is coming so everyone better get ready to fight.
9. Pillars of Salt
This is obviously a reference to the story of Lot from the bible. All the people who have made deals with the devil start rotting and falling apart (like Lots wife, who disobeyed God by looking back and became a pillar of salt). The sinners now realize that making a deal with the devil didn't save them, it damned them.
10. End Of The Line
The final battle. All the kids are hiding inside the houses, the adults have drunk themselves nearly to death, and the devil and his minions have come and are beating down their doors. The second verse is about a girl trapped inside her house with a pot full of dirt and bullet shells which warp and twist into branches of barbed wire that take over the house and kill her. The devils presence is corrupting the town and the people. At the end of the song the people realize they have to fight or die. They are finally ready for the devil. They come out of their houses saying "let the devil come let him come I'll be waitin' for him this time I am stronger now and I can fight it I'll be waitin' at the end of the line at the end of the line."
And that is where it ends, leaving the listener with one final question: Who will survive, and what will be left of them?
For the lyrics, more details, and the story as told by the band, check out http://www.murderbydeath.com/discography.php?disc_id=5