Dante's Inferno EP

by Zach Winters

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    The Inferno narrates Dante Alighieri's journey through the 9 circles of hell towards heaven, God and Beatrice, his deceased wife. ~~ Written in "cantos", or songs, Inferno is Dante's most memorable portrayal of the afterlife from his epic poem la Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy).

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about

all songs are based on Dante Alighieri's Inferno from the La Divina Commedia.

all songs were recorded on October 24th, 2010, with no overdubs.

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DISCLAIMER: These songs ARE about Hell, as described in the poem. The "d-word" occurs once in reference to the condemned states of the souls in Canto 6, and is not intended as a vulgarity. Also, Zach does not just sit around singing about Hell all the time.

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released October 24, 2010

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Track Name: Canto 1 (Leopard, Lion, Wolf & Virgil)
Canto 1

Dante Alighieri was walking through the woods
and then he saw a mountain and he thought that he should
ascend but he was greeted by Leopard, Lion and Wolf
he turned for fear and ran into the ghost-poet Virgil

now human reason is what he represents
he is a guide
he'll lead our Dante
clear to the other side
Paradiso that is

Canto 2

And Dante cries out
he isn't fit to see such things
he is a man

but Virgil reassures him
that his Beatrice has sent for him
from Paradise
and so he goes

Canto 3

pass through the doorways of Hell
these are Opportunists
each punishment
is worthy of their crime
mixed in are the unclassified
they chase meaningless banners
while the stinging wasps pursue their filthy hides

take me to the Acheron
the first of the rivers of Hell

Canto 4

once across the river
a cave opens up
with circles beneath
each circle goes a bit deeper
than the one that's before
and Hell's looking bleak

and who's in the First Circle
it's the pagans that never knew God
and the resting place of reason
is a nice place where all hope is lost

Canto 5

in the Second stage of Hell
the souls are spinning in a whirlwind
that reflects the Carnal lives that they once lived
their sin was to give themselves
to all their fleshly passions
so they're swept away like water through a sive

but what about the lovers here within
did Paolo and Francesca really sin?
and Dante faints for his sadness

Canto 6

Dante awakes in the Third Circle
it's snowing
incessant rain falls in putrid sheets
this the pain of the wallowing gluttons
to be ripped apart by beasts
they lie each day beneath the jowls of Cerberus
their fat and swollen icy bodies are obscene
they're strewn about as if they were garbage
damned indecency

Canto 7 (pt. 1)

two raging mobs
each soul among them used to hoard and waste
fight a great war
harnessed and tethered to boulder-like weights
lacking moderation
they were full of dedication to their expensive tastes
the Fourth Circle of Hell
and Dante can't seem to make out a face

Canto 7 (pt. 2)

now Virgil takes him to the edge of a cliff
and if he wanted he could spit into the marshes of the Styx
where bubbles rise to the surface
where the sullen find their purpose in the end
now isn't this a pretty picture here
the gargling of words
in the murky Fifth Circle
and it's a mockery of singing
a grotesque charade, a feigning of a hymn

Canto 8 (pt. 1)

Here comes the river-boat man shooting across the polluted channel
He hails himself with curses as he comes
With signal flames looming in the distance he can’t tell how deep the River Styx is
And Filippo Argenti rises out of the mud

“Phlegyas! Phlegyas!
I have a wish
I want to see him brought down - in judgment
I want to see him brought down”

And then the wraiths swarmed about his ankles and he fell screaming into the mud
Dante was annoyed but he kept keeping his eyes straining for the shore

Canto 8 (pt. 2)

strolling up to the capitol of Hell
the towers themselves are not as dark as the one's who've rebelled
demon-angels are the guards of the gate
and the city of Dis doesn't welcome the poet Dante

and then angel comes by
with a thrust of his hand
they descend
with the gates open wide

Canto 9

in the gates they come upon the Sixth Circle a cemetery
full of tombs that stretch before them every size and in them buried
Heretics of every cult that said the soul dies with the body
the coffin's lid's beside the grave

Heretics cause they chose to believe in the mortality
of man when it's apparent from their punishment God disagrees
fire causing anguish to the to the skeletons that never perish
prisoners of endless flames

Canto 10-17

I won't go into detail about the Seventh Circle of Hell
mostly because it's too long to explain
I will mention briefly the different rounds contained therein
and the judgments held against these slain

the First Round is for the Violent Against their Neighbors
there are mentions of blood and arrows and Tyrants
the Second is called the Woods of the Suicides
and it's against themselves that they use violence
the Third Round is for the violent against trees and God and Art
the Usurers and Sodomites and Blasphemers
but I'll say this for Alighieri, he sure makes Hell seem scary
even with his non-traditional view of symbolic retribution

Canto 18-34

Phlegethon, River of Blood
Carves its way through the 7th Circle
and down off a cliff into the 8th

It boils the guilty head to toe in the deepest parts
Their guilt was their bloodshed - Alexander, Attila and Crete’s Minotaur

They cross the ford where it’s shallow

Down the waterfall Dante throws a rope
And the mythical beast-king of Spain, named Geryon bids them to ride on his back

Dante mounts the great shoulders of the freak
They spiral around at a sickening pace
through a black, empty space
look how pale Dante’s face is
until the hit bottom

Who is in the 8th Circle?
Who is in the 8th Circle?
Who is in the 8th Circle?
Who is in the 8th Circle?

Looking across and down, Dante sees - like an amphitheatre - a series of concentric pits
Each of the ten is like a pouch, called a Bolgia, filled with sinners not eager to display their countenances -
The Fraudulent and Malicious

In the first ring, Seducers are driven in a line by horned demons
In the second ring, Flatterers are up to their necks in excrement
The third has mock-baptismals burning the soles of the feet of the Simoniacs
who tried to buy the gifts of God with money
And in the fourth there are the Fortune-tellers and Diviners
whose heads are on backwards and now foresee nothing
In the fifth there are the Grafters lain in boiling pitch
unless they surface to be hooked, clawed and ripped
Virgil negotiates and they make their way past a fallen bridge and into ring six
- The Hypocrites, wearing robes of lead, scintillating in judgment
And Caiaphas, crucified to the ground and bearing the weight of all the earth

Thieves are in ring seven being wrapped up by monster reptiles
Their hands are bound behind there backs and a reptile flies by slicing his jugular vein
and he falls into an ash heap and regenerates for another go

In ring eight are Evil Counselors
They burn in the dark - gift perverters
In ring nine are Sowers of Discord
From the crotch to the chin they are hewn with a sword

And the Falsifiers - including Alchemists and (Evil) Impersonators, Counterfeiters, False Witnesses - are all together in ring ten

In the Ninth and final Circle of Hell
there is a vast frozen lake
with an icy wind that tears across it
and the sinners that are buried in it are… the Treacherous!!!
There are those, who like Cain, were Treacherous to Kin
There are those whose Treachery to Country was their sin
There are those Treacherous to Guests and Hosts but in their end
their bodies are left upon the earth to be made into many a demons’ den

Chomp Chomp!
And at last Dante looks upon the most hellish place of Hell
Chomp Chomp!
Named for Judas Iscariot, Juddeca, Treachery to Masters ring a bell?
Chomp Chomp!
Mute grotesque contortions are the bodies in this ice
Chomp Chomp!
Sealed in firmer by the beat of Satan’s wings whose mouths gape thrice!
Chomp Chomp!
In the middle one is Judas
Chomp!
In the outer, Cassius and Brutus
Chomp!
And at the end of Hell Dante must descend by Satan’s glutus

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They emerge on the other side of the world
They made it to the center and as Dante thinks to unfurl
all of his questions he quickly forgets them
As they climb Purgatory’s stairs in the stars