Photo courtesy of the artist
Imperium Simulacra, the latest mass of sludge from the San Francisco-based Black Cobra, a two piece comprised of guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafa Martinez, explores futurism and a society that is increasingly bound by technology, but when it came to the video for the single “Eye Among the Blind,” the duo found inspiration in the past. Specifically Ancient Greek mythology. But despite a centuries-long chasm between source materials, there are plenty of common threads to be found between them.
“As Joseph Campbell explained in The Power of Myth, most of modern culture has had the same reoccurring patterns in political events, social matters, as well as interpersonal relationships. It's been the same story for thousands of years; love, loss, challenge, work, art, knowledge, wisdom, etc,” says Rafa. “We just keep telling it in different ways with all the mediums provided at the time.”
Directed by Zev Deans, the video draws a parallel between the plight of modern man and that of Sisyphus, the two-faced king who, according to mythology, was sentenced to perform ceaseless heavy labor for all of eternity. “In my version of the story, he is trapped in a Panopticon ruled by Panoptes, the giant with one hundred eyes. His struggle reflects that of modern man, forever pushing the same stone up a hill each day, under the omnipresent eye of the ruling class,” says Zev.
The video opens with Sisyphus waking up alone in his dismal underground dwelling (an impressive, handcrafted labyrinth designed by Rebeccah Lak) and desperately searching for an exit that doesn’t exist under Panoptes’ never-ending watch. Vivid blues and blacks, strobe-light effects that echo the pulse of Rafa’s precision drumming, and nightmare-inducing closeups of the giant’s dozens of eyeballs all add to the feeling of being trapped along with the tragic king.
But that’s kind of the point because, according to Black Cobra’s vision of the world, we are.
Imperium Simulacra is out now via Season of Mist.
Jamie Ludwig is building the maze of her own technological prison on Twitter.