Hold your horses. Tell your horses everything will be all right; Pope Francis is dropping his brand new record, Wake Up!, on November 27th. Not to be bested by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 album Alma Mater, Francis has enlisted Tony Pagliuca – best known to prog-heads as Le Orme’s original keyboardist – to rock this motherfucker all night long.
The first song to be released, Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!, looks like the title of a pop-punk track, but it’s basically flourishes of prog rock with inspirational Pope soundbites laid on top. What else could Wake Up! hold in store for us? We speculate…
**Phil Anselmo Guest Vocals
**He’s everywhere these days, isn’t he? Pesky Phil. From Dave Hill comedy skits to the new Cattle Decapitation album to lurking at Hellfest like the most metal fart on the planet, the Down/Pantera legend could easily boost Francis’ sales figures with a guest slot. Maybe even a medley? “We’re gonna cut that motherfucker in half; I wanna see everybody break their neck. IN THE AIR, ONE TWO THREE!”
**Nasty Production Values
**All right, so Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward! wasn’t the frostbitten sound we were after, but there’s still the rest of the album. We want it gritty. We want it visceral. We want single takes or nothing. Francis might have taken hints from his homeboy Fenriz (we hear that they’re tight) and recorded the remaining ditties in a forest, an onion or a badger’s bumhole. Probably not, but we can dream.
**Just to crawl inside the mind of the Pontiff. With the obligatory ‘special/deluxe/kind-of-the-same-but-a-tiny-bit-different’ editions of albums come demo versions and bonus tracks, sometimes with extra liner notes. “I was going to call this number Flayed In The Throes Of Incest, but the label just don’t get my vibe, man. It’s now called Santa famiglia di Nazareth.”
**Album Art To Rival Tomb Of The Mutilated
**Regardless of your personal beliefs and affiliations, religion does account for many of history’s bloodiest and intriguing pages. The Pope shouldn’t shun this; he should embrace it. Obviously the retail version will be censored – much like Slayer’s Christ Illusion back in 2006 – but how about Francis dressing up in Crusader armour, laying waste to all in his way? It’s a strong look. Or even a depiction of the Inquisition? Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
**Luxurious Boxset Opinions
**Rammstein have included dildos, Devin Townsend did some bamboo sunglasses and Lifelover packaged their Sjukdom opus with actual barbed wire. Francis has his work cut out for him, but he’s the Pope, we’re sure he can pull some strings. Free tour of the Vatican for the first 100 buyers? Signed Pope hats? Meet and greet packages? If Kiss can sell a coffin and the Misfits managed to get away with flip-flops, then the Pope should be permitted a shameless cash grab.
A Hidden Track
Remember before you had iTunes? When the CD/tape/vinyl kept playing and you were just struck by a ten tonne hammer of terror? If not, go and listen to Danzig 4, start to finish, in the dark, on your own, naked. Unlike Danzig, we doubt our Frankie P would ever describe a hidden track as “about a demon fucking somebody”, but he could still give us the willies. Turn the guitars right up like at the end of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt. Do an eighteen-minute prog rock rendition of Cotton Eye Joe.
**Lyrics Written By Jamey Jasta
**The Pope has said Wake Up! is about “not giving up in asking ourselves questions about purposes and meanings of everything.” That’s fodder for a Hatebreed anthem right there. But just imagine the lyrical positivity of such a collaboration; Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta could provide the fist-pumping/gang vocals while the Pope could just, y’know, be the Pope. “You fucking pray now!”
Unreleased Studio Banter
The Pope’s vocals are pulled from the Vatican Radio Sound Archive, so there’ll be nothing like the start of Korn’s Clown on there. We’re pretty sure he doesn’t start his speeches with a “Fuck the people! And fuck the record!” à la Snot, either, but we can still hold out for ludicrous post-speech soundbites on his behalf. Now we’re just waiting for that David Cameron mixtape: “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else; we didn’t realise they hated each other so much. DROP THE BEAT, GEORGE!”
He’d bring it on.
Flyers For Live Dates
We’re always banging on about gigs being a religious experience, but imagine the sort of next-level frontman the Pope would be; he’s got the look down to a tee, he’s used to addressing massive crowds and we bet he orchestrates a mean wall of death. “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God. There is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Now open this pit up.”