Skip to main content

Apparently This Matters: Death metal without oxygen

"I'll take what's in the box, Monty." "It's a death metal band!"
  • A death metal band in London is playing inside an airtight, soundproof cube
  • The cube is a public art instillation called "Box Sized Die"
  • The band, Unfathomable Ruination, plays until they run out of air

Editor's note: Each week in "Apparently This Matters," CNN's Jarrett Bellini applies his warped sensibilities to trending topics in social media and random items of interest on the Web.

(CNN) -- The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.

"What rhymes with 'charred remains?'"

Now, I can't say for certain that they were actually death metal. But that's what I'm going with.

Admittedly, I'm not very up to date on the various sub-genres of growling into a microphone. Thus, when I don't know any better, I find it's always best to make assumptions.

For instance, this morning I assumed I wore pants to work. The people in line at Starbucks assumed differently.

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

But there they were, this supposed death metal band, all dressed in black, minding their own business on a lovely sunny afternoon in Atlanta. And I just stared at them with intrigue until I uttered the most old-man thing I've ever uttered:

"They'd be so much happier if they just wore a little color."

Which is a completely insane thing to think.

They were probably loads of happy. And they seemed perfectly reasonable.

In fact, maybe they were discussing how, if they pooled all their collective happiness and reason, they could open up a combination orphanage and puppy day care center called Unicorn Land.

Shame on me for judging.

Just because they wear all black and their music probably sounds like a horse choking on a watermelon doesn't mean they're angry people who eat children and worship Satan.

Besides, that's so Simon and Garfunkel.

The point is, they have their thing. And I have mine. And just because I don't understand or particularly enjoy death metal, doesn't mean it's not good music and, dare I say ... art.

Bringing death metal to London's streets.

Because art is exactly what was being celebrated recently in London when a local death metal band called Unfathomable Ruination decided to lock themselves in an airtight, soundproof cube and play until they ran out of oxygen.

The plan is to do it three nights a week, Wednesday through Friday, at 6 p.m. throughout the month of July. Or at least until they all forget the safe word and suffocate.

"I ... should've ... gone ... to law school."

The actual cube was designed by a Portuguese artist named João Onofre, and he calls it "Box Sized Die."

The Gherken looks like a giant suppository. Symbolism at its finest.
The Gherken looks like a giant suppository. Symbolism at its finest.

But what does it all mean?

Interestingly, the death metal art cube sits right outside the famous London office building known as "The Gherken." That's the one that looks like a giant suppository in the heart of the Insurance District.

And the cube is supposed to represent the cold, dark working spaces within the surrounding office buildings.

Onofre says, "In this corporate architecture you don't really see what's going on inside. The same happens here in the work. You see it but, then again, you don't see it when the performance starts."

Look, I only barely get this.

I now have five functioning brain cells, and I'm not prepared to burn four of them trying to digest all the deep meaning from a weird public art display. So, I trust that whatever Onofre says makes sense.

I'm more interested in the music. Or, I suppose, the lack thereof.

Being that the box is airtight and soundproof, all the music is completely inaudible to the public. They can only feel it. Which is actually kind of cool.

Come on, feel the noise!
Come on, feel the noise!

Presumably, though, inside the box it sounds like your grandfather passing a kidney stone the size of a Chicken McNugget.

But only for a short while.

Ben Wright, the band's lead vocalist, explained, "We did 14 minutes the first time on the run through. And then we did 19 minutes today."

So, it's kind of like musical CrossFit, except this box is actually ... a box. And you don't have to tell your Facebook friends about the sand bag you just lifted over your head.

But, hopefully, as the month carries on, Unfathomable Ruination will keep playing for longer and longer. This, despite the fact that it doesn't look very pleasurable.

Really, they'd be so much happier if they just wore a little color.

Follow @JarrettBellini on Twitter.

See more content with questionable news value at CNN Comedy.

Part of complete coverage on
Apparently This Matters...
updated 6:14 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
I vaguely recall Pizza Hut's Book It elementary school reading incentive program. Though, to be fair, I vaguely remember what I had for breakfast.
updated 7:37 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
It took a lot of effort for Leo Bonten to turn his amputated leg into a fully functional lamp. For starters, he had to break the damn thing in a freak kiddie pool accident.
updated 8:22 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
If you asked me -- and God knows nobody has -- I would have to guess that never in the history of humankind has anyone ever actually slipped on a banana peel.
updated 6:23 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
I'm a napper.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Mon September 8, 2014
Since the beginning of time, man has looked up into the cosmos at those shiny, twinkling stars and thought, "I wonder if lizards would do each other up there?"
updated 11:28 AM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
We all have weird, irrational concerns.
updated 10:25 PM EDT, Sun August 17, 2014
"What does this thing do?"
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
Despite all the political tension in Crimea, it's nice to know things are still safe enough at the zoo for a zebra to get it on with a donkey.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
Justin Sylvester's wife is pregnant. With a baby.
updated 8:10 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
There's a famous scene in the movie "Titanic" where Rose turns to Jack and says, "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
For several months in 2003, I did the whole European backpacker thing. Which is to say I've seen nearly every cathedral within 1,000 square miles of the Danube.
updated 3:17 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
There are two good reasons to own a giant trampoline.
updated 6:51 PM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
I would love to say my dog is intellectually qualified to be a service animal. But he's not. There's barely enough brainpower there to be a lamp.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Sun June 8, 2014
I've never really needed an extra ear.
updated 4:32 PM EDT, Wed June 4, 2014
I never actually caught a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy when I was young, but she was definitely real and in cahoots with my mom. This, due to the fact that I never woke up to find a Nintendo.
updated 3:57 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
Have you ever seen a man running in a marathon, bleeding from his nipples?
updated 3:52 PM EDT, Fri May 16, 2014
Brace yourselves, because this week's story is about sperm and poop.