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Killing floor

Posted by Anders on December 02, 2003

In Reply to: Killing floor posted by ESC on December 02, 2003

: : : Killing floor - origin? I'm listening to Bruce Dickinson's The Chemical Wedding, the track "Killing Floor," of which the refrain is - brace yourselves: "Satan! / Has left his killing floor! / Satan! / His fires burn no more!" The expression is also featured in the Lemon Song by Led Zeppelin (a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor," an Internet source tells me, cf. link). The Chemical Wedding is a fantastic CD, being a free interpretation of William Blake's poetic universe. Interestingly, Google gives zero hits for "satan's killing floor" and "devil's killing floor" (using quotes to query these exact expressions).
: : : Anders

: : I have heard the Howlin' Wolf version of "Killing Floor." Here's what I think: the killing floor is where animals are slaughtered at a meat-packing facility. The singer has messed around around with a bad woman and has wound up killing someone. Purely a guess.

: From the PETA site:

: "Last October, KIRO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Seattle, aired an investigative report on the treatment of downed cows-animals so sick, injured, or lame that they cannot walk on their own-in local slaughterhouses. The four-part series showed shocking footage from Midway Meats of downed cows being dragged and hoisted by their necks in order to move them from transport vehicles to the killing floor. As a result of the investigation, the company is reportedly no longer accepting downers, but apparently, local animal industry groups are so upset over the effect that showing the public how animals are treated in slaughterhouses might have had on their bottom line that they have filed a complaint against KIRO with the Washington News Council."

: Enjoy your 'burgers.

Thanks, ESC, it's nice to know I can always count on you when there's an aspect of the blues involved. As I heard the expression in the context of such Sturm und Drang, I was led to believe it was heavily invested with religious meaning. But I think you may be right that killing floor is simply a part of the abattoir. This quote gives the same meaning. I bring it, pace the vegetarians, as, for some reason, I kind of like it:

"Outside an abattoir on a still day it stinks with a pungent, sulphurous stench. A nightmare, almost physically tangible fetor that could well kill someone one day, because, since drawing breath is a recipe for instant vomitus, suffocation is an ever present danger. Surprisingly, slaughterhouses don't smell that much inside. The only exception is the stage of the killing floor where the slaughterman removes the guts. If you get it wrong, and the animal has not "emptied out" in the holding pen, the paunch bursts, and a steaming ammoniacal flood of rotten feed will engulf the luckless butcher."