Like Herod

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"Like Herod"
Song by Mogwai from the album Mogwai Young Team
Released 21 October 1997
Recorded MCM Studios
Hamilton, Scotland
Genre Post-rock
Length 11:39
Label Chemikal Underground, Jetset
Writer(s) Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, John Cummings, Martin Bulloch
Producer(s) Paul Savage
Mogwai Young Team track listing
  1. "Yes! I Am a Long Way from Home"
  2. "Like Herod"
  3. "Katrien"
  4. "Radar Maker"
  5. "Tracy"
  6. "Summer (Priority Version)"
  7. "With Portfolio"
  8. "R U Still in 2 It"
  9. "A Cheery Wave from Stranded Youngsters"
  10. "Mogwai Fear Satan"

Music sample
from the album Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003
Length 18:32
  1. "Hunted by a Freak"
  2. "R U Still in 2 It"
  3. "New Paths to Helicon Pt II"
  4. "Kappa"
  5. "Cody"
  6. "Like Herod"
  7. "Secret Pint"
  8. "Superheroes of BMX"
  9. "New Paths to Helicon Pt I"
  10. "Stop Coming to My House"

"Like Herod" is a song by Scottish post-rock Mogwai from their 1997 debut studio album, Mogwai Young Team, written by Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, John Cummings and Martin Bulloch.[1] As well as being a fan-favourite, the song is a live staple, and an extreme display of Mogwai's quiet/loud dynamic contrast method.[2] An 18-minute-long version of "Like Herod" (recorded live by Steve Lamacq from a BBC Radio Session at the BBC Recording and Broadcast Studio in Maida Vale in March 1999) appears on Mogwai's live compilation album, Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003.[3] The song was originally titled "Slint", referring to the influential American post-rock band Slint.[4] Stuart Braithwaite has said that "Like Herod" is his favourite song from Mogwai Young Team.[5]

Musical composition[edit]

"Like Herod" is an 11-minute 39 second long instrumental in the key of E minor. The song begins with a bassline similar to that of the Manic Street Preachers' song "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart":

Like Herod Bass Line.jpg

About this sound Play 

This is joined at (0:04) by a guitar, doubling the bassline, and at (0:16) by quiet drumming, and an additional guitar counter-melody. At (0:46), the song progresses into an alternate melody, based around the chord of C major seventh, which is repeated, then the song goes back to repeating the main melody until (1:30), where the alternate melody is repeated once more. The drums then begin to get quieter and quieter, coming to a halt at (2:15), leaving only the guitars and the bass to play the main and alternate melodies themselves, which they do until (2:57), when all the instruments explode in a barrage of deafening noise, featuring a heavy drumbeat and highly distorted, screeching guitars. This continues until (4:51), where the original bassline is introduced once more, and the original drumbeat begins playing. At (5:17), the drumbeat stops abruptly and all that is heard is the bassline, and a guitar, plucking a muted note. This continues, with the plucked note becoming gradually more erratic, until (6:15), when all of the instruments explode into another torrent of noise, almost identical to the last one, albeit with more guitar feedback in the background. This continues until (8:08), when the drumbeat becomes calmer, the guitar feedback becomes more subdued, and the bass can be heard quietly in the background, repeating a heavily distorted note at the start of each bar. At (10:11), the drumbeat ends and all that can be heard is the steady pulse of the ride cymbal, the distorted bass note, and a guitar feedbacking, until (10:20), when it seems to go gradually upwards in pitch, ending at (10:29). Snippets of feedback are heard momentarily as the bass note continues to be played, until (11:05), when the bass note plays one last time, and begins feedbacking, along with subdued guitar noise in the background, until (11:35), when all the instruments cease playing and the song ends.

Critical reception[edit]

During professional reviews, "Like Herod" received mostly good reception. The song is an album track pick at Allmusic.[6] Brandon Wu of Ground and Sky notes the "raw power in [the] piece, but unlike the best Mogwai pieces it lacks any sort of melody or beauty."[2] However, Ian Mathers of Stylus Magazine dismisses the song as "good-but-redundant."[7]



  • Stuart Braithwaite – guitar
  • Dominic Aitchison – bass guitar
  • John Cummings – guitar
  • Martin Bulloch – drums
  • Paul Savage – producer, mixer


  1. ^ "Like Herod". Mogwai: Roster - Songs. Chrysalis Music Publishing. Retrieved 2008-01-11. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Wu, Brandon. "Ground and Sky - Mogwai Young Team review". Ground and Sky. Retrieved 2008-01-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ "Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003". Discography. Bright Light!. Retrieved 2008-01-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ "List of Alternative Mogwai Song Titles". Discography. Bright Light!. Retrieved 2008-01-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Interview". Diskant. 1998. Retrieved 2008-01-11.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ "Mogwai Young Team review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  7. ^ Mathers, Ian. "Stylus Magazine - Mogwai: Young Team". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 

External links[edit]