Tak­ing artis­tic ex­pres­sion too far


HEAD­LINE news this week in the mu­sic press of pop­u­lar Pol­ish metal band, De­cap­i­tated’s mem­bers al­legedly kid­nap­ping, rap­ing and as­sault­ing a fe­male fan af­ter a con­cert in Wash­ing­ton, has di­rected the spot­light to the vi­o­lence per­pet­u­ated by the blacker el­e­ments of the metal mu­sic scene.

Black metal mu­sic and its var­i­ous sub gen­res, such as the orig­i­nal pi­o­neers cre­at­ing a sound and swag­ger as­so­ci­ated with their cul­tural ter­ri­tory such as Swedish or Nor­we­gian to at­mo­spheric, tech­ni­cal, un­black, na­tion­al­ist so­cial­ist, heavy, speed or thrash, am­bi­ent, industrial, sym­phonic, war, Vik­ing, pa­gan, lo-fi, heavy, black doom, bes­tial and even Chris­tian that now lit­ter the mu­sic­sphere have since their early be­gin­nings been as­so­ci­ated with vi­o­lence.

Since the late 1980s, where by the darker arts of metal re­ally started en­trench­ing it­self as not just a mu­si­cal move­ment but a life­style, over 100 churches have been burnt down world­wide with the ma­jor­ity in north­ern Europe. Mu­si­cians of this genre who were feel­ing ei­ther a sac­ri­le­gious call­ing or a means of prov­ing their au­then­tic­ity to their fans like Varg Vik­ernes of Burzum who was con­victed of four church burn­ings – in­clud­ing the much loved 11th cen­tury land­mark of the Fantoft Stave Church in Nor­way – have been jailed for their “com­mit­ment” to the re­moval of Chris­tian and Semitic sym­bols and an­ces­try.

Other than black metal mu­si­cians im­plor­ing fans to phys­i­cally hurt them­selves, to re­sem­ble the artists’ cut and scarred bod­ies, such as mem­bers of May­hem and Carpathian For­est hand­ing mem­bers of the au­di­ence ra­zor blades dur­ing their gigs, black metal can also boast dis­play­ing sheep heads on stakes on stage, spray­ing the au­di­ence with an­i­mal blood and en­cour­ag­ing the au­di­ence to ag­gres­sively slam into each other from op­po­site sides of the au­di­to­rium dur­ing par­tic­u­lar songs.

There is no ra­tio­nale to these be­hav­iours or ide­olo­gies ex­cept to cause chaos in the name of art.

When the bed­lam moves from the stage to the tour bus, ho­tel room or then out into the pub­lic space there are far more se­ri­ous con­se­quences.

Metal mu­si­cians in­volved in phys­i­cal abuse, rape and mur­der out­num­ber any other mu­si­cal genre and there needs to be a se­ri­ous dis­cus­sion about the ac­tions of mu­sic lov­ing fans putting pres­sure on their he­roes to stop mak­ing their artis­tic ex­pres­sion come to life.

It’s great to be able to com­mu­ni­cate your anger and opinion through words and song, but when an anx­ious roar turns into a bul­let or phys­i­cal as­sault, the mes­sage has be­come dis­torted.

On a dif­fer­ent note and one of many that are acous­ti­cally played, Dur­ban’s Mys­tery Girl’s front man, Dave Wright re­turns to the DIY mu­sic mar­ket with his sec­ond solo al­bum, To­mor­row, the fol­low on from his 2008’s Seven Min­utes To Ebisu.

Wright has been out and about in the prov­ince pro­mot­ing this lo-fi ver­sion of his sig­na­ture stripped back punk sound with great re­sponse to older loyal fans these past few months and will con­tinue to un­til a fur­ther re­lease come De­cem­ber. The al­bum is a clear, to-the-point let­ter to his past and present re­la­tion­ships with not only peo­ple but the force that keeps us get­ting up every day and the same one that then leaves us alone with the big ques­tion of ‘’what now’’?

Sound­ing sim­i­lar to an early Vel­vet Un­der­ground record, To­mor­row feels like a Capote versed an­swer­ing ma­chine mes­sage where the beep went off some­where be­tween a po­etic mus­ing you had to tell your friend about, and a call to hook up some­where, some­how or maybe not, that’s if you’re not do­ing any­thing this Friday.

It’s great to lis­ten to on a rainy morn­ing while adding a tot or two of brandy to your cof­fee. To­mor­row is avail­able to pur­chase at Glen­wood Vil­lage Mu­sic, Glen­wood Vil­lage, Che Gue­vara Road, Glen­wood at the ridicu­lous price of R50.

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