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.