Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Extreme Music and Extreme Politics

Below is my abstract for the upcoming International "Heavy Fundamentalism" conference. Yes, I said "International". It's an amazing conference put on by the folks at Critical Issues. It's taking place in Salzburg, Austria. This will be only the second time I've been to Europe, so it will be doubly exciting. I first stumbled upon on this via Terrorizer magazine writer and Judaic scholar (yes, he's both), Keith Khan Harris' fascinating MetalJew blog. I will be expanding this to a full 8 page, Oxford-formatted paper and will also be doing a 20 minute presentation. So, this will be more of an "intellectual" version of hanging out with my friends at a Ludicra show or Amoeba.

Title: Extreme Politics and Extreme Metal: Strange Bedfellows or Fellow Travelers?

Body of abstract:

Extreme Metal’s relation extreme politics provides for a variety of examples. From Slayer’s “Angel of Death” in the 1980’s to the Norwegian Black Metal scene in the 1990’s to the current strain of National Socialist Black Metal – extreme politics have played a role in extreme metal either aesthetically or ideologically. Such combinations are nothing new in the music world. Richard Wagner’s denouncement of Jews is widely known. Performances of his works are still very controversial in Israel. Furthermore, one can look at the 1970’s punk movement in England and its use of using Nazi imagery for shock value. Additionally, racist lyrics have in the past cropped up in hip-hop artists such as Public Enemy and Ice Cube. Heavy Metal’s own relation with such extreme attitudes has a history that has been around almost as long the genre itself.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the growth of both extreme metal and its relation to extreme politics. Extreme Metal can be defined as Thrash Metal (i.e. early Metallica, Kreator), Grindcore (Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer), Death Metal (Morbid Angel, Nile) and black metal (Darkthrone, Burzum). Extreme politics can be defined as both ultra–right (i.e. fascist and Nazi) and on some instances ultra-left wing (communist, anarchist). This will also look into whether or not certain artists are using extreme politics for mere shock or to actually endorse dangerous ideas. Furthermore, this will explore how these ideas have spread worldwide throughout the metal scene. This will also focus on the marketing of each phenomenon across the Internet. While generally considered “outsider” music, there have been numerous media stories, books, documentaries and even art exhibits on Extreme Metal. Such a sensation could explain why Varg Vikernes’ image appearing in a window of a t-shirt shop in such unexpected places such as Berkeley, California. In summary, this will touch on how and why music from the margins of society can be affected by politics from margins of society.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fake Right Wing Beard vs. Fake Left Wing Beard

Despite their obvious disagreements the left and right had the same design concept here.



Thursday, August 7, 2008

Elite and Empty Headed

V/A “Anti-Geldof Compilation” (Supernal)

I blogged about this one much earlier Although, it had to do more with the weird concept of “Weird” Al Kurtagic and Supernal Records. Now we’ll cover the music and expand upon the concepts and connections that some of these dodgy bands have. Strangely this release comes after the Accept tribute and the tribute to German National Socialist Black Mental ‘tards, Absurd. Oddly enough KFJC played this. Mostly because it was so “kvlt” or obscure? Who knows?

This sucker’s packed with 2 CDs worth of sounds that are:

"You will find 100% exclusive, never-heard-before tracks by twenty one Black Metal and Dark Ambient artists of proud European heritage from both sides of the Atlantic.” An interesting question appearing in the forum asked about the "elite" nature of this release.

“How does he reconcile the simplistic musicianship of the majority of black metal bands with claims to its superiority as an underground musical artform?“
Necrosadistic via Necrosadistic Goat Torture (actually a pretty good band)

Even more of Kurtagic's strange pre-release babblings can be found here . Kurtagic has also reviewed his own releases on Metal-Archives, a tactic so low, that not even the worst “hard music” PR companies have even stooped to. It seems that Chumbawamba had addressed the issue in a more straight forward manner a mere year after the first Live Aid and likely got much more press from it.

OK, so...onto the music.

WINNERS: Uh, not many but THESYRE certain lays down some killer crusty BM, DARK AGES make nice "spooky organ music" featuring Roman of Drudkh,

MAYBE, COULD BE BETTER BUT... DER STURMER Make a good riff or 3, play with real drums but still can't get around their imperfect sounding German (ironic that). Would've been more impressed if their anti-John Lennon statement was an NSBM version of "Imagine" instead of merely sampling the song and following it with a gunshot. Something a shock jock did over 20 years ago. CONTRA IGNEM FATUUM - decent suicidal BM 'ala Xasthur. Not "martial sounding" as the Sound Project called it. BENIGHTED LEAMS - Kurtagic himself doing Godflesh-lite. Not bad. FOREFATHER - Cascading BM tremelo riffs by the Anglo-Saxon BM/kinda power metal band mix. File under: tried to like it. (Emphasis on "tried").

EVERY band for participating in this waste of money and packaging. The cover artist, the label everyone who bought this and admired how "awesome" it is. If by awesome you mean pointless then yes. ASTROFEAS (Astrofeast? Astrofarts?) - lawn sprinkler drums + messy vocals. ASHES - "bedroom BM", miles of slow fuzzed out guitar coating a 10 minute sleeping pill. BEWITCHED (ChilĂ©) “Spooky goth” vocals and wavering metalish guitars. Oh, so lame! DARKTHULE is a Greek one man, Black Metal recycling every Youtuber's "me playing Translyvanian Hunger" video. Nein! People like this should NEVER be given music equipment much less a German dictionary.

DEFIANCE is not the Bay Area thrash band or 2000s punk band. Instead, we it's some fat skinhead attempting to poop out a redwood forest of turds and some 2 fingered guitarist along with another pinging drum machine making er, "Bedroom Hatecore"? ETHERAL WOODS sound like "bedroom BM" with keyboards and a big, dopey chorus singing "Natural Selection". Hopefully “natural selection” will weed out these weak Sears catalog keyboard loving fools. They keys sounds about as “atmospheric” a Loverboy outtake. FANISK are Portland area dickwads armed with a grocery baggie of ultra thin tremolo riffs. The vocals shouted from different angles from under the kitchen sink. HAMMER - No, not as in "MC..." Whiny, outta breath vocals. In short a lame version of early 90’s emo mixed with crust punk AND generic ass BM tremelo picking. KENAZ - Sub-sub-sub-sub basement clang, clang, ADD level, zero production no talent CRAP. Kenaz is the rune for torch, someone should torch this band’s rehearsal space and all their recordings.

MORE LOSERS: STALAAG - Tortured cat & grandma noise dementia that some people love for some absurd reason. Fucked up-ness doesn’t = “cool” or even listenable. TANNGRISNIR Growl, growl, bore, bore, mangle riff, repeat 400x. THE WIZZARD - is straight up regular heavy metal? Starts good but oh, the vocals are dumb like every fucking band on every fucking TV report on “nazi hate rock”. ULFHETHNAR - More thin production and guitar levels and buried vocals. There couldbe drumming on here but it’s about as effective as a tambourine in a middle of monster truck race. The dude sounds like he’s about to choke. WHITE HUNTER - Slow grow, more tremolo riffs, ping & sputter cymbals that fade in and out. A poor attempt at the “claustrophobia” effect that Leviathan mastered. This vocalist sound utterly bored and uninterested. WOODS OF INFINITY - "Paedofilic metal"? with a slight but disjointed version of King Diamond en Svensk and slow BM riffs.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Metalspoitation Part 3: "Devil Worship Will Continue After These Messages"

Maximum Rock N' Roll's movie columnist in the early 90's, Jerod Pore came up with the term "Punxsploitation". OK, maybe he didn't coin it but it was the first time I had heard of it. In his column he discussed the mainstream media's take on punk rock and hardcore ranging from the most infamous Quincy episode to lesser known examples from the likes of Morton Downey Jr. interviewing (among others) Joey Ramone among others. Before Ice Cube and 2 Live Crew sent shivers through white suburbia, Punk and Metal were public enemy #1.

This is from 1988. Clearly the "satanic" and "demonic metal" phenomenon had to be confronted by the one, the only...Geraldo.

Even though King Diamond was pretty much a unknown name outside the metal scene, here he got some coverage. Which as an 18 year old I thought was pretty fuggin' rad. "To some it's just rock n' roll rebellion" Totally, dewd! Last King Diamond show I saw in 2003 he wished us in the crowd "Happy Halloween" AND "Merry Christmas". Yes, he is an actual, praying satanist but he knows how to show 'ya a good to time, too.

Typical of this early version of "tabloid TV", Geraldo interviews murderers who follow someone called "satan"and cops who believe the "satanic threat" as real.

These horror movie like descriptions are less to do with "satanism" and more to do with some seriously damaged individuals both the criminals and the media who salivate over big ratings. I'd love to see a list of major crimes done "in the name of satan" vs. "in the name of god". I suspect the G-man is gonna beat 'Ol Scratch by a 10:1 ratio. Finally, how come there's something called "Satanic Ritual Abuse" but not "Christian Propaganda Abuse?" or "Islamic Doctrine Abuse"?