A sinister trend has emerged in metal. You might be already be familiar with it but are unaware of its insidious nature. Oblivious, we laze in a collective torpor of complacency while our beloved genre is subverted right before our eyes.
The world seems to be becoming an increasingly hostile place. Either that, or through the technological advancements of the last century we’ve been given exponentially more access to news of world events and it merely appears more dangerous. Whatever the case, terrible events continue to happen worldwide on a daily basis, with no sign of relent. These horrific events permeate the fabric of society as a whole, and thus eventually manifest themselves through artistic expression. Often at the forefront of these artistic manifestations is the genre we know and love. Metal has never been one to shy away from controversy. Moreover, the genre seems to thrive on it. Whether the topic is of a contemporary nature or some tragedy ancient, metal seems to seek it out. With inquisitive intent it dissects the issue(s), with often starkly polarising results.
If you asked the average metal fan which sub-genre of their chosen interest was the most intrinsically radical, you would no doubt get a variety of responses. Furthermore, if you applied this question at various intervals along the genre’s 50+ year time span, I’m certain the answers would be even more variegated. A fan in the 90’s would probably respond with black metal, after the church burning and brutal band murders during that period. Whereas, someone in the 80’s may well have proposed that thrash was the aggressor, with its uncompromising stance and often inflammatory political volatility. Although, some more conservative types may have asserted that the violent uprising of the burgeoning death metal scene was the more potent threat to greater society during that time.
One thing I’m sure everyone can agree on in retrospect, is that the most treacherous genre of the 2000’s was obviously metalcore, merely on account of all the objectively terrible bands the style spawned. Like some kind of phantom hybrid strain of two particularly virulent micro-organisms that manages to infect the brain of those who unsuspectingly come into contact, metalcore was able to contaminate the minds of essentially an entire generation of kids in situ. Some of whom were tragically never able to transition back into regular society, their minds remaining trapped in a vortex of teenage angst and siqqq breakdowns.
All joking aside, the issue of ideological averment in music is hardly a new phenomenon. Many bands, particularly in the extremely diverse expanse of beliefs that fall under the umbrella of black metal, adopt a kind of fundamentalist and often confrontational posture. For some, it is akin to a religion. With concerts being promoted as “ceremonies” or “rituals”, and typically utilising more candles than your local cathedral, it’s not hard to see why. Their relatively radical beliefs are firmly held front and center in their lyrics, and proudly presented in their outward deportment. Hell, a band could burn a live goat adorned in a Wehrmacht uniform soaked in the blood of 666 virgins on stage and it probably wouldn’t surprise many of you anymore. As people become desensitised and even accustomed to these sorts of ridiculous acts, the perceived threat level to the public abates correspondingly. Well, here today, I’m going to throw light on the latest insidious trend amongst our beloved genre, and it comes in a most surreptitious form. This new danger is perhaps the most abhorrent of all. Contrary to the overtly repulsive and deliberately disgusting imagery of subgenres such as brutal death metal and pornogrind, my investigation has uncovered a deeper, more furtive threat. This threat isn’t spatially isolated either; it is emerging all across the world. In the clandestine basements of musicians the world over, a new menace grows.
Laugh you may, but there is nothing humorous about the impact a resurgence of this style could have on the current generation of listeners. The world is a tumultuous place. Everyone is struggling to have their voice heard, thus it is no surprise that when people find a band that shares their view, they latch on and feel some kind of affiliation within those structural confines. Artists that display their dogmatic school of thought through their lyricism are easy to pin-point. However, the influx of these instrumental bands corrupting our youth has run rampant in recent years. Their pervasive nature has enabled them to infiltrate seemingly every facet of metal. Every sub-genre has been corrupted. Innocuously, the infection is believed to have spread from the adjacent and considerably more benign “rock” music. Like all great viruses, the outbreak has shown great adaptive capability. Having now even spread beyond metal, into the realm of “post-metal,” where it has gained a substantially worrying foot-hold, all but enveloping the form completely.
So what makes this silent threat so hazardous? Thousands of people simply standing around listening to what ostensibly seems like just music, devoid of a uniform message and therefore free from the intolerance that ideology can foster. What are the people thinking about when they listen to such music? The answer is, whatever they want! Herein lies the danger. Using several psychoanalysts as consult, we were able to elucidate that the chances of a plague of independent free-thought breaking out were substantially higher under the influence of this type of music. With no one to guide and essentially funnel these developing minds into pre-existing tunnels of thought, they are basically free to apply their own meaning to the music. Sometimes, in the most dire of cases, they simply listen to the music and literally apply no doctrine whatsoever.
Previously, people were quick to write off this threat as a symptom of mere malaise; these musicians were simply deemed too lazy to write lyrics or hire a vocalist. Only now have we begun to realise the truth is actually something much more sinister than just a general indifference to the applications of the human voice. The shock that these depraved artists are deliberately allowing their listeners to propagate individual nonpartisan thought hit hard. The repercussions of such a discovery have only just started to ripple through the music scene. However, the host of possible implications this revolution could have on the populace is not lost on the scientific community, and has subsequently set the behavioural psychology cohort ablaze. One such academic, who preferred to remain anonymous (most likely through fear of potential reprisal at the hands of one of these radicalised idealogues), gave us their valued insight. Here is an excerpt from our lengthy and often animated discussion –
“The great worry, not just for us who work in mental health, but the greater public, is that what we might end up experiencing for the first time since the turbulent 1960’s/1970’s is a youth conglomerate who not only feel free to express their own independent views, but actually act upon them also! This threat will make the hippy movement seem like just a bunch of peace-lovers dancing with flowers in their hair. Truly frightening stuff.”
Potent words indeed. Clearly this is no illusory threat. The best way to defend against a danger of this kind, is to greater understand its makeup. As with most investigative journalism, we had to place ourselves at risk in order to ascertain what exactly constitutes this beast of utmost defilement. Navigating the peril, we submitted ourselves to listening to some of this filth. What we found was shocking, both in terms of the appalling themes and how widespread this problem has become in such a short time.
In Europe, we found Shakhtyor from Germany, who have no qualms in claiming responsibility for the devastating Tunguska attack of 1908 that flattened 2000m² of prime Russian forest in seconds, with a blast estimated to be hundreds of time greater than that of Hiroshima.
While remaining somewhat ambiguous in terms of intent, Romania’s Sunset In The 12th House are clearly associated with some kind of pro/anti Arabic message. And we all know no matter how equivocal things may seem, mentions of the Middle East can only equate to trouble!
Over in the USA, we have bands such as Tempel, who may have presented an innocent faҫade when I interviewed them last year, but I’m now almost certain if you delve deeper into their music, a corrupting force as dark and mysterious as pure onyx would arise. Their name alone seems to bear all the hallmarks of an occult religion, and on closer inspection the artwork decorating their album The Moon Lit Our Path’s cover clearly depicts a path heading to the left. That should be evidence enough to tie them to this sinister movement.
Perhaps one of the most established of these noxious instrumental acts is genre stalwart Russian Circles. This particular band of heinous individuals are almost certainly tied in with the KGB’s attempt to indoctrinate the American youth in the post-Cold War climate of peace. With albums such as Enter, Station, Memorial, and possibly the most glaringly obvious statement of aggression, 2009’s Geneva (“Convention,” anyone?), this band is just straight-up flaunting their underworld ties. With the announcement of their upcoming release, the ominously titled Guidance, how do our youth stand a chance?
This pernicious evil has even made landfall across the Pacific, where in Australia, bands such as Dumbsaint (a clear and unapologetically anti-Christian name), and the undisguised hatred of filth-peddlers Instrumental (adj.), show that there are simply no geographical nor socio-political boundaries for this hideous villainy. Another noteworthy movement down here in Australia is that of the eco-terrorists. Similar to their northern hemisphere counterparts, Animals As Leaders and Pomegranate Tiger, Sydney’s Serious Beak must be putting forth their totalitarian green agenda to the multi-national corporations, with one supposed goal: to wipe out whatever they deem to be environmentally irresponsible, something they’ll undoubtedly stop at nothing to achieve.
The deeper we looked, the further we peeled back the veil, the more shrouded things became. We entered an even more sordid realm of instrumental music’s underbelly. Acts such as Sequestered Keep and Disemballerina, who have slightly more obscure intentions, preferring to attempt to lure listeners to join what is surely some kind of abstruse neo-medieval cult of regressive luddites. These people are fucking sick! Had it not been for fear of our own safety, we would have been able to disclose more of these perpetrators to try and keep the youth safe, but alas, the risk was too great. Throughout this investigation, even I myself felt compelled to indulge the inherently immoral process of thinking for myself. I was that close to becoming one of them, never to return. Heed this warning. Recognise the signs. Together we can fight this evil.