The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'metal'
The Grauniad has a piece on the heavy metal scene in Botswana, which combines the music and aesthetics of metal as we know it with local influences (cowboy hats, it seems, are big among Kalahari metalheads):
Dressed from head to toe in black leather, sporting cowboy boots, hats and exaggerated props, they draw some curious looks on the dusty streets. "People think that we are rough, evil creatures, but [metal] teaches us to be free with expression, to do things on our own," said Vulture, the vocalist of the band Overthrust. He says there is a long way to go before the genre is considered mainstream, but that audiences have grown steadily in the past decade.
Though attendance at concerts is small in comparison to the west, the scene has slowly built a steady fan base. To date, no western heavy metal act has performed in Botswana, and no Botswana metal act has performed outside the region.And there are photos of some Batswana metal dudes, with sobriquets like Death, Warmaster and Maximum, here. I imagine wearing all that black leather in the Kalahari heat must be an even greater peacock-tail signal of commitment than being a Goth in Brisbane.
The latest refugee in Australia's archipelago of detention centres: an Iranian heavy metal drummer, fleeing persecution by the theocratic regime:
The man wrote that he abandoned his beloved drums after authorities began to increasingly target music fans.''In an underground concert more than 60 fans were arrested, charged and locked up. Players were taken to Intelligence. Two teachers of mine were arrested also.''
He panicked. He sold his drums, moved to a new location and changed his phone number, cut ties with everyone but family and sank into depression. ''I deleted every history of my music from my life because of my fear of being arrested by the government who were intent on stopping this music. During this time six musicians that I knew were arrested in their training place. After that no one contacted each other, even on Facebook.''The Iranian regime's war on popular music is old news: a documentary from 2009, Nobody Knows About Persian Cats, recounts the travails of an underground twee pop band in Tehran. If anything, heavy metal musicians would be singled out for particularly harsh prosecution, possibly even executed for religious crimes, as the unnamed drummer suggests. (Metal bands in neighbouring Iraq haven't fared well either recently; the country's one and only well-known band, Acrassicauda, fled via Turkey and sought asylum in the US.)
(It's interesting that Facebook is (a) not blocked inside Iran, and (b) avoided by those fearing persecution; which suggests that the regime has the means to monitor it, possibly using those forged SSL root certificates it is speculated to have, enabling it to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks on any SSL connections.)
In Sweden, the generous welfare state offers benefits for various conditions, such as being really into heavy metal, to the point of not being able to show up for job interviews not dressed in full metalhead regalia or to work without loud music playing:
"I signed a form saying: 'Roger feels compelled to show his heavy metal style. This puts him in a difficult situation on the labour market. Therefore he needs extra financial help'. So now I can turn up at a job interview dressed in my normal clothes and just hand the interviewers this piece of paper," he said.
The manager at his new workplace allows him to go to concerts as long as he makes up for lost time at a later point. He is also allowed to dress as he likes and listen to heavy metal while washing up. "But not too loud when there are guests," he said.
Spare a thought for the goths of Uzbekistan; once plentiful around the tranquil cemeteries of cosmopolitan Tashkent (and, for some reason, the city's one Roman Catholic church), persecution by the authorities and a hostility to Western youth subcultures seeping in from Putin's Russia (many Uzbeks speak Russian and watch Russian television) has caused their numbers to dwindle, with those who can seeking refuge in more liberal countries.
There has been a campaign in Uzbek media denouncing Western mass culture for encouraging "immorality" among the youth and for "damaging the country's national values and traditions". Rap, rock and heavy metal have been labelled "alien music" and some genres have been subsequently banned.
During one punk rock concert during the last two years, masked police turned up in large numbers and began rounding up the fans, detaining some for several hours.They're kettling them? It's almost as if they were anti-tax-evasion campaigners in London or something.
In any case, the rising tide of xenophobic nationalism and authoritarianism is taking its toll on Tashkent's once flourishing punk, goth and metal scenes.
At a well-known club on the outskirts of Tashkent, an event that in the past might have attracted up to 300 people, now only draws about 20 or 30. Most tried to avoid the camera.
"In the past there were lots of goths, punks, satanists and rockers around," says Gotya sadly. While Uzbekistan appears to be a less-than-hospitable place for such subcultures, Leticia and Gotya too are thinking about emigrating to other countries, like Russia or Poland.You know a country has problems when Russia is considered a more liberal country to emigrate to.
Your Scene Sucks, a set of sketches of contemporary (US) youth subcultures:
this guy is single-handedly responsible for the commercialization of your favorite bands, childhood television shows, and quirky indie movies. his other favorite shirts include such witty sayings as... "i saw your mom on myspace," "the voices in my head are telling you to shut up," and "can't sleep... the clowns will eat me!"
like most in his scene, he doesn’t know the first thing about politics aside from what his father brings to the dinner table. he has a strong stance against fascism, racism and sexism even though he has no idea what any of those terms truly mean. this punk firmly believes in anarchy, but this does not stop him from posting all day on the rupert-murdoch-owned myspace.com.
Also, LOLHipsters, which is like LOLCats crossed with VICE's "Do's/Don'ts" page.
two years ago, he had blonde hair and an abercrombie-wardrobe, but that all changed the second he first heard my chemical romance playing on a random myspace page. from that moment on, his entire existence could be summed up with just three words: "i'm not okay."
(via mrsmalkav, M+N)
Apparently, the youth of the Islamic world really like their heavy metal:
I first realised that my never-quite-abandoned adolescent taste for heavy metal had a political edge in – of all places – the Jaballya refugee camp in Gaza. I was interviewing teenagers about their strangled lives and expected to hear the usual Hamasnik lines reeled back at me. But instead, they kept using words from Metallica and Slipknot to explain how they felt. "I am dying to live/Cry out/I'm trapped under ice," one of them said. They showed me their carefully-stashed CDs and T-shirts – liable to be seized by Hamas-militia at any time – and begged me to send more.
At first sight, this seems bizarre. How did a style of music midwifed into the world by Ozzy Osbourne in the old English industrial town of Birmingham in the mid-1960s become an enemy of jihadism? How did a hard, brutal sound designed to mimic the factories of the Midlands become the soundtrack for the children of the Islamic revolution?
In a region controlled by senile dictatorships and fundamentalist faith, the unemployed young – who make up 65 per cent of the population – have very few windows through which to yell their rage. Metal gives it to them. Reda Zine, one of the founders of the Moroccan heavy metal scene, explains: "We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal." The point of the music is, he says, to rage against "the vampires of intolerance and superstition". The guitarist of Iran's hottest young metal band, Tarantist, agrees: "Metal is in our blood. It's not entertainment, it's our pain, and an antidote to the hypocrisy of religion that is injected into all of us from the moment we're born."I wonder whether the dominance of metal (rather than, say, rap or industrial or any other musical genre suitable for expressing anger and grievance) among youth in the Islamic world also has its roots in the history of Asian Muslim migration to England's industrial heartland. Most people know that Birmingham got curry out of the equation, but what if the cultural trade was a two-way street, with Birmingham metal making its way to the underground bazaars of the Islamosphere via Pakistan and Bangladesh on a million bootlegged cassettes?
A survey of music sales from HMV outlets has revealed variations in mainstream musical tastes across the UK.
On New Year's Eve, Malaysian police raided a rock gig over accusations of "Satanic black metal" activities, detaining numerous fans, who were then drug-tested and paraded before tabloid journalists. (It appears that Malaysian tabloids look like the Herald-Sun or Daily Star, only written in Malay; I guess some things are universal.) It is unclear what the attendees are being charged with, though the tabloids have recounted all sorts of sensational stories of Devil worship, sex orgies and fanzines with "elements of violence, pornography, Judaism, and curse words like 'fuck'".
The bands insist that they weren't "black metal", though, to be fair, given the fact that they had names like Force Vomit (who are from Singapore, of all places; is potentially offensive music actually legal over there?), Devilica, Triple6Poser and 360 Degree Head Rotation, it's probably safe to say that they weren't easy-listening or inoffensively sugary pop. What it looks like is the local wowsers and busybodies using religious legislation to crack down on any subculture with a whiff of adolescent rebellion and shock value about it, such as all forms of metal, punk and That Godawful Racket Kids These Days Listen To.
(via bOING bOING)
In January 1998, two teenage death-metal fans in Milan disappeared after drinking at a pub popular with the local metalheads. The father of one of them started making inquiries at concerts and festivals, and uncovers a Satanist death cult in the metal scene, one which has been linked to a number of murders (mostly of other teenage headbangers, by the sound of it):
One of Fabio's school friends, Mario Maccione, confessed to having beaten Fabio to death with a hammer. He also revealed that the boys had been part of a wider satanic sect called the Beasts of Satan. It was revealed Andrea Bontade, a drummer, had been terrorised into committing suicide. Soon, other mysterious deaths were being linked to the Beasts.
(The other) 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics Of All Time. Pure comedy gold; may not be worksafe, though:
And the original 10 are here.
Impaled Northern Moonforest is an Acoustic Black Metal act, and has songs for downloading, with titles like "Lustfully Worshipping The Inverted Moongoat While Skiing Down The Inverted Necromountain Of Necrodeathmortum" and "Entranced By The Northern Impaled Necrowizard's Blasphemous Incantation Amidst The Agonizing Abomination Of THe Lusting Necrocorpse". They sound exactly as you imagine them to.
A Norwegian black metal musician is reportedly dismayed after discovering that there is a Bollywood romance with his stagename. Magnus Torbjornsen, who plays bass in Oslo band Immortal Mutilation, says he came up with the name Kraath five years ago in school, because it sounded "evil". Kraath the film, released a month ago, is the story of two Bombay taxi drivers in love with the same woman, told with lavish song-and-dance numbers. Torbjornsen is reportedly considering changing his name to Kharaoth.
A recollection of growing up as a heavy-metal fanatic in the British Midlands in the 1980s:
The drummer was called James and the singer was called Jez. We met at the Bavisters' a few weeks later and, as they got out of their car and started unloading their gear, I froze. They were both wearing spandex trousers and had long, impressive mullets. I'd never seen anyone as cool as them in real life before.
When we first saw Kurt Cobain, it wasn't clear that he was the assassin who'd come to slit our throats. He had long hair for a start, professed a love of Black Sabbath and, with his grubby bandmates, had made a snotty but hardly radical debut album called Bleach. That was OK; metal was assimilating the nascent grunge movement pretty well. There certainly weren't any lines in the sand - until Nevermind.
Cookie Mongoloid are a band who do speed-metal covers of Sesame Street songs. The singer sounds like Cookie Monster, though that could probably be said of many metal vocalists. (via bOING bOING)
Band name of the day: Knorkator. They appear to be some kind of German industrial/metal/mook outfit...
What do Norwegian Black Metal and American Neo-Conservatism have in common? See here.
The similarities dont stop there. Whereas Vikernes and other Black Metalists saw heathen Norway in a life-or-death struggle for existence with the Semitic tribes Judeo-Christianity, Perle and Frum see Judeo-Christian America under threat from Islam. And both have the same solution: War, dude!
To be fair, Vikernes and another Black Metalist murderer, Hendrik Mobus, come off as far more interesting, intellectual and complex with their second-rate Nietzschean ideas mixed up with D&D mythology, whereas Perle and Frums war manifesto is surprisingly dull and sparse. Indeed, on each page the words are spaced so far apart you could drive a fertilizer-packed white van between each line. I read it in one sitting and came away with only one memorable line, in which they disparagingly called Belgium "Frances pilot fish." On the other hand, Perle and Frum have used their influence over Bush to rack up a far, far higher corpse-count than the hapless Norwegian dirtheads, so they more than make up for their lack of aesthetic flair or stylized corpse paint with genuine blood on their hands.
And continuing the strange-music theme recently dominating this blog: someone's putting together theme recently dominating this blog: someone's doing an elektro tribute to Iron Maiden. By the look of the page, I'd guess that their definition of "elektro" would be the sort of sternly Teutonic industriogothic EBM that grew out of youths in depressed German industrial cities playing with Amigas a decade or two ago. It could be amusing, or it could be dourly monotonous, or some combination thereof.
When Johnny Cash passed away, I noticed how he had virtually been claimed by the industriogothic scene as One Of Their Own, because of his dress sense and melancholy themes. (Though his covering Nine Inch Nails and Bad Seeds songs probably helped too.) It's funny, as I'm fairly sure that when Siouxsie Sioux and Andrew Eldritch were inventing what was to become 'Goth", they weren't heavily influenced by Johnny Cash, or indeed much country music at all; I doubt that Throbbing Gristle and their ilk were either.
It appears to be a rule that any vaguely dark, ethereal or otherworldly eventually gets lumped into the "Goth" genre, even if it starts life a million miles from goth's tightly circumscribed perimeter. It happened to Depeche Mode (in the 1980s they weren't goth, but now they're Goth As Fuck), and in the U.S. it seems to have partly happened to the shoegazer genre. (In Commonwealth countries, shoegazer is firmly ensconced in the indie-rock tradition, however.)
To wit, a list of artists and genres who might be filed in the "Goth" sections of record shops in 10 years' time:
- Sigur Rós
- Godspeed You Black Emperor, and related outfits; in fact, all gloomy post-rock
- all Norwegian Black Metal
- various German/Austrian laptop glitch techno
And some things you probably won't find filed under "Goth":
- Architecture In Helsinki
- the Dixie Chicks
- The Vines/The Datsuns/Jet
- Kid 606's Missy Elliott mash-ups
A death metal cover of the Stallman Free Software Song, by someone named Jono Bacon. As metal as you can get with a drum machine, anyway. (via jwz)
Authorities across the Middle East are cracking down on music subcultures: form heavy-metal fans in Morocco to gay disco-dancing "Satanists" in Lebanon to anything to do with Michael Jackson in Saudi Arabia.
Among the objects exhibited in court as being contrary to good morals was a black T-shirt with heavy metal symbols on it. This prompted the judge to comment that "normal people go to concerts in a suit and tie".
Lebanese devil worshippers are easily recognised. According to one security official, they are young men with long hair and beards who "listen to hard rock music, drink mind-altering alcoholic cocktails and take off their black shirts, dancing bare-chested".
What is probably the most bizarre heavy-metal-and-satanism case occurred in Egypt in 1997 when state security police, armed with machine guns and satanically clad in masks and black uniforms, dragged about 70 youngsters - some as young as 16 - from their beds in a series of dawn raids. They took away posters from bedroom walls, CDs and tapes ranging from Guns 'n' Roses to Beethoven's fifth symphony and, in one household, a black t-shirt with a Bugs Bunny design.
"In the 1980s," Mohammed continued, "Saudis started dressing like [Michael Jackson], copying his hairstyle and doing moonwalks on the roundabouts. This is the reason most people give me about why his stuff is not allowed here.
A look at the Iraqi death-metal scene, or in particular, the Iraqi death-metal band; a group of five young men who sing in fluent American (learned from TV shows) and have ambitions of moving overseas: (via NWD)
"Iraq, man, there's nothing here," Moudhafar says. "The scene is in other places. Life is in other places."
All their songs are in English. Heavy metal should be either in English or German, says rhythm guitarist Faisal Talal. "Arabic doesn't fit." Moudhafar interjects with sudden hauteur, "We don't want just anybody to listen to our music. It should be, like, an educated person."
(I'm not so sure about the you-can't-rock-in-Arabic thing; I've seen it done. And if they're not at least using Middle-Eastern scales in their music, they're missing out.)
The Howard Era's paternalistic censorship regime strikes again. A Tasmanian band were fined for importing their own CDs to Australia. Customs officers seized 207 copies of the latest album by Intense Hammer Rage (let me guess: they're a metal band of some sort). The CD is released by a US label and is legally available over the counter in the US; in Australia, it is a prohibited product, because it contains "offensive lyrics".
(Offensive lyrics are banned in Australia? They should go down to the Arthouse some evening.)
The BBC has a guide to current teenage subcultures. Interesting that in the UK, mooks are called "nu metallers", Ben Sherman shirts are considered a clubber thing (I suppose that's because the '90s Britpop Mod revival is ancient history), and Camden is considered a "Goth Mecca". (When I was in London last year, I saw all of about two goths in 3 weeks; I thought that particular meme-complex had died out through overexposure over there by now.)
They're listening to
- Independent 'Alternative' Music, from small independent labels in pressings of say 100 straight out of Reykjavik
- Garage Rock like The Strokes, The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Old indie classics - The Velvet Underground, The Smiths, Nirvana, The Pixies
Via MeFi, reviews of heavy-metal musicians by groupies; and they're not concerned with their musicianship here, but rather their physical endowment and sexual performance, all laid out like so much meat in a butcher's window. (And not just metal musicians either; basically anyone with mook appeal will do. The likes of Eminem and Trent Reznor make appearances.)
I don't think that means what you think it means: Perhaps those stories about abysmal education standards in America are true; how else would one explain having named a street Anthrax Street? Apparently, the story goes, some low-ranking staffer suggested the name of his favourite heavy-metal band and the supervisor, not being into either heavy metal music or microbiology, approved it as it was "unique and different". Now the residents, having abruptly learned what 'anthrax' means, are none too pleased.
(I wonder whether they have had problems with teenage metalheads stealing their street signs; I recall hearing that the street sign for a Nirvana St. in Melbourne's inner south-east is the highest street sign in Melbourne; the local council made sure of that after replacing signs stolen by grunge fans in the early 1990s.)
Capitalising on the anthrax scare (part 2): Pharmaceutical giant Bayer has approached aging metal band Anthrax (possibly soon to be known as Basket Of Puppies) about advertising its anti-anthrax antibiotic on their web site, which happens to be "anthrax.com".
A new menace is threatening the impressionable youth of Malaysia; the menace of black metal, heavy-metal music with Satanic subtexts. It is not clear how Malaysian Black Metal differs from the Norwegian variant (presumably it'd be more anti-Islamic than anti-Christian, for one), or whether the menace is so far just headbangers getting down to imported Burzum CDs, but clerics say thay have found evidence of heavy metal fans being involved in Satanic activities. the Malaysian government, meanwhile, is taking firm steps to nip the problem in the bud, including ordering radio stations to play less heavy metal and requiring touring bands to submit videotapes before playing concerts. A committee of government-appointed clerics has called for a total ban on black metal music and associated imagery, and some schools have reportedly began strip-searching students for tattoos linked with the subculture.