Academics a-hunting for links between metal and religion

devil-kissedStudies of the relationship between popular music and religion have increased rapidly in the last twenty years, and the scholarly interest in metal music has “increased markedly during the past decade”, states researcher Marcus Moberg in an article published in Popular Music and Society earlier this year, where he evaluates the current scholarly writings on religion in metal music and culture.

The issue at hand is, apparently, problematic. Concerning metal music and culture as religion, researchers have used “top-down” methods to justify their assumptions, with little (if any) empirical evidence to support them. Case in point is Moberg’s own suggestion that “more thought-out views on religion in general would be relatively common among wider metal audiences” (considering metal’s individualist outlook combined with its fascination for religion), but there’s simply no (or not enough) data to support this claim. Another problem connected to the lack of ethnographic information concerns a prejudiced downplaying of the ideas within metal as little else than a rebellion against adult society. “[T]he issue of rebellion has always constituted a central theme in the scholarship on metal”, writes Moberg, but a clear specification of what ‘rebellion’ consists of has been lacking.

Metal music and culture can also be seen as “offering its followers a wide range of resources for religious/spiritual inspiration”. According to Moberg, scholars studying this area have been more careful in their interpretations, but have downplayed as well as exaggerated the seriousness with which metal bands explore these spiritual themes.

Moberg’s recommendation, then, is for future studies to be based more in fieldwork and ethnography, and less in speculation:

[I]n order to be able to provide more persuasive arguments about what followers of metal culture themselves actually get out of their participation in metal culture in ways that relate to religion/spirituality, studies would clearly […] benefit from striving to ground their arguments on the expressed views of musicians and fans themselves (and this concerns the issue of “rebellion” as well).

Supposedly, we shouldn’t be surprised if curious PhD students start asking us questions in between songs at the next Asphyx show…

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SA Symphony to Perform Brahms

brahms facial

Even with lingering budget woes, the San Antonio Symphony is proceeding with their plans to perform Johannes Brahms’ inflectional contributions to Classical Music. 2012 saw the SA Symphony successfully stage a Beethoven Festival which received good reviews.

Created and curated by Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the program consists of all four Symphonies,  both Piano Concertos, the Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, and more.  It starts February 8th and concludes February 17th, at the rustic Majestic Theater in Downtown San Antonio.

Known as a nature enthusiast and sarcastic, akin to Beethoven, Brahms’ First Symphony has often been referred to as a ‘Beethoven’s 10th’. There is no doubt that Brahms was both intimidated and inspired by Beethoven, which contributed to the late bloomer’s compositions.

 

 

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Re-release of Sacramentum classic

Far Away from the Sun

Century Media Records have given us some truly enjoyable metal gems throughout the years (and some really awful ones), but if ever we doubted their good intentions (haha), a look at this Amazon.de page tells us the Sacramentum classic Far Away from the Sun will be re-released next year on the 25th of January by said label.

Described in our DMU review as “a lucid but emotive tribute to the rebellious humanness of soul”, Sacramentum’s début album seems consistently hailed as a favourite among underground metal fans.

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Deeds of Flesh release track off upcoming “Portals to Canaan”

This is a boisterous track with the best recursive bashing tendencies of percussive death metal, but it drops in modern metal influences, such as a rather “rock” interlude and some sweeps in the carnival music style of modern metal. However, that’s a minority of this track. The rest is great riffcraft like we saw on Path of the Weakening and other essential Deeds of Flesh material. Please enjoy “Rise of the Virvum Juggernaut”:

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Floaty music

One of the hidden influences on death metal, along with classical and progressive rock, was the wave of inventive ambient and electronica that came out in the 1970s.

In particular, this music like death metal, was highly structured in that verse-chorus structures would turn it into droning tedium. Thus it invented the narrative structures later used by death metal, the “riff gluing” as explained by Asphyx.

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DeathMetal.org and InnerSociety.org announce collaboration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

inner_societyDecember 24, 2012 (Austin, TX) — The net’s oldest and longest-running metal site and home of the Heavy Metal FAQ, Death Metal Underground at deathmetal.org, announced today that the Inner Society blog at innersociety.org would be its exclusive representative in China.

Inner Society has for some time provided album reviews, news, commentary and information about heavy metal with the outlook that heavy metal is an art form with significant contributions to make in its critique of modernity, and in its gesture of a more naturalistic way of life. It is the premiere blog in China for underground metal from this perspective.

“We are pleased to announce this collaboration, as it enables us to reach more people worldwide with the message of true metal,” said DeathMetal.org spokesperson Rob Jones. “The more people we reach, the more wimps and poseurs leave the hall, and the greater likelihood that the remainder start seeing metal as an art form, not a distraction or a product.”

The collaboration kicks off with an extensive interview with Inner Society progenitor and editor, Strider, which delves into the reasons behind the collaboration and the importance of heavy metal in the lives of people on all continents.

About DeathMetal.Org

Founded in 1988 and originally distributed over dial-up bulletin boards, the Death Metal Underground is an archive of information about metal that has changed over the years but stayed true to its focus: revealing heavy metal as the art form that it is, similar to the work of Romantic writers like E.A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Bram Stoker.

About InnerSociety.org

The premiere blog in China for heavy metal theory, Inner Society has provided information about underground metal to audiences in China while keeping its focus on the development of the music worldwide. Lauded for its articulate, no-nonsense reviews, the site has attracted a loyal following during its years online.

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Mike Scaccia of Rigor Mortis dead at 47

Mike Scaccia, the brilliant guitarist of Rigor Mortis and later, Ministry, has died. He collapsed onstage December 22, 2012 while performing with Rigor Mortis and could not be revived. He is survived by a wife and children, and much excellent music.

Before you read further, consider this song he created with Rigor Mortis:

mike_scacciaWhat made Scaccia’s playing distinctive was his sense of melody, finely-tuned strumming and tendency to use more than low crunchy notes, as well as an ear for a quality riff and an ability to use precise arrangement to let a song unfold to the greatest impact on the listener.

No one wants to type words like this. This is a tragic loss for metal, for music and for humanity. Scaccia was not only a killer shredder, but widely acclaimed as a decent human being. He inspired many of us with his literate but emotionally intense music.

That music survives him and will serve as not only his legacy but the best insight into his character. What do you hear in this music? Darkness, beauty, equilibrium and violence. Like the man himself, more complex than a few paragraphs can do justice to, but also based of a fundamentally life-affirming but realistic outlook on existence.

It’s events like this that make me hope there is a Valhalla or reasonable equivalent. The body can die, but the greatness of a musical hero lives on long after the dirt obscures the coffin. We’ll be thinking of you, Mike, and the family and bandmates you left behind, with today’s all-Scaccia playlist.

Al Jourgensen (Ministry) tribute:

I JUST LOST MY LIL’ BROTHER AND MY BEST FRIEND – THE 13TH PLANET COMPOUND IS DEVASTATED,COMPLETELY IN SHOCK AND SHATTERED. MIKEY WAS NOT ONLY THE BEST GUITAR PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF MUSIC, BUT HE WAS A CLOSE, CLOSE, CLOSE PART OF OUR FAMILY – AND I JUST LOST A HUGE CHUNK OF MY HEART TODAY. OUR LIVES ARE FOREVER CHANGED. LIFE WITHOUT MIKEY IS LIKE ORANGE JUICE WITHOUT PULP – KIND OF BLAND. I HAVE NO WORDS TO EXPRESS WHAT THIS GUY MEANT TO ME, MY FAMILY, MY CAREER….EVERYTHING!
GET TO KNOW HIS LEAD PARTS – FOR THEY ARE IN THE PANTHEON OF MUSIC! UNFORTUNATELY, MOST OF YOU DIDN’T GET TO KNOW MIKEY’S SOUL -WHICH IS IN THE PANTHEON OF HUMANITY. HE IS MY HERO, MY FRIEND AND MY IDOL. MIKEY WAS ALWAYS BESIDE ME – MY RIGHT HAND MAN – THROUGH THICK AND THIN, THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY AND THE BEAUTIFUL.
REST IN PEACE MY BROTHER, MY FRIEND, MY HEART. PLEASE PRAY FOR MIKE SCACCIA AND JENNY, HIS WIFE AND THEIR CHILDREN, AND HIS FAMILY…..AL

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Deceased to release new album Deadlywhite in 2013

deceased_live_at_maryland_death_fest

Underground vanguards Deceased have announced plans to release the follow up to 2011’s Surreal Overdose late in 2013 through Hell’s Headbangers Records.

Deadlywhite will consist of the Iron Maiden-infused death-thrash that Deceased have been exploring since 1997’s Fearless Undead Machines; however frontman King Fowley has revealed the inclusion of a few new elements to their sound:

“A few songs will be lengthy tracks, including a 15 minute ride. Fitting interludes will lock in the actual tracks and little jolts of madness will also rear their ugly heads from time to time. This is a musical adventure we’ve been waiting to take and now’s the time.

If we do what we are setting out to do, it will ooze of dark melody without forgetting the rough aggressive edges and catchiness in the songwriting that we’ve kept in our sound since day one,” said Fowley on Deceased’s official site.

Surreal Overdose was one of the stand-out albums of last year, genuinely matching up to the quality and ferocity of their earlier work without showing the least signs of the band becoming jaded. Any change or development is almost sure to be within the bounds of faithful enhancement of their influences.

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