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Islamic Metal - An Alternative View of Traditionalism

Some thoughts relating to my heritage:

In the tradition of Islam, there is a deep wisdom to be explored in terms of traditionality. It differs from Judaism and Christianity in emphasizing the essential tribal nature of man. Directly stating in the Quran that an external Agency has done so. I don't ask anyone to accept this, even though for me it is utter belief. However, I wish to make a case for an artistic justification for an extreme metal that derives from Islam (both geographically, i,e, in reality, and in ideology and symbolism).

There is a rich vein of profanity to be explored in Islam. There is a lot held sacred. However, Islamic Metal would present these profanities merely to inform. It would also emphasize absolute obeyment, tell tales of kings. Tell tales that are unmerciful. That reflect the realistic nature of the religion. Talk about the emphasis on family values by exposing the alternative version; profanity and destruction (perhaps, an oppressed son killing his father with intent inspired by intelligent evil). When it emphasizes war, it emphasizes "justice" (by its values, which it declares absolute). It would clearly state its intent. It would not profane the symbols of Islam directly; it would use inclusive terms (hence making necessary inclusive change, but I don't think this will reflect poorly on the art. It is somewhat similar to the classicists). No mention of Allah or the Prophet, but God and gods to be destroyed or exalted (by the evil). That would allow it to maintain an essentially Islamic nature while still exploring natural art in riff form.

The geographical spread of mainstream Islam can be divided into some major categories (though I admit to doing so somewhat arbitrarily). There is first the middle east, the Arabic culture. A culture of Bedouins (in terms of history, just moments ago). Lacking in material wealth but rich in understanding. Also of the past glory of Islamic civilization to which this metal would pine to return. The civilization of Baghdad, of early Islam, there are tons to explore. The Arab culture has its own subdivisions that can be emphasized under the broader Islamic vision; civilizations have existed and perished in Syria and Egypt (people already draw on this often, but mostly poorly, as a gimmick). Further along towards Africa you get a slightly different identity, infused with elements of African culture, which can be manipulated into cerebral music if it is vital in spirit. It should not naturally mean it is inferior to some "white" music. That strikes me as ascribing value for no reason, based on rather relative principles. Nevertheless, that is not the main thrust of my argument and I do not wish to engage anyone in this regard (you are welcome to question though, and I will attempt to answer if anyone wishes).

Towards Turkey, we find the Ottomans. Anyone would admit there is much to draw upon here. Sufism exists as a slightly differing ideology as well (still valid in terms of mainstream Islam), and can be explored; I think if it is genuine it can still be extreme, it is only when it is subverted by external gimmicks (hippies) that it becomes meaningless. Iran has a rich vein of Persian culture and post-Islamic culture. Afghanistan is mostly shit, but contributed the Mughals to India, so forth.

The Indians and Pakistanis especially, have a rich vein to draw from (my people). Indian classical music is sublime, and understands the nature of existence. Unlike the despicable Jazz, it is not process worship. It emphasizes a deeper something in structure. By doing so in structure it emphasizes that in meaning as well. It is reflective and powerful music. Nevertheless, it does not explore beyond what it believes to be "beautiful". Drawing from the riff, applying this philosophy, some of this technique; there is great potential here. Even in the sphere of Hinduism, the Vedas etc. which I assume would be more popular here as a supporting ideology.

Continuing on we see a distinct vein of asiatic Islam. Indonesia and Malaysia especially come to mind. These countries have maintained a lot of tradition in spite of Islam (ignorant people have often destroyed things they believe are harmful, without understanding). Any metal that comes out of here that is just directly subversive rings hollow because I have to ask exactly what they're fighting against? What do they want to return to with a rejection of society? Advocating rationalism to an absurd, all inclusive degree is directly against the spirit of metal. They can either find it in Islam or Paganism. The tradition of Islam is more knowledgeable, more informed, deeply philosophical. By merging these they can definitely create fine art.

There are the broad categories I would consider outside regional forms (Chechnya, Albania, Surinam et cetera). I wish I had the brush to bring these paintings to life, but I do not, and I use this message as a call to others who perhaps share my essential values and my love for metal despite them. Lets take it further than if the light takes us. Let the light take us (and the darkness).

P.S.: This is posted here out of academic interest. I fully intend to post it where it may be seen by those it is targeted at. Pakistani metal, my local metal, is mostly shit though. I've stayed far, far away. They have great, great ideas. Great musicality. There is enormous talent. You see stuff like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXmIpbBOSvI and you think they get it; then it's revealed as cheap rock music. A lot of spirit is maintained here. The intent is good. I can see it blossoming, but the vision is absent. There has been too much turmoil to allow it to happen on its own. I don't want to argue this as an excuse for anything though! Coke Studio has generally been in a good vein and is worth exploring for the one who wishes to gain some understanding of the music of the region. It takes from a wide range of examples, many simple, many refined. It also has a distinctly popular bend though, naturally (look at the fucking name, compromises for quality) so a lot of the refinement is absent. Nevertheless, it's there, and its dark side can be explored.

I noticed the mention of Paganism. I myself am a pagan of the northern tradition. I am curious to know what is the opinion of pagans through the Islamic thought?

Often, so called "traditionalist" thought has caused the destruction of a lot of pagan knowledge. This is a grave error. Islam teaches the value of knowledge. The very Quran states that it is for the intelligent to understand. It exhorts one to seek knowledge. How can destruction of knowledge then be advocated? Nevertheless, this is a belief, it does not reflect a lot of reality. While Islam has, for prolonged periods, been very open in the sense of allowing (but severely restricting, obviously) other thought, there have also been instances where it has been destroyed. However, looking at the system and ideology; this is entirely why a system of "dhimmitude" even exists. It is a system for immigrant integration. At least, that is the spirit I believe it to be in.

So to answer you, in my belief, essentially, Islam advocates the rational expansion of knowledge, this includes the integration of pagan symbol in a rationalistic sense. However, as an exclusionary tradition, it cannot allow anything except itself to exist within it. Hence, it can and has destroyed Pagan tradition. It need not.

Edit: If you will forgive me any offense. Can I ask if that is indeed you tradition? A Pagan one? Do you hold, in essence, the value of the Pagan of that region? I don't mean to denigrate it, or question it, I am simply asking whether it is true. Is that your heritage, or do you actually live it? Is it your reality as well? Are you a real modern Pagan or derived from Paganism? My path allows for the flux of time, in this regard. However, perhaps yours does too, but I am initially somewhat questioning.

As an Italian, of course you may know, that Catholicism is the major religion of Italy. But when you dig deeper, you find ancient pagan traditions, just as you would else where. This would be called Strega. It is a path that is passed down through the teachers, and though I do not practice it, I acknowledge and respect it.

I feel more at home with the Nordic Pagan ideas, so I do live with this everyday. I do wear a Thor's hammer as well. I used to study the Runes and at one point I studied Norwegian. On that topic of language, there is so many languages I want to learn: Basque, Japanese, Norwegian, and many others..

Oh and no offense taken. I welcome the questions!

I don't want to delve too much into side issues, my main thrust is related to metal music, but nevertheless: You should live what you believe and believe what you live. To hold a value is not to suspend it in thought. Action decides. If you are closer to the values of the Pagans (than those around you), but still have some that they would consider violations, then you are not a Pagan. You are a Pagan synthesis. This in itself is something though, and can be promoted. However, what is it a synthesis of? Rationality and Paganism? Christian morality and Paganism? I think these are important to understand if one has a cause. Your cause can only be what you believe. I don't claim that you have not achieved this realization, and I tread lightly because I know these are matters that evoke pride (they should).