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Ideologies and music

Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 07:56:21 AM
Metal, for many people, is more than music. It's an ideology, rebellion, a whole new world...

Throughout the years, a whole bunch of different ideologies have been involved, one way or another, in metal. Political, religious and philosophical. And a lot of bands seem to be singing about what they believe in, (or claim to believe in).

It seems that every band that has started to run out of ideas (or never had any ideas) starts to sing about politics. I mean things like "Me nazi, me hates jews" or "We love you, brother! Peace!!!". It just gets on my nerves...

I know that music IS a form of expression. But I think there is a huge difference between what you express and HOW you express it. Take Burzum for example - Varg never stated "Look at me, I'm an odalist and fascist, Heil Hitler!" in his lyrics. Instead he expressed his ideas through the music and the dark images he created with the lyrics. He stimulated the listener to actually try and find out what the music's meaning was. It didn't give you the idea ready and easy to understand for you, like most things in society today...

I mean, metal is supposed to be an opposition to all this MTV crap our world has turned into. It doesn't tell you "believe in this, this and this" like religion. It provokes you to actually THINK and DECIDE FOR YOURSELF.

Just look at Dissection's Reinkaos. "Satan, satan, satan, satan". OK, we get the picture. It seems like the whole thing was made not because of the music, but for the purpose of serving as propaganda for some idea.

I'm an anarchist (not a punk ore some AFA idiot, OK?!) but I'm interested in old black metal - Bathory, Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal, etc., because these bands actually try to express something through their music - national-socialism, nihilism, paganism - you name it... And I prefer these bands to punks who create a 2-chord noise for a background of their speeches. If I want to learn something about nazism, anarchism, satanism or whatever - I'll read a book. This is MUSIC.

What do you think about ideologies and metal? Is it OK for someone to use their band as a "propaganda instrument" (LOL) for their ideology? Do you think that most bands, when they start to run out of ideas, start singing about politics or whatever they support? (Slayer, for instance...)

P.S. Sorry for my terrible English...

shadowmystic

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 10:15:43 AM
Music is too abstract of an art form to go well with overly focused lyrics.  It's actually better if they don't have an obvious meaning, rather a simple poetic vision, which is what most of the best black and death metal bands achieved with their lyrics.  In that sense they weren't so much separate from the music as an integral part of it, when lyrics become too focused (especially in black metal) they have a tendancy to become moralistic and contradictory, once this happens though you can be pretty sure that the music will suck as well.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 10:22:25 AM
A bands ideology can still be well publicised without it interfering with the music. If we look at Graveland or Absurd we can see this. The music is far more timeless than punk will ever be, but they have still attracted much attention because of their Nazi leanings. One thing that makes black metal special. Summoning on the other, have had ideology forced upon them, everyone liked to think that they were the soundtrack to some aryan revolution, and then they go and say that they are anti-fascists.

I don't like the idea of people using music to make themselves and their politics heard, but at the same time i find it interesting to know what a bands ideolody is and how it may effect the music they write, in a more subtle way than say...Deicide.

chrstphrbnntt

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 12:35:01 PM
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Music is too abstract of an art form to go well with overly focused lyrics.  It's actually better if they don't have an obvious meaning, rather a simple poetic vision, which is what most of the best black and death metal bands achieved with their lyrics.


Good point, but not always true. Paul Ledney?

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 03:57:01 PM
(Your English is really good, actually)

I've noticed this same tendency and i'm glad someone brought it up as it seems to be a huge factor in the whole "sellout process," if you will.  

One thing that i'm sure a lot of psychologists would love to point to is the idea that a lot of these bands go downhill once puberty ends for the members, but then again, that doesn't really explain why a few great bands still remain.  All joking aside, I always thought it was a problem where bands realize that they can't force their ideas out anymore because they've simply stopped believing in them.  Who might actually believe nowdays that Glenn Benton is a real satanist as opposed to in the early 90's when people were having serious discussions about the influence of Deicide's music upon children.  Now, he's a washed up joke.  The only difference with him is that he hasn't gone the route that bands like Darkthrone and Impaled Nazarene went with their sociopolitical awakenings or whatever.  At the same time, though, if you have any respect for older hardcore or thrash, the whole idea of that sort of music was to give a simple, clear-cut message.  I personally love the older bands, but i agree that most of the anarcho-punk, crustcore is a completely over-done method of expression.  

We have to ask ourselves why metal became as complicated as it did once hardcore and thrash died.  Completely ruling out grindcore, it seems to me that this reason is mainly due to the complete individuality of death or black metal that made it much more abstract and less communicative with the larger masses in society.  I think we can agree that any moron could flip on a DRI album and get the message fairly quick, which is a quality most mainstream listeners want in their music.  After all, its usually a simple one.  Those old death and black metal were more concerned with turning away the stupid and gaining the interest of the worthy, in a tribal sense, i guess.  Their message was more complex and the delivery reflects it perfectly.  On top of all that, it was a true threat, especially when a few more people grew to understand it and a period of growth resulted in the overall scene.  Of course, we all know what happened after that once the genres died, but my point is that there was always that underlying message "Get in, or get out."  

"With us, or against us."  

It seems like bands turn political when they finally lose interest in the "scene" and become desperate for attention from more people.  Thats just my opinion, though.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 05:41:17 PM
Once again, there are hardcore and punk bands who's lyrical focus goes beyond the atypical, "this is why I hate the man", stereotypical protest lyrics. Many of said bands exist currently or recently.

As the straight edge scene got darker, and righteous hatred for weakness replaced bland, catch all "call for unity" positive messages, bands like Judge, Ringworm and Integrity (none of which are still straight edge....) involved a lot of apocolyptic and almost satanic imagery. Integrity released several records based on DeGrimsons Church of Final judgement, and the Abraxas foundation. Sadly, most of this degenerated into the morass of crap known as metalcore, but there are still some interesting things going on in the real underground hardcore scene. The Swarm, Fucked Up, Catharsis, Tragedy and Mind Eraser are good examples. I think Amebix were a key example of utilizing grandiose, pagan influenced imagery as an allegory to voice their contempt towards the a sick world, and the aforementioned carry on that tradition rather well, in their own manner.

As for the main topic, I think sometimes the power of the music, through song structure alone can carry a composition above and beyond the skill of the players and even the lyrics. Take for example, Black Flags "Nervous Breakdown" the power of the main riff alone does the exact same thing for me that all of "Forhekset" by Satyricon does. Both songs adrenalize me and focus my mind. Both compositions motivate, which in my humble opinion is what music should do. Even though the lyrics and music are completely dissimilar, both make me want to go out and do something. This is of vital importance.

I find a lot of power in music, even when I mildly or even strongly disagree with the lyrics. I like Skrewdriver, Carnivore and Burzum. I also like Dropdead, Conflict and MDC. I'm old enough to make up my own mind about how I feel about the world around me. Art in any form is mine to consume for intellectual fuel and focus into something else.

JJ

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 06:11:26 PM
Burzum will speak to generations to come while recent Slayer will be ignored. Why? Because in a couple of generations, no one's going to give a shit about the state of Democracy and other diseases of modern society of our time. Intelligent lyrics are universal applying to the reality of life no matter how the masses of any given generation distort it.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 06:36:52 PM
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Burzum will speak to generations to come while recent Slayer will be ignored. Why? Because in a couple of generations, no one's going to give a shit about the state of Democracy and other diseases of modern society of our time. Intelligent lyrics are universal applying to the reality of life no matter how the masses of any given generation distort it.


You sound pretty secure in your belief that democracy will be in ashes in a multitude of decades. Maybe. Hell, probably. That doesn't mean that lyrics from angry  people can't be a reflection of mistakes of civilizations past, to be avoided. Human beings are fascinated with history. In the generations to come, in this supposed post democracy are people going to give a shit about wolfs blood and broad swords? As much as I appreciate narratives within lyrics and mythology, how do black metal lyrics say anything more about humankind than somebody directly (or poetically) singing/yelling about a form of adversity they are dealing with in a modern context? And for fucks sake, can we please keep anything Slayer did past Reign in Blood out of this?

shadowmystic

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 07:13:30 PM
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Good point, but not always true. Paul Ledney?


I suppose humour could be considered an exception, but it's a very rare case.

JJ

Re: Ideologies and music
February 14, 2008, 07:43:58 PM
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You sound pretty secure in your belief that democracy will be in ashes in a multitude of decades. Maybe. Hell, probably. That doesn't mean that lyrics from angry  people can't be a reflection of mistakes of civilizations past, to be avoided. Human beings are fascinated with history. In the generations to come, in this supposed post democracy are people going to give a shit about wolfs blood and broad swords? As much as I appreciate narratives within lyrics and mythology, how do black metal lyrics say anything more about humankind than somebody directly (or poetically) singing/yelling about a form of adversity they are dealing with in a modern context? And for fucks sake, can we please keep anything Slayer did past Reign in Blood out of this?


Seek wisdom. Complaining about degenerates and stupidity achieves nothing. Striving for higher truths that reflect reality and transcend the moronic trends of our time speaks to those of intelligence and of noble character to make worthwhile changes. Saying Bush is an idiot does nothing for the next generation as they'll repeat the same cycle of choosing leaders with no ability or good character.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 15, 2008, 03:06:15 PM
If someone can only seek truth in modern politics (as a way to live or to reach some valid answers), then probably all creations of such individual will be made from that self limiting viewpoint. It's not necessarily a political propaganda, these people just define reality only on that level. It's more like expression of shallow personality or beliefs that often seem to be right at first glance but ultimately one can realize that they only pursue interests of individual or are based on some emotional or "moral" reactions. And of course there are many artists that are only a tools created by various organizations (or helping their cause unconsciously) to spread their message among people interested in culture.
If someone tries to deconstruct something to its essence, seeks the deeper meaning or answers that are closest to truth it will probably be expressed by music and lyrics.

http://iskra.ws/

Why them? They call themselves "blackened crust" and for creating atmosphere this blend works pretty well as the darkness of cold war days can be felt again complete with pessimistic and "we care a lot" socialy engaged lyrics. But in the core it's just another leftist, libertarian grind. Black metal influence is only on aesthetic field. No thoughts from black metal here, sadly because its achievements were unprecedent in modern music as something from the outside of the circle (not just another side of the same coin). In fact they seem mentally enslaved in comparison to black metal bands from which they borrow. For them there's no link between music and ideology as black metal feel is only a background. When you pick out a plant and bring it to home it will eventually (without proper knowledge) die and became only a dead representation of what it used to be in natural context.

Of course as a anti-capitalists they placed their complete discography and lyrics on website to download for free. And I encourage you to check them out, because it can be further subject to discussion about ideology/politics, and contr-argument that metal should again reinvent itself through simplicity of punk/hc (as someone wrote in other thread). What elements can be brought back to the genre from hc/grind? Humanistic tendencies which greatest death and black bands left behind? Iskra and many others borrowing only aestethic are proof that music can only recombine itself within already existing boundaries or lean to cheap references to greater creators from the past. Another question: do we need groundbreaking, "new" form to make some old statement or rather groundbreaking (impossible at this time in my opinion) or at least solid ideology to express through music and then form will naturally follow?

Re: Ideologies and music
February 16, 2008, 07:03:25 AM
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Metal, for many people, is more than music. It's an ideology, rebellion, a whole new world...


So is all music except the really vapid. If you make music, you make it to sound like something and to make that something sound good. You decide on what that something is through your ideology, whether artistic or religious or political.

I think what we DO NOT want are scenes like N-SBM, which allows talentless idiots to bleat a party line and get praised for their mediocre music. It's as bad as modern hardcore, where anyone who thinks Bush sucks and has an album is a hero. Yay, cheapness.

Slayer were not Nazis. They wrote about dark stuff, and how the dark stuff often makes sense, and as such they're neither pro-Nazi nor anti-Nazi.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 16, 2008, 07:21:51 AM
Wow, you've really captured quite well what modern hardcore is really all about! Thanks!

*yawn*

Re: Ideologies and music
February 16, 2008, 04:13:49 PM
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Music is too abstract of an art form to go well with overly focused lyrics.  It's actually better if they don't have an obvious meaning, rather a simple poetic vision, which is what most of the best black and death metal bands achieved with their lyrics.  In that sense they weren't so much separate from the music as an integral part of it, when lyrics become too focused (especially in black metal) they have a tendancy to become moralistic and contradictory, once this happens though you can be pretty sure that the music will suck as well.


I think you're right. I usually prefer lyrics that are open to some interpretation. Any good art involving the written word has a range of possible interpretations while not being so vague as to be meaningless. When music is written with overly obvious lyrics it leaves little room for genuine cognitive engagement with the work I think.

Re: Ideologies and music
February 17, 2008, 06:51:48 AM
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Slayer were not Nazis. They wrote about dark stuff, and how the dark stuff often makes sense, and as such they're neither pro-Nazi nor anti-Nazi.


This is applied nihilism at its best. It's a smashing of dualities through an understanding of causes, such that degenerations and deviations are seen for what they are, and a return to that root which sustains all life. Tangential but related to this, it's why one may speak of 'neither racism nor anti-racism' on a different plane.

In linguistic form, we see a perfect echo of Shankara's 'neti, neti,' bringing us back to the Sophia Perennis. The connexion becomes obvious when we realize that a restoration of the traditional worldview has always been the aim in black metal, lyrically expressed in the best, viz. Burzum's "Lost Wisdom." Probe deeper and the idea becomes really fucking cool as we'll even find the Doctrine of Non-Dualism expressed in Emperor, most explicitly in "I Am The Black Wizards":

"My wizards are many, but their essence is mine. I am the spirit of their existence. I am them."