Denmark has filed blasphemy charges against a man for burning the Koran. Denmark still has blasphemy laws on the books preventing the public mockery or scorn of religion. This is a massive display of pandering to the religious fanatics who are currently causing an epidemic of public sexual violence against women across the European continent. Muslims consider the Koran to be the actual rambling words of God to Muhammad despite their being no evidence of the book existing in any form until the 720s, almost a century after the death of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
I. Degrees of an Allegory in Black Metal
Black metal, as any art, spans not only the musical, but the ideological as well as some kind of social component. Those who claim its flag range from popular musicians dressing up, to occult panderers playing at magickians, to extremists, to individuals that society would consider degenerates. There are more groups that could be mentioned but that we do not need to mention explicitly. Needless to say, all of these groups have a very different understanding of what black metal is, and what their seminal exponents such as Quorthon intended or what his work represents, or should represent, once it was out of his hands.
Swedish socialists recently announced that returning ISIS fighters who are Swedish citizens will be given housing grants. Yes, terrorists are being financially rewarded by a Western government for being terrorists rather than removing them as a threat cheaply and permanently for their reprehensible treasonous behavior. The cycle of behavior that results in violent social leeches and sexual predators creating “No-go” zones for women and Jews continues.
Saudi Arabia and the other too consanguineously bred Gulf monarchies are denying the fact that they support Islamic extremism in western states against accusations by the domestic German intelligence agency according to recent news reports. The Saudis are denying that they even support the Salafist ideology despite “Salafism” simply being an appeasing, more hen-pecked liberal term for Wahhabism, the fundamentalist Sunni movement founded in the 18th century that is the ideological bedrock of the Saudi monarchy.
The government of the United Kingdom classified the British nationalist group National Action as a terrorist organization due to its members tendencies toward neo-Nazism, anti-semitism, and support for the murderers of MP Jo Cox. The British government chooses to silence a group that wishes for:
“Death to traitors, freedom for Britain!”
Liberal UK mouthpiece the Guardian posted an anonymous editorial where the anonymous author tells us how he as an completely harmless, aspiring, young, white, liberal was almost turned into a hateful [insert what you like] by accidental exposure to unfiltered, evil opinions on the internet!
According to Reuters, British charity and non-profit organization Detained in Dubai has warned women not to report their rape if they are raped in Muslim countries such as Dubai where the Islamic fundamentalist Sharia laws are stacked against them. Women who do so wish being arrested for extramarital sex as apparently forced non-consensual sexual activity is still illegal extramarital sexual activity under the law supposedly spoken through the mouth of a supposedly prophetic bandit and pedophile only slightly more documented than King Arthur.
Dark Fury present a mid-paced black metal work of catchy lead melodies atop generic power chord metal riffing. These leads are never jaw-dropping or profoundly clever but mostly effective in the context of the songs. This Story Happened Before‘s problem is that many of the best leads send out a sense of déjà entendu and are only occasionally progressed to fitting melodic conclusions; Dark Fury rely too much on highly-structured rock song formats with bridges and breaks almost making the album a riff salad. Many of the rhythm riffs are the sort of filler power chord chugs used by death metal bands and the few war metal bands that actually care to occasionally have metal riffs such as Diocletian. Dark Fury too often use this as a songwriting crutch.
Sarpanitum’s Blessed Be My Brothers was one of Death Metal Underground’s rejected albums for the Best of 2015. The album initially showed promise. The introductory track, “Komenos”, presents the audience with Sarpanitum’s combination of chromatic death metal riffs, melodic heavy metal leads, Unique Leader Records brutality, and Emperor-like use of a melotron to approximate medieval polyphony to anchor the concept album’s theme of the Crusades.
“By Virtuous Reclamation” surges forth with soaring, harmonized guitars calling for the conquest of the Holy Land continuing into an Immolation style rhythm riff. A break starts the counterpointed dissonant riffing in the Unique Leader style that variates logically enough for Pope Urban II to call for crusade against the heathen Saracens with a metalcore scream, providing a harbinger of the randomness to come. The band returns to the opening riff minus the accompanying lead. The lead’s eventual return signals the start of the Emperor melotron. A sudden slowdown for a cheesy emotional solo continues into the original riffs, climaxing into a polyphonic blend of every musical element and texture. The song barely avoids falling on its face on the way to to the finish line.
The second real song, “Truth” opens directly with Unique Leader riff salad. The Emperor worship is only to plant listeners in a Western European medieval mindset to distract them from the fact the tension built up by the dissonant riffing is never appropriately resolved. The emotional stadium rock solos are just as disconnected from the death metal as the Emperor aping. “Glorification Upon the Bones of the Sundered Dead” better glues the riffs together but still resorts to emotional, Slash-style solos to impart the triumph of the Siege of Jerusalem.
If Blessed Be My Brothers had ended there, it would have been a disparate but listenable concept album. Instead Sarpanitum use the second half to tell the Muslim side of the later Crusades through similarly flawed but less effective songs. This isn’t just a 180 degree change in perspective: the band added another of their heavy metal heroes to the blender. Ersatz Gorguts riffing plus even more masturbatory glam rock solos leads distract from the effective atmospheric and brutal elements. The songs turn even more so into senseless technical deaf metal with Emperor rendered down into pop hooks.
The drastic changes of viewpoint and influence betray the album’s semi-successful first half. The atmosphere of Western mysticality established using Emperor to approximate a polyphonic medieval choir is wrecked by the hippie drum circle interlude, “I Defy For I Am Free”. Blessed Be My Brothers is a postmodern, apologetic Frankenstein. Wikipedia “neutral point of view” metal for meek liberals is antithetical to Emperor’s classical triumph and heavy metal’s “Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched and the weak,” virtus.
Calling to mind the 1950s American Christians who referred to rock ‘n’ roll by the same name, an Islamic Imam has been videotaped referring to music as “the devil’s language.” To be fair, the point he is making is that people should listen to religious music, which is sung and contains holy messages, instead of secular instrumental music.
But still, the comments are eerily familiar to metalheads:
When Allah speaks of music in the Koran he reminds us that music is the devil’s language. When did he remind us of this? So those who love music and listen to music, who are they listening to? The devil. They listen to the devil. There are people who disobeyed Allah and will listen to the devil…Empty your mp3 and transform it and replace it with the best words that exist: the Koran. If one says that musical instruments are haram and music is haram and that who listens or loves music risks being transformed by Allah into a pig, or will look like who? The devil.
He may have a point if we broaden “music” to mean “popular and therefore empty messages.” Then again, heavy metal has never been obedient, and has always loved the devil — the forbidden scapegoat beyond social morality where humanity connects with reality — so it is unlikely that his message will resonate with many metalheads.