Tuesday, February 14, 2006

57] Black Metal and Rock and Roll Explained

Black Metal and rock-and-roll
Azly Rahman
Feb 14, 06 2:44pm

I am happy to read a growing number of responses to my article Is Black Metal a threat? which proposes that Black/Death Metal music is a threat to mental security of especially the Malay Muslim youth with limited understanding of English as well as the principles of music as a tool of subliminal seduction that colonises one's consciousness.

There are those who called my opinion bizarre, "not well researched", "off the rails" and "full of crap". I respect these views.

Never will I propose the government to ban Metal music of all sorts, being Malaysia a country that respects freedom of expression, free speech, and deals with dissenting voices intelligently. Never - in the spirit of Malaysian democracy. Never am I attempting to ‘vilify’ lovers of para-demonic music as well as those who imports lock, stock and barrel, as well as the hidden messages of these music of the anti-Newtonian ‘demonic-spheres’.

One is free to listen to whatever music one wishes to colonise one's consciousness with. The tone of the responses is in general one of anger - almost like a nationalistic fervour and appears like one is religiously willing "to die for Death Metal". I respect these views, as much I respect the views of those who are strong advocates of Ghazal, Kroncong, or even hip hop and gangsta rap.
Many of this die-hard Death Metallist correctly and articulately pointed out the fact that their brand of music is harmless and holy too, perhaps.

Many are asserting that these advocates and preachers of "demonic-sounding music" are actually pious and religious, and I suppose seekers of the grace of the Divine. But I am feeling melancholic reading those response as their views seem suicidal intellectually, unable to step outside of their dark and sinister world-view and look at the genealogy, ideology, and post-structurality of their brand of music that is fiercely under attack not only from the frequently uninformed authorities (the police, the religious leaders, concerned parents) as well as from writers who have a good grasp of the development of Metal music.

Let me help illuminate these die-hard Death and Black metallists on the point of no return of the genre they are addicted to. First, one must understand the neuro-linguistic aspect of music as it impacts the personality of those being turned into "fans", "followers" and "fanatics" of the music.

One can almost identify "a rocker", "a rapper", "hip hopper", a “Mat Bunga” or a “Kronchong” and “Ghazal” lover from a distance. These are human beings that are products of the signs, symbols, signification, and representations of the art form they are colonised by. The flow of language into the consciousness of these respective "fans and lovers" of this or that form of music becomes the opiate, or the chandu, or the ganja, of the consciousness.

Look at "punk rockers", the "Mods", and the “disco-goers”. We can almost automatically identify the fanatics of these human beings - they are the products of the culture industry that is in operation globally and hidden from the consumers. These industries sell dreams and consciousness so that the Death and Black metallist can continue to consume those images of death and destruction, and these foreign capitalists on collaboration with local distributors can continue to profit big time - in the name of free speech. What a rip-off in the name of art and creativity, I think.

The next step, after selling "trash music" is to bring in top Death and Black metallist groups so that the fans can see how ‘Death’ looks like - live on stage

Second, my point about my hope that Rolling Stones would repent and help "rock and roll" devolve into good spiritual and ecumenical music is a serious assertion. Die-hard Malaysian metallists are not generally well-versed in the history of rock and roll and how it has evolved dangerously into music of the demonic-spheres. Death/Black metal musicians are not even aware of the African roots of all rock, blues, and jazz before these evolve into more and more sophisticated genre - into the divine and into the demonic.

Death, Black, Speed, and Trash metal music are the bastard great-grandchildren of rock and roll, whereas folk, progressive, and symphonic rock for examples are its legitimate great-grandchildren. Even the names of the bands of Black and Death Metal signified the bastardisation of the English language, hiding behind the veil of "allegory", "metaphor", "personification", or "cynicism" of a world run amuck, as prophets and preachers of Death/Black metallists would argue.

If the outside is presented with pride as "demonic', can the inside be "divine"? What lyrics play in the subconscious of the Black/Death metallist all the time? What music plays in their head when they are piously performing their prayers?

Compare the "glory-to-the-demonic-forces" names of those bands to even the household names of rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Yes, Rainbow, and Santana. Do we see the difference between the image of the lesser-evil of rock-consciousness?

Would one glorify Ozzy Osborne's act of biting off white mice's head on stage, or the Punk Rocker's vomiting onto the audience or the display of goriness of the Death and Black metallists? Or would one appreciate the messages and the performance of socially-conscious bands such as Santana, U-2, and Pink Floyd?

Third and last, why listen to music of such unsophisticatedness to belong to a subculture that wants to be seen as "sophisticated" - again, in the name of a free country such as Malaysia? Why not start evolving into listeners of music of the "heavenly spheres" such a Chinese classical music, Indian sarod and sitar and the ragas, of the ancient Celtics, Gregorian chants, New Age, qawalli, Baroque, Classical, smooth jazz, world music, and even the sound of silence and of nature. Why not listen to these "divinely-inspired" musical forms and use them as a background in our daily reading of say - Sufi poetry, the al-Quran 'ul Karim, the Bhagavad Gita, the Analects, the Tao Te Ch'ng, the Granth Sahib, or the masterpieces of world literature? Why not ?- if this can be a healing process to our bruised consciousness as a result of a system that has oppressed us and shaped us into Death/Black metal fans?

Why not de-evolve? This is a better way for youth to rebel - instead of being a perpetual wide receiver of the media producers that sell "trash culture" through music such as Black/Death metal. Already Malaysian media is producing more and more cabled and satellite-broadcast junk as a long-term strategy to steal the consciousness of our youth so that they will rebel away their true revolutionary spirit.

Sometimes we are not aware that we are being controlled, through music and being turned into post-industrial tribes. We only imagine, like Albert Camus' Sisyphus that we are happy - rolling the rock up on the hill, rolling it back down the hill as a daily toil. Only in our case, the rock being rolled is Death/Black metal music.


Sagaladoola said...

Third and last, why listen to music of such unsophisticatedness to belong to a subculture that wants to be seen as "sophisticated" - again, in the name of a free country such as Malaysia? Why not start evolving into listeners of music of the "heavenly spheres" such a Chinese classical music, Indian sarod and sitar and the ragas, of the ancient Celtics, Gregorian chants, New Age, qawalli, Baroque, Classical, smooth jazz, world music, and even the sound of silence and of nature.

Oooo .. wish you were in Malaysia.

To date, I have only one friend who shares all these with me.

Occasionally I listen to some Easy Listening songs from the likes of "Carpenters" (my childhood songs) and Dionne Warwick. I love disco, quiet storm stuff too like Barry White (that's because his music has all that great romantic string orchestrations).

Sometimes I listen to metal too, only Metallica, Dreamtheater and Apocalyptica. The last name mentioned is played using four cellos. Sounds very classical but dark, no vocals for the first two albums.

Death metal, a No-no for me. If you look at the metal selections above, they are pretty mild and they have no weird stage theatrics like Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath.

I go for the content / colour and the meaning of the music. If it has clear elements of Satanic worship, I say a No-No and leave it all behind.


Anonymous said...


yoshz said...

Dear Dr. Azly,

Im not an ardent fan of Black Metal.I listen to many genres of Metal. To tell u the truth, i am greatly offended by your article. It seems that you're implying that Black Metal is a threat to society which i dont think its true. I listen to the music, not to the message they convey in the lyrics.
Never did it make me less Muslim or worse an employee.

namz said...

Saya seorang penggemar muzik dan saya mendengar semua jenis muzik

Sejarah ujudnya Punk dan Metal sebagai satu genre adalah untuk menarik pendengar yang fed up dgn mainstream dimana sebenarnya tidak menunjukkan realiti kehidupan sebenar. Realitinya adalah perang, ketamakkan, konspirasi dan sebagainya.

Sejarah Black Metal bukan satu ajaran, tetapi satu idea(evolusi) muzik yang extreme. Dengan tenaga dan keunikan ini ia dapat menarik pendengar bukan untuk menikmati lagunya tetapi memahami mesej yang disampaikan. Lirik Black Metal yang berunsurkan satanic adalah antara yang paling extreme. Kenapa mereka buat begitu padalah semua orang tahu setan itu jahat. Mereka tahu yang manusia ini takut kepada setan. Mesej yang hendak diberikan disini adalah untuk memberanikan manusia supaya tak perlu takut kpd setan dan kita perlu akui adanya ia dan patut dilawan kerana ia akan membawa kehancuran kepada manusia. Setan-setan ini bertopengkankan manusia dan mempunyai tahap – tahap berbeza dlm bidang tertentu ada yang korup, perang, sex, monopoli, politik kotor dll. Tak perlu dengar Black Metal pun untuk dirasuk setan.

Penulisan juga boleh membawa kebaikan dengan memberi kesedaran atau meracuni pemikiran seseorang atau juga untuk menunjuk kehebatan(riak) seseorang itu semata-mata. Ada juga yang menggunakan agama untuk menyesatkan orang lain juga. Tak dapat dinafikan setiap adanya sesuatu perkara, itu adanya baik dan buruk. Spt sex, muzik, politik, perniagaan, penulisan, internet, blogging, perang, tv, wayang dan sebagainya.

Pendapat saya, Metal/Hip Hop/Punk dan genre muzik extreme lain boleh diibaratkan sebagai nuclear dimana ia boleh menjana tenaga yang hebat atau dijadikan bom yg boleh membawa kpd kemusnahan ‘big scale’.

Cadangan saya, kita patut dengar dan cuba memahami lagu-lagu ini dan tak perlu ikut dan percaya sepenuhnya kpd muzik ini. Kerana ini adalah satu seni keunikan cara manusia menggunakan ciptaan tuhan (muzik) sebagai satu medium penyampaian . Ada baiknya dan ada buruknya . Gunalah Tool(akal) yg tuhan berikan.

The Third Eye said...

Playing the roles of Preacher, Politician and War itself, Lemmy let’s us know that obedience is death, the bastards are all out to grind us down, and unless we wise the hell up, we’re all doomed !

I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.

I twist the truth, I rule the world, my crown is called deceit
I am the emperor of lies, you grovel at my feet
I rob and I slaughter you, your downfall is my gain
And still you play the sycophant and revel in your pain
And all my promises are lies, all my love is hate
I am the politician, and I decide your fate

I march before a martyred world, an army for the fight
I speak of great heroic days, of victory and might
I hold a banner drenched in blood, I urge you to be brave
I lead you to your destiny, I lead you to your grave
Your bones will built my palaces, your eyes will stud my crown
For I am Mars, the god of war, and I will cut you down.

kepalametal said...

This is like telling a hiphop fanatic that death metal is better.

Even bhagavad gita differentiates man and their values.

In the end it all boils down to taste.


let us pigeonhole the pigeonholed.

Anonymous said...

Dr Azly,

err Dr.. ever u wonder what happened to those kids who has been detained by police in the so called bleck metal ritual concert??

Btw, please email me your snail mail address. I'll send you Cds from Silkhannaz and Langsuyr. I would like you to do the review on these cds.. dont worry it's FOC!! hehe..

The lyrics is available in the inlay.. If the musick is too sickening to your musical taste mebbe you can have a look in their lyrics instead..

This 2 bands are usually referred as black metal band by M'sian mainstream media. I do think it's better for you to experience it on hand rather than rely on local media report..



onanimouse said...

i dont get it, politics can be a lot more evil than black metal.. should we say politics as a threat to the youth?

wwf wrestling is selling violent on stage... but nobody is saying that wrestling has neuro-(body)linguistic impacts the personality of those being turned into "fans", "followers" and "fanatics" of the sport.

black metal is just a music, it's the music that count.. not all of them write lyrics about devil worshiping, some write about their ancient pride, some write about war even about love...

---Third and last, why listen to music of such unsophisticatedness to belong to a subculture that wants to be seen as "sophisticated" - again, in the name of a free country such as Malaysia? Why not start evolving into listeners of music of the "heavenly spheres" such a Chinese classical music, Indian sarod and sitar and the ragas, of the ancient Celtics, Gregorian chants, New Age, qawalli, Baroque, Classical, smooth jazz, world music, and even the sound of silence and of nature.---
cause malaysia should be a free country, we should be free to choose our musical preferences.. why in the world must i listen to smooth jazz just because someone think it is a "sophisthicated"..

---- If the outside is presented with pride as "demonic', can the inside be "divine"? ----
our politician/academician has successfully demonstrate to us that we can be "divine" outside, and "demonic" inside.. so there's nothing weird about it :p

Terence Aaron said...

Truth:Not all black/death metal music are about devil worshipping. Some write complex topics like existenssial phillosophy, myths, history and even to the lenghts of quantum physics

False:All bands really mean it when they say/sing about gory/satanic themes.

Truth:There are bands writing about religions like Islam,Christianity and many more. It's not just satanism or atheism.

False:All metalheads hate God

Anonymous said...

very narrow thinikng fellow

surgeffect said...

You see, again I will say the same thing. How long have you actually put into research hours on the subject of metal??

You obviously have a stereotypical perception of what it is about being a metalhead and what metal represents.

So many people carry music with a message, and sometimes the musicians themselves (if you can call faggoty boyband type tunes as music) do stupid things. Yes, yes, those Mayhem dudes in "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" did give off a drunken fuck-off to the documentarian, but so did a drunken bald Britney Spears to tabloid media.

Musicians may do stupid things, yes, but all of us do. However, there is a difference between gimmick and the true nature of the musicians. When someone asked a member of Immortal about his "corpse-paint", he just gave quite a funny answer actually which i can't remember verbatim. Of course, if you were someone who had the limits of Azly Rahman's knowledge, with minimal ill-informed opinions about metal, but was also a subscriber to metal music, you would get pissed off at the tounge in cheek attitude of most metalheads. This apparently has created the majority viewpoint on metal which people like Azly Rahman take as the truth.. that metal is an ugly domain. The truth is, philosophy, religion, sociology, politics, history and many other scholarly subjects of study are part of the metal 'concerns'. These are just some of our topics too.

Now I will open a short discussion on the issue of Satan himself. Most metal bands do, yes i admit, do use the symbol of Satan. But, hardly ever does a band subscribe to Satanism as it is in The Church of Satan. No, metalheads do not worship Satan. Metalheads will say God is on top of everything else. Satan on the other hand, is the symbol of knowledge. Satan, is basically when you open a holy book, and ask the simple question "WHY?".

This is in fact the key to start the machinary of the pursuit of knowledge. And in fact, one gets a more in depth view of religion because of this spark of interest. As for myself, the symbol of Satan in metal has actually made me go study in depth about religion and interestingly, theoretical physics.

So there you have it.. short and simple. No point writing a 600 page book on the subject if you (Azly Rahman) can't even understand and obtain correct information with the level of research you have done.

IFYD said...

Dr. Azly, I'm disappointed. I thought academics like you would not fall into the trap of taking sides in the boring, predictable "generation-gap" wars.

just like when Elvis came out and people who were swinging to ragtime roared disapproval, Beatles came out and all the Elvis generation then would roar the same and the cycle continues ad nauseam.

anyway, black metal is so last century. the "threat" it had on the local scene was more of a question of "pose" rather than anything substantial.

what's worrisome nowadays is your safe as houses manufactured TV pop-stars, the vacuous, empty, moronic culmination of your wars against the subcultures you don't even understand.

know thy real enemy!

Anonymous said...

why nobody whines about horror movies ..
arent they the same as for entertaining purpose..

Anonymous said...


u'r taste or rock music is like a chu chu train. we , the metal/rock (in general) music is super fast roller coaster or sometimes super slow tempo but heavy turtle.. that is about. that's the only difference. we dont care about the lyrics because there are some metal bands around the world dont have lyrics in their music.they just growl .no words. if there are words, we, malay, wouldnt understand it because it is growl, its hard to understand and 2nd, we just love the sound,the creativity, the intense...itu je bro..

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