Friday, January 28, 2011

Metal Briefs: Anti-Islamic Metal

A while ago, I discussed heavy metal's relationship with Islam. In that post, I asserted that the only reason anti-religious metal bands go after Christianity almost exclusively is because they're pussies, afraid to target Islam for fear of getting killed. Some commenters alternately theorized that this has little to do with it, and that instead it's because of the bands' unfamiliarity with Islam. Well, vindication of my point came in a recent Terrorizer interview (Electric Wizard cover, #204, Dec. 2010) of The Meads of Asphodel. Discussing whether he expects any religious backlash over their new album The Murder of Jesus the Jew, vocalist Metatron stated:
Possibly in America, [but] I doubt it over here. Would I do such an album as blatant about Islam? No, because do I really want to be beheaded?
I would assert he's wrong about any possible backlash, even in America. Metal bands insulting Christianity have become so commonplace today that it's no longer controversial, it's cliche. But he's right about what might happen if it was Islam instead. In this day and age, Christians don't generally murder people who blaspheme against God. But as recent events in Iraq and Egypt reveal, Muslims are not so forgiving. And as we've seen in Pakistan, it can get you executed by the state itself, and anyone who speaks up against such a law will be murdered and his murderer lauded as a hero. That's disgusting. Just as disgusting: converting to Christianity from Islam can get you executed in Afghanistan (the reverse doesn't).

So, moving forward with my support for bands who directly attack Islam, I present to you three albums from bands who are not cowards. By supporting them and drawing attention to them, I hope to do my part to show no fear in the face of this kind of repulsive intimidation, and to hopefully make anti-Islamic statements so commonplace that, eventually, they'll stop using these tactics.

Infidel: Destruction of Mecca (2008)

Wow. When looking for music based on lyrical content, I expected to find a whole lot of crap, but Baltimore's Infidel shattered that idea with their death metal assaults. Destruction of Mecca sounds like a mix of ImmolationCryptopsy, and even a bit of Behemoth. It's lacking the fantastic bass of Cryptopsy, but even without it this is superb death covering the gamut of tempos. It's produced like Immolation's Majesty and Decay, i.e. clear but not over-polished, and actually has a much better drum sound. The vocals and riffs are a mix of all three styles, focusing on really emphatic, brutal toe-tapping (face stomping) rhythms (check out "Genocide on Gaza Strip" for one of the best). The solos are Slayer-esque, which is always a nice touch.

And with lyrics like these, they've proven they have balls:
Die for my god!

Blow up Mecca
Your suffering begins

Bloodshed upon your streets
Little children, women weep
Body parts all around
Children's cadavers on the ground

I have seen the martyrs' bodies
Fall from ancient times,from past
All the ancient martyrs dying
For a cause that will not last

Destruction of Mecca
We lay your souls to rot
Nice. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Taghut: Ejaculate upon the Holy Qur'an (2008)

Taghut is a black metal band from New York who generally insult every Abrahminic religion equally, and do so in the most juvenile way you could imagine. For example . . . well the title pretty much says it all. Now, this is an extreme example of the immaturity of the lyrics, and if they were all this bad I would have guessed it to be a parody. And for the first three songs, you think it is, and it's actually kind of funny. But then you realize they're serious about it, and it's all downhill from there. They also throw in some Nazi stuff, hinting at their motivation for hating these religions (Semitic roots), and at the end of the album throw in a generic song about murder, which is out of place on the album, and a generic song about hating cops, which is completely out of place in any kind of black metal. What are they, gangbangers? The music is equally bad, being derivative and disjointed. Take the most generic-sounding Norwegian black metal you can find, make sure the riffs are forgettable, and slap in some amateurish Slayer-wannabe solos (they don't fit the music, even if they were well done--which they're not). On top of that, make sure your guitarist screws up a lot (especially on "Blaspheme Muhammad's Name") and has trouble keeping up with the faster tempos (see "Better to Reign in Hell..."). The vocals are done in a distorted whisper, which is easily understood, which would have made it a nice fit for good lyrics . . . but you won't find those here. They do show a measure of creativity on the song about cops, and I actually like the vocal style (it is different), but there's not much else good I can say about it. I give it 0.5 out of 5 stars.

Ayat: Six Years of Dormant Hatred

Six Years of Dormant HatredHailing from Lebanon, Ayat is the only one of these bands actually from the Muslim world. If Ministry's Al Jourgensen started a black metal band, this is what they would sound like: An industrial guitar tone and very Ministry-like riffs and drumming, coupled with voice samples. Six Years of Dormant Hatred is their first full-length, and it has a lot of good ideas in it. Opener "Ilahiya Khinzir! (All Hail Allah the Swine)" includes pig squeals to add extra insult, and the second half of "Fornication and Murder" is very strange and interesting. Closer "Such a Beautiful Day! (The Exaltation of Saint Francis)" has a mellow psychedelic riff and clean vocals. But the album also has its share of pitfalls. Why they keep putting two songs in one track I don't know, and the second half of "Puking Under Radiant Moonlight (Followed by a Century Long Ejaculation)" is a boring repetitive riff with foreign-language voice samples, which has no effect on me. As a rule, the songs aren't terribly memorable either, and they tend to get repetitive and--as "Thousands of Pissed Motherfuckers..." illustrates--some of them are kind of dumb. Still, it shows some promise. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Here's hoping that enough bands do this that it also becomes cliche and non-controversial.


  1. Wow, that Metatron quote pretty much says it all. Talk about coming right out with it and saying "Hey world, I'm a pussy!"

  2. I really like the Ayat album. I have not checked out Infidel, though I will probably do that soon. Incidentally, check my site, there's a group of black metal bands from Arab countries speaking out against Islam.

  3. Excellent. Maybe more will join the cause (probably not many).

  4. Ayat's first mcd was actually quite brilliant with it's insane atmosphere. The full length then again was a bit boring after that, although I've only heard it once or twice at a friend's place.

    But here's a couple of bands with anti-islam concepts from Finland:

    Frostbitten Kingdom, right now in the headlines for desecrating a Quran at their gig.

    Nomicon with their 2001 full-length Halla. Musically quite shitty, but thumbs up for the effort.

    Devilry has an EP called Muslim Genocide, but the theme continues later on as well.