Metal and Christianity

It’s interesting to see how intertwined metal and Christianity are.
Slayer? Singing songs about hell and has a crucifix at the concerts. But the singer is Catholic. He also notes Catholic services do the same thing.

Iron Maiden released a song called “The Number of the Beast” and got moral guardians’ upset despite being based on the Bible.

Avenged Sevenfold gets it’s name from the Bible (whoever kills Cain will get 7 times the retribution.) “Beast and the Harlot” is also a story torn from Revelation.

DragonForce refers to God a lot. It helps that most of the members are Anglican. In an interview Herman Li said that when they talk about “the master” and other such figures in their songs, they’re referring to God.

James Hetfield was raised a Christian Scientist. Didn’t go well, though.

Helloween has several blatantly Christian songs. Like “Save Us”.

Evanescence was considered a Christian band until they explicitly told the Christian records stores they were not. Stores complied when they swore in an interview.

Black Sabbath used the occult symbolism to sell records. Geezer is a Christian.

Some people try to convince themselves Marilyn Manson is Christian. Just look at Yahoo Answers. He is not, though. 

Lots of people listen to Lamb of God thinking they’re pro-Jesus. That doesn’t last long. 

There’s always fun arguing whether “Chop Suey” by System of a Down is about Jesus. Of course, calling Jesus’s spiel “self-righteous suicide” doesn’t end well.

Godsmack is in a similar boat to Lamb of God.

HIM is supposed Christian. And by supposedly I mean it stands for “His Infernal Majesty”.

Linkin Park does the occasional Christian song.

Attack! Attack! has Christian songs very forthright. Not a Christian band because some members aren’t.

Head left Korn when he converted.

We Came As Romans is mistaken as Christian because some of their songs have uplifting messages. I think some people want too badly for their favourite bands to share their favourite religion.

Flyleaf is a Christian band despite them saying they aren’t.

One time Judas Priest was set to play a concert for a audience of nuns. Someone didn’t do their research.

Twisted Sister stabs at it here and there.

There is also, of course, the entire genre of Christian metal. I at one point even made a playlist of songs. It’s a bit tilted towards power metal. August Burns Red and As I Lay Dying are rather popular even in the metal mainstream. (Divinefire not so much.)

Why Metal Isn’t Really Right-Wing (And Why the Left isn’t Metal Either)

A couple weeks ago an article starting circling the metal communities claiming metal is right-wing. As a self-described hard leftist and metalhead, I was taken aback. However, after reading Hood’s article, I came to the conclusion that his description of metal as far from the left is correct, though it’s not necessarily on the right, either.

He claims at the outset that ” heavy metal music has done far more to advance authentic right wing aesthetics, values, and yes, even philosophy, than all the failed institutions of the Beltway Right put together.” His mentioning of the Beltway Right will show greater importance later in his article after he characterizes the left.

He claims both metal and the right-wing value “themes of conquest, self-overcoming, strength, and conflict.” The right stresses hierarchy while the left stresses egalitarianism. This is a bit of an overgeneralization considering MRAs are generally on the right and the very hierarchical education system is on the left. The leftist hierarchy does tend to ignore nation, creed, and class, however, while the right seeks to preserve them.

As far as aesthetics go, “strength, vitality, and self-glorification” do admittedly tend to come more from the patriotic and narcissistic right. At this point, though, the difference between the labour left and the Tumblr left becomes pretty apparent, though Hood doesn’t give the former a fair shot. Traditional labour movements are about standing up for the value of work done, as opposed to the corporatist right that focuses more on increasing wealth for those who don’t do so much. Last I checked, tanning at one’s mansion while being served by working people is neither strong nor vital. (And it’s the opposite of the type of glory metal is about.)

Hood continues awhile with some valid points, but he ultimately gives the right such a nice presentation that almost anyone would choose it over the left he presents: to Hood the right is the people who work hard to make themselves better while the left is only the people who seek to whine on the internet. Sure he accurately captures a subset of each. but he ignores the left that pushes for better conditions for working people and ignores the right that seeks only to feed those who make wealth from wealth instead of doing things. Corporate doublespeak is neither leftist nor metal.

His poor characterization of the left does show what the popular left has become though. It’s no longer fighting malevolent powers but instead pandering to the attention-seeking needs of the bored (upper) middle class. Meanwhile the right is still selling the story of the American Dream, even if the policies enacted do the exact opposite.

At this point actually placing value on strength, vitality, and self-glorification require abandoning the wealth-serving right and attention-serving left. I certainly disagree with the claim that metal denies all sort of working towards a common good (seriously, “stand united” is one of the most overused phrases in metal). Hood himself derides the popular right we have now, but handwaves it away as not a true Scotsman.

And if we’re giving metal a philosopher, why not Hobbes?