Apr 042017

 

I’ve been fascinated by the Indian extreme metal band Heathen Beast for years. In addition to the excellence of their music, they’ve regularly turned the force of their fury on deplorable conditions in the vast sub-continent they call home and have regularly paired their music with hard-hitting videos. And now they’ve done it again.

The song we’re about to premiere, presented in video form, is “If the army can do it, so can you“, and it comes from the band’s new album $cam, which will be released on June 1 by Transcending Obscurity Records. This is the second song from the album to be revealed in advance of its release; “It’s only a minor inconveniencepremiered at DECIBEL two weeks ago (and is also well worth your time).

Apr 112016

Heathen Beast art

 

Time flies. Almost four years have passed since I last wrote (here) about the politically outspoken Indian black metal band Heathen Beast, in a post titled “Heathen Beast’s Videos Do Not Fuck Around — And Neither Does Their Music“. The same could still be said today, despite the passage of years — as you will see and hear in our premiere of the band’s new song and lyric video: “The Systematic Annihilation of Islam“.

The song is one of three that appear on the band’s new EP, Rise of the Saffron Empire, which will be released on April 25 by Transcending Obscurity India (CD and digitally).

You can appreciate the music even if you’re uneducated about the subject matter of the video (as I originally was). But I think some background information might be useful — and to begin, I’m going to repeat some of what I wrote in that post from nearly four years ago:

Jun 142012

I’m no expert on India, and really, who could be? The country is so vast, its population so large and diverse, its history so ancient and complex, its cultures and traditions so multifaceted, that to me it seems almost incomprehensible. But though I’m no expert, I know from reading that it is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism — and on top of that it has the third largest Muslim population in the world, as well as adherents of Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and many other faiths. Looking at it from afar, it’s a place where daily life seems dominated by religious rituals, observances, and traditions of one kind or another.

Heathen Beast don’t like what they see. They are an Indian black metal band based in Mumbai whose focus is on religion, which they view as a destructive plague on mankind. This alone doesn’t necessarily distinguish them from black metal bands the world over, but they have a particular focus on religion in India, which means that the object of their anger and scorn is not Christianity (as it is for BM bands in so many other countries), but the influence of more locally important religions such as Hinduism and Islam and what they perceive as the destructive effect of those faiths on the people, the environment, and even the animals of their country.

Back in November 2010, I wrote about their debut EP, Ayodhya Burns, in this post. Recently, they’ve released a second three-track EP called The Drowning of the Elephant God. Thematically, the title track is about the Hindu festival of Ganesha (the elephant god of the EP’s title), which culminates in the immersion of painted Ganesha statues made of plaster in rivers, lakes, and the sea — a practice that has been releasing a multitude of toxic elements into water systems throughout the country (according to this article) for many decades.

Nov 272010

It’s been almost three weeks since I put up a MISCELLANY post, which is way too long. My vacation had something to do with that delay, but still — too long. My list of bands to check out has grown to gargantuan proportions, which means the selection for today is even more random than usual — and this post is also really long. But it’s a fucking holiday weekend, and what else have you got to do?

You know the rules of this game by now: I keep a running list of bands I’ve never heard but who look interesting for one reason or another, and when I have time, I randomly pick a few names off the list and listen to one song from each band — not knowing in advance whether the music will be worth a damn. And then I record impressions in these MISCELLANY blogs, and provide you the songs I heard so you can form your own opinions.

For today’s way-late installment, I checked out four bands from distant countries. In fact, distance was sort of the criterion I used for picking names off the list this time. Of course, all countries are distant from Seattle, except Canada, which is more or less spitting distance away.

Not that I would ever spit on Canada. In fact, when I get nauseous about the state of political discourse in the U.S. (which happens about every other day), I fantasize about moving to Canada — until it dawns on me that I don’t know anything about the state of Canadian political discourse, plus the national sport seems to be hockey, which always looks to me like someone dropped a big pile of ants onto a piece of ice and stirred ’em into a state of frothing anger with a big stick. In other words, I have no fucking idea what’s happening.

Where was I? Oh yeah — metal bands from distant countries. For today’s post I checked out Heathen Beast (India), Skrypt (India), Bilocate (Jordan), and (in a late addition to the post) Ektomorf (Hungary). See what I found (and listen to the songs), after the jump. And just to spare you the suspense — I was pretty well blown away by what I heard from the first three bands, and the fourth was at least fun.

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