(NCS contributor Rev. Will provides a retrospective on some recent news from Norway.)
Ah, Norway. The land of salmon and black metal. It’s every metal-loving fisherman’s dream destination.
However, it is also home to some of the world’s most extreme black metal bands. Taake, a Norwegian black metal band that recently gained notoriety for anti-Islamic sentiments expressed in their song lyrics, had been nominated for Norway’s top metal prize, the prestigious Spellemann award in the “Metal” category.
This is the equivalent of the American Grammys, except the American Grammys don’t nominate black metal bands in any category. It’s a surprise (or perhaps more of a shock) to many that the essentially one-man black metal project was one of five nominees competing for the award last week (the other four being Insense, Shining, Vreid, and Årabrot; with Årabrot coming in victorious), because one of Taake‘s songs on Noregs Vaapen declares: “To hell with Muhammad and the Muhammadans!”
And this comes just half a year after the tragic internal terrorist attack suffered by Norway last year [and reported here at NCS]. On 22nd July, 2011, Christian extremist Anders Behring Breivik first car-bombed a government building in Oslo (resulting in 8 deaths), before carrying out a fatal shooting spree on the island of Utøya which reportedly resulted in 69 deaths. It is the worst case of spree killing in modern history (meaning from the 1900’s onward), beating Woo Bum-kon of the Uiryeong massacre in 1982 by 20 corpses.
The Worst Spree Killer Norway & The World Have Ever Seen
Despite complaints, members of the Spellemann board had defended the band’s nomination.
“We enjoy full freedom of expression in Norway and [our] jury is not going to censor content in any way,” chairman Marte Thorsb told Aftenposten.
But the Norwegian Humanist Association had protested that the lyrics went too far.
“In the aftermath of July 22nd [Taake‘s lyrics] are completely over the edge,” said Didrik Søderlind. “I’d imagine Taake aren’t particularly proud of these lyrics after Utøya.”
Further examination of other lines in the same song seem to eerily echo Anders Breivik’s own right-wing extremist views as well:
“Norway will soon awaken!” read the lyrics to the song “Orkan” (meaning “Hurricane”), on Taake‘s album Noregs Vaapen. Elsewhere on this song, singer Ørjan Stedjeberg also refers to the “unforgivable customs” of Muslims and calls for a new “kingdom” to “shine through [the] bad years, shame and Christian times”.
Despite lyrics damning Muslims, Stedjeberg [a/k/a Hoest] has stated that Taake “do not encourage either violence or racism”.
Stedjeberg once explained:
“Our view… is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam.”
He had also criticised the media for ignoring Taake‘s critical lyrics about Christianity, which were relatively tamer, by the way. Perhaps he was hinting at the possibility of the media trying to make him the scapegoat (and hence, give him bad press) by exploiting the coincidental timing of the shooting spree by Breivik last year. “Taake has never been a political band,” Stedjeberg had further emphasized.
It is quite hard to take Stedjeberg’s comments seriously though, because they come less than four years after he painted a swastika on his chest for a Taake concert in Essen, Germany (in which the usage of the swastika symbol is banned for obvious reasons). In the outcry over that event, he had insisted that Taake are “not a political Nazi band”, and that “Our whole concept is built on provocation and anything evil- and death-related”. The dude could have been (and may still be) sincere about this stance for all we know, but doesn’t this remind you of the whole Nergal fiasco with that torn Bible? It sure does sound like a possible attempt at masking one’s true intentions with the cover of “artistic license” to me.
Anyway, the Spellemanns were awarded on Saturday night, 14th January, 2012.
Sigh, seems like the news media still doesn’t grasp the concept of “shock value”.
Wait a minute! NCS is news media (isn’t it?) and I grasp the concept of shock value. I just don’t know what I could do to shock anyone around here.
SHOW YOUR FACE
Actually I mean that seriously and not as an insult but it works on so many levels.
Have a bad word to say about a metal band :p
Someone definitely misses the point of this site…
Whoah, wait. Time out. Back the truck up.
There is a point to this site??
Of course there is! The point of this site is . . . er . . . uh . . . um . . . let me get back to you on that.
never stops amazing me from how general media cant grasp the simple concept of metal damning religion and believers..c’mon good old same old…
Indeed, and that makes the furor over the anti-Islam lyrics in the Taake song especially bizarre. Black metal and metal in general have a long history of condemning the Christian church, but it’s never really been just about Christianity. It’s all religions, or at least all religious authority. No reason why Islam should be treated any differently. Metal is an equal-opportunity blasphemer. 🙂
informed rational freedom loving people have all the reasons in the world to fear islam…
the twin fogs of political correctness & ignorance must be dispersed before western society better understands this menace. even a brief review of islamic theology & history quickly exposes the deadly roots of this evil ideology.
Mohamhead was a 7th century murdering warlord who rose to power on a river of blood surrounded by thugs and gangsters using intimidation, violence, deception and trickery to expand their criminal empire while mercilessly suppressing and killing their opponents and enriching themselves on stolen booty.
The evil koran is a collection of sayings and speeches by this diabolical madman claiming divine guidance from some mythical sky-god which has inspired generations of crazed fanatics to abhorrent behavior resulting in historys worst ever crimes against humanity starting 1400 years ago and still continuing even today.
Islam is just another fascist totalitarian ideology used by power hungry fanatics on yet another quest for worldwide domination and includes all the usual human rights abuses & suppression of freedoms.
and a snappy graphics version, great for emailing…
Holy fuck, the EVIL Koran?? A book can be evil???
Look, I’m an atheist, and I think all religion is fuck stupid, but this sort of rhetoric is just misguided. I am 100% against censoring anything, especially stuff that pisses off religious people. This sort of thing completely ignores historical and cultural context and suggests that Muslims, by virtue of being Muslim, are out to destroy freedom.
I’m not trying to excuse the horrific things perpetrated by religious people–whether it is the bullying of gay students to the point of suicide by Christians in the US, the abuse of women by pretty much ever patriarchal
system in the world, or al-Queda–but this attack specifically on Islam is highly suspect.
Bear in mind, that Muslims account for about one fifth of the world’s population…are you willing to paint the
picture that over one billion people are terrorists? (Which, of course, is what the image you linked to suggests when it says: “learn the true evil of allah before the iron veil lowers and destroys your freedom.”
“Iron Veil” is a badass name though.
It is, and amazingly it appears no band has taken that name yet.
Not only religion is patriarchal. I’d wager and wager plenty of money that you consume commodities that epitomise patriarchy at its most unconscionable so please spare us the self-righteousness.
Personally I think the whole “taboo to make fun of Islam” thing can be summed up in one song lyric.
“But you’ll never hear a crack about Mohammed; Cuz I don’t wanna get shot in the chest” – NOFX (Coaster)
The taboo is more driven by fear as all you have to do is turn on the news to see some form of religious extremists violence. I’m not saying that Christianity is innocence of their own share of violence, but generally they won’t kill you for mocking them.
Unless you count the Crusades.
Or the Spanish Inquisition.
Or the Salem witch trials.
It’s about time someone in black metal stood up and said something about Islam. I always thought they were just a bunch of pussies because they wouldn’t. I talked about it a couple times in 2010:
The most damning line ever on this topic is from Metatron, vocalist of Meads of Asphodel, who said, “Would I do such an album as blatant about Islam? No, because do I really want to be beheaded?”
Taake just sold me an album, in other words.