I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the tragedy that’s under way in Ukraine. With a mixture of fury and grief I read the news every waking hour, and dream about it in my sleep. The fact that my wife is half-Ukrainian has something to do with that, but I hope I’d feel the same way if she were half-Russian.
For many people around the world, it’s hard to know how to channel our feelings of outrage over Putin’s invasion, his incessant lies, his threats of nuclear war, and his repression of dissent into anything that seems like meaningful action. For most people, and especially those of us very far away from the borders of Ukraine, speaking out, pressuring political leaders to act, and providing moral and financial support to embattled Ukrainians — and not letting any of that support wane in the darker days to come — may be all we can do. It’s better than nothing.
This is just a metal blog, and so all we’re capable of doing through this channel is offering up music. Anti-war and anti-fascist music from any locale would be suitable for this time, but I want to focus on the music of Ukrainian bands, a small way of providing moral support.
I’ve divided this collection into two very large installments. Because this is a Sunday, and usually the domain of my Shades of Black column, I made Ukrainian black and “blackened” metal the focus of Part 1, and you’ll find that it’s full of stylistic twists and turns.
I’ve left out what many people would consider some obvious choices, but I’m not comfortable hailing bands whose members have dragged anti-semitism and racial purity into their exaltation of the homeland and its traditions. This isn’t always easy to detect, which is why some of my friends don’t listen to “nationalistic” black metal of any kind, especially from bands in Europe. I hope I’ve been careful enough.
I might still make a Shades of Black column today, if time permits, but I don’t know if it will. In Part 2 I’ve collected the music of Ukrainian bands outside (or mostly outside) the realm of black metal. In both Parts, just to keep this from going on forever, I’ve focused on fairly recent music, music that we’ve written about at NCS over the last 2-3 years. And I’ve dispensed with commentary and links. It’s just a couple of big playlists. Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
I’m starting with a heart-wrenching new single just released today in support of Ukraine by Schattenfall (a band based in Germany but whose line-up includes people of Ukrainian descent). Undoubtedly many other bands will soon begin to make their own releases in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. I’m following that with a previously unreleased live performance in Kyiv by 1914 that surfaced as a single in late January, and then songs by 12 more Ukrainian bands.
I hope they will all be safe, especially those who choose to take up arms against the invader.
Been listening to a lot of 1914 and White Ward in the last few days!
Good to listen to any time, but especially now.
Funeral Candies is SUPER underrated.
Nicely done, Islander.
May Ukraine become the Western Democracy it yearns to be, and the entitled youth of Europe and America recognize this very important lesson.
I totally agree that war in Ukraine is a terrible thing. Any war, for what matters.
But where were solidarity posts when Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc. were bombed?
100% agreed. The destruction waged by NATO to these countries haven’t received an inch of support as seen with this conflict in the Ukraine. Dare I say, when blond blue-eyed people are in trouble, the western media, blue check pundits and others swiftly come to their aid.
Last time I checked, Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis yet I dont see people having adorning the twitter bios with yemen flags.
The Ukraine conflict is complex and must be seen outside of the Ukraine good, Putin bad lens. I barely know about the history but what I do know is United States hand in toppling the democratically elected, though unpopular, leader in a color revolution architected with the help John McCain and Victoria Nuland.
Let’s not forget Donbass and Crimea who identify with Russia, speak Russian language. Let’s not forgot the massacre at the trade union hall in Odessa by the fascist Ukrainian Right Sektor.
At the same time, the legitimate grievances of the Ukrainians and history of famine and massacre at the hands of Russians.
War is bad. At the same time a country has the right to defend itself. Ukraine needs to give up Donbass and Crimea. And get rid of its fucking Nazi problem. Fuck Putin. Fuck Nato. Fuck War.
I’m Chinese, I was shocked by this war and hope it will end very very soon. But I can’t also help feeling revolted by the double-standard conveyed by the mainstream western media all along. I recall that when the NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia “by accident”, how it was covered by the media and how other countries reacted. But like you said, it is a metal blog.
In response to Sui yes double standards always exist it’s the inevitable experience of reality. Things are confusing and complicated and every individual is coming from their own bias. The same can be said for the lack of discussion about the Kapos in the Holocaust, the Ashanti Empires role in slavery as well as the Saudis, and even here in America how many tribes fought with the Europeans and if it wasn’t for this history might have been drastically different. Still, we have to admit Nazis are bad, slavery was terrible, what happened to the Natives was appalling, and Putin is a jackass.
Too many people are using the flaws with Ukraine as justification for what is currently happening. It’s not okay.
Definitely not finding excuse for Putin (he will go down in history, not in a great way), not sure where the accusation comes from.
Can’t say that I’m well informed about the Holocaust and the Ashanti Empires. But I agree the list of such tragedies goes on (the Nanjing Massacre for instance). Yet after all the history lessons and what is happening now, it feels what embraced as justice and morality is determined by power, that they can be tailored and twisted to serve other purposes, perhaps not so moral ones. This is the sad part. And more sadly, we as humans are easily swayed.
“Too many people are using the flaws with Ukraine as justification for what is currently happening. It’s not okay.”–definitely, war is condemned. And from my point, how the western media covered the terrorist attack in Kunming 2014 was also not OK.
Not finding excuse for Putin here, he will go down in history, not in a great way.
I’m not well informed about the Ashanti Empires. But I’m sure the list of such twisted tragedies goes on (Nanjing Massacre for instance). My point is, after all the history and lessons, what now embraced as justice and morality seems to be determined by power and profit links, and they can be tailored and twisted to serve other purposes. This is the sadder part. And even more sadly, we as people are easily swayed.
“Too many people are using the flaws with Ukraine as justification for what is currently happening. It’s not okay.”–no, for sure. But also, how the western covered the Kunming attack in 2014 is also not OK to me. As said, the list goes on.