20 July, 2008

Summer Camp

In June, the one and only Judas Priest released a brand new two-disc concept album called Nostradamus. Based on the title alone, I am thinking that it's probably either one of the best things ever, or the absolute worst. After hearing the single, however, I think it may well be both. (Hello orchestral introduction!) This gets to an issue I've been thinking about for a while: heavy metal as camp.

I've realized lately that part of what I love about metal is that, despite its inherent silliness, it takes itself so seriously. In this, it is both noble and totally absurd. Musically, especially within the Extreme Metal genres, the bands tend to be highly skilled, but the look of metal has always been problematic,

Judas Priest is a great examples of this. They are technical masters and musically solid--Painkiller is one of the best metal albums ever--but as for taste, well...

Alex made a great point about Judas Priest versus groups like Mötley Crüe, or even KISS. These latter groups, less musically skilled, seemed too aware of their over-the-top image to really be camp. To be camp--if we follow Sontag--something has to be so out that it loses the ability to judge just how out it actually is; and it has to be dead serious.

This in so many ways is the essence of what metal is about--extra-musically--and I can think of no greater example than Judas Priest. I mean come on, does it get any worse than this?

But could it get any better?!

09 July, 2008

"We learn from history..."

While researching Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, I encountered the following passage from Michael Parenti's Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism.

Somehow it felt relevant to share.

"Corporations like DuPont, Ford, General Motors, and ITT owned factories in enemy countries that produced fuel, tanks, and planes that wreaked havoc on Allied forces. After the war, instead of being prosecuted for treason, ITT collected $27 million from the U.S. Government for war damages inflicted on its German plants by Allied bombings. General Motors collected over $33 million. Pilots were given instructions not to hit factories in Germany that were owned by U.S. firms. Thus Cologne was almost leveled by Allied bombings, but its Ford plant, providing military equipment for the Nazi army, was untouched; indeed, German civilians began using the plant as an air raid shelter."

01 July, 2008

Eisler on Schönberg

"Long before aeroplanes were invented he anticipated the horror of bombing attacks on people in air raid shelters. He is the lyric composer of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, of Dachau concentration camp, of the complete despair of the man in the street under the heel of fascism. That is his humanity. It is proof of Schönberg's genius and instinct that he gave expression to all these emotions at a time when the world seemed safe for the ordinary man in the street. Whatever one may say against him, he never lied."

-Hanns Eisler, 1948

Guerilla Video

Newspeak performing 'sweet light crude' at Make Music New York.

Video by skwizzdemona.