For many years, black metal has been characterized in part by anti-Christian imagery and lyrics. Raging against organized religion has provided a great deal of fuel to black metal bands around the globe.
While there have certainly been some serious implications to the anti-Christian posturing of black metal bands, such as the notorious 1990s Norwegian church burnings, it has mostly been posturing, and nothing more. Shock value.
Where do you go after church burnings? How can you ratchet up the shock value from there?
Take the Norwegian black metal band Taake, who is currently up for the Spelleman Prize, Norway's top music prize (the equivalent of a US Grammy award). Taake has recently ventured into other anti-religious lyrical territories, specifically attacks against Islam.
Via Al Arabiya:
The Norwegian band ‘Taake’ has recently been nominated for a prestigious Norwegian music for best heavy metal band despite lyrics in the album being anti-Islamic.
The Spellemann award is likened to the American Grammy award or the British Brit award in the Scandinavian country’s music industry.
But critics argue that lyrics in their new album’s song ‘Orkan’ (Hurricane) are xenophobic as they include the phrase “To hell with Muhammad and the Mohammedans” and their “unforgivable customs”, whilst the song ends “Norway will awaken”.
Their nomination has sparked outrage among many listeners, claiming the band has gone too far.
|Front and back of Taake's 'Anti Islam' t-shirt|
On the nominated album 'Noregs Vaapen,' singer Ørjan Stedjeberg refers to Muslims' "unforgivable customs" and calls for a new "kingdom" to "shine through [the] bad years, shame and Christian times".
Taake "do not encourage either violence or racism", Stedjeberg said. "Our view...is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam...Taake has never been a political band, and we do not encourage either violence or racism," he said.
Stedjeberg says Taake is an equal-opportunity offender. The band is not anti-Islam, they're anti-religion.
“Our view, in the name of freedom of expression, is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam. Incidentally, Christianity is mentioned in the same lyrics, but that doesn’t seem to have been given any emphasis,” he wrote.