To ban or not to ban Malaysian Thrash Metal Music that is the question

Many have said that our youth is addicted to thrash and junk noise of the clanking metal music they call art. Many have said that the Malaysian youth of today is totally lost and cannot differentiate between good rock music and the music of demonic spheres called Death Metal. Our youth is becoming not only less and less sophisticated but more stoned in their taste of music. They are plagiarists and copy cat tin pan alley three-cord Pentatonic scaled rebels without a cause. They do not know the history of rock music to appreciate this art form and therefore cannot master the destiny of Malaysian rock music and change its course.

Our death metallists are therefore good noise makers and produce louder and louder noise screaming incomprehensiblities although they claimed that their lyrics have deep meaning. But how can meaning be conveyed when the medium is the message — when the medium is the vocalist and the vocalist is possessed by the demon of Death Metal, screaming as if they themselves need a medium ( a bomoh, a shaman, or a pawang) to release them from the pain of hypervocalizing incomprehensibilities while at the same time hyperventilating towards hypertensions?

I am worried of this generation. They must study the genealogy of rock and roll. They are lost.

However, never will I propose the government to ban Metal music of all sorts, being Malaysia a country that respects freedom of expression, free speech, and deals with dissenting voices intelligently. Never – in the spirit of Malaysian democracy. Never am I attempting to ‘vilify’ lovers of para-demonic music as well as those who imports lock, stock and barrel, as well as the hidden messages of these music of the anti-Newtonian ‘demonic-spheres’.

One is free to listen to whatever music one wishes to colonise one’s consciousness with.

The tone of the responses to this piece in general might be one of anger – almost like a nationalistic fervour and appears like one is religiously willing “to die for Death Metal”. I will respect these views, as much I respect the views of those who are strong advocates of Ghazal, Kroncong or even hip hop and gangsta rap.
Many of this die-hard Death Metallist correctly and articulately pointed out the fact that their brand of music is harmless and holy too, perhaps. Many are asserting that these advocates and preachers of “demonic-sounding music” are actually pious and religious, and I suppose seekers of the grace of the Divine.

I sometimes feel melancholic reading responses on my view on this matter as their views seem suicidal intellectually, unable to step outside of their dark and sinister world-view and look at the genealogy, ideology, and post-structurality of their brand of music that is fiercely under attack not only from the frequently uninformed authorities (the police, the religious leaders, concerned parents) as well as from writers who have a good grasp of the development of Metal music.

Let me help illuminate these die-hard Death and Black and Thrash metallists on the point of no return of the genre they are addicted to.

First, one must understand the neuro-linguistic aspect of music as it impacts the personality of those being turned into “fans”, “followers” and “fanatics” of the music. One can almost identify “a rocker”, “a rapper”, “hip hopper”, a “Mat Bunga” or a “Kronchong” and “Ghazal” lover from a distance. These are human beings that are products of the signs, symbols, signification, and representations of the art form they are colonised by.

The flow of language into the consciousness of these respective “fans and lovers” of this or that form of music becomes the opiate, or the chandu, or the ganja, of the consciousness. Look at “punk rockers”, the “Mods”, and the “disco-goers”. We can almost automatically identify the fanatics of these human beings – they are the products of the culture industry that is in operation globally and hidden from the consumers.

These industries sell dreams and consciousness so that the Death and Black metallist can continue to consume those images of death and destruction, and these foreign capitalists on collaboration with local distributors can continue to profit big time – in the name of free speech. What a rip-off in the name of art and creativity, I think. The next step, after selling “trash music” is to bring in top Death and Black metallist groups so that the fans can see how ‘Death’ looks like – live on stage

Second, my point about my hope that Rolling Stones would repent and help “rock and roll” devolve into good spiritual and ecumenical music is a serious assertion. Die-hard Malaysian metallists are not generally well-versed in the history of rock and roll and how it has evolved dangerously into music of the demonic-spheres.

Death/Black metal musicians are not even aware of the African roots of all rock, blues, and jazz before these evolve into more and more sophisticated genre – into the divine and into the demonic. Death, Black, Speed, and Trash metal music are the bastard great-grandchildren of rock and roll, whereas folk, progressive, and symphonic rock for examples are its legitimate great-grandchildren.

Even the names of the bands of Black and Death Metal signified the bastardisation of the English language, hiding behind the veil of “allegory”, “metaphor”, “personification”, or “cynicism” of a world run amuck, as prophets and preachers of Death/Black metallists would argue. If the outside is presented with pride as “demonic’, can the inside be “divine”? What lyrics play in the subconscious of the Black/Death metallist all the time? What music plays in their head when they are piously performing their prayers?

Compare the “glory-to-the-demonic-forces” names of those bands to even the household names of rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Genesis, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Yes, Rainbow, and Santana. Do we see the difference between the image of the lesser-evil of rock-consciousness?

Would one glorify Ozzy Osborne’s act of biting off white mice’s head on stage, or the Punk Rocker’s vomiting onto the audience or the display of goriness of the Death and Black metallists? Or would one appreciate the messages and the performance of socially-conscious bands such as Santana, U-2, and Pink Floyd?

Third and last, why listen to music of such unsophisticatedness to belong to a subculture that wants to be seen as “sophisticated” – again, in the name of a free country such as Malaysia?

Why not start evolving into listeners of music of the “heavenly spheres” such a Chinese classical music, Indian sarod and sitar and the ragas, of the ancient Celtics, Gregorian chants, New Age, qawalli, Baroque, Classical, smooth jazz, world music, and even the sound of silence and of nature.

Why not listen to these “divinely-inspired” musical forms and use them as a background in our daily reading of say – Sufi poetry, the al-Quran ‘ul Karim, the Bhagavad Gita, the Analects, the Tao Te Ch’ng, the Granth Sahib, or the masterpieces of world literature? Why not ?- if this can be a healing process to our bruised consciousness as a result of a system that has oppressed us and shaped us into Death/Black metal fans?

Why not de-evolve? This is a better way for youth to rebel – instead of being a perpetual wide receiver of the media producers that sell “trash culture” through music such as Black/Death metal. Already Malaysian media is producing more and more cabled and satellite-broadcast junk as a long-term strategy to steal the consciousness of our youth so that they will rebel away their true revolutionary spirit.

Sometimes we are not aware that we are being controlled, through music and being turned into post-industrial tribes. We only imagine, like Albert Camus’ Sisyphus that we are happy – rolling the rock up on the hill, rolling it back down the hill as a daily toil. Only in our case, the rock being rolled is Death/Black metal music.

Must we also ban Beyonce’s and Gangsta Rap music? I look forward to your views.

Source Malaysia Today


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