Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Weaponization of Heavy Metal

This official outfit of the 3rd Infantry Division Band is defintely not your father's military band — Four Horsemen of the Arockalypse - Now or Never.

Just what we need, more evidence for the mullahs that we are the Great Satan. Heavy Metal is, after all, the devil's music, at least according to some of our own clerics. I don't necessarily believe that, but self-styled "traditionalist" conservatives who do, many of whom also "melt at the sight of a man in uniform" (Bill Kauffman's phrasing), might do well watch the video and ask themselves whether the United States military stands for the same values they profess to hold.

But I'm really interested in the theological debate surrounding Heavy Metal music. I'm socially conservative, but not a social conservative, and don't really care what other people listen to in their free time with their own money. Having libertarian leanings, however, I do care about how our tax money is used, and about the militarization of music, of whatever genre.

The lyrics, as best as I can make them out, speak of "fight[ing] to make it right" and "win[ning] this war in Iraq." I don't know much about metalheads, but any self-respecting punk rocker would see through such propaganda in an instant and yell, "Poseur!"

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Would you believe that video crashed my browser??? LOL!!!

Anyway, I wouldn't say that Metal is the devil's music in any literal sense, either--but I did once write somewhere that I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Metal is played over the loudspeakers of hell.

Oh, for the innocent days when US troops' most requested songs (according to military DJs interviewed on MTV) were by AC/DC . . .

And Joshua, anyone who "melts at the sight of a man in uniform" must consider videos like this more satisfying than porn:


Cutting comment in half . . .

9:38 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Resuming comment . . .

I think whole volumes could be written on the militarisation of music. Do you remember the recent controversy when current artists were trying to keep their music from being used for torture? One self-styled conservative blog I happened to be reading at the time virtually declared it open season . . . on the artists! For weeks there were music posts with the theme, "So you admit your crappy music is torture!"

*rolls eyes*

And now I wonder whether the Four Horsemen of the Arockalypse compose their music with its functionality as a tool of torture in mind. Subconsciously, of course. =P

9:39 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Yes, I too long for the quiter, gentler times when AC/DC ruled the airwaves. I've often thought about having "For Those About to Rock" played in my classroom everyday before I enter. Did you know there are several all-female AC/DC cover bands?

Anyway, funny that the Four Horsemen of the Arockalypse should take a name that could be construed as both Christian and Satanic.

On the topic, this is my favorite piece of eschatological pop music -- Wyclef Jean- Apocalypse. Incidentally, it belongs to what was essentially the last pop music album I ever "got into."

Now, I listen mostly the three B's: Baroque, Big Band, and Bluegrass.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

So when it comes to Heavy Metal they obviously didn't call up the real bands like Megadeth and their classic album Peace Sells, But Whose Buying, Metallica Disposable Heroes , One , and of course Black Sabbath War Pigs . Heavy Metal as a genre definitely has had some antiwar, anti-state themes like punk rock had, these guys sound like posers. If they're active duty soldiers, they've probably do this to "rally the team" and not think about the larger implications of what they're doing. I know being in the military when you're in your early twenties isn't a climate that encourages introspection, it didn't for me anyway.

3:19 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Great comments. Thanks for the reminder of Metal's antiwar, anti-state anthems.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Tracy Fennell said...

Haha, how about this then?


8:01 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

That actually worked. Have you heard the Bluegrass version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon."

Also, no discussion on Punk and Metal would be complete without this classic -- Circle Jerks- American Heavy Metal Weekend.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Tracy Fennell said...

I will have to look up the Floyd bluegrass. Nice.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Abdul Alhazred said...

If any music is played over the loudspeakers of Hell, it would have to include the vast majority of Japanese pop music -- "talents" like SMAP and Ayumi Hamasaki.

This stuff would drive Satan himself to suicide.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Abdul: Then maybe the Heavenly Angels should weaponise J-Pop, then! LOL!!!

(Yes, yes, I know: not their style.)

Joshua: I thought of another example: Blur's Song 2, which became a huge hit in the US, much to the British band's bemusement. They had written and recorded it as a parody of American Punk Rock--not even bothering to give it a real title--and suddenly there were millions of Americans thinking it was one of the greatest Rock songs ever. The US Military thought it rocked so much that they offered the band millions to use the track to launch a new Stealth Jet. But Blur, which has never made any secret of its anti-American leanings, turned the offer down flat.

I don't think the US military really gets music.

12:50 AM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

I've long thought heavy metal is perfect martial music (stir up the troops to get them in a fighting mood) and... I don't have a problem with that per se. Pro-peace doesn't necessarily mean anti-military. But I hear you.

7:39 PM  

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