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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Dark Side of Music

Ah, that old chestnut, a Christian blog on the evils of music eh!!!
I'm not going to quote from "They sold their souls for rock and roll" because you can watch the whole series on percieved satanic influences in music on YouTube.
It's worth watching and making your own mind up. You will find stuff that will blow you away because I expected a whole bunch of half truths but was stunned when bands, lyrics and interviews were given verbatim from the sources.

This is not about rehashing the old "backmasking" strategy, because lets face it, its the musical equivilent of image matrixing. If someone tells you it's tehre you'll hear it. Plus who owns a record player anymore?
Last week I talked about the dark supernatural imagery that is portrayed in the retail arena and asked "is it just marketing supply and demand" or is it more strategic than that? And if it is, we ask like all good detectives "who stands to benefit from it".

What about the darker side of music. Does the imagery, culture, beats, sounds and sensations have any supernatural effect on us?
I could quote things like the Columbine High School murders and the dark video games and music that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris fed on before the killings. But that is one of many factors that led to the murders. To discuss how sociopathy develops, even in a culture that bullies, is the realm of a psychologist. But go and do your own research on it.

We could look at the rise of ritual satanic murders in Europe, particularly Italy, that have been linked to satan worshipping bands, but there is hype around it that may distort us presenting the facts.
I just want to simply present my experience of the heavy metal scene, as a musician in it and as a listener in the late 80's - early 90's..

When I entered into the subculture, I was a surfer who wore dayglo clothes, carried a year round tan and has blond streaks in my hair. I got up early and went to bed early because that's how that lifestyle works - you sleep in, you miss the waves.

As I embarked on the journey into heavy metal, not only did my sleeping patterns changed, but so did almost everything in my life. And I was less than an inch deep into the subculture compared to the people I was hanging out with.
And the question has to be asked - are there supernatural elements?
Hmmmmmm......maybe. Lets start with physical and emotional issues.

When my Dad died (and he was practicing witchcraft when he did) I went on a spiritual journey, away from surfing and it's worship of nature and the waves into the realm of the dead. Specifically, what happens to them and where are they after they go. I went from drawing waves, beaches and babes to drawing skulls, haunted houses and corpses. My friend and I decided to build a grave yard and turn his car into a hearse, and to spend our time looking for ghosts. We stayed up late watching as much occult viewing as possible. We discussed how the dead could be contacted. And in that zone, I went from listening to upbeat pop/rock music to listening to songs that had lyrics with darker overtones. Previously I thought only bogans listened to heavy metal. But as I was exposed to more music my thoughts became darker. Was it the depression of losing a father? Was it a combination of life and lyrics meeting at the cross roads. I started hanging out with guys that listened to WASP. Slayer, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Anthrax. The softer side of metal compared to the death metal that the older crew were listening to.

The people I met in the subculture were nice. Welcoming. Encouraging. Loyal to each other. They lived and breathed music. Before long I was the singer and guitarist in a band called Volatile (not a very good one either) and we started playing lots of gigs. The lyrics I wrote were dark. I didn't even know what a demon was so how was it that I was suddenly writing lyrics about them?

One day a surfer mate dropped by. He was upset. He had been listening to the band Danzig and he heard something breathing next to him in the wall.. He stopped the music, realised there was a presence in the room and rode his bike to our place to get away from it.

Another time a mate put on the new Slayer album. Considering where I was at spiritually it should not have been a problem. But the first song "South of heaven" really messed with me. I asked him to turn it off and not play it in the house.

Then the band decided we would add it to the set list. I was now singing lyrics that I would not even play in my own house, and I had no religious beliefs at the time. But to sing a song celebrating satan? It was not comfortable and I felt spiritually oppressed. Bob Larson, the well known exorcist, has spent time with Slayer in person and claims that they are not real satanists, it's just a gimmick. Even if that is true, every time that music was played around me and my brother, something changed in the mood of the house.
But that's conjecture. What facts can I tell you about the dark side of music.

- It went mainstream post grunge in '91 and it wasn't just metal heads who listened to it but people from all backgrounds.
- As a subculture itself it attracts people who don't fit into the 'typical' subcultures, who for some reason feel alienated and can identify with the lyrics, How do I know this? Because I provide chaplaincy support to people involved.
- The suicide attempt and depression rates for people I know in the heavy/dark music subculture are much higher than people in the sporting subculture that am around. 
- The people involved in the darker music subculture have spiritual beliefs that are either synergistic with multiple systems or much more open to the occult, not so much practically but as imagery in houses, bedrooms and in terms of paraphernalia of all types.
- You only have to be on Facebook to see people posting the lyrics and the "megathemes include" alienation, loss of hope, killing those who have wronged them, planning revenge and nihilism. Is this art imitating life or is it life imitating art - by saying that, I'm asking do the lyrics shape the worldview or are the lyrics supporting a pre-existing worldview of the listeners.

Personally, I think 50 Cent, is every bit as satanically inspired as Cannibal Corpse. Why? Because any music that teaches people to be self centred or anti-God is satanically inspired. Perhaps not directly but through the prevailing cultural norms. How can you say that you nutjob, you may ask? Because the keys to Gods Kingdom are in "Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and loving others as you love yourself". Anything else is not inspired by God, and the root of all evil (the love of money) drives our society and the one behind the root of all evil, just like on the Slayer shirt, is the devil and hordes and intelligent, strategic, powerful, supernatural beings who exist outside our frame work of time and space. So does music have a supernatural effect on people. Hell yes. Because like most of culture, as we discussed last week, the media is leading people away from loving God and loving others.

Have I burned all my Metallica records to take up listening to Stryper and Creed? Not quite. But I'm very discerning about where and when I listen to music. I appreciate the art behind it, the hours, the blood sweat and tears that produce it. But I also know that like most of what we get fed as art and media in the world it is trying to reshape my thinking, my emotional and spiritual development. James Hetfield from Metallica is a classic example of someone who was angry at God when his ultra religious mother died. It is a huge subject in his lyrics. But as he delved deeper into the depths of dark music, and the fortune and fame that was also offered to Jesus by satan when He was tempted in the desert, Hetfield hit rock bottom. Now on his arms and body are tattooes of Christ and Michael the Archangel. He knows he needs protection to survive in that industry.

Another dumbed down, anti-intellectual, anti artistic expression article by an ignorant Bible basher?
I hope not. I hope you'll stop and think about what you watch and listen. Is it good for you. Is it good for others. Does it promote love or self interest and hate.

God bless you - Pastor Baz.

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