What's A Black Metal Band Gotta Do To Get Murdered By Religious Maniacs These Days?
Thanks to commenter Warty for discovering the musical stylings of Ayat, Lebanon's (arguably) first "Anti-Islamic Black Metal Band." Ayat (Miracle) has been opening Levantie eardrums for nine years, and in 2008 the duo signed with Moribund records to release their album Six Years of Dormant Hatred.
With songs like "Ilahiya Khinzir! (All Hail Allah the Swine)," the band does not play down its opposition to the religion of peace. In a merrily dyspeptic interview with MetalStorm.net, frontman Reverend Filthy Fuck takes issue with popular "First Anti-Islamic Black Metal" descriptor only because he wants other anti-Islamists to get some credit:
We received this reputation because we are against Islam as individuals. Yet we are not the first and we are not only that. In any case, this is the only thing people talk about when they mention Ayat and we're sick of it. So here it is again: AYAT IS AGAINST THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT IN ALL ITS FORMS.
The band lives in and at least used to play in Beirut, so why hasn't some pious Lester Bangs managed to cap a thumbs-down review by, you know, murdering them? The only negative response of any note has been the inevitable "Against the Lebanon Anti-Islamic black metal 'Ayat' band" page on Facebook, which has a small number of followers (many with seemingly Christian names) and no content beyond the obvious: "Claimed to be the first 'Anti-Islamic Black Metal Band', they are not wanted in the Arab Islamic world."
Filthy Fuck says the band toils in such obscurity that its last live gig (before its present stage of Beatlesque introspection) attracted only about a hundred people:
As for the attempt to start up a political debate, Ayat has been here since 2001 and we always worked at an underground level, we have always been outcast and rejected, and we never complained and we never asked for help we would never get anyway. We worked hard instead of making asses of ourselves in public. And it's not until we became "known" because of our work that our name and our beliefs started to become a problem. Now people, especially Arab Metalheads, are stepping up and are voicing their opinions regarding our existence, discussing if we should be allowed. Well, how grand. Allowed where? In the tame, broken, bashed-with-boots, authority-obedient Muslim Metal Scene? We are giving Arab metalheads a bad name? NO. We are the forefronts of Arab extreme Metal and that's plain to see. We're giving them a hard time? Well fuck them, I'm not the one who dictatored their asses to submission. I am a member of that same society, and I chose to speak up and risked my life thereof, they needn't take the step with us, just refraining from stabbing our backs repeatedly would be enough. Muslim Metalheads are personalizing all their fears and hatreds in us because they can escape authority by blaming us, making us in the process THE anti-islamic band par excellence. We ruined the image they were trying to give to their local police. I'm sick of pampering those fuckers. The Muslim world is in terrible shape, if that's the best Muslims can do then I don't see why my ranting is so out of place.
Ok, here goes: Take our records as motivators. When you get better we'll stop playing music. It's a promise.
Does it make sense that a band located near the heart of the Islamic world would escape the decapitator's veto just because it's an acquired taste? It's not like Danish cartoons or long experimental novels are at the Top of the Pops in the House of Peace. And Ayat isn't even all that obscure. Metal reviewer Kris Yancey raves that they "seem like the kinda guys that would be willing to conjure up an evil spirit just to put a boot to its neck" and "don't have any qualms dragging women into cold, dimly lit basements for hardcore sex while Wurdulak plays in the background."
Two rules of thumb suggest themselves: One is the old journalism phenomenon that a person will get angrier if you just make a funny comment about him or her in passing than if you devote 5,000 words to a heavily researched proof that the person is a complete son of a bitch.
The second is a corollary to the apparently true old saw that anti-Semitism tends to be strongest in areas where there are few or no Jews. Is it possible that Ayat gets away with it because they're located in reputedly cosmopolitan Beirut? Filthy Fuck indicates that's not the case in this Ginsbergian (and to my eye completely accurate) description of the Weekawken of the Middle East:
Six years went by and the hatred was being warmed and brewed at almost human temperature in the most violent brothel around, the clashing point between the East and the West: the violently epileptic city of Beirut. Hell is right here. Six infinite years, larded god-figured swines praised on every roof, a succession of annihilative relentless wars, conspiring whispers late at night, murderous toothless gangs of children, psychotic mass murderers madly in love, schizophrenic militias deprived of sleep, black-eyed hysterical prostitutes, fascist officers cheering with champagne and reeling belly dancers on crack, wooden cases of smuggled alcohol pulled to the tops of minarets with ropes, a suicide in every cheap hotel room, an endless stream of martyrs, aspiring prophets tied to hospital beds, Muslim heroin junkies stuttering on their prayer rugs, dried cum on the walls, and the veins of the marble bulges once the sun strikes too hard.
So yeah, this shit is not for everyone.
Hail Allah the swine:
More on the liberating effects of takfir music from Charles Paul Freund, the Alex Chilton of Reason.