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Al-Namrood, The Saudi Arabian Band Risking Their Lives for Black Metal

Genre: Black Metal/Middle Eastern Folk Metal

Themes: Ancient religion, evil, darkness, apostasy, anti-religion

Band Location: Saudi Arabia


Al-Namrood translates to “the non-believer” and comes from the name of a Babylonian king. He ruled the world maliciously and defied the ruler of the universe by claiming to be a God.

In Saudi Arabia, three men with hidden identities have defied theocratic law by daring to make black metal. For you see, in Saudi Arabia their actions are not only illegal, but are punishable by death.

The band started with with the idea of combining the Arabic scale with black metal and Arabic lyrics. The results are definitely quite interesting.

The members of Al-Namrood do not tour or play live shows (for obvious reasons). They make their music in secret and use fake names: Mephisto, Mudamer and Ostron. Quality equipment is hard to come by, and they have to smuggle much of their stuff into the country by secret. The bigger their fame, the bigger the risk of being found out, and yet they continue to make music and promote themselves anyways.

Al-Namrood represents the true spirit of apostasy. I regard these guys with the highest praise for having the courage to do what they do. If playing music under threat of death isn’t black metal, I don’t know what is.

RELATED LINKS

Encyclopedia Metallum

VICE Interview

Facebook

Earth Day Realities and Environ-metal – Change is Needed Before We Reach The Point of No Return

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Happy Earth Day everyone! But of course, we must remember that everyday is Earth Day, not just today.

We must also remember that we do not need to worry about Nature. Nature has been around for billions of years, and Nature has survived 5 major mass extinctions. The worst one, The Permian Extinction, wiped out about 90% of the life on the planet. So human activity may cause temporary chaos – but Nature will get past it – even if it takes her 100,000 years to clean up the mess human beings have caused, this is just a drop in the bucket in the overall scale of time.

Human beings are the ones who should be worried. If we continue to destroy the resources we need to survive – there will be a massive scale of death of human beings in the billions. This sounds far-fetched, but remember that a plague alone killed a third of Europe’s population in the 13th century. What percentage of the world’s people would die if we were dealing with global plague, famine, increased super storms – and of course the wars ignited in reaction to these things?

The global environmental crisis isn’t just something that will stay in the third world either – already it is wrecking havoc in California with the chronic water shortage.

So climate change is a real issue – THE issue – and we need to take it very seriously.

If we don’t do something soon as a society, we will reach the point of no return. At a certain point, problems will start solving themselves – just not in a way that we would like. (Think of Hurricane Sandy times 100).


WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ON A GLOBAL LEVEL

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I won’t be able to go over everything in minute detail, or else this blog post would turn into a book. But I’ll go over a few basics.

  • THE SHIFT TO A CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY: When I say “clean energy,” I’m not talking about “natural” gas. Putting the word “natural” in a name doesn’t make it any more clean or natural. Fracking has actually been shown to cause more pollution than the standard oil drilling, (since fracking releases methane – and methane is at least 20 times more powerful as a green house gas than Carbon Dioxide). There needs to be an initiative on a major level to transition away from our global dependency on oil drilling, fracking and coal burning – and shift towards solar and wind power. The transition towards a “Clean Energy Economy” would actually create millions of new jobs and would be better for the environment overall. Also, according to CleanTechnica, such a shift would create around 3 million new jobs in America alone and would only cost 1.2% of the GDP. To put this in perspective, keep in mind that the top earning companies have used 4% of public GDP just to improve the worth of their own company stocks. (The Atlantic, 2015).
  •  A MAJOR AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION: One of the largest causes of pollution and environmental destruction is the structure of our global food systems. Modern agriculture has set in motion a gigantic reduction in global water supplies. Industrial fertilizers were only invented 100 years ago, so there is no long term track record of what they are going to do to the planet (which is pretty scary!). Modern fertilizers have also played a role in the extinction of helpful species (such as bees, bats and frogs), as well as destroying the local soil. The domestication of animals on a major level also requires a large amount of land, the consumption of vegetation, the destruction of forest land, and releases a record amount of methane in the atmosphere. On a global scale, the agriculture industry is the largest cause of methane emissions (EPA). Yes, industrial agriculture has been helpful so far in averting global famine, but it doesn’t have a long term future. A global shift towards family owned organic farms, urban farming, self sustainability and even low meat diets would be a start in solving this problem. There needs to be a greater conversation about a “Plan B” for achieving a realistic replacement plan for the non-viable Industrial Agriculture system.
  • TACKLING ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ON A POLITICAL/LEADERSHIP LEVEL: Much of the modern narrative about Environmentalism has been about what you – as an individual – can do to save the planet. There is all this talk about buying new light bulbs, driving a hybrid and shopping at Whole Foods. Perhaps if everyone did these things it might make some minor difference, but the major cause of pollution and global warming is actually caused by large industries that can really only be regulated by the government. The problem is that in many governments (particularly America) Environmental reform is occurring at a glacial pace – if not a non-existent pace. The Environment wasn’t even mentioned in the 2012 presidential election until hurricane Sandy hit New York; Here’s a scary fact, half of the newly elected Congress doesn’t believe in global warming (motherboard) – compare this to the fact that 97% of scientists do believe in global warming.
  • TACKLING THE LIE THAT A HEALTHY ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT CAN’T EXIST SIDE BY SIDE: The lie that many big companies use to avoid new regulations or a shift towards a more environmentally positive policy is this idea that environmental reform isn’t “profitable.” This is a lie, a complete and total lie. The reality is that today’s big businesses would actually not be profitable if they had to pay for the resources they used. Industries like big oil and big agriculture (Monsanto) receive a record amount of subsidies and government level support to keep their industries afloat. None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use (Grist, 4-17-13). The reality is that an energy-efficient economy would actually be much more profitable, create more jobs, would have a better chance at a long term future and would be better for the environment. After all, what is big oil going to do when they run out of oil? How much longer can the fracking industry last? Most scientists give them only 20 years. What is big-agro going to do when they run out of ground water? The reality is that the people who are currently in power are scared – as they should be – because their companies have no long-term future, are not truly profitable. Here is another fact. An economy can’t exist when its people are dead. Environmental reform on a large scale is key if we are to solve the major issues of our time. 

 WHAT CAN YOU DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL? 

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From what I wrote above, I made it sound like that the individual can’t do much, but that is not true. As an individual, you can actually do a lot to help the planet. But the main contribution won’t be using an energy efficient lightbulb (although that is a thoughtful gesture), your contribution will be in using your voice, your talents, your activism and your creativity to help contribute towards the creation of a culture and political system that prioritizes the protection of nature and the development of sustainable systems.

Here are some ideas for Earth Day action for the individual.

  • Think about how you can use your voice and your talents to spread awareness about the destruction of life on the planet and the need for major environmental change.
  • Plant a tree (Like I said, won’t change the world. But it is a fun Earth Day activity that will help your local environment and help get you more in touch with nature).
  • Go for a hike in nature.
  • Host a clean up at your local park.
  •  Start a garden (Growing your own food won’t cause a revolution, but its a positive step towards sustainability and ending the dependence on destructive agricultural systems).
  • Donate your time or money to a company/cause that fights for climate change/climate justice.
  • If you vote, look into the candidate that has the best track record of environmental protection
  • Consider eating a low meat diet (or getting your meat at a Farmer’s Market). Apparently half of the world’s crops are used to feed domesticated animals. I’ve already talked about the problems of Industrial Agricultural above. If the meat industry was downsized, that would be more land – less pollution – and more crops for the hungry. The U.S. could feed 800 million people alone with the crops that domesticated farm animals eat (Cornell).
  • Get in touch with Earth Based Spirituality. One of the greatest things we need to do to change is change our culture – change our perception of our role on this planet. This world wasn’t meant to be mankind’s plaything. The growth of indigenous, Earth based religions and traditions around the globe is helping to focus people’s attention towards what really matters. Looking at the Earth as a divine mother, rather than a material product is the first step towards a positive change.

  NOW ENJOY SOME ENVIRON-METAL

HAVOK – POINT OF NO RETURN

While this video deals with a variety of geopolitical issues, I thought this video does a great job of hammering home the point that humanity is reaching a point of “no return.” If we don’t achieve real change now, we’ll reach a point where problems will start solving themselves – in a way that we don’t like.


KREATOR – PEOPLE OF THE LIE

Much of the structure of today’s world is a lie – the lie that this is a good system and if you cooperate you’ll have a good future. Perhaps things may look good now (if you live in a developed country, and are in a part of that country with a strong economy). But much of our current wealth has been borrowed from the planet, and borrowed against the future. This current lifestyle has no long term future. The politicians won’t tell you that – but it is the truth. Our current system and its leaders are the people of the lie.


TESTAMENT – DARK ROOTS OF EARTH

“Dark roots of the Earth
Echoes an eternity
Dark roots of the earthy
Will see us home eventually”

A simple but powerful point. The dark, primordial power of the Earth is a long lasting, ancient truth. We will find ourselves home if we connect with nature, and if we do not – we’ll find our ruin.

A Detailed Map of World Religions

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CLICK TO ENLARGE

Enjoy!

Smouldering in Forgotten – An Elegy (For Tomorrow), Death/Black Metal in Bahrain

Genre: Death/Black Metal

Themes: Grimness, Darkness, Apocalypse,

Band Location: Bahrain

The name “Smoldering in Forgotten” was inspired by a Goatwhore song, “Upon This Deathbed of Cold Fire.” Smoldering in Forgotten is another great metal band to come out of the Middle East.

Their style was originally black metal, but now they’ve grown to encompass a large variety of styles: including death, thrash and even incorporating aspects of Arabic traditional music. Their dynamic, live performances have delighted audiences across the gulf.

The drummer Mohammed Ishaq says that it can be difficult to arrange a show in Bahrain and elsewhere in the region, because venues distrust metal bands and their often rambunctious fans. Yet metal in Bahrain has apparently come a long way since the band first formed in 2005.

Ishaq says, “Back then, the only way to see live metal was to watch the occasional covers band play at a hotel’s battle of the bands night, but since then, the number of metal bands in Bahrain has grown, as has the size of their creative ambition and their ­audiences.” (The National Arts and Lifestyle).I have no doubt that Smouldering in Forgotten’s dynamic live performances have helped the Bahrain metal scene grow over the years.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find much of their stuff on YouTube, but I believe the song I posted above is a good eerie and melodic introduction to their work.

RELATED LINKS

smoulderinginforgotten

Smouldering in Forgotten Facebook 

Rik Garrett’s “Earth Magic” Photography Book – Witches of the Earth

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Rik Garrett‘s “Earth Magic” photo series has recently been collected into a book, and is now for sale here (US) and here (International). “Earth Magic” portrays women in nature, in a raw, but very natural way. The women are one with the landscape of the wood, mysterious weavers of the weird within the forest’s primordial depths.

In the making and binding of the book, Garrett was inspired by the style of the Malleus Maleficarum, which was a sort of pocket-book for witch hunters in the 15th century. Garret’s intent is obviously more positive, but his theme is similar. If you are looking for witches in the forest – this is what they might look like.

Each book contains 13 photos (like the number of members in a coven) and each book is different. The pictures are picked from a pool of 30 total photos and randomized. So even if you buy two books, they will most likely be different.

Here are some photos from the Earth Magic series:

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Prayer to Cernunnos

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I sing this prayer to the Old One

To the Lord of the Hunt

To the wild, dancing, mischievous masculine. 

To the soul guide and path finder. 

Cernunnos 

Lead my arrow true 

Fill me with virility 

That I may stand strong and proud 

Travel far and sleep well 

Ride hard, sing loud 

And drink deep of all that is set before me. 

(Editorial Note: I did not write this prayer. I found it on the internet. I don’t know who the original author is, or else I would give them credit. I also took out one line, because it created a conflict between Wiccans and Celtic Pagans.)

Heaven and Hell (Dio) – “Eating the Cannibals”

I give this song 10 shrunken heads out of 10. 

Genre: Heavy Fucking Metal

Themes: Sorcery, Mysticism, Fantasy, Depression

Band Location: The U.K.

Lyrics: See them here

First of all, it goes without saying that this song is destined for greatness because the God of Heavy Metal himself – Ronnie James Dio – is singing. “Eating the Cannibals” is a fast and fun groove from Heaven and Hell’s 2009 album “The Devil You Know.”

Heaven and Hell is a metal project that was formed by past and current Black Sabbath members in order to play Sabbath tracks without infringing on the Ozzy fronted version of the band. Yet fans and critics alike have taken to calling the Heaven and Hell band “Black Sabath.”


RELATED SITES

dio

Heaven and Hell Facebook

The Devil You Know Album

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