SAGAN'S MEMORABLE METAL MOMENTS 2017
Have you been paying attention in 2017? The metal scene is alive with people worthy of mention; here are my most memorable moments of the year.
5. Deadlift Lolita
Are you uncomfortable around women with bigger biceps than you? What about men in frilly dresses? Do you believe metal is a serious genre with no place for smiles? Do you hate clean vocals because they’re not brutal enough? If you answered yes to any or all of these, what I’m about to show you will make you run to the comment sections on this band’s latest video.
2017 saw the coming of a “kawaiicore” band consisting of the iconic crossdressing wrestler known as Ladybeard (aka Richard Magarey), and fellow professional wrestler and bodybuilder Reika Saiki. Ladybeard, a big bearded Aussie with signature pigtails and a knack for choreography, is enough to make any metal traditionalist’s head explode. Reika has a muscles in places you didn’t know you had places, paired with a teeny tiny high-pitched voice — hardly a stereotype herself. Together they are Deadlift Lolita, and they are here to give you the cutest songs about muscle-building you’ve ever heard.
Deadlift Lolita — "Muscle Cocktail"
This band may not be your go-to in general, but there is no denying their high-energy and catchy tunes are going to make a great addition to your workout playlist. Both members are such contrasts to what is considered acceptable in the metal subculture and, combined with their songs about workout culture which is also often associated with jock culture and thus tragically anti-metal, I couldn’t help but be immediately intrigued.
The truth is, as “un-metal” as you might think this band is, there is no denying that they are challenging stereotypes and reminding you to question why you think the way you do about everything. And after you’ve examined why Deadlift Lolita is making you angry in the first place, you can take your preconceptions of metal and put them waaaaaay up in your asshole.
4. Anal Trump Aims To Make Science Great Again You may know of Anal Trump, the satire far-right grindcore band from Cattle Decapitation’s Travis Ryan (along with Rob Crow of Pinback). If you haven’t pulled your eyes out from reading the comments on any article covering this band yet, you may also have seen that in December, Anal Trump released the Make America Say Merry Christmas Again EP, with all the proceeds going to the Union of Concerned Scientists. This triggered a shitload of people and threw gasoline on the dumpster fire that is the constant fight between metalheads who support the US president and those who don’t.
For those of us who don’t condone nepotism, diplomatic ignorance, and pandering to conspiracy theorists, Anal Trump came for the win with this. There is still time to snag a copy of this vinyl (45 copies left at the time of writing this article) and as this is a pay-what-you-want release, Anal Trump has decided to give a special Snowflake White issue of the vinyl to the 50 biggest contributors.
3. Robb Flynn Discusses Life After Hate Following Charlottesville Rally In the last few years, Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has been the voice of reason on the issue of racism. Last year in my Best Moments In Metal of 2016 I applauded him for calling out Phil Anselmo on his less than tasteful behavior over the years and his handle on the whole situation despite the huge backlash from the metal community at large.
In 2017, the Unite The Right rally was held in Charlottesville (USA) where neo-nazis and xenophobes of all kinds literally took to the streets with riffles in hand in a truly appalling and unsettling display, the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the Civil Rights movement. A woman even died after some 20 year-old white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. It was all fucking severe. Robb Flynn once again was astounded by this display of hatred and, instead of making a video, this time took to his blog The General Journals to voice his opinion. Admitting that he even considered not making the statement in order to protect his family and himself — considering things went as far as death threats after his post-Dimebash response in 2017, this was a fair concern — he eventually decided not to stay silent on the issue, but took a different angle.
Citing in example an acquaintance who had undergone a change of heart regarding their hateful views, Robb Flynn went on to talk about how we need to extend our hand to people who are changing their ways and trying to leave hate behind, instead of chastising them for being part of it in the first place.
This is a topic that is often ignored when it comes to discussing bigotry of all kinds. When someone who used to hold prejudiced views changes their mind for one reason or another, especially when they have been a member of organized hate groups, they often have no one to turn to. Change is what drives progress. When people evolve out of their bigoted ways, it takes a lot of courage to admit that it was once part of their life; because being a prejudiced asshole is embarrassing, and of course you don’t want people to know you ever were one. But people who have the courage to own up to their past mistakes deserve respect and they deserve support.
Robb Flynn took this stance smack dab in between the alt-right and the ctrl-left on this issue, a position often ignored because it doesn’t fit in either side’s narrative. For speaking his mind eloquently and truthfully, I once again was impressed with Robb Flynn’s statement, and it was one of the most memorable news stories of the year.
2. Donald Tardy (Obituary) Loves Cats More Than He Fears Nature You may be familiar with Obituary, but you may not be familiar with drummer Donald Tardy’s Metal Meowlisha — a personal endeavor aimed at caring for stray cat colonies in his area, including feeding them, providing medical care, TNR (trap-spay/neuter-return) programs, rescues from unsafe conditions, as well as finding homes for strays who can be socialized.
In the midst of hurricane Irma, Donald spotted a tiny kitten in dire need of help. Instead of staying sheltered inside as most people would, he went after the small injured kitten and brought her to safety. She was rehabilitated and got a chance at a good life thanks to him. You can read the whole account of this ballsy rescue in Revolver Magazine here: http://www.revolvermag.com/culture/obituary-drummer-braves-hurricane-irmas-wrath-save-injured-kitten
What Donald does with Metal Meowlisha is noble and necessary work, and as a fellow cat lover as well as compassionate human being, it warmed my heart to learn about it.
You can learn more about the organisation and how you can support them by visiting their dedicated page on Obituary's website.
1. IKILLYA is Fucking Done With Rape Culture There has been A LOT of talk around sexual misconduct in 2017 the world throughout; from the viral #MeToo to a slew of actors and actresses denouncing rampant sexual abuse in Hollywood, and close to home in the metal community with the case against Decapitated. A particularly vile act that’s in a league all of its own, sexual violence is one of the world’s greatest and most devastating plague; it is used as a weapon of war, it is condoned by religious texts and clergy of major religions, it is culturally and often legally accepted as a method of controlling women and girls' behavior, it is brushed off as mere “boys-will-be-boys” or unintended mistakes when it involves college students, or as “part of the job” in entertainment. It is used to “teach lessons” to wives/daughters who stray from male authority, and used to "rehabilitate" suspected homosexuals in many cultures. It is seen as just part of life in too many countries.
Sexual violence is everywhere, and it makes IKILLYA sick. So much so, in fact, that they wrote a whole song about it called “Betray Your Creator” for which they released a video. It is, as they say, a message of pure rage, and we can all identify with it.
IKILLYA — "Betray Your Creator"
The band has chimed in the comments section of an article about this video on MetalSucks, responding to someone (maybe incredulous, maybe seriously wondering) who asked “Who even justifies rape?”:
Unfortunately, tons of people. For starters, here's the doc that inspired me to write the song: https://news.vice.com/article/an-epidemic-of-brutal-sexual-assaults-is-terrorizing-women-in-bangladesh and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY7QOlqirns . According to a recent UN report 8 in 10 men in rural Bangladesh admit to have committed rape. As you will see from that coverage, the government and religions leaders blame the women. Telling them "you shouldn't be outside".... In our own country, here's a story about cops in NOLA who ignored hundreds of rape claims: https://news.vice.com/article/five-new-orleans-detectives-ignored-hundreds-of-reported-sex-crimes , and we haven't even begun to discuss our Frat date rape culture. According to the UN, one in every 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence. An analysis of how these are justified will take more than a comment on a blog and a case by case examination - but I think it's clear that there's something to be said.
In a world where rapists are convinced and often even told that their actions are justified or inconsequential, where women are consistently blamed for the sordid ways in which they are abused, and where the population at large is completely biased or – at best – blind to the problem, I have to give IKILLYA the top spot in my favourite moments of 2017 for saying “FUCK THIS SHIT”.
Because we need this. When people with platforms that can reach thousands of people speak out, people listen. And some may not agree, and some may laugh, and some may troll, but some will feel something inside them click and will be outraged in return. Outraged enough to notice the normalization of sexual abuse around them, and to speak up against it in return.