Monday, May 18, 2009
Head Banging for the Old Gods
Growing up, one of the things that appealed to me about punk was its anti-Christian message. I saw religion as the cause of problems in the world, so I was drawn to bands that tore it down.
But with the exception of Bad Religion, there aren't a lot of punk bands that are interested in filling the spiritual gap left if one casts out organized religion. That's why I'm glad to see folk metal rising as a popular underground genre. While it's spiritually rebellious, it seems to supply the foundation for a healthier spirituality (you know, over nihilism). Rather than just saying, "God is dead," the pagan message of bands like Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani, whose show last weekend I reviewed for the Oregonian, offers up more suitable replacement deities (in however vague a way), like earth, nature or madness.
So you may notice the review is somewhat focused on the crowd at the show, particularly the teenagers. I spied a pair of teeny tiny teenage girls headbanging nonstop at the show. They were probably so up for it because they were so small couldn't see anything, they just had to feel it. I asked 18-year-old Bertha Marmolejo what about the pagan message of the night's music offerings appealed to her. She said, "It's anti-Christian," which struck me as a familiar response, but somehow I felt she was in better hands with Moonsorrow and Korpiklaani than I was with the Exploited or Anti-Flag, or any number of kids in Albuquerque were with Question the Answers. However useful those bands are or have been, the growing folk metal trend seems more loving.
Photo: Moonsorrow glows with occult energy, by me.