Extremity on the cube. A gay professor of literature
has made one of the most interesting cover albums ever, titled
Why Do the Heathen Rage?
(Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics)
The cover art looks as if it was designed by a Satanist Tom of Finland.
Because of it one of the label main distributors
has refused to carry the record.
Out now on Thrill Jockey Records (US)

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The Soft Pink Truth is the solo alter ego of Drew Daniel, one half of Baltimore-based electronic duo Matmos. Mr. Daniel has taught the history of electronic music at the San Francisco Art Institute and a sound art seminar at Harvard. He now teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University. He has written a book about industrial-experimental-electronic band Throbbing Gristle; released a similar album in 2004: Do You Want New Wave (Or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth?) which consists of house covers of classic hardcore and punk songs; produced remixes for Björk, Herbert, Grizzly Bear, Dat Politics and more. And he is a black metal fan.

Black metal is a very special subgenre of heavy metal. It was born on 1 November 1982 by British band Venom. That day the band’s second album titled Black Metal was released. Strange fact, but Venom’s music was fast, harsh and primitive rock and roll rather than heavy metal at that time. It stood nearer Motörhead or Ramones, than Judas Priest or Iron Maiden. As special features their lyrics had dark, occult and devilish themes. But Venom’s music and texts were refined and gentle compared with the subsequent, more and more extreme bands. Today’s black metal bands’ music is just like a mix of noise of coffee grinders and sounds of a pig-killing. Unfortunately some bands and many fans take the Satanist rubbish seriously. But the blackest black metal bands are adherents of white supremacist and Nazi ideologies. The words beget acts. In this case their fruits: violence, church arson, suicide, murder. All these in welfare states of North-Europe mainly. And they say always: I did it only in self-defence.

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And then this man resolved to make a peculiar electronic black metal tribute album. And who was the first man whom he invited to cooperate in this? Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons). By the way, the others: Jenn Wasner from indie-folk rock duo Wye Oak, Terrance Hannum from drone-metal band Locrian, his Matmos partner M.C. Schmidt, Irish composer and  vocalist Jennifer Walshe and more.

And the music? Well, it’s not an easy pop album. A Mix of electro-industrial, drum’n’bass, trip hop, house and EBM. It came Kraftwerk, Björk, Madonna and Leather Strip to my mind. Some covers are spiced with samples of house hits. The album requires a good piece of sense of humour. At first it was very strange, but as I listen to it repeatedly, so like it increasingly. But „Who in the world wants to hear this?” Nobody, basically. Black metal people aren’t going to like it because it’s faggoty disco, but actual dance music people aren’t going to like it because it’s weird people screaming about Satan.” (Drew said this in a Pitchfork interview.)

Venom + Sarcofago covers

The album not requires know of the original songs, but you can listen to those here. There you can read about some words about the bands: Venom, Beherit, Sarcofago, Sargeist, Darkthrone, AN, Mayhem, Hellhammer and Impaled Northern Moonforest.


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