Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Man of God, metal god
Thanks to Pete for alerting me to Fratello Metallo, a metal band led by a Capuchin brother who lives in a friary in Italy!
Cesare Bonizzi got a lot of media attention when his band opened the Gods of Metal concert in Bologna last June (it's the biggest metal concert in Spain.) Boing Boing recently posted a rad video of him strutting his stuff.
Other than the obvious novelty of a man of God also being a metal God, I think Fratello Metallo's music is novel in the way it challenges stereotypes that metal music is categorically evil.
Sure, there are plenty of metal bands with a murderous, church-burning wrap sheet (like Mayhem and Emperor, for example), and there's no other genre so saturated with pentagrams, blood and 666 imagery. The metal genre, however, still has its share of bands whose music is chock-full of epic battles, struggles against evil or just good old cheesiness (I think Dragonforce fills all three of those categories nicely.) And metal/hardcore bands such as Zao, Underoath and As I Lay Dying are self-described Christians with a raw, powerful sound.
What it all comes down to is the way metal can express emotion in a visceral, in-your-face way. That emotion could have ties to heaven or hell. In Bonizzi's case, ''Metal is the most energetic, vital, deep and true musical language that I know'', he said in this article written before he was to perform at the Gods of Metal concert. His music is not about "religious messages, but themes of faith that have a bearing on life and which are experienced musically in a secular key''.