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Interview

Somber Of Plaag Discusses True Norwegian Black Metal Vs. Christian Unblack Metal

After previously taking a look at "unblack" metal in an Unearthing the Metal Underground column, Metalunderground now has an editorial piece online here, which examines Christian themes in black metal.

In order to get insight on the subject and see how musicians feel about religious lyrics in an anti-religious style, I contacted bands on either side of the debate. Below you can find the answers to a series of interview questions from Somber of the band Plaag, who discusses the differences between "True Norwegian Black Metal" and Christian black metal bands.

Anyone interested in reading the previous entries can find the interviews with Diamoth, Elgibbor, and Winter's Dawn on the Christian side. The previous interviews on the anti-Christian side were with Throne of Malediction, Frames, and Dehumanation.

xFiruath: What does black metal or extreme metal personally mean to you, either as a musical style or a philosophy?

Somber: As a musical style it depends, it can either be attacking you on an aggressive level or it can wear you down on a dark and uneasy level, but either way works fine for me. As long as it gets the message spread that it wants to spread. Be it evil, dark, violent, misanthropic, or whatever. As a philosophy it doesn't mean that much to me.

xFiruath: Do you personally see a distinction between unblack metal bands and black metal bands? That is to say, do you think bands with religious members and religious lyrics should be categorized differently?

Somber: Personally I have never encountered a band profiling themselves as “unblack metal,” so I don't see that distinction. I mean, you have your Strypers out there but I can't see any resemblance with black metal music coming from that side. If there are such bands out there they should be categorized differently for sure, let's say we categorize them in “wimpy poser black metal” or something.

xFiruath: There’s no question that black metal saw its major awakening with Norwegian bands that either had anti-religious sentiments or had members who were themselves involved in anti-religious activities. Do you think that black metal can be separated from its beginnings without becoming something else entirely?

Somber: Absolutely not. It's like coffee man, TNBM (True Norwegian Black Metal) is like Kopi Luwak while other black metal is like Starbucks. It's good but it's not perfect.

xFiruath: How do lyrics influence your decision to listen to a band? If you heard an amazing black metal band you loved, but later discovered the lyrics were pro-Christian, would you continue listening to them?

Somber: Never. I wouldn't wanna catch myself driving to work humming some Christian lyrics, no way.

xFiruath: After listening to a lot of Christian rock and metal bands, I’ve found they tend to segregate out based on lyrical content. Would you be more open to listening to an unblack metal band that used gore and war themed lyrics, or lyrics about the times God kills people throughout the Bible, as opposed to a stereotypical positive and uplifting lyrical style?

Somber: God killing people as lyrical theme? Hell yeah, than it won't be a religious band so yes. It would be a historically correct band and it won't spread the message of god anymore.

xFiruath: How would you feel about listening to a pro-Muslim black metal band with all Islamic members (or a pro-Jewish black metal band, or pro-Scientologist black metal band, or pro-Mormon black metal band, or so on…)?

Somber: I would not even consider it. You see the thing is... you're asking about “pro” black metal bands while black metal is “anti,” it's a paradox. I don't buy it, it doesn't exist.

xFiruath: What specifically in your life led you to either believe or disbelieve in ideas like God and the supernatural?

Somber: Nothing, it's like common sense.

xFiruath: What’s going on with your band these days?

Somber: A new song “The Genius Of Christmas” has just been officially released on the Misantrof ANTIRecords “Holy Fucking Anti-christmas vol. 3” compilation, which is free to download on the anti-label's website. A nice little tune about this lovely season we're in. The release for the first Plaag full length album “UGH!” is planned for approx. mid January. It will be released as a free download on the Misantrof website and there will be a limited 200 copies of physical hand numbered releases of which I'm planning to send out 30 for free as gifts and well meant fuck you's. Anti commercial as well you see. But since artists need to eat too we hope to sell the other 170.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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7 Comments on "Plaag Discusses True Norwegian Black Metal"

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Anonymous Reader
1. asp writes:

This was awesome. Thanks.

You know what's funny, is that "birth of the retarded child" is twice as offensive to many Christians as you think. In the primary Christian traditions, such as Catholic, a baby born with any kind of problem, is considered "evil" and they won't baptise the child. If you know what that means when you need to live in a hard Christian community, things such as gene expression, prematurity, oxygen at birth, etc, that were out of the control of parents having a child, ended up being a life of being ostracised or even persecuted. They sometimes baptise them now because of pressure, but they don't like it. Later on, they don't want to give them communion, etc. The face of the so called Christian charities that "help the needy" is not the same of these vatican preachers that have rules they live by. A "retarded" child is not considered a child of god. I've actually seen this sh** happen to people.

# Jan 20, 2011 @ 4:35 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. asp writes:

I think this is the only guy that got the "anti" concept in. To oppose, to accuse.

# Jan 20, 2011 @ 4:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrunoHockalugie's avatar

Member

3. BrunoHockalugie writes:

This reminds of when I was into punk rock in the 90's and the endless arguments that people would have of who was "punk" and who was not. I eventually lost interest in the scene because you had all these people talking about being individuals and blah blah blah but they were just as quick as any Christian to exclude people from their scene for not conforming to their rigid template of what was "punk" or "Christian" or in this case "tr00".

Play what you wanna play, think what you wanna think, and do what you wanna do. Be yourself and not that d*** on stage

# Jan 20, 2011 @ 4:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrunoHockalugie's avatar

Member

4. BrunoHockalugie writes:

*individuals=individuality

# Jan 20, 2011 @ 5:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. asp writes:

I've lived close to the hotbed of European immigrants in Canada that brought their rules and religion with them. Specifically, predominately German Catholic (Karmer Sprenger, Luther, Hiter, right wing Christian party, etc.) Rigid right wing, often violent, strict religion, often finding a voice in the vatican types that held strong to familes and their values for centuries. I guess I like intelligent black metal, often from Europe, but not necessarily, because it speaks more to what I've seen in life than some other things. It's laughable, because where I live now the mainstay Catholic hang is named after "St." Augustine, the very Augustine, the bigot and intelliectual henchman of the early Holy Roman Empire, who was instrumental in contriving much of the indoctrination we have today. I criminal in my mind. I don't like Classical that much, but I trained in classical music for 10 years, and in this type of metal for some reason, I find an outlet I like, as well. Cheers, sir. To each their own.

# Jan 20, 2011 @ 5:22 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
6. the curse writes:

Pity, people get so narrowminded. I just don't get it.

# Jan 21, 2011 @ 5:56 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. Ugh writes:

UGH!

# Jan 21, 2011 @ 8:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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