Frames Frontman Kevin Seawell Discusses Christian Unblack Metal
As a companion piece to our recent Unearthing the Metal Underground column on Christan "unblack" metal, Metalunderground has posted an editorial on the role of religion in a musical style known for its anti-religious themes. While researching various unblack metal bands for the upcoming article, I spoke with a variety of metal bands from both sides of the religious divide to get their take on the subject. As a teaser for the editorial, we'll be posting the full answers to the questionnaire I sent to each band over the next few days.
To start off I spoke with vocalist/bassist Kevin Seawell of Frames, who took the anti-religious side of the debate. Frames is a relatively new band on the metal scene, having just released the debut album "The Consequences of Breathing" as a free download.
xFiruath: What does black metal or extreme metal personally mean to you, either as a musical style or a philosophy?
Kevin: Whether extreme or not, metal to me is the perfect aural stimulant. If you are one to believe in souls, then metal gives my soul an orgasm. It is the best way to express my day.
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?
Kevin: I'd like to know who I'm giving my money to when I buy CDs and other merch from a band. I will not give my money to Christians, because part of that will go to their church. So yes, I think bands with religious members and religious lyrics should be categorized differently.
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?
Kevin: Black metal started with Venom, Bathory, and Hell Hammer. It was raw and very punk influenced. What most people view as black metal today is already something else entirely.
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?
Kevin: If I liked a band and later on found out they were Christ-stains, I'd never promote them or pay for any of their music, but I'd still listen to them just like I still listen to some NSBM bands.
xFiruath: 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?
Kevin: Yes, I would listen to unblack metal if they were more "Old Testament," if they were good. But I would not pay for their music or merch.
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…)?
Kevin: I listen to metal I like.. If it portrays ideals I do not agree with, I listen to it less.
xFiruath: What specifically in your life led you to either believe or disbelieve in ideas like God and the supernatural?
Kevin: I realized that I do not need to lie to myself about what happens when I die. I at one time let the idea of God, ghosts, karma, etc. hold me back from enjoying today. I will not do that again.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss on the issue?
Kevin: If Christ-stains want to make black metal, they need to start burning churches too.
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