Front Man Syhirious Of Diamoth Shares His Thoughts On Christian Metal
Late last month, Metalunderground looked at the genre of music referred to as "unblack" metal, which injects explicitly Christian themes into the black metal style, in an entry of our Unearthing the Metal Underground column. We have now posted a companion article looking at how religion has influenced metal, and how Christianity in particular affects the frequently anti-religious black metal genre. During my time looking into the subject, I contacted a series of bands taking either a pro-Christian or anti-Christian stance to see what the musicians themselves had to say.
Previously we revealed the comments from Dehumanation, Throne of Malediction, and Frames, who took a generally anti-religious stance, as well as Elgibbor and Winter's Dawn on the opposite side. Our next interviewee is Syhirious of the Chile based Christian metal band Diamoth. Anyone interested in hearing Diamoth's music can find songs available for streaming via the band's MySpace profile.
xFiruath: What does black metal or extreme metal personally mean to you, either as a musical style or a philosophy?
Syhirious: A kind of music isn’t a philosophy. A philosophy is based in solving problems with an introspective method, you can talk about philosophy through music, but there is an interesting difference between these two concepts, based in the practice. Well, personally, I think that black metal is just a kind of music that you can play copying other artists or resignify with your own style and sense.
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?
Syhirious: There is an obvious difference, about the focus of the lyrics, about the vision of musician, about motivation and devotion, about the feelings of expression. In most of the black metal bands I've heard, the predominant feeling in the lyrics is anger and destruction, unlike most Christian metal bands, the predominant feeling is a force to overcome the difficult moments in spiritual warfare.
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?
Syhirious: Yes. I will explain with an example. Imagine that a man bought an outfit that can only be used in a single occasion; the occasion happened and the outfit "can't be use again.” Imagine a fire occurs, and his entire house with his belongings was burned in that fire, except him and his outfit that was used. What would do the fool? The fool would say: "I'd rather be naked than to use this outfit that was used.” But what would do the wise? The wise would say: "the dress had a purpose and it was used, now I will re-signify his function.” The wheel can be always a wheel, and the person who invented the wheel certainly has it's copyrights in prehistoric times, but you can take that element and turn it into something new with a new function, the same thing happens with the music.
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 anti-Christian, would you continue listening to them?
Syhirious: No, I’m strong in my feelings about Christ, I don’t like to be incongruent with my decisions. Personally, I don’t care if a great band exists with anti-Christian lyrics, my life doesn’t depend on if I listen to a band or not. A person has to be congruent with himself and with the others.
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…)?
Syhirious: I will not explain the implicit function of the cognitive perception process, that explanation is for another kind of interview, but if you hear a song that you like, musically speaking, but you are in disagreement with the lyrics, and you enjoy that song, you are accepting the song in its entirety. Humans tend to see and understand things holistically. To answer your question, I would feel incongruent with myself.
xFiruath: After listening to a lot of Christian rock and metal bands, I’ve found they tend to segregate out based on lyrical content. How do you feel about Christian unblack metal bands using war and gore themed lyrics, such as about battles between angels and demons? How about lyrics dealing with the times God kills people (or commands others to kill people) during the Bible? Do you think unblack metal bands should only have positive and uplifting lyrics?
Syhirious: First of all, I disagree with anti-Christian bands or satanic bands, but that doesn’t mean that I accept all Christian bands. There are many Christian bands that arise from fanaticism. If you will sing or speak about the Bible, you should be sure to understand it. Everyone can read the Bible but not everyone can understand it, in fact, the understanding don't arises of the own wisdom, but is given by revelation to our being. I think that Christian bands need to be ministered by the Holy Spirit before writing something. For example, I’m not perfect, as a human I fall a lot, and I need to be ministered by the Holy Spirit every day.
xFiruath: What Christian bands do you personally listen to, metal or otherwise?
Syhirious: Mortal, Mortification, Tourniquet, JAR, Sanctifica, etc.
xFiruath: What specifically in your life led you to believe in ideas like God and the supernatural?
Syhirious: Jesus opened my eyes to see and understand things with no explanation. The first is love, that word is more than an emotion, more than a feeling, more than looking the happiness. It is an attitude, it is a way to understand yourself and the others, it is a form to being in the world and being with the others. God is love, and in my life I experienced many things that reaffirm that.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss on the issue?
Syhirious: I am aware of the gaps between Christians and non-Christians, intolerance that sometimes extends between them. My personal war is not against people, I try to respect all people and accept their differences, accept is not the same as being in agreement, and the only message that I will give to people is: Christ loves them, take it or leave it.
xFiruath: What’s going on with your band these days?
Syhirious: Diamoth is preparing a new album, more crust and raw, and it’s looking for new members.
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