This June has been one hell of a month for metal releases, but one of the releases I’ve been enjoying the most isnt’ really metal…or is it?
It’s The Soft Pink Truth’s Why Do the Heathen Rage?, and it consists of experimental electronic covers of classic black metal songs. There’s a pretty cool interview with Drew Daniel (the man behind The Soft Pink Truth) over at Pitchfork where he talks about how the project is his way of interrogating or pushing back against the genre’s history of homophobia, racism, violence, and generally dubious politics. Which attracted me to the project, because this is something I struggle with as well. As a black metal fan, I’m not willing to say that I can completely separate the art from the artist. On the other hand, I’m not willing to demand that every artist I listen to pass an ideological purity test. So, I weave a middle road of compromises. Which now includes getting down to Sarcofago’s “Ready to Fuck” reworked as a booty-shaking house track.
But the real surprise is how well these tracks work. It’s a testament to Drew Daniel’s skill and to the underlying strength of the songs that I can actually imagine listening to these after the joke wears off. I think my favorites are the aforementioned Sarcofago cover, the cover of Darkthrone’s “Beholding the Throne of Might,” and the cover of Hellhammer’s “Maniac,” which seriously ought to be burning up dancefloors everywhere.
In the Pitchfork, Daniel muses on whether anyone will actually listen to this album:
It’s something that I’ve often wondered about, like, “Who is the audience for this? 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. And yet, I felt like once I started I need to finish this because I need to believe in the momentum of this promise that I made to myself.
Well, if I’m any indication, there are actually a few people who are entirely up for the combination of “faggoty disco” with “weird people screaming about Satan.” Bring it on.
I put together a Spotify playlist that includes all the tracks from Why Do The Heathen Rage?, along with the corresponding originals where possible. (“Invocation for Strength” is an original Soft Pink Truth track rather than a cover, and I wasn’t able to find AN’s “Let There Be Ebola Frost” or Impaled Northern Moonforest’s “Grim and Frostbitten Gay Bar” on Spotify.) If you happen to be a fan of both black metal and electronica, or if you’re a fan of one and willing to be open-minded about the other, do check this out.