The body is the vehicle for our emotions. These tell us most about our experience because they are not intimidated into rationalizing contemporary culture, politics and society as natural and inevitable. No matter how easily we can accept and adapt to capitalist tedium, banality, and routine cruelty, there will always be a lingering not-quite-rightness felt in our bodies, and exposing that feeling is the most dangerous and powerful perspective for art in our time.
It is satisfying to think that if society is boring and lifeless, then the way out is to embrace adventure and the extreme. The problem is that capital accounts for this, and actually requires it, to create the appearance of dialog where there is none. There is no risk in being extreme. If there was, you wouldn't see corporations racing to see which can have the most intense flavor of potato chip, or whatever. So-called alternative culture, rather than being oppositional, is actually essential to late-capitalism.
Punks and metalheads chafe and howl at the sight of their aesthetic being appropriated in pop culture. However, the problem is not that this is happening, but that it is even possible for punk and metal to be so easily integrated into the mainstream they claim to disdain. How much time do we need before we consider whether these movements are failed revolts? It should alarm us that these genres were created to confront a society that no longer exists. The disciplinary priests, bosses, and taste-makers of the past have receded into a network society that tricks us into thinking we are our own authority and pretends to reflect all our desires back to us by warping them in a permanently unchanging moment where the only possible culture is constructed from nostalgia. Now all music is retro, all fashion is kitsch, all film is remake, all art is irony, and all the big decisions have been made long ago.
The fact that capitalism can no longer produce modernity actually presents an incredible opportunity for artists who oppose this system, should we have the ambition to seize it. We are told that capitalism is the only system that can satisfy our desires, but it is the job of artists to expose this lie. Capitalism is the system that shuts down our desires, and makes a different future feel unimaginable. Our proposal for metal is for musicians, critics, and listeners to demand from each other an honestly radical culture that dares to imagine the world after capitalism, and that envisions freedom from the depression, anxiety, and despair that our current standstill produces. That freedom takes work, and it will never happen by retreating from politics, emotions, and conflict.
Freedom is an accomplishment, and is a result of synthesis and struggle.
released November 6, 2018
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ali Jaafar at Ecstattic Studio