The Rev Rachel Mann claims that the much-maligned form of music demonstrates the “liberative theology of darkness”, allowing its tattooed and pierced fans to be more “relaxed and fun” by acknowledging the worst in human nature.Read that again, and tell me if you think that's one of the most inane, nonsensical statements you've read in awhile.
"Liberative theology of darkness"?? Say what?
The priest admits that many will be “concerned” about metal lyrics praising Satan and mocking Christianity, but insists it is just a form of “play-acting”.
Miss Mann, priest-in-charge of St Nicholas’s, Burnage, writes in this week’s Church Times: “Since Black Sabbath effectively created it in 1969 by using the dissonant sound of the medieval ‘Devil’s chord’, heavy metal has been cast as dumb, crass, and on, occasions satanic; music hardly fit for intelligent debate, led alone theological reflection.
“And yet, as both priest and metal musician and fan, it strikes me that the Church, especially at this agonized time, has a serious gospel lesson to learn from this darkest and heaviest music.”
Miss Mann says that heavy metal songs, characterized by distorted guitar sounds, “intense” beats and “muscular” vocals, are “unafraid to deal with death, violence and destruction”.
Its “predominantly male and white” fans “generally like tattoos and piercings” but are “graceful, welcoming and gentle”.
I've never been a devotee of heavy metal - about the heaviest I ever got was a stretch during wayback time when I thought Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins were da bomb - but I know enough to state rather confidently: heavy metal doesn't deal with death, violence and destruction - it glorifies it.
Which rather conflates with St Paul's advice to the Philippians: "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8) As a reverend, Mann ought to realize that, right? Heavy metal is rarely, if ever, defined in terms of being honorable, true, pure, lovely or gracious. I'm more inclined to use the following descriptions: grotesque, impure, ugly and obnoxious. And in some cases - perhaps most - evil.
Rev Mann has got her priorities messed up - perhaps the result of too many head-bangin' concerts and loud music. Who knows - I don't know her. But I disagree with her premise. I don't think she fully grasps the depth and impact music holds on people - especially on the youth, who constantly seek for something that resonates with their feelings, their lives, their circumstances. Music is powerful in that regard - to just cavalierly remark that heavy metal is a form of play-acting...very irresponsible. Fans who shell out bucks for downloads, concert tickets and paraphernalia - they take heavy metal far more seriously than Mann gives them credit.
“Metal’s refusal to repress the bleak and violent truths of human nature liberates its fans to be more relaxed and fun people”.
She goes on to claim that “metal has no fear of human darkness” and while some Christians are similarly unafraid, “many are yet to discover its potential as a place of integration”.
Miss Mann quotes lyrics by the famous thrash metal band Slayer that describe Christianity as an “abortion” and state: “I’ll take the devil any day, hail Satan.”
But she claims: “Much of metal’s fascination with Satan or evil is play-acting, driven by a desire to shock.
“Metal invites Christianity to be less afraid of wildness and the ridiculous.”
So listening to music that glorifies sin and the fallen nature of our humanity is righty-o jolly good, bringing about fun and a relaxed state. And Christians need to get integrate these expressions of human darkness into their lives, because most of it is just play-acting and whatnot. What a load of dreck. Christ calls us to repent and lead lives of holiness, possible only through His grace and the sacraments of the Church. Play-acting or not, it's pretty much a given that heavy metal bands are not paragons of living the Christian moral life. If they were - would they be playing and selling that sort of music?
What's ridiculous is her advice. There's a time and a place to have fun, to be silly, to play games and be a little wild. But the last thing good Christians need is to play a heavy metal soundtrack in the background while doing so.