Archive for AiWeiwei

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to release Heavy Metal album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Paul

Surprising news this week as controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whom Salon.com calls “the most influential artist in the world” has announced plans to release a Heavy Metal album. The BBC reports that the album will be entitled Divina Commedia – which is the epic poem Divine Comedy by Dante, a typically heavy metal concept, and is written by musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou. The content however, is said to be political with at least two songs being about Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese activist and friend of Weiwei who recently took refuge in the USA, causing concerns over human rights in China. Weiwei also stated that some of the songs would be “more punkish” and “more pop” so I suppose a blackened funeral doom album is out of the question.

This news follows other strange happenings in the world of Metal in recent years, such as Metal album releases by Christopher Lee, Friar Brother Cesare Bonizzi, as well as the humorous news reports about the granddad who listens to Heavy Metal. This also has implications for Metal on the international stage, with the genre becoming popular in such far-flung and politically turbulent areas as Israel and Baghdad. Is Heavy Metal a useful political tool for activism in countries with oppressive regimes and political strife?

With Heavy Metal now in its fourth decade of existence, showing no signs of slowing down, and having attained a dedicated international cult following; perhaps the time has come in which the genre will be accepted as less of a passing trend but a fully-fledged musical style such as Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll (all of which were derided as the Devil’s music in their time). After all the founders and innovators of the original Heavy Metal genre – Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and so on are now well into the third or fourth decades of their careers, or split-up/retired; with the majority of their fans being of older generations and much of their musical style being categorised as “Classic Rock” despite being extremely dissonant, heavy and largely rejected by the mainstream in their prime.

With Heavy Metal occupying an increasing awareness in the public consciousness, is Heavy Metal – at least in its broadest sense and it’s more mainstream, arena-rock style being more accepted by the world at large? And should it be? Perhaps only time will tell, but this announcement certainly adds to the ever increasing recognition of Metal in the world today.