Sunday, September 12, 2010

PunkWay #3 RABM article: finally translated to English!

As you already know, our comrade RaunijaR from Belarus wrote an article about RABM, which was published in the 3rd issue of the Russian-language zine "PunkWay". Now I translated it to English. Hope it will be useful for you (even though my translation is probably poor, and the article is intended mainly for the audience from ex-USSR):

"Many of us just don't think about the importance of subcultures based on ideas of social change. But these subcultures give youth an opportunity to see the another side of the society, and the alternative world view; to communicate with people who see the world from the alternative point of view, and to join their subculture, accepting its ideas.

There's no openly political or socially conscious subcultures, except for skinheads, punks and HxC kids (and maybe also hippies). Well, there are some hip-hop and metal bands who're singing about major problems of society, but they all are just exceptions, and you can find some such stuff in any subculture. But I'd like to give some more attention to metal. Metalheads are one of the most massive subcultures, and it can be seen by naked eye; but nowadays' metalheads mostly lack any strong convictions or social stance. "Beer, metal and girls"? It isn't a social stance, it's for irresponsible hedonists who are wasting their lives without taking any responcibility for themselves, their vicinity and the whole planet. Speaking of the majority of metalheads from ex-USSR countries, they're mostly just spineless conformists. If these metalheads got beaten by an active group of neonazis just one or two times, then they'll accept the "brown" ideology without any significant resistance. Moreover, some subgenres of metal support not only anti-Christianity and paganism, but also anti-semitism, xenophobia and racism. I speak primarily of NSBM (National Socialist Black Metal). This subgenre quickly became widely popular, because the nazis have lost some of their positions in the skinhead subculture - due to the growth of SHARP and RASH movements, and spreading awareness of the multiracial roots of that subculture. But the influence on subcultures is important for nazis to spread their ideas among the youth, and the pagan metal scene was successfully assimilated by racists due to its traditionalist background. So only two choices were left to the metal fans: they're either narrow-minded persons interested only in alcohol and music, or fascist "neopagans". But such state of affairs could not last forever...

As early as in 1980s, Amebix have mixed crust punk with thrash metal (and some elements of proto-black metal), which was relatively popular in these times. Later in the early 2000s, a band called Iskra was formed in Canada, and they coined the term "blackened crust" (a mixture of black metal and crust punk). They played music with social-themed lyrics, heavy sound and extreme vocals. Their album "Bureval", released in 2009, was dedicated to the revolutionary events in the XX century Russia. Over time, a lot of bands playing music very close to black metal, but with some overtones of post-rock, anarcho-punk, dark ambient, etc., started to emerge in the region of Cascadia (a region near the west of USA-Canada border known for its unique nature, where Iskra came from). Their lyrical themes often included the social and political problems, vegetarianism, anarchism, anti-racism, open-minded atheism, environmentalism, and mythology.

A new subgenre was named RABM - Red & Anarchist Black Metal (compare with RASH). Generally speaking, there always were some leftist people in the BM scene; for example, Euronymous of Mayhem was a member of a radical communist party. But their lyrics didn't openly say about their beliefs. And now it took only a couple of years to get a lot of people interested in the new subgenre, who also are supporters of these political beliefs. Thanks to comrade Black Kronstadt (he's from Russia, BTW), all these people became able to unite and actively communicate. If he reads these lines, I'd like to thank him for all his work. (Yes, I read it! Thank you too, RaunijaR! - BK) Now RABM bands exist all over the world (and in Russia too), and even though only a minority of them openly sing about anarchism, it's still a new step in development of an anarchist culture. Let's hope for a big future for the RABM scene.

A list of bands:

Panopticon – one-man band. Anarcho-pagan black metal, D.I.Y.
Iskra – blackened crust (the founders of genre).
Mrakobesie – communistic raw black metal, Russia.
SorgSvart – rebellious viking metal from Norway.
Skagos – cascadian black metal.

Useful links: — RABM blog. – an English-language forum. - group.

RaunijaR, PunkWay zine #3."


  1. thank you very much for this translation!

  2. Iskra are NOT founders of the genre, damn you! They didn't even started as a metal band. First band who started and described themselves as anarcho black metal was FILII NIGRANTIUM INFERNALIUM from Portugal, and it was almost 15 years before Iskra were even formed!