Metal (as in Heavy) Masses

Understand, for Lutherans, the liturgy is adiaphora--neither commanded nor forbidden--as long as it gives Glory to God.

That said, what are your thoughts about Heavy Metal Masses?
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Comments

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I can't see an obvious objection. I'd be more interested in the theology; for some reason contemporary music often seems to come packages with conservative theology. One could argue the music might alienate some parts of the population but that's true of virtually any style in our subculturally fragmented culture.
  • magnilomagnilo Shipmate
    Fair enough for those who like it. For me, it all just seems a bit childish.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Why not? I don't like metal, but I know a lot of people do, and it is part of their self expression and a way of processing life, so it seems a good way to make church more accessible to people who might otherwise not relate to a more traditional church service. Music is such an individual thing and varies from culture to culture - there is no 'one true' type of church music. I personally prefer silence.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    magnilo wrote: »
    Fair enough for those who like it. For me, it all just seems a bit childish.

    Why? Do you imagine most metal fans are children?
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited October 12
    Well, I certainly don't think that, but it's really not my scene or taste (secretly, I believe that Music Died With Mozart).

    No one size fits all, as they say.

    But WTF? It's not just about ME, and if a form of music or culture that isn't my cuppa tea leads others into the Kingdom of God, then so be it, and more power to their elbows.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Indeed. Even amongst over 50s (whose ranks I have but lately and regretfully joined), nay, possibly especially amongst over 50s, Metallica probably have a bigger following than Mozart. Which says nothing much about either really.
  • :lol:

    Actually, I quite like some 19th/20thC religious music/hymns, though I'm not so keen on some of the vapid stuff of more recent years (which is not to say that there aren't some 'modern classics').

    BTW, Karl, 50 is the new 40! (or is it 60 that's the new 40?).
    :wink:
  • It wouldn't be so bad if it were a ska mass, a reggae mass, any other kind of music other than Metal or Country and Western Mass.

    Metal is shit.
  • My daughter's into Metal. And to think how my generation stuck two fingers up at Prog and Metal ...

    I don't mind my daughter being into it. She's a kid. Anyone in their 50's who listens to Metalicca is just a wanker.

    They should be listening to Madness ...
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    It wouldn't be so bad if it were a ska mass, a reggae mass, any other kind of music other than Metal or Country and Western Mass.

    Metal is shit.

    Oh give it a fucking rest. We know you don't like it. Not quite sure why you're so convinced your particular music taste is an objective measure of quality.
  • Just sayin'. Just being provocative.

    Being more serious for a moment, other than it being in a style popular in Finland, I wondered what it actually added to the party. If they're using standard Lutheran hymns only performed to a metal riff, then what's the point?

    I'd say the same if it were a form of rock music I liked.

    I know it's irrational - I don't have so much of a problem with a jazz mass, for instance, that seems kinda cool and Gospelly.

    I wouldn't have so much of a problem with a Blues Mass - and after all, all Metal is are the Blues speeded up and played by hairy white guys.

    But I dunno. I don't see the point. No music, I get. Acapella chant in a Eucharist I get. Moody & Sankey in a non-conformist setting I get.

    But Metal?

    No, sorry. It doesn't ring true somehow. I don't know why it doesn't but it doesn't.

    Perhaps it's because it's shit ... ;)
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Put down the spade. Climb out of the hole.
  • <finds the organ's double ophiclide and lets fly at metallists>
  • There's no spade. No hole.

    Only the Emperor's New Clothes. In this instance, a Metallica T-Shirt.

    A Bowie Mass, a Pulp Mass, an Ian Dury Mass might be fun - heaven forfend, there have been U2 Masses for some considerable time and that's bad enough ...
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 12
    <finds the organ's double ophiclide and lets fly at metallists>

    <plugs into a marshall stack via a crybaby wah and classic valve overdrive and watches while they dig the 64' pipe out of the ceiling>

    Seriously though, you don't like our music. We get that. It's not like people are reticent to voice their dislike.

    My daughter was four when she grasped that different people like different things, although the topics in question were baked beans and broccoli. Leave us alone.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited October 12
    Apologies, Karl, was being facetious. As you were.

    ETA: though it amuses me/maddens me quite how many people think that bass didn't happen in churches before amplifiers arrived...Present company excepted, of course.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I would totally go to an Ian Dury Mass! :lol:
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 12
    Thing is, I'm not that much of a metal fan; I'm more into folk-rock these days. I do however find it frustrating how acceptable it is to express disdain for heavy rock of various kinds and its devotees. It's a bit like what fans of sci-fi and fantasy frequently have to endure.

    I can't abide jazz, but I don't look down my nose at its fans. I really, really cannot fathom what people see in rap, but it clearly does something for lots of people.

    As clearly (dragging this train wreck back to the OP) metal does for this congregation. Mind, this thread has changed my thinking onbthe Finnish church in question. I'm now far more supportive and less suspicious.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    I actually didn't know it was common or acceptable for people to express disdain for metal devotees. The metal fans I know are all in their forties and fifties, and have quite strong personalities with mischievous senses of humour, so people don't tend to express disdain, unless in a banter way.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    I actually didn't know it was common or acceptable for people to express disdain for metal devotees. The metal fans I know are all in their forties and fifties, and have quite strong personalities with mischievous senses of humour, so people don't tend to express disdain, unless in a banter way.

    It's not at all unusual to have things shouted at you in the street, usually comedians who think they're the first to suggest you need a haircut. There are extreme cases, of course, and goths have it worse. They get murdered.
  • finelinefineline Purgatory Host
    Oh, the ones I know are female and don't look particularly unusual. In my experience, women are more likely to have things shouted at them by men purely because they are women, and generally some kind of appraisal of whether they look sexy or not.
  • Yes, Goths get it a lot worse ...

    Metalheads and readers of sci-fi / fantasy fiction do get some stick, but it's generally good natured. That Steve Coogan metal-fan character had some endearing as well as annoying qualities.

    The thing I find most bewildering about many hard-core metal fans is that they are unaware of the roots of their own music. They wouldn't dream of listening to Muddy Waters or Leadbelly but listen to ersatz versions played by middle-class public school kids trying to look grungey.

    I had a cousin who was completely unaware that Zeppelin's music was based on blues originals.

    Anyhow, coming back to the OP I'm not really that bothered whether those Finns sing unaccompanied or with kazoos or ukeleles.

    I just don't see what it 'adds' and yes, I find it childish too. It's less the music itself that's infantile but the surrounding trappings. They're drawing attention to themselves. I'd have thought the point of worship was to direct attention away from ourselves.
  • I used to visit a company in rural Finland, to see an English guy who worked there. He introduced me to the culture, which was a bit like Essex where I grew up - mullet hair do's, big american cars, confederate flags and driving round and round a small town with nothing to do except get pissed. He also told me about the metal scene, memorably summarising it as being mostly ballads about necrophilia. I remember this bit as he put on a great falsetto voice and warbled '...as your body gets coooooollllldddeeeeerrrrr,,,' :smile:

    People into a certain scene who become Christians, often see that scene as a possible way in to share their new-found faith, and also perhaps hope to find out what their old identity might now become, in their new faith. If they feel that scene has a dark side, perhaps they hope to model something new and good in it, instead.
  • Yes, I get that. It's still shit.

    I s'pose they had to have Metallica headlining Glastonbury one year as a nod of acknowledgement to the genre. Boring though.

    I've got wider family by marriage connections who're into the Goth scene and I kinda get that even though it doesn't float my boat. I s'pose we all belong to subcultures of one form or other.

    The idea of defining oneself and one's 'look' by a particular music style whether it be jazz, folk, rap, punk, grunge or metal feels very alien to me - I'm quite eclectic musically so would need umpteen different guises. To expect church to cater for it all seems alien again. But different strokes for different folks.

  • The idea of defining oneself and one's 'look' by a particular music style whether it be jazz, folk, rap, punk, grunge or metal feels very alien to me

    It was very common in younger people - music used to be a major way people told themselves and others, who they were - I guess that's stating the obvious. I'm not sure it still works the same way - the internet and social media may have disrupted that kind of thing, as they disrupted the recorded music industry which largely serviced / exploited it.

    (I used to feel uneasy as a young Christian about the extent to which my identity rested on the scene I was 'into'. Having picked away at it over the years I no longer feel much pride in
    'identity' - perhaps that's a mercy in a middle-aged man - and sometimes I'm not very sure I have an 'identity' from which to operate at all. I still struggle to know what 'giving it all up to God' means, mind, though it still seems like an honourable thing to do.)
  • Sure (and apologies for the insomnia) I get all that. Even as a youngster though, I never really had a 'look'.

    The tribal thing in terms of music certainly applied but it was a lot more fluid in the 1970s than London journalists would have us believe. Some of the fellas in punk bands continued listening to Prog when they got home. The Sex Pistols were just as manufactured as any boy band.

    There was always a faux counter-culturalism about any form of rock and roll. That's one of the issues I have with anyone who 'affects' a particular tribal 'look', be it as a punk, jazzer, folky, metalhead, Rude Boy or whatever else. There's money to be made out of it. I remember someone in the pub after our small towns excellent free music festival that his nephew wouldn't cross the road to listen to impressive local talent but thinks nothing of shelling out nearly £200 to go to Monsters of Rock at Castle Donnington.

    That's one of the things I think is bollocks about all this.

    Of course, you could pigeonhole me quite easily I'd imagine if you looked at my bookshelf or CDs. Yes. I still have those. The vinyls in the attic. 'Arts & Crafts,' as the guy who played Ian Dury in the bio-pic said. 'Arts & Crafts. That's what we are son. Arts & Crafts.'

    I tend to wear pretty much the same sort of thing as I did in my yoof though. Normal, not skinny, jeans, hand knitted jumpers, grandad shirts, some retro tweed jackets or suit tops. I don't tend to wear T-shirts with slogans but have a couple of Eden Project ones. I wear DM shoes or brogues. Is it a 'look'?

    On those occasions when I go to church I wear something fairly neutral. Jacket, fairly plain shirt, sensible trousers of the type my mum would approve. Why? Because I'm not there to make a fashion statement or draw attention to myself. I don't 'dress up' as such but I don't dress down either.

    We're among the youngest at the more 'traditional' 9am service although we're certainly not alone. You'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to the more 'contemporary' 11am service.

    Would I attend a Metal Mass? Yes, to see what it was like. Would I expect much beyond the usual turgid riffs and predictable guitar licks? No, I wouldn't.

    Rock concerts are pretty much entirely predictable anyway. They give a semblance of spontaneity that belies how utterly predictable they so often are. Everyone plays along with the pretence. Which is fine. They're not hurting anyone.
  • magnilomagnilo Shipmate
    edited October 13
    KarlLB wrote: »
    magnilo wrote: »
    Fair enough for those who like it. For me, it all just seems a bit childish.

    Why? Do you imagine most metal fans are children?
    I said childish, not childlike or for children.

    To be honest, I find it embarrassing to watch. I’m fairly ambivalent about the music itself. I have some metal in my own dusty CD collection. No, it’s the posturing and head banging and manspreading of the band that I find utterly cringeworthy.

    If, for example, our worship leader played our admittedly vanilla worship songs but acted like he was Ed Sheeran playing his frankly vanilla pop-folk at the front of church I’d find it just as embarrassing.
  • This.
  • Metal beats Shine Jesus Shine everytime. Come to think of it, metal beats all sorts of things, Jesus Loves Me.
  • It's still shit. All you're saying is that Shine Jesus Shine is even worse. Hardly a recommendation.
  • magnilomagnilo Shipmate
    edited October 13
    Shine Jesus Shine has become cheesy, and perhaps always was. The metal in this video is sad and naff, and always will be. At least you can hum "Shine Jesus Shine" if asked; Swedish metal? Not so much. Let's be honest, Gamaliel is right. It's just shit.
  • Finnish, not Swedish.

    Whatever we think of metal as a sub-genre of rock in general, I think the sad fact is that most Christian appropriations of 'secular' music styles - whether for worship or entertainment - are generally very poor reflections of the originals on which they're based.

    Obviously, I'm no metalhead and it's a genre I generally despise beyond all others, but even I can tell that not all metal is equal and that some metal is better (ie marginally less shite) than others.

    The metal in the video must surely count as shit by anyone's standards.

    I'd say the same if it were ersatz Christian indie, folk, punk, reggae or any other genre.

    I'm not a big Gospel music fan but I can see how it arose from within the shared experience of particular worshipping communities and works in that context.

    I'm not a huge fan of contemporary worship songs and choruses as they take me back to my more full-on happy-clappy days. I have a visceral and allergic reaction to some of that stuff nowadays.

    I'm a lot happier with unaccompanied spoken or chanted worship or with choral music and organs if necessary. That's simply a feature of my own 'journey' though and a reaction against where I've 'been.'

    To me, what the videos illustrate isn't so much a 'natural' or organic attempt to cater to the worship requirements of a particular constituency, in this case Finnish metalheads, but an attempt to vire or crowbar in a particular musical style and expression into a time-honoured format - that of a Lutheran Mass.

    The vestments, gestures and liturgy remains the same but all they've done is added some embarrassing metal posturing and reverb to the hymns.

    It's the musical equivalent of a vicar over-doing the corny jokes in the sermon or organising a three-legged race down the aisle to illustrate a sermon point in a service billed as the 'traditional' option.

    Services are full, the video claims. As far as I know, church going in Finland is at an event lower ebb than it is here. I don't see Metal Masses reversing that trend.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Metal is shit, metal is shit, metal is shit. Sorry for being such a stupid, tasteless waste of carbon for liking it. I shall remember that I'm a fucking idiot who deserves nothing but ridicule for his pathetic music tastes. Thank you for illuminating me, O great and wise font of knowledge of all that is good.
  • I quite like Shine Jesus Shine actually. I don't think it's been quite so overplayed here, and perhaps the French translation is not so cheesy.

    That said, depending on how rebellious I feel, I sometimes warm up at Our Place with the opening chords of Highway to Hell. Why should the devil have all the good music?
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Sometimes I listen to classic FM, but I can take it or leave it. Most of the time I listen to talk radio.

    If Church music suddenly disappeared forever it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

    So the style of music has no bearing for me.

    What I dislike is the ‘concert’ style, whether it’s listening to heavy metal or a choir. I don’t go to church for a concert. Singing should be congregational in my view and the musicians unseen.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited October 14
    We're much happier with traditional music, rather than metal. But some do like it, and if metal - heavy or otherwise - can be fitted into your service schedule, give it a go and if it draws people in, then keep it going.
  • What if it's shit? ;)

    I'll get me coat ...
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    I quite like Shine Jesus Shine actually. I don't think it's been quite so overplayed here, and perhaps the French translation is not so cheesy.

    That said, depending on how rebellious I feel, I sometimes warm up at Our Place with the opening chords of Highway to Hell. Why should the devil have all the good music?

    Well, there's a double-shit sandwich and no mistake there, Eutychus. Kendrick and Meat Loaf.

    Rebellious?

    As Joe Strummer sang in 'White Man at the Hammersmith Palais', "They've got Burton suits, Ha! They think it's funny, Turning rebellion into money.'

    The same Joe Strummer who sang 'Daddy was a bank robber' when in fact Daddy was a foreign diplomat ...

    There's nothing remotely rebellious about any of this stuff. It's all about the money.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Sometimes I listen to classic FM, but I can take it or leave it. Most of the time I listen to talk radio.

    If Church music suddenly disappeared forever it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

    So the style of music has no bearing for me.

    What I dislike is the ‘concert’ style, whether it’s listening to heavy metal or a choir. I don’t go to church for a concert. Singing should be congregational in my view and the musicians unseen.

    So organists or other musicians should be cordoned off behind a special screen?
  • Well, there's a double-shit sandwich and no mistake there, Eutychus. Kendrick and Meat Loaf.
    Your ignorance is showing. Highway to Hell is by AC/DC.

    And in a unofficial capacity, may I point out that you continuing this threadjack is very much at your own risk?
  • Yes, I realised my mistake and was coming back to rectify it. AC/DC aren't quite as shite as Meat Loaf.

    I actually quite like 'Highway to Hell.' Not that I listen to it. But I feel as if I'm on it at times.
  • Then, unofficially, and forbearingly going the extra mile, stop posting about it here and stay in Hell where such thoughts belong.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Sometimes I listen to classic FM, but I can take it or leave it. Most of the time I listen to talk radio.

    If Church music suddenly disappeared forever it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

    So the style of music has no bearing for me.

    What I dislike is the ‘concert’ style, whether it’s listening to heavy metal or a choir. I don’t go to church for a concert. Singing should be congregational in my view and the musicians unseen.

    So organists or other musicians should be cordoned off behind a special screen?
    In many, many churches, the organ, choir and other musicians are in a gallery in the back of the church—a situation that is, to my musician’s mind, ideal.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Boogie wrote: »
    I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Sometimes I listen to classic FM, but I can take it or leave it. Most of the time I listen to talk radio.

    If Church music suddenly disappeared forever it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.

    So the style of music has no bearing for me.

    What I dislike is the ‘concert’ style, whether it’s listening to heavy metal or a choir. I don’t go to church for a concert. Singing should be congregational in my view and the musicians unseen.

    So organists or other musicians should be cordoned off behind a special screen?
    In many, many churches, the organ, choir and other musicians are in a gallery in the back of the church—a situation that is, to my musician’s mind, ideal.

    In either case, even if the service is entirely sung, it's not a concert. Most liturgical musicians are themselves Christians, and many see their activity as an offering of their skills and talents to God.

    This was very close to being a Hell call, but I decided to make the point here, as vociferously as possible. Many concerts have audience participation; some services do not require much active engagement by the congregation. Doesn't make either into the other. A service sung by choir and clergy with no congregation is still a service.
  • Since I am out of time to edit, I will make the point that I'm not intending any distinction between genres.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    To put it another way - within reason, a church should offer services in a style of worship that suits its congregations. I may be very wrong, but I doubt that there are many here to whom a heavy metal mass would appeal and perhaps 1 service a month or quarter would be a reasonable response. There is a church here that offers an occasional goth mass, gets enough worshippers, most of whom are not seen at the regular services, to make the effort worthwhile. We've not been, so don't ask for details!
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    And some attending there returned with their babies for baptism.
  • kmannkmann Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Understand, for Lutherans, the liturgy is adiaphora--neither commanded nor forbidden--as long as it gives Glory to God.
    While it is true that the use of this or that rite or ceremony is considered an adiaphoron in Lutheran theology (Augsburg Confession, art. VIII), the liturgy as such has never been considered an adiaphoron by Lutherans. In fact, the opposite is true and in Lutheran theology the liturgy is seen as primary theology. I can recommend reading Oswald Bayer’s books Martin Luther’s Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation and Theology the Lutheran Way.

    All liturgical churches have this distinction to varying degrees. If not, we wouldn’t have Gregorian chant and the organ would never have been introduced.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Gee D wrote: »
    We're much happier with traditional music, rather than metal.

    "Traditional" could mean any number of things. Plainchant, Bach, Tallis, Howells, Sacred Harp ... wait long enough and it will include metal.
  • That thought had occurred to me too, Ruth.

    I'm not sure that'd ever be the case. Jazz Masses have been around for some time but they are still very much an 'art' thing in the way that RC folk masses aren't.

    Trying to because good boy for a change and not making any value judgements about metal as a genre, it's interesting that the format of the Finnish Lutheran Mass remains unchanged and also the words of the hymns themselves. They appear to be using standard Lutheran hymns only accompanied by a heavy riff and the usual twiddly guitar solo in the middle in time honoured and formulaic rock fashion.

    The head banging, man-spreading and histrionic posturing that some of us here - not just me - find off-putting are going to appeal to those who get a kick out of such things as part and parcel of the whole metal experience.

    If you codified it and put it between the pages of a missal, I suspect, over time that the external gestures/expressions would diminish. As it is they are already a lot milder than what you might see at a heavy metal concert itself.

    The question then, would be to what extent the music can stand alone on its own merits or whether it needs the distinctive tribal behaviour and tropes that accompany it.

    I'm sure it's possible to listen to metal without head-banging or freaking out, as they used to say, just as it would be possible to attend a concert and not do so. My daughter is very slight but she tells me the metal heads are very considerate and make room for her in the mosh pit. I'm sure that's the case.

    The question remains whether pretending an electric guitar is your dick or cricking your neck waving your hair around is ever going to enter the canon of received liturgical gesture.

    Metal has proved to have greater longevity than critics first thought - indeed as rock music itself has in the broader sense.

    I can see rock or folk rock forms becoming part of the canon over time but I'd be surprised if the metal aspects did - unless in a very ersatz and diluted form.

    Just sayin'.
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