Why Every Metalhead Should Be Concerned


by T. Ray Verteramo
October 17, 2016

The American presidential election is a circus the whole world watches every four years. However, this year, the competition is not merely between a douche and a turd sandwich (thank you, South Park!), but a controversial, possible historical choice and a genuine threat.

Regardless of what your views may be, regardless of where you stand for civil equality or whether you believe Trump’s “locker room talk” is just that or sex-predatorial behavior, it doesn’t matter. Whether or not you love or hate Donald Trump, if you are a Metalhead, it would be wise to worry about him for one issue and one issue only:


CNN posted an opinion piece, “Trump’s Beef With SNL is No Laughing Matter”  crafted by Dean Obeidallah, a sometimes stand-up comic and the co-director of the documentary, The Muslims Are Coming! detailing this very concern, using Trump’s response to Saturday Night Live’s spoof on the second debate. He states:

“All kidding aside, Trump’s tweet that ‘SNL’ needs to be canceled because the show did a ‘hit job’ on him should concern every American. We have a rich tradition of comedy shows skewering our politicians. I can’t recall any President or presidential nominee responding to a TV show mocking him or her by saying it’s time to take that show off the airwaves.

But, then drives the point home:

Although I have performed stand-up in the Middle East, where leaders have shared a similar sentiment. In fact, Egypt’s Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef, was arrested for mocking the then leader of Egypt and his TV show was ultimately canceled. But is that really a model we want to emulate in the United States?”

There is not one single leader of the free world, or un-free world, in any minute of history that has ever escaped criticism or mockery – that’s the price of power. What do you think the first thing a dictator calls for in order to ensure their absolute reign? They call to shut the people up to make them afraid to speak against them.

Once human expression is controlled, everything is controlled; what we learn, what we see, what we hear, how we live, who to love, George Orwell’s 1984. It starts with censorship.

“Watched Saturday Night Live hit job on me. Time to retire the boring and unfunny show. Alec Baldwin portrayal stinks. Media rigging election!”

Consider the difference between Trump’s stomping foot to call for the removal of a piece of theater from our culture and Peron’s control over the press, or Hitler’s demand for books to be burned, or the PMRC’s campaign to treat Heavy Metal the same as porn by limiting the accessible age and venue.

Or did you forget the latter…? It was only 30 years ago. Newsweek — Parental Advisory Forever: An Oral History of the PMRC’s War on Dirty Lyrics

The defunct Parent’s Music Resource Center did not like what Metal had to say. They hated what it stood for and detested Metal’s fearlessness and prowess. They did not like its attitude of self-empowerment, basking on the dark side, and songs of death, blood, fear, desecration, rebellion, violence, sex, and conquest. They did not like what threatened their ideals and they tried to shut us up.

rs-209391-pmrc_01_1985_003mark_weissxThe PMRC wanted to put our heroes in the back room behind beaded curtains along with fist-banging college girls and strange hitchhikers with 13-inch penises picking up more than rides. The disturbing thing was that they nearly succeeded.

What saved us was the powerful testimony of Frank Zappa, Dee Snider, and John Denver reminding the committee about our beloved First Amendment and calling out their fear and ignorance of our art. What we got were warning labels that still do us more good than harm.

But, the shield of the First Amendment may or may not be strong enough for a Commander-in-Chief who would be determined to chip away at its armor the second his fragile ego takes a hit.

hqdefault-1Censorship has a domino effect. Do we want to waste our government’s time and resources questioning a human right when it should concentrate on other matters like foreign relations, homeland security, infrastructure, the environment, and the economy? Because that is what can potentially happen.

Vote for who you want. This is neither an endorsement or a slam. But, before you pull those levers and check those boxes, ask yourself how much your music means to you and if you think it’s tough enough to survive a world leader with paper skin.


Kvesta’s Debut – “Ibex Arrival”


There’s nothing more enticing than mixing the chocolate of Thrash into the peanut butter of Black Metal.

The recipe may seem simple and can be done, but it is very easy to flunk. So enters Kvesta, a brand new little beast out of Black Metal’s cradle of Norway, who takes the mix and adds a rancid dash of punk and a much unexpected pinch of personality usually lacking in both genres; one’s too busy trying to cause chaos and the other is too egocentric to give a shit.

They make demonizing fun.

The production, itself, is reminiscent of the 80’s analog. Technically a one-man band with a lead guitarist whose work ranges from expected to extremely creative, with some special guests thrown in, (including Leviathan), Kvesta at least gives the impression of a fully-staffed outfit. Raatten, who takes the lead vox, guitar, bass, and drums to task very well, demonstrates individual and unique understanding of each instrument. Yet, delegating the solos to a guitar specialist and sharing the spotlight with various talents at certain key points in the work shows strong leadership, as well as deeper understanding of his own limitations and/or the needs of the song.

There’s some musicianship here. It may not be groundbreaking inspirational, dripping in phenomenal, legendary skill, but it’s there, peeking out through addictive riffs and enticing, tribal rhythms.

a2206826503_10The show begins with “Grande Messe Noir,” which gives the impression of a cold, dank room with a captive’s shaky voice chanting over the hums of a guitar, like earth simmering beneath. With nice timing between rests, each chant is joined by another in crescendo and off-harmony, giving the initiation more definition and strength. It is classic Black Metal kitsch, but with a twist; the illusion of a storyline, not just merely atmosphere.

Raatten’s vocal style is Danielsson-esque; strong, throaty, but clear. It does not throw a punch in the chakras with a tremulous vibrato, but then again, it doesn’t need to. The riffs and the rhythms are the anchors here – the Thrash element – which is especially apparent in “Midnight Blasphemy,” “Dark Presence,” “Warlock,” “Sadistic Goat Regime,” and “Pestilent Virulence.”

The latter even adds a call-back element, pleasantly commemorative of Suicidal Tendencies’ “Suicide’s a Solution.” All tracks are nice, short, and sweet, leaving before they risk outstaying their welcome, even if you want them to stick around. The project elevates in sound and structure with each song, building in confidence and creativity as it progresses.

Though it is very impressive, and extremely unusual, to actually hear a clean, meandering bassline in a Black Metal track, it is unfortunate that some of the blast beats fall lopsided, sounding more like single-fire gunshots rather than an assault weapon. However, considering there’s only one captain manning many parts of the ship, it can almost be forgivable. Yet, some of the amateurish lyrics, such as, “We’re in the forest / We are summoning demons…” can roll your eyes. But truthfully, Ibex Arrival is too good to waste on silly nit-picking.

This is very good Metal, full of bombast, edge, volume, and attitude. And for a debut? It will absolutely be worth to watch and see what this little baby grows up to be. Ibex Arrival will be released on August 16th on CD digipak and…cassette.

Welcome to the playground, boys.

4 / 5 stars

Official Kvesta FB page

Kvesta on Bandcamp