Here’s the New Vaguely Islamophobic Hour of Penance Track, “XXI Century Imperial Crusade”
I’m not usually one to pay much attention to lyrics, but Hour of Penance have chosen to release the debut single from the new album Cast the First Stone in lyric video form, and the press release their record label sent out highlights a quote from vocalist Paolo Pieri about the record’s lyrical themes.
And I’m kind of alarmed by what he’s saying. I can get behind most of his message — war sucks, terrorism is frightening, we must find a way to move past cultural differences — but he completely loses me at the end. Here’s his statement, with emphasis added in bold:
“Cast the First Stone” revolves around the idea that the injustices suffered during the Crusades and Colonialism cannot justify indefinitely a chain of hate that propagandize the destruction of the West. I believe that the political situation in recent years has brought to light again a millennial conflict between West and East, and events like the terrorist attack at the Bataclan, where we only played a few months before the massacre, have influenced the lyrics on this record very much.
It does not matter who has thrown the first stone, but who first evolved his ideology to seek peace and coexistence instead of war to the bitter end. In Europe, people have massacred each other for millennia but in the last 60 years, we were able to overcome differences and secular hatred that divided us, while the blind hatred of Islamic extremism is bringing entire geographic areas back to the darkest middle ages.
We find ourselves once again in front of a war between reason and religion, and unless we take a strong stand in defense of our Western values, we risk falling into chaos because of a weak and coward enemy stubbornly convinced of his senseless laws.”
Here’s what I hope Pieri is trying to say: terrorism is horrible, and we all need to unite against it. OK, cool!
But here’s what it sounds like Pieri is actually saying: Islam is bad, “Western values” are great, and we must unite to preserve our way and snuff out all those evil Muslims.
In other words, the strokes he’s painting are way too wide, both with regards to Islam — the vast majority of whose followers are regular, peaceful folks — and “Western values,” plenty of whose believers are total pieces of shit.
Maybe I’m reading way too far into this and Pieri is simply commenting on terrorism. But something about his statement — and the track’s lyrics — rub me the wrong way.
Check it out below and see what you think. As a death metal track, of course, it rips — this band always does. But it’ll be incredibly difficult for me to support this band going forward if Pieri is saying what I think he is.
Cast the First Stone comes out on January 27th via Prosthetic Records; pre-order here (physical) and here (digital).