Devourment Members Call Out Their Own Misogynistic Lyrics in the Past
The violent and misogynistic lyrics in pornogrind and brutal death metal have been on the collective tip of the metal community’s tongue over the past few weeks. Sparked by the revelation that the Dayton mass shooter was in a pornogrind band, we’ve been on a bit of a deep dive lately into the genre’s inherently misogynistic nature, first sharing our own thoughts on the issue and then welcoming Svalbard guitarist Serena Cherry to share hers. Through it all, I’ve been very impressed with the metal community’s maturity: no one has called for pornogrind to be banned and no one has “canceled” anyone else as a knee-jerk reaction, while everyone (for the most part) has been engaging in a civil discussion on the matter. How do we process it? Where do we go next?
In a new editorial for Kerrang!, Bradley Zorgdrager, who usually spends his time scribbling or opining on camera for the other exclamation-point-laden metal publication, Exclaim!, tackled the issue head on by speaking to several musicians in that genre. The most prominent among those interviewed were the members of brutal death metallers Devourment, whose infamously brutal and misogynistic lyrics are often held up as Exhibit A of the genre’s absolute worst. And, in what is genuinely shocking news, but in keeping with this article’s theme of growing up and maturing, they effectively said, “Yeah, you guys are right. That stuff’s got to go.”
“Given his unique position as a growing musician who was there from the beginning, Brad [Fincher, drums] provides some insight into the one-upmanship that pushed brutal death metal to really embrace its prefix: ‘It just became an arms race because we were all trying to out-extreme each other, and I think that’s where a lot of that was born out of. It’s like, ‘Oh, these guys are gross. Let’s get even sicker and more offensive and cartoonier with it.’’
“One mirror turned on Devourment that made them reconsider their identity as a band was a VICE article that listed them amongst some of death metal’s violent misogynistic bands. Chris Andrews [guitar] admits his first reaction was outrage, but once those emotions subsided, he became more reflective on what led the band to be included on such a blacklist.
“’It did kind of hold up a magnifying glass to that,’ says Chris. ‘The fact of the matter is we don’t really believe in these ideas or fetishize them or anything… If you’re getting called out for it, you’re obviously not writing a shocking horror movie here, you’re just pushing this misogyny button over and over again. Why are you doing that?’”
The piece closes with Andrews offering this: “If you’re writing a song in 2019 about how you hate women, it no longer seems like a representation of something. It just seems like that’s your fetish.”
Elsewhere in the article, members of Venom Prison, Abnormality, Vulvodynia and Thy Art is Murder share their thoughts on misogynistic lyrics in metal, in some cases in their own bands’ songs. I highly recommend you read the entire thing right here.