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Antropomorphia Respond To German Censors – What Do You Think About Censorship?

Antropomorphia - Evangelivm Nekromantia

Censorship is always an interesting and divisive conversation piece. Many people believe strongly that true art should never be censored, as it is an affront to creativity in general. As it stands, offence is taken, not given, everyone is likely to react to a piece of art in different ways – there is no one way any piece of work can be interpreted. Of course, that in itself brings about a completely different conversation, what is the definition of art? How far can something push taboos before it loses any artistic potency, and instead becomes a vile shock piece, purely designed to intimidate or offend? As a UK citizen, I’m lucky to live in a part of the world where censorship is very lax, with a couple of exceptions.

Most recently, The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence was denied certification from the BBFC (coincidentally considered to be one of the most progressive classification boards in the world), citing reasons that it was vile and without artistic merit. That was a particularly interesting idea to me, and as you look over the long laundry list of ridiculous people baiting that has been flimsily stitched together to constitute a “film” you can almost see their point. But if that’s allowed, where do we draw the line? In this day and age with the horrors of the internet at our fingertips do we really need a board of people to censor our outside entertainment. These questions and more began racing through my head as I looked over this press release that fell into my inbox.

It seems that Dutch death metal group, Antropomorphia are being targeted by the German BPJM (Federal Department For Media Harmful To Young Persons) for their latest album Evangelivm Nekromantia. The BPJM claim that the cover art for the album as well as the song “Fleisch” illustrate and address killings and violence in an autotelic way. They also really don’t like the album title (you can see the art in question at the top of the page). The band have responded in kind, with this statement:

We’ve made certain people nervous and uncomfortable with our music and lyrical content. In order to ‘protect’ the children, it’s quite possible Evangelivm Nekromantia will be banned and removed from German stores. Through their ridiculous and hypocrite way of thinking they are not letting people use their own intelligence or freedom of choice, this in an era where you turn on the news and see the world’s vile and repulsive excrements in full HD. These people are nothing more than a bunch of pitiful sheep! They might think this ban will be castigation but it will only strengthen us in our opposition towards these sad shallow people that crowd the world with their insignificant lives. To us, it’s the perfect representation of people without perception other than a retarded opinion about an artistic expression.

First of all, I find the use of language particularly interesting. Autotelic, isn’t exactly a word in the common vernacular, and yet we see it used here in a brutally effective way. Is it possible for a piece of art to be autotelic? Are we not merely scape-goating societies ills on media by even bringing that level of language to the discussion? Ok, ban it because it offends you, but because you genuinely think the band are trying to encourage a message of killing and violence. They really want their fans to go out and commit horrible acts? What makes Antropomorphia different than any other death metal act?

As for the band’s statement, well, most of it is ridiculous posturing and “playing to their image”, but they have a point with all the stuff we’re exposed to on the news. I suppose their statement disappoints me a little bit. I’ve always taken great pride and happiness when an extreme metal act are accused of being abhorrent or promoting the use of violence and then they just wow the naysayers by turning out to be remarkably well rounded, intelligent people. For example, a quote from Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse after facing similar criticism directed at their hyper violent songs and artwork:

I think people probably aren’t that desensitized to it, you know including myself, like you know, we sing about all this stuff and you watch a movie where you know it’s not real and it’s no big deal, but if you really saw someone get their brains bashed in right in front of you, I think it would have a pretty dramatic impact on any human being you know what I mean? Or some terrible, gross act of violence or whatever done right in front of you, I mean you’d react to it, no matter how many movies you’ve watched or how much gore metal you’ve listened to or whatever, I’m sure it’s a completely different thing when it’s right in front of you. Even though we’ve got crazy entertainment now, our social realities are actually a bit more civilized than they were back then, I mean we’re not hanging people or whipping them in the street and I think that’s positive improvement for any society in my opinion.

I suppose it feels like the band have missed a golden opportunity to make a serious statement about censorship, and instead they’re still trying to sell records by keeping up their “image”. And people say death metal isn’t image conscious?

Anyway in other news, Antropomorphia have just completed shooting a music video for the track “Debauchery In Putrefaction” from their most recent album. For now, here’s their first video made for “Psuchagogia“, which was released last October.

Evangelivm Nekromantia is out now via Metal Blade Records.

What do you guys think? Is censorship ever a necessary course of action? Do you think the band should engage in more mature discussion? Am I overthinking all of this? Sound off in the comments!

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