By Muhammad Salleh
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…And the Chart Toppers

This article is over 19 years, 9 months old
Lee Billingham (October SR) addresses the evolution of politics within the world of music, but apart from a fleeting reference to System of a Down, almost entirely ignores the rock and metal genre.
Issue 268

While the music industry continues to reap huge profits from musicians and those who buy music, it is invigorating to know that a number of bands have, and continue to, challenge the system. Rage Against the Machine, for example, have a long history of politics under their belt–from the defence of the rights of Native Americans, to the struggle to free Mumia Abu Jamal. And with songs like ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘[What for] Territory’, Sepultura (and Soulfly, fronted by ex-Sepultura frontman, Max Cavalera) have become a virtual voice for the oppressed in the Third World, whether it’s in attacking the brutality of dictatorships, imperialism or the untrammelled spread of biotechnology in their native homeland of Brazil. Similarly, El Niño, with a debut album entitled Revolution/Revolucion combine traditional metal with tribal music and a thirst for politics.

In Britain, multicultural One Minute Silence have never wavered from their long attack on capitalism and stand ‘For Want of a Better World’. British punk act King Prawn and reggae/metal group Skindred have been at the forefront of denouncing police brutality and racism. Bands like these, who combine heavy riffs and eye-opening politics, may still be the exception rather than the rule, but it would be wrong to ignore them completely. It is about time that more ‘popular’ forms of music caught up.

Muhammad Salleh

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