Taake – Voldtekt

I’ve never been the kind of metal fan to let genuinely offensive lyrics get in the way of my listening. In fact, I’m fairly suspicious of anyone who refuses on principle to expose themselves to art of a morally threatening nature. If you’re the impressionable type and you suspect that listening to Kataxu will poison your mind with Nazi-mystic race hate, then fair enough, delete that .rar file before it starts spewing swastika-shaped space-swords all over your desktop. But after years of filling my ears with the barkings of incorrigible bigots, I find I’m just as impervious to the allure of rape, murder and racism as when I was a teenager listening to Refused and Million Dead.

I’m slightly surprised, then, to find myself seriously pondering a problem of this kind. On Wednesday the UK Lurker crew (and hopefully a bunch of our readers) are off to see Taake in London. Since Taake are one of my favourite bands, it would be great if I could sing along to some of the songs. But unless you’re a Norwegian speaker, the Taake fan’s only real hope is to throw in a well-timed ‘UGH!’. The band does have one potential sing-along song, though: ‘Voldtekt’, off the Nekro EP. With its memorable refrain of “Voldtekt!” (meaning ‘rape’, or literally ‘taking by violence’), this live favourite gives us foreign fans the perfect chance to scream along. But then there’s the other side of the coin. The whole of the Nekro EP, apart from the Von cover, seems to be telling a pretty nasty story: a man takes a woman into the forest, rapes her (in ‘Voldtekt’), tortures and kills her, then carries on abusing the corpse (in ‘Hennes Kalde Skamlepper’). It’s not easily to tell whose perspective ‘Voldtekt’ is told from, but either way it certainly glorifies the event, as the song ends with a disturbing paradox: ‘Rape with death to follow, to find out, honestly, if you’re alive’. Hoest makes it all the harder for his apologists by kicking the song off with the words ‘A little something for the ladies’.

Gutting as it is, I don’t think I’ll be singing along on Wednesday. There’s nothing noble at all in my refusal to do so, no carefully thought out standpoint: it’s just a gut reaction, a moral horror at the idea of joining in a song that glorifies rape. If I’m happy to scream along to ‘Christraping Black Metal’ in the car, or to read Ovid’s Metamorphoses for pleasure, does that make me a hypocrite, a coward, or a poseur?

14 Comments

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Henrik

    I don’t think it makes you anything. In fact, above all, you are yourself the final arbiter of what you are. Black metal celebrates individuality, so not subjecting to someone’s objectionable ideas is not a failure or a form of cowardice, rather, if anything, it is a demonstration of integrity.

    Those who follow blindly are sheep. Ironically, black metal is rampant with them.

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    dukkhoof

    Agreed Henrik

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Pavel

    I think that with lyrics like this Hoest is just trying to yank people’s chains, and if there’s a place to be provocative for provocation’s sake it’s black metal, but we’ve all gotta decide what we stand for, and this song crosses a line for me too. there’s something INglorious in the idea that forcing a woman into sex is somehow cool and powerful. so yeah, the adults in the room should refrain from singing along. i don’t think one juvenile song is a reason to condemn the band (who’ve just written the best black metal album of the year), but it’s certainly reason not to join in the circle jerk of sexually frustrated teenage rape fantasy.

    also, context is everything. a rape fantasy in a classical Roman poem is clearly not the same thing as a rape fantasy in a modern black metal song. and the notion of “christraping” has virtually nothing to do with actual rape. it’s a silly, abstract way of talking about a war of ideals that every headbanger should support.

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Tom

    I agree with Pavel and Henrik but thought I may as well add my own 2 cents. At least you have decided that you don’t feel comfortable singing along with it, and at least you know what Hoest is singing about. I wonder how many people at The Underworld will be blindly chanting along, with no idea what they are saying? I also wanted to say that appreciating a piece of music, such as Voldtekt is different to “participating” in the song, or agreeing with the sentiment I guess. I will be there for the show, finances allowing.

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Cryogenic Husk

    Agreed. As Pavel pointed out, on can only “think” or guess that they know the lyricist’s intention… with BM’s penchant for having lyrics and beliefs cross-over into the real world from time to time, lyrics of this nature don’t sit well with me (while “Chrisraping Black Metal” obviously is tongue-in-check/symbolic mockery).

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Rosseau

    doesn’t make you a hypocrite, just a dude who’s capable of using his mind, capable of understanding paradoxes, and also understanding that you gotta pick your battles. taake is good, his lyrics are dumb.

    this article is good. i can empathize.

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Jerome

    I always thought that the best thing about such music is that you don’t have to care about lyrics, since enough (not to say most) of the ambiance and atmosphere is put into instruments and vocals. I can’t remember the last time i looked up any Black Metal band’s lyrics in particular ?
    its therefore very easy to be in denial about unethical topics, yet people should indeed be aware of what they are listening too.
    but eh, i’m always suspicious of people who take their music too seriously (goats, satan, zombies, national socialism nonsense.. really ?!)

    On the other hand, the Taake gig clashing with the Richard Dawkins conference is very uncool 🙁

  • Reply October 17, 2011

    Shawn

    I think one of the things I like most about extreme music is that you can’t understand what they’re saying. I don’t want all those ideals/beliefs/etc. getting in the way of me enjoying the music. Regardless if they’re screaming about everything you believe in, there’s something about just the screaming that’s enough for me.

    I used to pride myself in knowing all the words to nearly all the music I listen to. I still remember all those lyrics from when I was growing up. Sometimes I enjoy singing along. But with everything new, I just let the words mesh with the music, forget that they’re trying to say anything, and just enjoy.

  • Reply October 18, 2011

    Stephen

    I draw a line between my own moral values and art. I excuse an artist for anything he does, as long as he touches me in some way – this doesn’t mean I would want to be friends with the artist, or anything of the sort. That would be a social thing, and here my values spring into place. If I’d sing along would depend on if I feel the concert is a social act, in which I represent my personality as a social being, or if I feel myself as being part of an artistic expression.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    Kevin

    I don’t condone rape at all.But what would black metal be without this subject???lol.Many a band have sung about this topic within the scene.Its pretty normal by now.Even more so if you listen to death metal.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    P. A.

    I don’t support misogyny or bigotry in any form – and the glorification of sexual violence is probably the pinnacle of this. Come on guys, everything is political. Taake a stand!

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    Richard

    Far worse things can be common subject matter for black and death metal. I think I’m with Stephen on this one, I rarely consider the content of lyrics in any music I listen to anyway. But black metal is going to be full of dark and evil shit, it’s black metal after all! It doesn’t really offend me because a) it’s not something I would ever consider acceptable in reality and b) I don’t think Hoest finds it acceptable in reality either. It’s fiction isn’t it? Hannibal Lecter fucking eats people but he’s one of horror’s best-loved characters. No one will refuse to watch Silence of the Lambs because of its morally objectionable content, just like I won’t refuse to listen to Burzum because Varg’s a convicted killer.

  • Reply May 24, 2013

    Vulverine

    Erm…anyone of you ever heard of a band called Cannibal Corpse… ?!

  • Reply June 19, 2013

    Blütundrunstig

    As a woman who enjoys black metal, I’d like my existence not to be menaced by the lyrics that the artists I love write and this song definitely does that – not only mine, but many people that are rape survivors. I find that the work Taake do is great, but that doesn’t mean their members aren’t huge douchebags -they sure are-. You’re talking about how black metal is meant to be full of darkness, but there’s a kind of darkness than everyone can enjoy without being remembered horrible experiences and then there’s this, that’s unnecessary bad taste.
    If you’re not able to find the negative side of this just because is a band you enjoy, I suggest that you are a first-class piece of shit.

Leave a Reply