Norwegian band causes stir with anti-Islamic lyrics; nominated for prize
The Norwegian band ‘Taake’ has recently been nominated for a prestigious Norwegian music for best heavy metal band despite lyrics in the album being anti-Islamic.
The Spellemann award is likened to the American Grammy award or the British Brit award in the Scandinavian country’s music industry.
But critics argue that lyrics in their new album’s song ‘Orkan’ (Hurricane) are xenophobic as they include the phrase “To hell with Muhammad and the Mohammedans” and their “unforgivable customs”, whilst the song ends “Norway will awaken”.
Their nomination has sparked outrage among many listeners, claiming the band has gone too far.
However, Hoest, the band’s front man, has refuted these claims and said that their sole intention was to criticize religion. “Our view, in the name of freedom of expression, is that it is shameful to adhere to Christianity or Islam,” he said.
Marte Thorsby, chairman of the prize committee’s board, denied any allegations that the judges had not properly listened to the album before its nomination. “We enjoy full freedom of expression in Norway and a Spellemann jury is not going to censor content in any way,” she told Aftenposten newspaper.
The issue comes at a time when the country is still recovering from the massacre of 69 people, mostly teenagers, in Utoyo island in July last year by Anders Behring Breivik who said he committed the acts to prevent Norway from “Marxist and Muslim colonization”.
This, however, is not the first time Taake has created controversy.
When performing at a concert in Essen in Germany, Hoest wore a Swastika where public displays of the swastika are illegal. This led to the cancellation of the band’s European tour and outrage among many heavy metal fans across Germany.
Hoest responded to the controversy by saying: “We truly apologize to all of our collaborators who might get [into] problems because of the Essen swastika scandal, except for the Untermensch (subhuman) owner of that club; you can go suck a Muslim,” he is quoted as saying on the band’s website.
In addition to this many of the band members have been imprisoned for violence, including Hoest who has been jailed three times.
The band’s most recent statement takes a slightly less offensive tone and states “Taake has never been a political band, and we do not encourage either violence or racism.”
The Spelleman winners will be announced on January 14.
(Additional writing by Harry Hughes D’Aeth)