First things first: the world has changed in the past few weeks. In our own nation, fascistic neoliberal leadership that have lambasted the concept of a welfare state for 40 years are scrambling to piece together that welfare state as the death toll rises. Millions of Americans are witnessing the inadequacy of free market capitalism and the foolishness of “running a government like a business”. Structural violence is laid bare as those dying of COVID-19 are overwhelmingly peoples of color.
That’s why this is the perfect time for a new Racetraitor release.
The new record is a little different. It is a 4-way split with other left wing metal outfits Neckbeard Deathcamp, Closet Witch, and Haggathorn. I could not be more excited about this release! All are bands I respect and call friends. From start to finish, it is sonically crushing. Truth be told, I am making all efforts to concentrate my pen-to-paper time solely on Racetraitor’s new song: “Sarcophagus."
The band’s last release was 2018's 2042 LP. Both the song “Sarcophagus” and the accompanying music video, are dazzling. However, the video is not merely crafted to visually entertain, but to urge contemplation about our constructs of civilized behavior:
Mani Mostofi, vocalist, says “We want the video to work as a spiritual quest for the viewer. It's a journey through these archetypal narratives about culture and civilization. You see a sage, a parade of predators, a May queen who embodies purity and light. But it is neither a hero’s story nor a villain's journey. You need to see the quest through to find your place in it all and come out the other end."
You may be asking yourself “why focus on this topic now?” If we look closely on what the world has gone through recently, ethnocentric positions on which peoples are “civilized” has been a catalyst for our fascistic actions as a collective nation. We have backed coup attempts in Bolivia and Venezuela; established travel bans from majority Muslim countries; tightened international sanctions against Eurasians; raised tariffs on materials from China; spent precious resources on a feeble anti-immigration wall on our southern border; and passed anti-Sharia Law bills to keep “foreign” theocrasy from clashing with ours.
All of these actions come from a sad, but rigid, misperception that we are the more civilized and “knowing paternal” tribe.
Brent Dekker, bassist, tells it better than I:
“‘Sarcophagus’ is about how the ruling class shapes narratives to justify its domination. So like in the criminal justice system we have “predatory criminals” versus “law abiding citizens”. Under colonialism, we have “backwards savages” versus “enlightened civilization”. We always enphasize the purity of our own civilization, caste, or class while raping and enslaving all around us.”
The beauty of Racetraitor is that it is part of a wave of bands that do not merely parrot the nihilistic “things are fucked” slogan or ask the open-ended question “why are things fucked?”,. Instead they share the painfully real answers. Consider that within all our problems in society, a constant is the pitting of ethnic or religious groups against each other. The outcome is always to the detriment of the Working Class, who are in reality not directly affected by whatever difference started the quarrel. Quite the thought-provoking track. Well done, Racetraitor.
My review in summation: Yes, they have riffs. Yes, they are brutal. But most importantly, we need to shut up and listen, mull it over, and then discuss (preferably with people who do not identify uniformly with us). Only the best art has that capability.
Digital and vinyl pre-orders for the Racetraitor/Neckbeard Deathcamp/Closet Witch/Haggathorn 4-way split will be available on April 22nd through To Live a Lie Records (US), Moment of Collapse (DE), Ugly and Proud Records (BG), and Circus of the Macabre (UK).
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