November 5th Special: Dissidence Through Music

The alternative scene has often antagonised the sensibilities of the establishment. Those who promote the system fear the unknown as it supplies no evidence towards their claims of propriety.  With the establishment taking the moral high ground on the deviant world views of creators and content explorers, often citing Science and Religion as the argument for their anachronistic stigma, music has played the part of the carrier inciting conspiratorial movements. Often harboring new and dangerous ideas.

While one of the UK’s most notorious stories is a tale that marries both technology and politics The Gunpowder Plot, as confessed by Guy Fawkes, is a horrific fable that came from within the very walls of The Houses of Parliament.  Yet today as if the worlds’ greatest leaders want to understand history more by repeating it we have been given a tool louder than the voice of reason: Music. We all know of the famous song Remember, Remember the 5th of November but here we take a look at contemporary musical dissidence worldwide.

Throbbing Gristle – Hamburger Lady

While the Brits do enjoy the tradition of lighting up an effigy of Guy Fawkes atop their bonfies while romanticising that Parliament has actually been blown up in wonderful technicolour. Throbbing Gristle pioneers of industrial music gave us cultural dissonance and told us the tale of the Hamburger Lady. As the lyrics taken from a letter written by Al Ackerman from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. in 1978 it centers around a woman who was horrifically burnt from the waist up.  We’re given snippets of information by frontperson Genesis P-Orridge who endured perverse and unfounded claims from the British media, and politicians, for nir liberal views.  The Godperson of Industrial was a critical aspect in using avant-garde expression through music and almost a scapegoat (like Fawkes) during the spiritual revolution of the 90’s.

Snog – Everything Is Under Control

Snog is to counter-culture as The Voice is to Democracy.  Where both outlets play an important role in exercising the importance of adversity.  Snog however is the smarter option, the Australian group propagate anti-consumerism, anti-totalitarianism  and self-awareness through the medium of music, often challenging the bias we are fed from the polluted mainstream.  Although not actively catering to controversy for the sake of being a pain in the arse Snog manage to light strategic fires under the sky and derail the Western thought train. There should be a disclaimer on all Snog releases stating that they may induce thought. Something that the anti-intelligence charade coming from our leaders may surely agree on.

Atari Teenage Riot – Kids Are United

The hypercognitive digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot started as opposition to fascism in the early nineties. Embracing the anarchic tenets of punk with the popularity of techno ATR commandeered those values and made themselves in to an (anti) institution.  The band have continued to fight oppression, manipulation and hate speech through their music. While that might sounds like an arm of the UN their liberal attitude is characteristic of an educated and beautiful mind, contrasting profusely with the selfish manifestos of the political classes. ATR move in mysterious ways but their songs often prove to be powder kegs of truth waiting to bombard parochial minds with explosive ideas.

Here are some examples that are more within collective memory:

  • The Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
  • Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name Of
  • Burzum – Aske (album)

The truth is out there…

What are some of your favourite anti-‘stablishment songs/albums?

About David Oberlin 301 Articles
David Oberlin is a composer and visual artist who loves noise more than a tidy writing space. You can often find him in your dankest nightmares or on twitter @DieSkaarj while slugging the largest and blackest coffee his [REDACTED] loyalty card can provide.

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