Norwegian black metal is an acquired taste, what with all the ‘corpse paint’ and talk of satan. Forged in Norway in the early 1990s, the heavy metal sub genre is oft-intepreted as misanthropic and anti-Christian (church burning was a popular past time in the mid-90s, with black metallers responsible for the destruction of over 50 Norwegian churches). So what happens when you strip black metal of its meaning and relocate the sound and the look to Indonesia? The result is Cangkang Serigala, a performance project spearheaded by young Jogja-based artist Ican Harem.
Leg of Lamb recently squeezed into Ant Trax studios in Jogjakarta to partake in the spectacle. Harem and his cohorts fully embrace the theatrics of the movement but rather than play the music themselves, they perform karaoke-style over black metal classics from the likes of bands Mayhem, Burzum and Emperor. On occasion Cangkang Serigala invite the audience to perform with them, however no subtitling of the tracks is required. As Harem observes; they have no idea what the Norwegians are saying, so instead they just scream. This clash of cultures is remarkable, with the nefarious sentiments of the original movement cheekily lost in translation.
And if you want to experience Cangkang Serigala for yourself you’re in luck, Harem will be playing two shows in Melbourne this September, details to follow.