There are currently 3 pro-male movements in competition with one another:
- Christian Masculinity Movement. It stresses the role of matrimony, fatherhood, fitness, asceticism, and skills in authentic masculinity. This would include sites like Maccabee Society, Dalrock, and Art of Manliness.
- Red Pill Movement. This movement claims to be an “amoral” application of the biological and psychological differences between male and females. It includes several groups that disagree with one another: pick up artists (PUA), “Men Going Their Own Way” (MGTOW), and general “red pill” guys. The Red Pill movement is essentially united in the conviction that men should become better (mentally and physically) through reading, study, and fitness; and (unlike the Christian analogue) affirm that marriage is a bad deal for men and should be avoided. The preferred approach is to “pump and dump” women. Their anthems are those of the rap world: “I don’t love them Hoes” and “99 Problems but a Bitch Ain’t One.” Example sites would include Chateau Heartiste and Return of Kings.
- Neo-Pagan Masculinity Movement. This is a version of Red Pill that seeks to infuse spirituality and morality deeply into masculinity. Since Christianity is perceived as effeminate, social justice oriented, and passive; classic European paganism is endorsed as the true male spirituality. The themes of struggle, ritual, asceticism, tribalism, war, and brotherhood are endorsed. The Germanic/Nordic pantheon is endorsed. Odin and Thor play a prominent role. Northern European Metal (which sometimes takes the name of “Viking Metal”) is dripping in this Neo-Pagan version of masculinity. It seems to be a thriving movement and it deserves our analysis.
From the Beatles to Viking Metal
In the 1960s, rock music became associated with rebellion. The normative Christian morals of Europe and America could not be reconciled with the message and lifestyle of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. So beginning in 1965, there was an endorsement of “Eastern spirituality.” You notice it when you start hearing the sitar in Beatles’ songs “Norwegian Wood,” “Love You To,” and “Within You Without You.” (The Rolling Stones rocked the sitar in the 1966 song “Paint It Black.”) By the late 1960s, the Beatles were visiting India, and they adopted Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as their spiritual guru.
But 1969 saw a turn in pagan spirituality. English rockers turned away from far away Eastern mysticism and looked to their own European roots for inspiration. Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath are obviously examples. Both bands fused American blues music to the themes of JRR Tolkien’s novel series Lord of the Rings and/or to Nordic pagan spirituality:
- “The Battle of Evermore” refers to Arthurian legend and to Tolkien’s: “ring wraiths ride in black, ride on.”
- “Immigrant Song” is essentially a walk up song for Thor (and was creatively used in the Marvel film Thor Ragnarok). “To fight the horde to sing and cry Valhalla I am coming…The Hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new land!”
Rather than adopt the Hinduism of the Hippies, this primordial “hard rock” returned to pre-Christian European themes and the “hammer of the gods.”
Heavy Metal and Black Metal
The 1970s saw the growing popularity of bands like Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Blue Öyster Cult, Alice Copper, Kiss, and Motorhead. The music was amplified with make up and stage theatrics. By 1980, the genre was mocked with the parody band Spinal Tap with their comical “Black Album” and songs such as “Stonehenge.”
Black Metal emerged in Scandinavian and Slavic nations during the 1980s. It was overtly anti-Christian and openly Satanic, and it was represented by bands such as Slayer, Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and Celtic Frost.
The Satanism of Black Metal was financially successful based on its shock value. It “succeeded” in presenting Satan as the ultimate individualist and rebel – an attractive motif for rebellious adolescent boys who despised their Christian parents. Some Black Metal bands claimed to not be actual Satanists (typically atheists who use the idea of Satan as a musical meme), while others pledged their allegiance to the Church of Satan and worshipped the personified Lucifer himself.
The Emergence of Viking Metal
In the 1990s and 2000s, the “shock” of Satanic Black Metal had been reduced to a cliche or stage gimmick. Performers began to re-position their lyrics. There was also a renewal in Fantasy literature, thanks to the reemergence of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in film during the 2000’s. Bands such as The Sword’s album Age of Winters from 2006 (read our Maccabee Society The Sword Review here) told the story of ships, sagas, battles, magic, wizards, nature, and the “old gods.” It’s a nostalgia for a universe created not by Yahweh but (ironically) by the Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien.
Instead of positioning their message as Satan vs. God, they positioned their narrative as “past vs. present.” The past became a glorified era of pre-Christian Europe. This is was a hugely successful shift, since Viking lore is much more accessible, intriguing, and intellectually satisfying than Satanic rites.
Christianity as Weakness
Take everything geeky and nerdy form the worldview of Tolkien and mash it up with loud, powerful masculine metal and you have Amon Amarth. Their songs reflect a tension found in the History Channel’s show Vikings:
Can and should Christianity eclipse the religion of the old gods? Are the Christians clever hypocrites sent from Rome or do they possess a message that we need?
Lyrics Against the Weak Christians
Amon Amarth has made their choice explicit. Their lyrics sound like this:
So pour the beer for thirsty men
A drink that they have earned
And pour a beer for those who fell
For those who did not return
Raise your horns raise them up to the sky
We will drink to glory tonight
Raise your horns for brave fallen friends
We will meet where the beer never ends
It’s powerful. Yet other songs contain overt criticism of Catholic Christianity. For example:
“Cut our way through hordes of weak Christian flesh”
“Priests of Hippocratic love
talk of peace and Christ
Power is their only goal
Now they all shall die
Turn the blade around, put the oppressors down
Mess with us and you will feel
A pain so true yet so unreal
Yeah, use your hate, uncreate
Christian state will meet its fate
God, his Son and Holy Whore
Now you will meet your fate.”
These “Viking” lyrics openly blaspheme the Holy Trinity and of the Holy Mother of God (and there is a special place in Gehenna for that). You can sense the hatred for Christ and Christianity. In particular, a hate for the “Christian state.” The conflict is rooted in medieval missionaries “invading” the Nordic nations, but it has a real political and philosophical meaning for our time.
They are tapping into something that I have heard from many men over the last couple of years: “soft Christianity” has created a weak Europe and is creating a weak America. Young men see Christianity, popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests as nothing more than Social Justice Warriors; and so they are disinterested. Does the message, morals, and political posture of Cardinal Cupich inspire confidence? Perhaps many young men see such prelates as Amon Amarth’s “Priests of Hippocratic love, talk of peace and Christ, power is their only goal.”
The call of the Christian man is to live an extreme life of conversion toward Christ. This is heroic and powerful. It is a life of asceticism. It’s a lean life, not an obese life. The greatest challenge for the Christian man is to present Holy Matrimony as honorable in a culture that depicts it as dishonorable.
If we do not accomplish this, then men will turn to other options: MGTOW, Pump and Dump, Neo-Paganism. None of these will create a powerful, enduring civilization.
Leave a comment. How do we present Holy Matrimony as honorable?