Three more public officials today denounced a new sub-genre of heavy metal growing in popularity amid recent widespread media attention. Known by fans as aliencore, the newest addition to the already saturated landscape of extreme music has been both praised and scorned by fans and critics alike. Now, some government authorities are calling for an outright ban of the music over allegations that it may be dangerous to its listeners.
The emergence of aliencore was first reported by music writer Budd Hopkins in an April 8th New York Times article. Investigating an increase in the number of missing persons cases among heavy metal fans, Hopkins inadvertently discovered an unusually high influx of new metal bands fronted by undocumented immigrants. Hopkins coined the term “aliencore” to refer to the new sub-genre created by these bands. Described by noted heavy metal documentarian Stanton Friedman as a cross between death metal and the drone of honeybees, aliencore has since garnered major radio airplay across the country and several bands have performed to national televised audiences.
The Times article references several of the more popular aliencore bands. In an interview with the founder of a group calling themselves Rings of Uranus, Hopkins quotes the musician as saying that he and his bandmates come from a small Italian town called Zeta Reticuli and, among other enigmatic statements, that he formed his band “around the time of the dawn of human civilization.”
The drummer of a band called Children of Kecksburg spoke to Hopkins about the artistic influences of the new aliencore movement. “It runs the gamut,” said the drummer. “Everything from 1950s-era civil defense films to cosmology and astrophysics to Whitley Strieber books.”
The members of another aliencore band called Hypnotic Regression seemed to imply that their music had an altruistic objective. “The mission of our band is to serve man.”
Despite the growing popularity of the sub-genre, several critical reviews have appeared. Phillip Klass, in a Rolling Stone review of a new album called The Drake Equation, referred to songs like Intergalactic Border Crossing and Paradoxical Paranoiac Probing as “nonsensical drivel.”
But the real controversy over the music stems from a report in the May edition of Scientific American that cited a connection between aliencore music and the disappearance of at least 750 self-described metalheads around the world. According to numerous local police sources, all of the missing people had attended a performance by an aliencore band only hours before their disappearances. While authorities continue to investigate, this circumstantial evidence has led several politicians and community leaders to call for the cancellation of all scheduled aliencore performances in their jurisdictions until a full investigation can be concluded.
Kenny Lofton, police chief of Gulf Breeze, Florida, held a hastily scheduled news conference this morning to announce the disappearance of at least 15 concertgoers from a performance by the band Sacred Hive the previous night. “We’re taking this extremely seriously,” said Chief Lofton. “Until further notice, I’ve issued a townwide prohibition against any further performances of this so-called aliencore music.”
At the same time, aliencore fans are expressing their support for the right of the bands to perform. Barney Hill of Rachel, Nevada, told CNN that be believes the disappearances have been blown out of proportion. “So what if a couple of dirtbags down in Kingman, Arizona, didn’t come home after an aliencore show last weekend? They probably got stoned and went camping or something. This is about free speech.”
In Europe, heavy metal fans have been as outspoken as their freedom-minded American counterparts. Herb Wells of Woking, England, was quoted by Sky News as saying that he fully supports the “right of these bands to perform. It’s the same thing every couple of years. Some group of parents or politicians wants to censor this kind of music.”
But in Aurora, Texas, Mayor Andy Van Slyke today ordered the destruction of all aliencore records from the local Sam Goody and Tower Records stores following the disappearance of three teenagers from a concert last week. “We’re fully cooperating with state and federal authorities,” said Mayor Van Slyke, “but in light of the many published reports concerning the possible connection between this music and the recent disappearances, we can’t risk any more of our children going missing.”
In recent days, several aliencore bands have gone on the record to defend their music. During an interview on MSNBC, Fhru Glarmorkiop, the bass player for a band called Fgoppreasewwmoarcqert, said “Yuydjh duirttyuu op rertnyopriy morkeeportuni nerlio.”
He went on to inform viewers that his band will defy any performance or recording bans and still plans to enter the studio next month to record its debut album, As the Wormhole Turns. The album, said Glarmorkiop, will feature a song played entirely in binary, called 001101000100100111010100, and include an aliencore cover of the Megadeth classic Hangar 18.
However, in the most stunning development of this unfolding story, an aliencore band called Hydrocephahic Hybrid may have admitted that a sinister connection does indeed exist between the music and the missing persons cases.
On a segment of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News last night, the band’s lead vocalist told host Bill O’Reilly that aliencore bands have been abducting their fans since late last year. “Look, we’ve been doing it the old-fashioned way for far too long now,” said the singer. “It’s tedious. You have to fly down during the middle of the night, shine some bright lights through the windows, float them out the door… We were hanging around one night and we realized it would be easier to get them to come to us. Your average heavy metal fan isn’t exactly the smartest knife in the cutlery rack, if you know what I mean. So a bunch of us formed metal bands and started playing shows and the next thing you know we’ve already met our quota for the year.”
Despite the growing sense of alarm, Hydrocephalic Hybrid will embark next week on a three-month tour of Midwest wheat fields and trailer parks in support of San Diego-based deathgrind band Cattle Decapitation.
(Dirty Dave on The FM is a special investigative reporter for Tyranny of Tradition. Hours after he filed this report his office was ransacked and he went missing. If you have seen Dirty Dave please contact the Tyranny of Tradition offices as soon as possible)