India: Heavy Metal album recalled and destroyed because it offends Christians
India has seen a “Cartoon Crisis” of its own, only this time around Jesus is the prophet in focus. EMI Warner Music has pulled the new album by the American Heavy Metal band Slayer from music stores across India because of protests from the Christian community, Reuters reported on 10 October 2006
In the first week of October, EMI Warner Music recalled all copies of Slayer’s ‘Christ Illusion’ and destroyed them because Christian groups in India said the cover of the album was insulting. The cover depicted Jesus with arms amputated and an eye patch, set in a landscape littered with amputated heads.
Joseph Dias of Mumbai’s Catholic Secular Forum told the French news agency AFP that the album was “offensive and in very bad taste.” Some of the songs, such as ‘Skeleton Christ’ and ‘Jihad’, were also said to be offending the sensibilities of both Christians and Muslims. The Catholic Forum condemned the track ‘Skeleton Christ’, calling the lyrics “an insult to Christianity”.
In ‘Skeleton Christ’, singer Araya spews fellow singer King’s lyrics:
“I laugh at the abortion known as Christianity I’ve seen the ways of God I’ll take the devil any day”
“Jihad” envisions the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster from the terrorists’ point of view:
“Strike as champions at the heart of non-believers… God will give victory to his faithful servant”
The end of the song features translated quotations in spoken words from the alleged “terrorist manual”, which was found in an investigation related the September 11 attacks.
The protests prompted EMI Warner Music, Slayer’s Indian-based label, to pull the album from all music stores and its depots. The General Manager of EMI Warner Music in India, Mr Suresh Thangiah, said: “We did not want any community to be hurt.” He added that the music company had no plans to re-release the record at any time in India.
Christians make up about two per cent of India’s population of more than one billion people – most of which are Hindus.
Since the carton crisis in Denmark in February 2006, Muslim scholars and organisations have been pressing for a UN resolution, backed by possible sanctions, to protect religions against blasphemy.
Slayer is famed with controversial tracks and album covers and is known to be an anti-Christian heavy metal band, with their earlier album, ‘God Hates us All’ carrying lyrics such as: “I keep the Bible in a pool of blood / So none of its lies can affect me”. The album was released in the United States with an altered cover. Slayer was founded in California in 1982 and is one of America’s top four in the genre of Thrash Metal. The new album, ‘Christ Illusion’ – the tenth studio album by Slayer – was released on 8 August 2006 on American Recordings.