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Geodissonance

Russian Rock Band LOUNA Protests Against Religious Roots of Modern Violence

Geo·dissonance: the metal movement is proliferating to all corners of the globe. In its relentless display of vitriolic truths and the ugliest questions of existence, we can hear the resounding riffs of heavy metal in the most conservative pockets of society. As your Punjabi, riff-worshiping correspondent, I'vxe created Geodissonance to report the controversy: as metal unveils dissonance in cradles of brutality around the world.

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A proliferating element of today's world is ideologically-inspired violence. While, with the recent cascade of unspeakably violent events such as the Boston bombings and Wisconsin Sikh Temple Massacre – the violence may seem unpredictable, and at times baseless – as the Russian band Louna points out, there is a potent sociopolitical seed behind every violent act. Yet, the terror and bloodshed experienced in North America is not symptomatic of the United States, alone. Looking at the ongoing massacring of innocent civilians in Syria, recent conviction of José Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity in Guatemala, through to the 1000 theatergoers who were taken hostage and terrorized by Chechniyan religious zealots in 2004, examples of geographically widespread violence are alarmingly easy to find. The commonality? As Louna points out in their recent music video release, entitled "Business," extreme divisions between religious and political groups often cultivate the hatred. While empathetically acknowledging the grief of families around the world, Louna demands that we alleviate the seeming epidemic of violence by rejecting political and religious oppression.

"Business" was originally completed in late-March, and slated for release in mid-April – just a few weeks before the release of their then forthcoming album Behind a Mask. With the shockwaves sent across the global community by the Boston Bombings, Louna deemed it untimely to release the video that week. With the perpetrators of the atrocious events in Boston now identified and the latter, in custody, Louna and their management finally released the music video this past week. "Business" is now available exclusively at CraveOnline.com, where the band hopes to deliver a powerful message to its viewers; they have promised that the video and lyrics are galvanizing, with the sure-fire capacity to divide its listeners amongst those who either deeply support or vehemently oppose it.

Written and produced by Travis Leake and directed by Oleg Taravkov and Dmitry Zuev, "Business" is allegedly the most costly music video to be made in the history of the Russian music industry. Thematically, it draws on the Orwellian themes of oppression and social conditioning (of the "2+2=5" variety), as well as symbolic allusions to numerous 20th century films. At the root of the video is a metaphor of the world torn apart by religious hostilities, prejudice, and an unwillingness to communicate amongst opposing sides of conflict – be they religious, political, cultural, or at the intersection of all three realms.

louna-live

While Louna does carry a reputation for releasing in-your-face, raging hard-rock, their inspiration for releasing "Business" – in all of its satirical undertones – is inextricably rooted in the band's own experience of and with religious zealotry. They are particularly incited by the Russian Orthodox Church's ongoing reproach of artistic liberties, particularly, musicians who dare to oppose its oppressive tendencies. Citing the incarceration of fellow rockers , Louna has sought to denounce the Church's infringement of personal freedoms, such as lyrical writing and live performance. Thus, harnessing the artistic media of hard rock, the visual, and live music, Louna has furthered the notion that oppression can be confronted in more effective, compassionate, and empowering ways than physical violence; while the perpetrators of terrorist acts such as the Boston Bombings often cite "religion" as their "motivation," the truth remains that if they wished to instill lasting change, and with a genuine concern for humanity, they would have embraced a non-violent medium, rather than one that so senselessly took away innocent lives. By declaring religious differences to be their motivation, terrorists such as the Boston bombers unfairly cause the scapegoating of an entire faith, ethnicity, and culture. The result of scapegoating? Most commonly, a peaceful community that must cope with exacerbated levels of discrimination – in other words, the anger and upset karmically deserved by the sociopathic few that inspired it: case and point, individuals like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

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Recognizing the universal feelings of loss now felt both in the United States and Russia, "Business" underscores that in order to combat "religiously motivated" terrorism, it is necessary that we together address its sociopolitical catalysts. In the video, you will observe two sides, equally conditioned by propagandized media. From this impassioned rancor, we observe physical violence take root; initially, the violence manifests itself as throwing stones – an allusion to medieval times, ultimately transforming into more technologically advanced, weapons of mass destruction. We see destruction unfold through bombings, drone strikes, and ultimately, a suicide bombing: all forms of violence that have become horrifically prevalent in the modern world.

Through the conflict, both sides incur massive bloodshed – particularly amongst innocent civilians who inhabit these conflict-ridden areas. Louna declares, of this apocalyptic scene, that "[we] would like to welcome you to our vision of the world…The message…is a sensitive one, and everyone in Louna releases the real possibility of some cultures in the world declaring holy war against us, and others will denounce it as atheist propaganda." Thus, while Louna is clearly cognizant of the religiously conservative climate in which "Business" has been released, they remain equally defiant towards any threat of being condemned by religious conservatives. They acknowledge that their views are controversial, and that their atheist beliefs – unorthodox – yet further express that "the message of [our] song and video is nonetheless undeniable and illustrates the chaos and death that results from religious conflict."

louna-crowd

Resonating their fundamental desire to eliminate violence and increase collaboration amongst societies around the world, they explained that "[our] priorities are people, peace, truth, and freedom. We are demonstrating the truth and saying what so many in the world think but are too afraid to articulate. We will not be silenced by intimidation or fear." In this manner, Louna fiercely rejects the violent tactics proposed by terrorists, so, too, the deep-seated fear they hope to instill in the minds of innocent civilians – particularly those who have lost loved ones, or have been injured in recent tragedies such as the Boston Bombings. In short, Louna inspires resilience and self-expression, in a world plagued by a shortage of communication, compassion, and compromise in the midst of conflict.

Louna released their latest studio album – entitled Behind A Mask – last week via Red Decade Records and MEG/RED. Their album resonates with their longstanding dedication to hard-rock sound, as well as stellar production, having been mixed by celebrated producer/engineer Dan Korneff (Breaking Benjamin, The Pretty Reckless, Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Papa Roach), and mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound, New York.

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