[Bands featuring Orthodox priests and monks seem to be getting a bit popular these days. A few years ago a group from the monastery of Fr. Nektarios Moulatsiotis in Greece, called Free Monks or more commonly Paparokades (rocking priests) reached huge success, and more recently a band known as Exorcist is becoming quite popular in Russia lead by Hieromonk Vladimir Gusev. Even though I do have problems with monks and priests being performers in concerts, I must say their music is pretty good, in a weird way (in my opinion). They claim to do it for a greater good by giving Orthodoxy greater exposure to the youth, but the role of a monk and priest is very exclusive in Orthodox tradition and the performance aspect of these bands and their immense popularity can also be a cause of scandal and invite many temptations. I'm particularly impressed by the music of Exorcist however, as I am a big fan of Industrial Dance Heavy Metal. One of the most popular bands of the genre is the controversial band Rammstein. I first heard of Rammstein back in the late 1990's when the movie Lost Highway was released and I bought the soundtrack, and their music (sung mainly in German) was very impressive and I have been a fan since. Now they are touring together with Exorcist. Should be interesting. But as far as this new Orthodox rock music is concerned, I would say that it is better for the world to conform to the Church rather than the Church to the world. It seems Gusev is a bit controversial as well, having been brought to trial back in 1997 for his extreme antisemitism. Gusev said that "Judaism does not have any positive conception in the Christian sense" and he identified Hasidic and Ashkenazic Jews as members of totalitarian sects that "kill children, gather their blood, and use it to make matzah" - the infamous "blood libel" charge. He further warned, "The Jews should not celebrate Hannukah because it can insult the religious feelings of the Christians." -J.S.]
Listen to a sample song and see a track listing of their album here.
Gallery of photos can be seen here.
Videos of the lead singer, Hieromonk Vladimir Gusev, doing exorcisms are here.
MySpace page here.
Rammstein Producers Welcome Russian Rock Band Playing Heavy Rock With Orthodox Texts
Moscow, April 27, 2009 - Interfax – Producers of the Rammstein band invited musicians playing Orthodox prayers in the style of heavy metal to their festival.
“Our texts are directed against destruction and backed up by Orthodox prayers interlaced with industrial heavy rock. It affected Rammstein producers, Americans, and they invited us to participate in their festival. There was nothing like this before,” said famous actor Nikita Jigurda to Interfax-Religion as he has become a soloist of the Exorcist rock band.
According to Jigurda, the project in heavy metal style is made “to attract young generation and draw them back from the Satan rock where heavy rhythms are accompanied with destructive texts.”
“We want to cooperate with the entire Orthodox Church because only together we can get through to the youngsters looking for strength, but unfortunately find it in Satanic groups. We created an alternative to pull young souls back and with Cross in hands show them the way to Christ, to love, to the revival of Russia dreamt by the Orthodox Church, best musicians and people of Russia,” Jigurda said.
The actor and musician noted there were teenagers “who first heard Orthodox prayers at a heavy rock concert and were amazed.”
“We created a project to exorcise demons. We have heavy esthetics, we say we are youth- oriented not to let them march directly to hell and the devil,” the soloist believes.