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Soundtracks for Invading Armenia

[1]2,288 words

Last year, when Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed in the Caucasus, I counseled [2] caution and neutrality for the dissident, as it was yet another tug of war between empires that did not concern us as nationalists and dissidents. Not our circus, not our monkeys. 

Well, now it would seem that the circus has left town. The war is, for the time being, over. Azerbaijan has defeated Armenia and taken Artsakh. We can therefore begin to pick at this conflict as a historical event, although we do not, as of yet, have sufficient historical perspective for a full analysis. 

Now, I don’t intend to play armchair general and dissect the strategies, technologies, and positions of the opposing armies. I’m not a military man and won’t pretend to be so. Armchair generals are common on the internet, so you can peruse them at your leisure. I do, however, know a thing or two about art and music, and this war involved some of that. 

During the war, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense released a propaganda music video to bolster the morale of their troops. The song is called “Atəş,” a Persian loanword meaning “fire,” but also “zeal.” Give it a listen [3]. It’s literally music to invade Armenia to. 

Not to be outdone, the Armenians made their own propaganda music video. A key difference is that the music video did not come from the Armenian government, but from a resurgent System of a Down, which for all you young ones was a nu-metal band that was popular in the 90s and 2000s. The song was called “Protect the Land.” Give it a listen [4]

Notice something? It’s in English! 

Call me old-fashioned, but if I were writing a song about defending Macedonia from foreign invaders, I’d write it in Macedonian. Then again, I’m not a fifty-something leftoid diaspora has-been with a voice evocative of a chicken mid-strangulation. There’s also the delicious irony of System of a Down, after spending the better part of the past 30 years telling everyone how in-group preference and war are bad, suddenly releasing Blut und Boden 2: Armenian Boogaloo. People say it’s a good song. Personally, I think that System of a Down is okay if you’re sixteen and angry at your dad, but those halcyon days are sadly behind me. 

But the language issue is the least of the problem. 

“Protect the Land” is whiny. Part of that comes with the territory of being sung by Serj Tankian, but more than that, there’s something about the song that is feminine and unmartial. Contrast that to “Atəş. My good friend and fellow contributor Fullmoon Ancestry is fond of comparing the sound of heavy metal drums to rumbling thunder, exactly as can be heard in the very martial, high-testosterone “Atəş.” “Protect the Land” is supposed to be evocative of the gathering storm before a war, but it only manages to evoke images of frightened women cowering before an onslaught. Even the rumbling bass line, which is the masculine canvas against which Tankian’s womanly wails are supposed to paint a picture of patriotism, is a repetitive and sophomoric denga-denga-denga I remember with a degree of contempt from my days as a metalhead.

“Atəş,” on the other hand, revels in aggression, destruction, conquest, and contempt for the enemy. It is triumphalist in its sound and tenor, artfully using the heavy metal form to deliver an intense call for warlike virtue. Whether due to a quirk of the Azerbaijani language or a personal preference of male vocalist Ceyhun Zeynalov, the rolling vocalized Rs shake the floor and windows even without a bass boost. Contrast Zeynalov’s low and ominous growls in the first stanza with his earth-shattering raspy yells in the chorus and later. If I were making an animated film about a ruthless warlord, I’d retain his services as a voice actor.

Speaking of vocals, whereas “Protect the Land” has Serj Tankian, “Atəş” has, aside from the aforementioned Ceyhun Zeynalov, Nərmin Kərimbəyova, who provides the female vocals. One might ask what role a woman has to play in a war song. Musically, her voice is the silk to Zeynalov’s boiled leather. As countless metal and goth musicians before them, the Azerbaijanis have made deft use of the pseudo-operatic female vocal for aesthetic and propaganda effect. The presence of Nərmin can only be explained if we formulate a narrative of “Atəş.” Purely from its sound, and not understanding any of the lyrics, we can visualize in the first stanza a tribe preparing for war. Whereas Ceyhun Zeynalov is playing the part of the tribal warlord, inspiring his men to do battle as the storm gathers above, Nərmin is the woman who privately exhorts them to conquer the enemy. Indeed, the vocal deliveries have a distinct open/closed duality to them. Zeynalov’s voice is all-conquering and omnipresent, with strong reverberation effects — Nərmin’s is private and cameral, spoken in the marital bed or behind the shed, a promise of marriage for the victorious soldier. The second stanza has Zeynalov’s raspy yells evocative of a commander who’s grown hoarse in the midst of battle, whereas Nərmin is acoustically distant, as if gazing wistfully across the steppe, praying to her strange gods for the return of her brave warrior. Protect the Land, in contrast, fails to tell a story, even though it tries to. Then again, System of a Down could never tell a story — only throw words together and see what sticks. 

Moving on to the realm of the visual, some of you young whippersnappers might not remember, but there was a time when we had something called music “videos,” where musicians would pair their music with visual presentations. This is a phenomenon of the television (a kind of Boomer YouTube controlled by Jews) era and music videos were themselves at one point considered an art form in and of themselves, although always ancillary to the music itself. We can therefore devote some space to analyzing the visuals presented to us in the two music videos. 

Let’s start with the most basic thing: light. The video for “Atəş” is bright, filmed on an open field in the daytime, contrasting the darker and colder colors of the Azerbaijani army’s uniforms and machinery. The video for “Protect the Land,” on the other hand, is dark, featuring closeups on faces in low and colored light. This may serve to evoke the unique color contrast of the Armenian tricolor flag (red, orange, and blue), but heroic it ain’t. The best — and best-lit — parts of the video are the landscape and panoramic shots of Armenian natural and cultural heritage. Now on to the subjects of the video. 

The “Atəş” music video depicts the performing band standing in an open field, surrounded by Azerbaijani military vehicles and equipment. They wear Azerbaijani uniforms and perform. This is a standard rock ‘n roll music video setup. There are some shots of soldiers engaging in drills, parades, and warfare, but by far the most memorable parts are the displays of artillery and rocket fire. There are more explosions per minute than a Michael Bay movie. The Azerbaijani army wants you to know of their great might. Of note is that the music video has taken great care to focus on the vocalists, Ceyhun Zeynalov and Nərmin Kərimbəyova. They perform with their bodies and faces as well as their voices. Their body language underscores the musical narrative mentioned some passages ago. Zeynalov throws his arms out to the side with great intensity, occupying as much space as possible in classic alpha male fashion, which is symbolic of the Azerbaijani desire for conquest of territory. Nərmin Kərimbəyova’s gesticulation is more personal, with hands stretched towards the camera, as if beckoning the viewer into heroism. The makeup team has also taken good care to doll her up — her skin is pure porcelain, contrasting Zeynalov’s crimson bulging neck muscles, her eyes deep black pools of Eastern mystery. Her full, puffed-out lips beckon to be kissed, and somehow manage to avoid the vulgarity of the protruding silicon lip unfortunately common in the Caucasus and Eastern Mediterranean. Even though she is in uniform, there’s nothing grotesque or unfeminine about her. Any red-blooded man would commit war crimes for her. 

Across the front lines, the music video for “Protect the Land” depicts catastrophic war footage, Armenian soldiers, dramatizations of Armenians putting on military uniforms, closeups of Armenians, and closeups of the band’s faces. If the point was to remind me that I’m not sure Armenians are white and how fucking ugly Daron Malakian is, job well done. The best part is the landscape and church photographs. I liked the montage of Armenians putting on military uniforms until they shoehorned an aggressively ugly schoolteacher with problem glasses putting on a military jacket in there. I get the idea of depicting a cross-section of Armenians to remind the soldiers what they’re fighting for, but the result is strangely demoralizing. Maybe System of a Down’s leftoid ideology is showing here, so they went for the aesthetic of the average Armenian. Maybe someone should have told them that the average person isn’t someone we like to look at, especially in closeup.

Do we want to see homely women and old people in a war song? The soldier at the front has no time for the petty lies of the civilian world. He lives in a borderland, lives and dies by his brotherhood with other soldiers. In the great terror of the war zone, the soldier should orient himself towards the highest, the heroic. This theoretical dictum translated to music video production means putting masculine men and attractive women in the forefront, as the Azeris did. 

What’s the relevance of this? Well, I’ve never read Norman Vincent Peale, but I’ve read a lot of James O’Meara on Norman Vincent Peale, so here’s the magickal answer: the Azeris won the war because they had the better song and better music video. They hyperstitioned themselves into victory with their high-testosterone heavy metal, whereas the Armenians poisoned themselves with victim mentality and promotion of ugly women. What you visualize yourself as, you become. The Azeris just wanted it more and visualized it better. 

Amusingly, this seems to be the dominant opinion among Russian military analysts as well, opposed to the standard Western take that contends that Azerbaijani material and technological superiority were the deciding factors, so make of that what you will. Now, I’m not the magick guy here at Counter-Currents, so I’ll let our resident warmage wrangle with that issue. 

I don’t know if the song made the victory, but I do know that the national will is behind both the song and the performance in the war. “Atəş” is overflowing with a will to destruction that is sorely lacking in “Protect the Land.” The Azeris were prepared to go to any lengths, to bear any hardship, their will was strong, and they were prepared to be monstrous in order to achieve their goals. That’s something to keep in mind for the future. There’s no real point in having nukes if you’re not ready to deploy them. No weapon, no tactic, no act in potentiality can exist “just for deterrence.” 

In my political career, I’m fond of pointing out that many of my country’s problems would be solved by ethnic cleansing. This is also true of white homelands. Many of my compatriots ask me to tone it down, claiming that it alienates normal people. I’m sure it does. Ethnic cleansing is an ugly thing and it’s never fully peaceful, consensual, or humane. Somebody, somewhere, is going to have to shoot a defiant widow, a pregnant woman, or even a 4-year-old child. And yet this must be on the table. We cannot hobble our struggle by being moralistic about the ugly business of interethnic conflict. Similarly, we mustn’t fall into the trap of believing we can defend our way to victory. Even if white ethnostates are to make a comeback, we cannot merely passively defend them against the anti-white onslaught. The old tenacity will have to be brought back, the willingness to destroy, to kill, to burn, to uproot peoples and shatter nations. We must reclaim the will to destruction.

Now, I don’t want this to be misinterpreted as a call to wignattery or crime. The will to destruction must be contained within the apparatus of the state; otherwise, it’s mere thuggery. Most people have the luxury of living without this burning fire within them, and God bless them for it. But at the high courts of the European states, such great will has to be cultivated, properly directed, and intensified [5] if our conflicts are to end in victory. 

The Azeris have shown that they have this will and their war propaganda demonstrates this. The Armenians have been found lacking. I should probably sympathize with them. They’re the other big spent force of history. I’m sure that Tigranes and Alexander are cringing together in heaven as they look on their pathetic descendants. 

But maybe the problem isn’t Armenians in Armenia. Let’s not forget that System of a Down are diaspora Armenians. The fact that they sing in English rather than Armenian, even when producing propaganda for Armenian military ends, shows us the decay that sets in the soul of a people when they’ve been diaspora for too long. They become weak, cowering courtesans, men of the purse, begging and scheming at foreign courts. Contrast that to Armenians in Armenia, who were considered the finest soldiers in the Soviet army. 

Maybe the real lesson is that whites cannot survive the loss of our homelands — at least not in a form we would deem worthy of survival. 

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