The War Of Art: Blasphemy and Propaganda Against The System

American journalist and musician Frank Godla will conduct an in-depth interview with Polish lawyer Małgorzata Ciuksza, representing Nergal, Nikan 'Siyanor' Khosravi of Confess and Sina Winter of From The Vastland. They will discuss living in a society with a constant fear of being accused of blasphemy and facing severe punishment for playing music. Expect a talk about freedom of expression, freedom of speech, religious oppression, and forbidden art.

Friday 23. April 01:00 PM

Małgorzata Ciuksza (PL)

Małgorzata Ciuksza is a polish lawyer, currently living in Italy - legal counsel, psychologist.

Representing Nergal (Behemoth) in his blasphemy cases since 2009. Poland has one of the world's highest numbers of blasphemy and insult laws. "For over a decade I have been persecuted and prosecuted at the hands of the Polish legal system. The time for capitulation is over," Nergal wrote on Twitter. His most recent conviction, in February 2021, is over a picture he posted on Facebook in September 2019 of him stepping on an image of the Virgin Mary. A judge in Warsaw, ordered Nergal to pay a fine of €3,340, but the singer is appealing against the conviction meaning the case will proceed to a full trial, according to Polish media. He faces a potential prison sentence of two years.

Nikan "Siyanor" Khosravi / Confess (IR)

Confess is a Groove/Hardcore/Nu Metal band from Tehran-Iran, located in Norway. Formed by Nikan Khosravi (A.K.A : “Siyanor [-13]”) in 2010. They released their second album “In Pursuit Of Dreams” in October 2015. After the release of this album the members got arrested by the revolutionary guard in Tehran and spend months in solitary confinement for being faced with multiple charges such as blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal record label, found a musical group with satanic content. The reason behind the arrestment was the content of the lyrics which are mainly sociopolitical. The district court sentenced them to 6 years of imprisonment. In November of 2017 Nikan moved to Turkey and around a year and a half later ICORN organisation contacted him. A few months later he got invitation to move to Norway for living and to keep continuing his career.

 

Confess released it’s first single after the arrestment from the new upcoming album on 9th November 2018. In July of 2019 appeal in the revolutionary court in Tehran announced the sentence; 12 years and 6 months in jail plus 74 lashes for Nikan. Appeal court added multiple charges to the first sentence for Nikan, such as Insulting to the president and supreme leader, and disturbing the public view. The second single track of the new upcoming album Revenge At All Costs was released in July 9th 2019. This song is called EVIN and it is an answer to the appeal court sentence. The lyrics is about the jail that guys were locked up at with the same name. Gladly this track also received lots of attentions and positive reviews from different corners.

Sina Winter / From the Vastland (IR)

Sina Winter is a black metal musician from Tehran/Iran living in Norway since 2014. Since black metal music is banned by the Iranian regime, he started his music career by releasing his albums through label companies abroad for almost 9 years. In 2010 he started his new band "From The Vastland" as an one man-band project which brought him an adventurous trip to Norway in 2013 to play his very first concert in one of the biggest extreme metal festivals "Inferno Metal Festival" in Oslo. It all happened when he also became one of the main characters in the award winning Norwegian documentary film about blackmetal called "Blackhearts". In January 2014 he moved to Norway as the first Safemuse's residence artist to continue his music career in Norway due to his risky situation in his homeland, especially after playing his show at Inferno festival and the attention he got from the media. After he moved to Norway, From The Vastland became a full member band, and now he works with known Norwegian musicians; Tjalve (Horizon Ablaze/Svartelder/Ex-Den Saakaldte/ Ex-1349) and Spektre (GaahlsWyrd/Horizon Ablaze) plus some other ones like Destructhor (Myrkskog/Ex-Morbid Angel,Zyklon), Vyl (Gorgoroth-Live/Ex-Keep of kalessin)... Up to now he has released 6 full length albums and one EP with "From the Vastland" and played at many festivals and events in Norway. In 2014 "From the Vastland" was also nominated for "Global Metal Band" at Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards.

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Interviewer: Frank Godla (US)

With over 17 years of experience in the music industry, Frank Godla has paved the way of online media with his popular website Metal Injection. Wearing many hats including co-owner, host, and content director, he’s constantly innovating the way we connect with artists around the world from emerging talent to household names. He’s received many accolades with Metal Injection over the years including a win at the 2012 MTV O Music Awards in the “Beyond The Blog”  category for his docu-series, On The Record. In 2013, LA Weekly named Metal Injection one of the ten best websites for heavy metal, praising its original video content, appearances of modern artists and humor articles. It has also been listed by Ditto Music as one of the twenty influential music sites that support independent and new artists.

 

As a touring artist himself, Godla is also the creator and organizer of the Slay AT Home festival, which began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting the best in underground arts as well as cover collaborations between renown artists, the free livestream runs every month in support of a new charity for each edition and has collectively earned several million views and over $200,000 in donations to date.

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