A few weeks ago, on Independence Day, Arizona-based indigenous black metal trio ZURG made their existence known to the world at large by publishing their four-song demo on Bandcamp. Called Decolonizing Black Metal, ZURG’s demo takes an idea born thirty years ago and brings it to life with fire and righteous hatred. If black metal exists in opposition of the whitewashing Christan horde then ZURG and their demo represent one of the purest manifestations of that purpose. Stripped-down to its raw elements, ZURG’s approach to black metal is bluntly simple and incisively effective. Inspired by black metal’s deepest roots, and fueled by ancestral rage, Decolonizing Black Metal is some of the truest black metal you’ve ever heard.
“All three of us are Native American/indigenous,” Funeral, ZURG’s vocalist, tell us. “Foul and [I] are Apache and Pima so [we] have family in Whiteriver and Salt River, Arizona. Ritual grew up with Mexican parents. He knows he’s indigenous but doesn’t know which tribe. He has family in Mexico City and Oaxaca, the biggest tribes there are Aztec and Zapotec.”
Funeral goes on to explain how ZURG came to be and how their indigenous heritage played a major role in what kind of black metal they would end up playing. “we noticed there was a lack on the indigenous side of black metal and we wanted to add on to it, in hopes of more bands becoming noticed. Our mission is to show that we are fighting back against a white-dominated genre with our style of black metal, just like other indigenous are doing in real life. We’ve been wanting to start a band that speaks on the different things that the Natives had and are currently going through,” he says.
Decolonizing Black Metal
According to Funeral, Foul, Ritual and himself are all in other bands together. What other bands he never mentions. But around the time they started working on ZURG, he says: “We were listening to a lot of Darkthrone and Burzum. It really helped shape the song writing process [on Decolonizing Black Metal] and how it sounds.”
Funeral describes ZURG’s writing and recording process as such: “We knew what sound we wanted and we knew the style we wanted to go for, so we sat down, took about 2 weeks to crank them out. We recorded in my room with one mic and a shitty laptop over the course [of] 3 weeks recording on and off until we finally got the tracks done.”
When it came time for band pictures, Funeral says: “We went to an abandoned house and after some exploring we found a spot we liked and took the pictures.”
According to Funeral, the band are already at work on new material. “We wrote Decolonizing Black Metal and we’re starting the next release for ZURG.” Looking forward, Funeral says: “We might be open to playing some shows and doing a few things with other bands.”
And for the most important question . . . As to whether or not the demo will ever see physical manifestion, Funeral says, “We’re working on getting tapes done and working on merch in the hopes of releasing them soon so keep an eye out.” Oh we will most definitely keep an eye out. Because, honestly, this is one of the most exciting demos to come out in all the time we’ve been doing Demo:listen.
ZURG say in closing: “Shout out to all the metal bands across ndn country. We hope everybody pays attention to Arizona because there is a lot of face ripping bands that are doing big things.”