Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Italy's heavy metal brother (+video)

Dressed in his traditional brown robe, sandals and twirling the rope around his waist, 62-year old Friar Cesare Bonizzi is no ordinary heavy metal rocker. (Click on highlighted text to see article)

But as guitarists around him grind out heavy notes, the long-white-bearded Capuchin, a former missionary in Ivory Coast, has no qualms bobbing his head and shouting lyrics about alcohol, sex, tobacco and life in general into his microphone.

Describing himself as a "preacher-singer", Bonizzi has been singing for over a decade, and last month wowed heavy metal fans at Italy's Gods of Metal festival, where he performed with his band Fratello Metallo (Metal Brother) alongside groups such as Iron Maiden.

"About 14-15 years ago, I went to a Metallica concert and fell in love with heavy metal after I saw all the energy there," Bonizzi said after a rehearsal in a Milan recording studio. "I find (heavy metal) the most energetic, the most alive music."

A member of the Catholic Capuchin order in Milan, Bonizzi began singing heavy metal after having first started with what he calls "light music with slight rock influence".

This month punk label Tre Accordi Records, whose website offers titles including Life Stinks of Human Beings by The Valentines, released his second heavy metal album Misteri, or mysteries, inspired by a group of southern Italian women who sang about Jesus' mother Mary.

Bonizzi, whose car even has a poster of his album and "preacher-singer" scrawled on the side, is not the only musical monk enjoying fame.

In Austria, Cistercian monks released an album of Gregorian chants on the same record label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem.

Under the picture of our Heavy Metal Monkster make sure to link to Heavy metal monk wows fans to get a dose of his music.

All I got to ask is did he have to be a Franciscan?

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