Tag Archives | Black Metal

Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult

FRONT COVER FINAL_printBlack metal is fast, loud, theatrical, angry, and murderous — both musically and in the scene that surrounds it.

If you dig Black Metal, or if you like to read about things odd and dark, check out Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult by Dayal Patterson. Patterson is an expert on the scene and is the man behind Cult Never Dies. You can check out his store here.

My interview with him is below.

For the uninitiated, what constitutes Black Metal?

Well that’s a question that I’ve been exploring over two full-length books – not least because there is a lot of disagreement about its definition within the scene. So that’s a tough question! What is fairly safe to say is that black metal is one of the most extreme, ambitious, and varied forms of heavy metal… and one might argue contemporary music in general. It was born in the early eighties but reinvented itself around 1990/1991 and has continued to explode in terms of activity and popularity since then, with bands and scenes existing in almost every territory you could care to mention.Read the rest

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Al-Namrood album artwork

Way More Metal Than You Are.

Do you know what’s totally metal? Being in a Black Metal band, but being unable to perform. Because if you do play a gig, you could wind up with your head chopped off.

That’s what the metal lifestyle is like in Saudia Arabia, as this Vice interview with ‘Mephisto’  from Black Metal band Al-Namrood attests. Read on, headbangers:

Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.

That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.

With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed.

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On the Romantic Era Roots of Black Metal

Pic: Marieke Kuijjer (CC)

Pic: Marieke Kuijjer (CC)

I’ve never been a fan of black metal (the cookie monster vocals are a definite barrier), but this article from The New Inquiry has given me a new perspective on one of heavy music’s most outré subgenres. In “Black Metal is Sublime,” author Adrian Van Young makes the case for black metal’s roots in the Romantic Era of the early 19th century:

Via The New Inquiry:

Aesthetically, artistically, and ideologically, Black Metal and Romanticism are two sides of the same scuffed coin. Indeed, right down to the cherry-pit cleft in his chin, Hunt-Hendrix—who has written an 11-page aesthetics manifesto called “Transcendental Black Metal”—is a ringer for none other than Lord Byron, the 19th century bastion of what the poet Robert Southey called the “Satanic school” of verse. The Courier judged Byron as having “a brain from heaven and a heart from hell”—someone who “seems to have lived only that the world might learn from his example how worthless and how pernicious a thing is genius, when divorced from religion, from morals and from humanity.”

Keep reading at The New Inquiry.Read the rest

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The Terror Of Stagnation: Gaahl Of Wardruna Interviewed

via The Quietus Gaahl_1369834444_crop_550x498

Dayal Patterson speaks to the enigmatic and iconoclastic Gaahl about the Runes, the difficulties of creativity and why he actually likes open-mindedness

With the majority of its key protagonists operating under pseudonyms and layers of monochromatic face paint – not to mention working within a genre that is inherently esoteric, fiercely independent and often vehemently opposed to mainstream exposure – it’s not surprising that black metal produces very few household names. Indeed, even within the parameters of the wider metal community only a handful of participants have really become anything close to recognisable – Varg Vikernes of Burzum for example, those larger-than-life characters from Immortal and, if we’re pushing the definition of ‘black metal’, perhaps the ever-provocative Dani from Cradle Of Filth.

Vocalist, clothes designer and occasional actor Kristian ‘Gaahl’ Espedal may not be likely to grace the covers of Q, NME, or even Metal Hammer any time soon, but there’s no doubt that his profile has been steadily on the ascent during the last decade.

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Thank You, Professor, That Was Putrid

Ben Ratliff focuses on Black Metal for the New York Times:

The bald, beefy moderator, Niall Scott of the University of Central Lancashire, approached the podium in darkness. “It is my revolting pleasure,” he susurrated, pulling on his long goatee, “to introduce Professor Erik Butler, who will present his paper ‘The Counter-Reformation in Stone and Metal: Spiritual Substances.’ ”

And Mr. Butler, an assistant professor of German studies at Emory University, talked about black-metal music — in its second-wave, largely Norwegian form — as a cryptic expression of Roman Catholicism. He started with the 16th-century Council of Trent and the early modern church. He quoted lyrics from the face-painted, early-1990s Norwegian black-metal bands Gorgoroth and Immortal; he framed black metal as respecting some of rock’s orthodoxies, as opposed to the heresies of disco and punk; and he spoke of black metal’s preoccupation with “the abiding and transcendent: stone, mountain, moon.”

You can imagine several orders of hostility toward “Hideous Gnosis,” a six-hour theory symposium on black-metal music that commenced on Saturday afternoon at Public Assembly, a bar and nightclub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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