A Lost Forgotten Sad Spirit: A Brief Look At The Definition And History Of Black Metal


Written by: V01d
Published: 05.12.2014


This article is written with the intentions of shedding some (un)light on my all time favorite sub genre. This is not meant to be flashy or entertaining reading. For those new to the genre, as well as aficionados alike, take away from this what you will.


Black metal is a term that is bandied about, parodied, laughed at, extolled, and most of all, misunderstood. To be christened as a black metal band, it seems one has to go no further than to incorporate blast beats, tremolo riffs, shrieked vocals, and "bad" production values. However, there is a distinction in the black metal genre that, unlike other extreme metal sub genres, the ideology takes precedence over the music. In order to fully grasp what this archaic sub genre stands for, and is opposed to, one must take a careful look at the beginnings of this reactionary movement. A lot of people seem to discredit some of the older bands that laid the very foundation of this movement in the first place. Likewise, there are bands nowadays (and even some back then) that have little to nothing in common with the original ideology or movement, only possessing the superficial aspects of something they were never truly a part of.


Black metal was unceremoniously spat into existence in the early 1980's. The term "black metal" was coined by the NWOBHM Newcastle trio, Venom, which is a double entendre and a play on black magick. Tame by today's standards, Venom represented the true beginnings of black metal, and arguably, extreme metal as a whole. What many don't realize is, at the time, there was nothing quite like it. They had it all, the raw and abrasive production, oppressive atmosphere, intense playing style, and Satanic themes and aesthetics. They truly did set the groundwork for what was to come. Other acts, such as Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Hellhammer, Sodom, and Bathory all displayed these conjoined themes, being a part of the same movement, while all sounding vastly distinct from one another. All were focused on portraying a dark atmosphere and Satanic themes. Though whether few, if any, of these bands took those themes seriously or not was not so much a pertinent or relevant factor when it came to categorizing this early anti-movement. These common themes came to be the determinant factor on what was or was not black metal, when the appellation came to be more well known. Even though the debate rages on as to whether or not Bathory was influenced by Venom, it is certain that Bathory took the aforementioned band's style of music to its logical conclusion, setting a template of sorts for the oncoming second wave.


Taking into account the second wave of black metal, Mayhem was unique in the sense that they were also, technically, a first wave band. What Euronymous (Øystein Aarseth) did in the late 80's/early 90's was take a somewhat loose term, craft it into a recognizable genre, and give that genre its ideology and cohesion. This whole movement was in aversion to the growing trends within death metal, at the time. The waning tide of death metal of the early 90's was on its way to becoming trendy and modernized, largely due to the fact that bands were abandoning the very essence of what made death metal what it was: a monstrously oppressive atmosphere and themes of death, violence, and gore. Death metal bands in Scandinavia sought out Tomas Skogsberg's Studio Sunlight for the same sort of production Entombed's Left Hand Path had, thus rendering most early Swedish death metal recordings with similar production. Right here in my home state of Florida, death metal bands flocked to Morrisound Studios (even some from abroad) in Tampa, only to be rendered toothless by the godawful production job of one Scott Burns, who sought to modernize what was intended to be raw and oppressive.


All of this is what inspired Euronymous to bring what was then extreme metal back to its primitive roots. The second wave of black metal was a reactionary movement against the growing trends and taming of death and thrash metal. Most people fail to realize that this was, in a sense, pure anti-music, much like the emergence of punk. The dawning of this new wave of black metal was intended to be ugly, unapproachable, anti-mainstream, anti-trend. Yes, the production for albums like A Blaze In The Northern Sky and Filosofem were intended to have lo-fi production values. No, it's not because the early bands couldn't afford a better studio, or were trying to cover up their supposed lackluster playing. For proof of this, look no further than Soulside Journey. After Darkthrone recorded A Blaze In The Northern Sky, their record label, Peaceville, threatened to not release the album unless it was remixed. Fenriz stated that this was exactly how he wanted the album to sound. Cold, harsh, minimalistic, primitive. The guitars are the dominant instrument, the drums are just there to drive the song along, lower in the mix. Black metal is/was never drum or vocal based; it is/was always about the guitars, which should create a dark, somber, and oppressive atmosphere. That is how all of the second wave classics were recorded, and is a defining trait for black metal. What some people do not take into account is the difference between "bad" production, and a raw production that suits the music and is conducive to the atmosphere being created. To me, "bad production" is any production that is ill suited for the type of music in question. For instance, take some of Leviathan's demo material from Verräter. Compare the general guitar sound of those demos to something like Pentagram. One of them still has teeth.


Saying "I love black metal besides all the raw and Satanic stuff" is like saying you're a Christian, except you don't believe in God and don't follow Christ. They then go on to name drop bands like Deafheaven (an indie/post rock/screamo band with blastbeats and beautiful major chord melodies), Agalloch, later Enslaved, or some other genre blending group that has nothing to do with the essence of what black metal truly is: Satanic, ugly, and dark. For those familiar with the stories of early 90's Mayhem live shows, both Dead (Per Yngve Ohlin) and Euronymous have stated in interviews that they intended to drive the "trendies" out of the venues they were performing at by throwing rotten meat/pig heads into the crowd. This was music intended for a select group of people. Taking all of this into account, one can now fully understand the photo of Scott Burns within the booklet of Deathcrush "No mosh/No trends/No fun/No core".


Musically, the tremolo picked riffing style synonymous with the second wave was developed by Euronymous and Snorre Ruch of the band Thorns. Rather than bastardize a developing genre by mixing it with other trends and genres in the name of "progression", Euronymous, Fenriz, Nocturno Culto, Abbath, and others sought to build upon what came before, building upon the strengths of the 80's bands and taking the music to its logical conclusion. Now, I myself enjoy a lot of modern "black metal" bands, however, I also understand the disdain that is heaped upon them by so-called elitists when these new bands claim that they are a part of something they are truly not. Not intending to get into the church burnings or murders that occurred throughout the 90's, it is my opinion that black metal died with the true visionaries of the sub genre, Dead and Euronymous. I say this, only because, once their influence was swept away, even the early 90's bands moved onto other things, some even abandoning black metal altogether, like Emperor and Enslaved (though one can argue said bands may have moved on anyhow). Some modern bands still attempt to carry the old flame though, this is not in reference to the Darkclones out there who only try to emulate their favorite Norwegian bands without ever looking into where the 90's bands got their influences from. Most of these modern "kvlt" bands do nothing other than mass produce albums of lifeless, uninspired riffs that do nothing to add or improve upon the second wave sound, let alone add to the legacy of some of the first wave bands like Venom or Bathory. Notwithstanding, there is tons of great music in this day and age, black metal or not, some of which still lies undiscovered...


This article is written for the the people who are truly passionate about the genre, what once was. I welcome all opposing and dissenting views, as well as suggestions to add to the article, or anything I may have not covered in depth.



 


Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 27   Visited by: 86 users
06.12.2014 - 18:00
Susan
Smeghead
Excellent article. So many of these "histories" are just endless lists of band names and album names. This has real content. Thank you!

I learned a few things reading this and I agree with some things, though I strongly disagree that black metal died with the true visionaries of the sub genre. They created a living thing, which grows and inspires musicians all over the world. Many "underground" black metal bands are very true to what the founding fathers laid out, while other bands take those same tropes and create new spawning beasts. Just like when you have a child you can't predict or control what type of adult they'll become, the black metal baby birthed by the "visionaries" you mentioned, is unstoppable.
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"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
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06.12.2014 - 20:33
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Definitely an interesting article. You bring up a few points which could be controversial, which is always a good thing. I personally don't agree completely in your statement that "Saying "I love black metal besides all the raw and Satanic stuff" is like saying you're a Christian, except you don't believe in God and don't follow Christ". I Definitely believe that black metal is a stylistic movement rather than a social one, although your argument is very well founded. Some black metal can be raw, but not have any connections to Satanism (Paysage d'Hiver), while some of the Satanic stuff can be very overproduced (Azarath, Watain, Dark Funeral, etc...). Still, a very well written article, and I hope you write some more in the future!
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06.12.2014 - 21:48
V01d
Written by Susan on 06.12.2014 at 18:00

Excellent article. So many of these "histories" are just endless lists of band names and album names. This has real content. Thank you!

I learned a few things reading this and I agree with some things, though I strongly disagree that black metal died with the true visionaries of the sub genre. They created a living thing, which grows and inspires musicians all over the world. Many "underground" black metal bands are very true to what the founding fathers laid out, while other bands take those same tropes and create new spawning beasts. Just like when you have a child you can't predict or control what type of adult they'll become, the black metal baby birthed by the "visionaries" you mentioned, is unstoppable.


Thank you!

Looking back since I wrote this article, I definitely agree with you. Perhaps I should have expanded on what was said about black metal "dying" in the early 90's. Black metal as what was known at the time, as well as the vision of both Euronymous and Dead, was pretty much snuffed out.

Let's take a band like Taake for instance. Hoest prides himself on creating "True Norwegian Black Metal". I really enjoy Taake's music, though I think this to be a bit of a misnomer. The reason being is that Taake has little to absolutely nothing in common with the 90's classic releases, lyrically or musically. The likes of Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal (early), Darkthrone, and Gorgoroth never built musical foundations on beautiful or welcoming melodies or having the festive, almost uplifting/welcoming songwriting that Taake has. I just see Taake as one of many bands that pride themselves on being something they are really not a part of, though they use the classic aesthetic. I would group Taake's music more along with many "viking" or folk releases that it seems to have much more in common with. As much as I enjoy Taake's music for what it is, Taake is black metal for people who hate black metal. Hoest pretty much took the general aesthetic of black metal (buzzsaw tremolo riffing, blastbeats, high screams), gutted it, took out all that was (musically) offensive, ugly, dark, unsettling, minimalistic, unnattractive etc etc. about it, polished it, and created a clever new product to ride the coattails of something almost completely unrelated. I know these are all very subjective terms, however, whether people felt that way about black metal or not is irrelevant; that is what black metal always strived to be. I think Taake is a very good example of one band out of many that strive to make the genre as "pretty" as it can be, which is pretty much everything that the movement is/was against. Imagine an old school/anarchist punk band with pretty melodies and a welcoming sound. One could argue that such a thing is no longer punk at all; it has completely missed the point and lost the meaning. Just to clarify, it's not a matter of "I don't like it if it's not black metal", it's a matter of "don't call yourself something that you're not". Some people see this sort of thing as very trivial, which I can completely understand. It's just something I'm passionate about.

Eschewing my puritanical sentiments and going back to your earlier point, the analogy about having a kid, I think that's absolutely right. In several interviews Fenriz has talked about the genre in a very similar way, pretty much stating that they (the second wave musicians) created the form of what black metal identified as, the world took notice, and now it is out of the creator's hands. Personally, I'm happy it turned out this way, even though a lot of the newer bands lost sight of the original intentions of the movement along the way and just wanted the general aesthetic of black metal for whatever personal reasons to the musician.

I'm happy it turned out this way because nowadays, I think metal in general is seeing the best days of its life. So many varied and unconventional releases of whatever genre that are really pushing the envelope in different ways. The kid has now grown up and now the kid decides what it wants to be, no longer under the traditionalist influence of its strict parents. I think your analogy is a wonderful way of putting it.

In my opinion, a lot of today's bands (many not even black metal) are keeping the anti-music sentiment and pushing it to hitherto unheard of territories.
Artists such as Lord Mantis, Coffinworm and a lot of these sludge acts are really creating some bludgeoning, grotesque and unattractive (in a good way) stuff. Artists such as Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord are really pushing the envelope of the extremities of music in general, without sacrificing what makes them extreme and bizarre. Mories and his various projects deserve special mention as well, as well as all others making similar types of music that I haven't heard or discovered yet.

I guess it's not so much my love for black metal in and of itself, it's my love for any form of "anti", "against the grain", or "impenetrable" types of music that made me love black metal as it was when it started to get serious in the early 90's. A lot of the wind has been taken out of black metal's sails in that particular regard, since then.
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06.12.2014 - 21:58
V01d
Written by Alex F on 06.12.2014 at 20:33

Definitely an interesting article. You bring up a few points which could be controversial, which is always a good thing. I personally don't agree completely in your statement that "Saying "I love black metal besides all the raw and Satanic stuff" is like saying you're a Christian, except you don't believe in God and don't follow Christ". I Definitely believe that black metal is a stylistic movement rather than a social one, although your argument is very well founded. Some black metal can be raw, but not have any connections to Satanism (Paysage d'Hiver), while some of the Satanic stuff can be very overproduced (Azarath, Watain, Dark Funeral, etc...). Still, a very well written article, and I hope you write some more in the future!


Thanks man! I'm very happy you enjoyed the article.

Saying that black metal is more of a stylistic movement is the most crippling blow to the whole idea of black metal being more of an ideological movement, I think. I can't say that Azarath, Watain, Dark Funeral and the like *aren't* black metal because they have good sound and are "bigger" bands, because if I did, I would have to apply that same argument to a lot of the first wave acts, some of which were also quite big. Likewise, if Paysage d'Hiver can't be called black metal, then neither can Immortal. This is a very good perspective man, I would love for you to elaborate further on the idea of black metal being more of a stylistic movement.
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06.12.2014 - 22:27
MisfitMel
Awesome read and tons of delicious information that will leave me thinking upon these things... I agree with many points made in this article, and also some great points were made below. Ultimately, I am thankful for the 1st wave of black metal which is the foundation to the tree of musical styles that grew out of those sounds and fusion of previous stylistic ideas. The most clear parallel that can be drawn is that whenever a movement happens, by the time people start following, the movement is already corrupted. This is true of the art world as well. By the time something starts "trending", the potency of the initial idea is tarnished and dispersed like thoughts through the wind... But like art, or any other movement, people will always come back to those ideas and re-examine them and test them out for themselves, and maybe add something by reinventing and expanding on those ideas. This can be seen more than ever now, with so many metal artists going back in time and taking things from the classics, like Black Sabbath as was mentioned. Black Sabbath being responsible for countless levels of inspiration from stoner rock to Funeral doom, etc. New music being created with vintage textures fused with modern technology... Also I think the world is a different place now, and thus the people in the world are reflecting those ideas that are invading through the atmosphere. There are more Metal fusion styles now than there ever has been in history and that is really exciting. It's like making your own mythological creatures.. Part lion, part snake, part bat, Ah ha, A Manticore is born!
However, I think that the purity of an idea such as the ideals of black metal are extremely important and are essential to keeping the true spirit of the music alive. If Euronymous was resurrected today, I bet he would be pissed off about what happened to the ideals that he held so sacredly. At the same time, I think he might be proud of his legacy and the impact that the Norwegian Bands made.
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08.12.2014 - 20:30
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
"Saying "I love black metal besides all the raw and Satanic stuff" is like saying you're a Christian, except you don't believe in God and don't follow Christ. They then go on to name drop bands like Deafheaven (an indie/post rock/screamo band with blastbeats and beautiful major chord melodies), Agalloch, later Enslaved, or some other genre blending group that has nothing to do with the essence of what black metal truly is: Satanic, ugly, and dark."

Sorry, but I must completely disagree with this statement. Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives. The reason that manifested itself in anti-Christianity and Satanic themes is probably just because Christian thought is so dominant and morally corrupt that that was the obvious first target. But, as you can see today, that idea of "challenge conventions and come up with your own values" has diversified itself into many different forms.

Wolves In The Throne Room for example is essentially celebrating a pantheistic worldview that it feels has been lost from society in the present day, Aaron Weaver once even said that "I believe black metal is an artistic movement that is critiquing modernity and saying that the modern world is missing something," which I believe is a totally on point statement. It's funny to me that sometimes people call any BM that's really off the wall or not Satanically themed as "indie" or "hipster," like it's a degrading term. Black metal to me founded itself upon principles of diversity and challenging norms, so to in turn say that "if your black metal isn't doing this it's not black metal" is just as fundamentalist and ignorant as some of the Christianity the genre is so hell bent against. In short, a very flawed and somewhat hypocritical way of looking at it.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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08.12.2014 - 20:47
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Alex F on 06.12.2014 at 20:33

I Definitely believe that black metal is a stylistic movement rather than a social one, although your argument is very well founded.

I actually agree that it's more social/ideological than stylistically driven, but I think this guy is off point on in what regard though. It's about challenging the conventional in general, not just in terms of combatting Christianity and being dark and ugly, but in a very grand, macrocosmic scale.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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08.12.2014 - 20:57
Jaeryd
Nihil's Maw
Written by Apothecary on 08.12.2014 at 20:30

Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives. The reason that manifested itself in anti-Christianity and Satanic themes is probably just because Christian thought is so dominant and morally corrupt that that was the obvious first target. But, as you can see today, that idea of "challenge conventions and come up with your own values" has diversified itself into many different forms.

...It's funny to me that sometimes people call any BM that's really off the wall or not Satanically themed as "indie" or "hipster," like it's a degrading term. Black metal to me founded itself upon principles of diversity and challenging norms, so to in turn say that "if your black metal isn't doing this it's not black metal" is just as fundamentalist and ignorant as some of the Christianity the genre is so hell bent against. In short, a very flawed and somewhat hypocritical way of looking at it.

I fully agree with this here. Black metal may have started as an ideological movement, but, like anything else, it has changed and evolved, and it is more of a stylistic movement. There is, however, still an ideology present with black metal, and I believe that it is as you said. On the whole, it's not about specifically being Satanic, it's about saying "fuck you" to social norms, and using a certain sound style to do so. If every band conformed to the older, arbitrarily-set boundaries of black metal just because they were told to, that wouldn't be any better than the way the rest of society mindlessly conforms to social norms.

I still appreciated this article, and thought it very informative. I just that the author's opinion of what constitutes true black metal is a bit off.
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08.12.2014 - 21:36
V01d
Written by Apothecary on 08.12.2014 at 20:30

"Saying "I love black metal besides all the raw and Satanic stuff" is like saying you're a Christian, except you don't believe in God and don't follow Christ. They then go on to name drop bands like Deafheaven (an indie/post rock/screamo band with blastbeats and beautiful major chord melodies), Agalloch, later Enslaved, or some other genre blending group that has nothing to do with the essence of what black metal truly is: Satanic, ugly, and dark."

Sorry, but I must completely disagree with this statement. Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives. The reason that manifested itself in anti-Christianity and Satanic themes is probably just because Christian thought is so dominant and morally corrupt that that was the obvious first target. But, as you can see today, that idea of "challenge conventions and come up with your own values" has diversified itself into many different forms.

Wolves In The Throne Room for example is essentially celebrating a pantheistic worldview that it feels has been lost from society in the present day, Aaron Weaver once even said that "I believe black metal is an artistic movement that is critiquing modernity and saying that the modern world is missing something," which I believe is a totally on point statement. It's funny to me that sometimes people call any BM that's really off the wall or not Satanically themed as "indie" or "hipster," like it's a degrading term. Black metal to me founded itself upon principles of diversity and challenging norms, so to in turn say that "if your black metal isn't doing this it's not black metal" is just as fundamentalist and ignorant as some of the Christianity the genre is so hell bent against. In short, a very flawed and somewhat hypocritical way of looking at it.



Thank you for reading.

I can see why you would be led to feel that way, considering the sprawling Frankenstein genre that black metal has now become. As I said above in my response to Susan, people (like the Weaver bros.) are just using black metal as an aesthetic touch for their own personal rebellion, rather than having in common any core ideals of the initial movement. Like you and many other said: it has evolved, as any genre is wont to do.

As far as that particular statement you disagreed with, you are more or less disagreeing with Euronymous, Dead, Fenriz, Infernus, etc. etc. who founded the genre's core ideals. The term black metal is a play on the word black magick. That is why bands such as Venom, Mercyful Fate, Possessed, etc. were labeled black metal. The material was black, in the occult sense. Black metal was founded on Satanism, not personal revolutions. Let it be noted that I, personally, am against the frame of thought that "it has to be satanic to be black metal". I am just relaying the subgenre's history is all. For most modern black metal bands, they are aware that satanism, raw production, ugly guitar tone etc. aren't socially acceptable, so they water down the subgenre to make it as such. Black metal was in rebellion *specifically* to the growing fads within the death metal scene, the second wave sought to bring extreme metal back to its primitive roots. Making black metal that is more relatable, warm, polished, what have you is pretty much undoing everything black metal initially strived to be, according to the opinions (not necessarily mine) of the founders of the second wave bands.

In defense of your argument, a case can be made with artists such as Burzum, Immortal, and even Enslaved, who didn't deal with satanic themes at all. They used the black metal aesthetic much in the same way as Wolves in the Throne Room did, for personal reasons to the musicians. Also, those artists preferred to not be called black metal in the beginning, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I believe that is the case you're making, which I agree with. I'll take Wolves over mid period Gorgoroth any day In my opinion, I think the subgenre is much better off because of that.

What you said here:

"Sorry, but I must completely disagree with this statement. Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives. The reason that manifested itself in anti-Christianity and Satanic themes is probably just because Christian thought is so dominant and morally corrupt that that was the obvious first target. But, as you can see today, that idea of "challenge conventions and come up with your own values" has diversified itself into many different forms."

I think is the best thing to happen to black metal. So in a strange way we agree.
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08.12.2014 - 22:41
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by V01d on 08.12.2014 at 21:36

As I said above in my response to Susan, people (like the Weaver bros.) are just using black metal as an aesthetic touch for their own personal rebellion, rather than having in common any core ideals of the initial movement. Like you and many other said: it has evolved, as any genre is wont to do.

As far as that particular statement you disagreed with, you are more or less disagreeing with Euronymous, Dead, Fenriz, Infernus, etc. etc. who founded the genre's core ideals.

I don't really know if it's for their personal rebellion or not, as that other guy who replied to me said, it's more so critiquing social norms on a general level than critiquing just one thing in specific. Who cares if someone disagrees with the genre's founders? I think a sense of re-interpretation, or evolution, is fundamental to any genre. If all BM bands just worshiped Dead, Euronymous, Fenriz, etc. and what they did musically the genre would lose its momentum, become stagnant, and eventually die out.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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08.12.2014 - 22:49
V01d
Written by Apothecary on 08.12.2014 at 22:41

Written by V01d on 08.12.2014 at 21:36

As I said above in my response to Susan, people (like the Weaver bros.) are just using black metal as an aesthetic touch for their own personal rebellion, rather than having in common any core ideals of the initial movement. Like you and many other said: it has evolved, as any genre is wont to do.

As far as that particular statement you disagreed with, you are more or less disagreeing with Euronymous, Dead, Fenriz, Infernus, etc. etc. who founded the genre's core ideals.

I don't really know if it's for their personal rebellion or not, as that other guy who replied to me said, it's more so critiquing social norms on a general level than critiquing just one thing in specific. Who cares if someone disagrees with the genre's founders? I think a sense of re-interpretation, or evolution, is fundamental to any genre. If all BM bands just worshiped Dead, Euronymous, Fenriz, etc. and what they did musically the genre would lose its momentum, become stagnant, and eventually die out.


I think this is absolutely correct. I think that some of the founders (Euronymous in particular) were some of the biggest hypocrites ideologically and philosophically. Euronymous has stated in many of his early interviews that "Satanism is a religion" and that other bands in the scene would do and think as he "told them to", thus all the empty death threats and scare tactics. Black metal during that era was an idea, and that idea has become an institution, like you said, as fundamental as the Christian beliefs they sought to oppress. I don't agree with the juvenile views of those characters, but I'm sure we can understand why they did what they did and why they were so impassioned. To many, that second wave style become utterly stagnant already by the mid to late 90's and thankfully, new bands sprung up and old bands sought new plateaus.
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09.12.2014 - 03:53
mz
All I know is that I heavily enjoy black metal these days and fucking hate Satanism and personally find it as offensive as, let's say, racism. Call me close minded but I really cant stand it.
I could never get into black metal if the were only 2nd wave bands and darkclowns. Thanks god this sort of BM is dying out it seem
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Giving my ears a rest from music.
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09.12.2014 - 04:18
V01d
Written by mz on 09.12.2014 at 03:53

All I know is that I heavily enjoy black metal these days and fucking hate Satanism and personally find it as offensive as, let's say, racism. Call me close minded but I really cant stand it.
I could never get into black metal if the were only 2nd wave bands and darkclowns. Thanks god this sort of BM is dying out it seem


Hey man, watch it In all seriousness though, I really do love all the different directions bm seems to be taking nowadays and for the past decade or so.
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09.12.2014 - 16:19
MolochAngst
Evolve or die. This is an universal rule. If you want to hear the same BM sound over and over again, fine, there are enough bands who keep repeating this exact pattern. But thankfully there are Bands like Deathspell Omega who drive the whole thing further. As for BM itself: I think people mystify the whole thing too much for what it is and the whole Satanistic ideology thing is thank fuck vanishing or transforming into something more mature.
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09.12.2014 - 16:44
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by MolochAngst on 09.12.2014 at 16:19

Evolve or die. This is an universal rule.

Indeed. Why do you think glam isn't really around anymore?
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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09.12.2014 - 18:13
V01d
Written by MolochAngst on 09.12.2014 at 16:19

Evolve or die. This is an universal rule. If you want to hear the same BM sound over and over again, fine, there are enough bands who keep repeating this exact pattern. But thankfully there are Bands like Deathspell Omega who drive the whole thing further. As for BM itself: I think people mystify the whole thing too much for what it is and the whole Satanistic ideology thing is thank fuck vanishing or transforming into something more mature.


I agree man. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord are my favorites within the black metal genre.
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10.12.2014 - 12:23
MolochAngst
Written by Apothecary on 09.12.2014 at 16:44

Written by MolochAngst on 09.12.2014 at 16:19

Evolve or die. This is an universal rule.

Indeed. Why do you think glam isn't really around anymore?


hehehe yeah thank fuck for that. The thing is: another universal rule states, that history always repeats. So i think there is a good chance that the glittery Spandex Army will return
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10.12.2014 - 12:30
MolochAngst
Written by V01d on 09.12.2014 at 18:13

Written by MolochAngst on 09.12.2014 at 16:19

Evolve or die. This is an universal rule. If you want to hear the same BM sound over and over again, fine, there are enough bands who keep repeating this exact pattern. But thankfully there are Bands like Deathspell Omega who drive the whole thing further. As for BM itself: I think people mystify the whole thing too much for what it is and the whole Satanistic ideology thing is thank fuck vanishing or transforming into something more mature.


I agree man. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord are my favorites within the black metal genre.


Aye. I generally like bands that are not scared to grow. Sometimes i find myself enjoying the hell out of albums, that the very fanbase of the band in question hates like the pest. Eg. Mayhems Chimera. I think its one of the most underrated albums of all time. To me its a milestone in black metal and Blasphemers Magnum Opus.
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10.12.2014 - 18:47
V01d
Written by MolochAngst on 10.12.2014 at 12:30

Written by V01d on 09.12.2014 at 18:13

Written by MolochAngst on 09.12.2014 at 16:19

Evolve or die. This is an universal rule. If you want to hear the same BM sound over and over again, fine, there are enough bands who keep repeating this exact pattern. But thankfully there are Bands like Deathspell Omega who drive the whole thing further. As for BM itself: I think people mystify the whole thing too much for what it is and the whole Satanistic ideology thing is thank fuck vanishing or transforming into something more mature.


I agree man. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord are my favorites within the black metal genre.


Aye. I generally like bands that are not scared to grow. Sometimes i find myself enjoying the hell out of albums, that the very fanbase of the band in question hates like the pest. Eg. Mayhems Chimera. I think its one of the most underrated albums of all time. To me its a milestone in black metal and Blasphemers Magnum Opus.


What I hate about the black metal scene, is all of the browbeating people do to one another just because a particular band or bands someone else likes isn't "trve" or "kvlt" enough or some such nonsense. I won't hide it, I love all of the minimalism and lo fidelity (even a small amount of certain ideologies) of early 90's black metal in all of its satanic glory However, I love new and experimental bands just as much, if not more sometimes. Mayhem is quite a sensitive subject for me (as is most others, like you pointed out). I am biased towards the Euronymous and Dead era of Mayhem (big surprise) first and foremost because I have a predilection towards the music in that era, secondly because I always viewed Euronymous *as* Mayhem. The reasons being, he wrote all if not most of Mayhem's songs in the 80's-early 90's, and just as importantly, he was the mouth of the black metal movement in Norway. He had the vision, he almost singlehandedly crafted the classic black metal sound. He was also the figurehead, as he brought many black metal bands together through his influence, and through that influence bands like Darkthrone, Emperor, and Abbath and co. changed their sound.

Now, a lot of people don't care about that shit (and I can't blame them), and I understand that just because it's history doesn't mean it has to be respected or placed on a pedestal. Euronymous not only had plans for his band, but the entire movement. He understood it better than any other because he was pretty much the incarnation of that movement. Now, skip to Euronymous's death, Hellhammer reboots the band, and picks up some fella by the name of Blasphemer. The problem I see with this is, Blasphemer had nothing to do with this movement, he was not around during much, if not all, of the movement in its infancy. Blasphemer is an amazing guitarist, so no faults there. To me, it would be like Type O Negative continuing on without Peter Steele, and just finding some generic goth dude with a great baritone voice to replace him. No matter how good that new singer would be, he could never recapture the essence of what Type O was, because Type O was Peter Steele. That's just my own personal sentiment. It might seem a little far fetched, but because of how strongly I feel about the band, I could never give an objective or reliable view of post Euronymous Mayhem.

Now, on the other side of the coin, the rigidity and strict fundamental approach to black metal could also be blamed on Euronymous. He was no guitar God; he was a control freak and a dick, according to many of the interviews you can find online. He had no intentions of throwing out conventions and experimentation (in that sense, Blasphemer could be looked at as a savior for the band) he wanted to bring extreme metal back to its strict, primitive roots. That's what all early 90's black metal is: a low fidelity interpretation of 80's metal, but more extreme. He propagated that mentality and it spread throughout the scene. Strange enough, Ordo Ad Chao got me back into Mayhem with Attila's return, and I really love the whacked out, pitch black atmosphere Blasphemer worked into the proceedings. I was able to enjoy Esoteric Warfare a lot as well. I know for a fact that I detest Grand Declaration of War, but I'm going to go back and try to give Chimera some open minded listens, or at least try.

In closing, (sorry for the novel) if I came off like one of the elitist assholes from an ANUS article, that wasn't my intention; I just wanted to explain the history a bit and try to get to the bottom of why many people feel so strongly about the genesis of that movement. I love the old and new regardless, and I think metal is seeing something of a golden age due to all of the brave and sometimes risky experimentation....sometimes the payoff is huge.
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13.12.2014 - 18:16
Bad English
Masterchief
Good article, what is good about I net era, you should not work in magazine, newpaper, to write, as old days only profs can do it, now everyone can do it and do good, because there are many free places where it will be published
You simply write own thoughts, based on history , but you did not re write all bands mainstream and underground, didn't make some list, what we all know, even we know this story, you somehow twisted it and put in good interesting to read article
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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13.12.2014 - 22:38
V01d
Written by Bad English on 13.12.2014 at 18:16

Good article, what is good about I net era, you should not work in magazine, newpaper, to write, as old days only profs can do it, now everyone can do it and do good, because there are many free places where it will be published
You simply write own thoughts, based on history , but you did not re write all bands mainstream and underground, didn't make some list, what we all know, even we know this story, you somehow twisted it and put in good interesting to read article



Thank you very much! I appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed the read. Unfortunately, many articles of this nature try to posit an old skool vs. new skool dichotomy; I love both the old and the new, though I can understand why those traditional concepts and ideologies are important to elitists fans of the 80's and 90's bands specifically.
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13.12.2014 - 22:40
Bad English
Masterchief
Written by V01d on 13.12.2014 at 22:38

Written by Bad English on 13.12.2014 at 18:16

Good article, what is good about I net era, you should not work in magazine, newpaper, to write, as old days only profs can do it, now everyone can do it and do good, because there are many free places where it will be published
You simply write own thoughts, based on history , but you did not re write all bands mainstream and underground, didn't make some list, what we all know, even we know this story, you somehow twisted it and put in good interesting to read article



Thank you very much! I appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed the read. Unfortunately, many articles of this nature try to posit an old skool vs. new skool dichotomy; I love both the old and the new, though I can understand why those traditional concepts and ideologies are important to elitists fans of the 80's and 90's bands specifically.


man I stop read all those articles, like news aaaa it happened then 30 senetnces whit we remaind you bla bla, facts what we all know
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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15.12.2014 - 04:13
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by deadone on 15.12.2014 at 03:19

I think this dilutes and misrepresents the original Black Metal concepts completely.

The ideology presented by Black Metal is completely bizarre:

1. Satanic, anti-Christian
2. White supremacist
3. Intolerant against minorities ala gays or non-whites.
4. Anti-mainstream

It's very funny to me that people are trying to define an entire subgenre and stylistic movement from the criteria of a few bands. Do realize that when we take the entire spectrum of black metal into consideration today, these four things that you listed (especially 2 and 3) are by no means what define the genre. Even back in the early days of the movement, they still weren't. Enslaved weren't Satanic, white supremacist and anti gay. Blut Aus Nord weren't Satanic, white supremacist, and anti gay. Nor were Absu, nor were plenty of other bands I could mention. You're focusing on a very extreme and relatively small trend within an extremely broad and varied category of music.

Yes, I get it, extreme behavior is apt to color things negatively and make people focus more on it than the positives, but this whole "ooooh, if you don't portray BM as Satanic, dark, and violent" point of view is just nonsensical. Not only was it not entirely about that to begin with, but today it definitely isn't, and with all due respect, if you think that's what still defines it, perhaps you need to explore it more.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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15.12.2014 - 05:05
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by deadone on 15.12.2014 at 04:54

We're talking about the genre's Nordic origins - Mayhem, Darkthrone etc. Even members of Dimmu Borgir had white supremacist leanings.

Enslaved's early nationalist bent is clear - they sang in Norwegian about Viking themes. Reaching to a country/group's past is a common nationalist tool. Using the native tongue is another - especially when the international norm is to sing in English.

Or perhaps maybe you're just reading too far into things? Singing about your country's ancestral history doesn't necessarily translate to "hey, I hate gays and minorities, let's go burn a church!" If we are focusing on black metal's Nordic origins, and Satanic ideologies and white supremacist leanings... even so, who cares? Like you said, the genre has transcended its origins. You and some other people seem to be implying that suggesting that black metal is about anything other than those things is inaccurate. As I mentioned earlier in here, I really couldn't care less about how a subgenre started out, what matters more is how it is in its current incarnation. And believe me, if black metal was all about "heil Hitler and suck Satan's dick" today, I would've ditched it a long time ago.

As far as a misrepresentation of black metal's original intent goes, I stand by my statement that it was more about challenging convention in general than anti-Christianity and white supremacy in specific. If that wasn't true, and it was as ideologically fundamentalist as people often make it out to be, I highly doubt that it would be as stylistically and thematically diverse as it is now.
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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15.01.2015 - 03:43
V01d
Written by deadone on 15.12.2014 at 03:19

Excellent article. I'm not a fan of the music but it's history is fascinating.

Written by Apothecary on 08.12.2014 at 20:30

Sorry, but I must completely disagree with this statement. Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives. The reason that manifested itself in anti-Christianity and Satanic themes is probably just because Christian thought is so dominant and morally corrupt that that was the obvious first target. But, as you can see today, that idea of "challenge conventions and come up with your own values" has diversified itself into many different forms.



I think this dilutes and misrepresents the original Black Metal concepts completely.


The ideology presented by Black Metal is completely bizarre:

1. Satanic, anti-Christian
2. White supremacist
3. Intolerant against minorities ala gays or non-whites.
4. Anti-mainstream


It was bizarre in that it had no social or economic concepts attached. It was purely an ideology based on hatred of everything that was not black metal.

It was in many ways close to Nazism which was just as based on hate. The jump to NSBM by many BMers was more logical than the path troden on by the likes of Enslaved or Deafhaven.

And this form of extreme ideological music wasn't new - the original East Coast hardcore crews were even more ideologically driven and also violent (e.g. Boston Crew). Straight Edge was the direct product of hardcore music and that is a lifestyle.

I used to think it bizarre when I saw photos of African people wearing black metal T-shirts with bands like Darkthrone or Mayhem. It was in some ways the equivalent of Jews wearing t-shirts promoting nazism.




Thanks man! I never got any notifications on this so I am just reading all these now.


I'm with you here. It's important to look at early 1990's black metal as a movement, rather than a solidified genre. The movement was never about "societal rebellion" or "personal freedom". Black metal dealt strictly with occult/pagan/satanic/anti-religious ideology. That is what makes it "black" metal.

Apothecary, you said:

"Black metal, at its core, is not so much about being Satanic and dark, but about challenging/mocking societal conventions, flipping them on their head, and in turn coming up with one's own alternatives."

That's not black metal. The genre you're describing there is punk. Black metal is a movement devoted entirely to the adversity of growing trends in extreme music (thus the primitive songwriting/raw production/black and white cover photos instead of death metal's colorful painting album covers) as well as anti-Christianity, Paganism, and Satanism.

What is punk rock's ideology?

"Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture was primarily concerned with concepts such as anti-establishment, equality, freedom, anti-authoritarianism, individualism, direct action, free thought and non-conformity. Punk ideologies are usually expressed through punk rock music, punk literature, spoken word recordings, punk fashion, or punk visual art. Some punks have participated in direct action, such as protests, boycotts, squatting, vandalism, or property destruction."

One of these things is not like the other...
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03.04.2015 - 17:32
Aristarchos
Written by deadone on 15.12.2014 at 05:44

I was referring to nationalism. It doesn't necessarily imply "hey I hate gays and minorities, let's go burn a church." Hell one of Hitler's first nationalist chums, Ernst Röhm, and head of SA was gay as was a leading Dutch nationalist politician (Pim Fortuyn). You don't have to be straight to love your race!


You wrote white supremacist which isn't near the same as nationalism, although I despise both. Singing in your mother language doesn't imply you're even a nationalist though.
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14.10.2015 - 18:14
Vetrarnott
Account deleted
Written by V01d on 06.12.2014 at 21:48

Written by Susan on 06.12.2014 at 18:00

(...)Let's take a band like Taake for instance. Hoest prides himself on creating "True Norwegian Black Metal". I really enjoy Taake's music, though I think this to be a bit of a misnomer. The reason being is that Taake has little to absolutely nothing in common with the 90's classic releases, lyrically or musically. The likes of Mayhem, Burzum, Immortal (early), Darkthrone, and Gorgoroth never built musical foundations on beautiful or welcoming melodies or having the festive, almost uplifting/welcoming songwriting that Taake has. I just see Taake as one of many bands that pride themselves on being something they are really not a part of, though they use the classic aesthetic. I would group Taake's music more along with many "viking" or folk releases that it seems to have much more in common with. As much as I enjoy Taake's music for what it is, Taake is black metal for people who hate black metal. Hoest pretty much took the general aesthetic of black metal (buzzsaw tremolo riffing, blastbeats, high screams), gutted it, took out all that was (musically) offensive, ugly, dark, unsettling, minimalistic, unnattractive etc etc. about it, polished it, and created a clever new product to ride the coattails of something almost completely unrelated. I know these are all very subjective terms, however, whether people felt that way about black metal or not is irrelevant; that is what black metal always strived to be. I think Taake is a very good example of one band out of many that strive to make the genre as "pretty" as it can be, which is pretty much everything that the movement is/was against. Imagine an old school/anarchist punk band with pretty melodies and a welcoming sound. One could argue that such a thing is no longer punk at all; it has completely missed the point and lost the meaning. Just to clarify, it's not a matter of "I don't like it if it's not black metal", it's a matter of "don't call yourself something that you're not". Some people see this sort of thing as very trivial, which I can completely understand. It's just something I'm passionate about.(...)


Excellent article and this part of your comment about Taake is really food for thought. I agree with you, few bands nowadays are not aligned with first wave black metal (BM) bands and are unashamed copies of second wave BM. Concerning Taake, Hoest must have been drunk when he said he created the true Norwegian BM sound, since his music is so much in the vein of second wave BM. it also has lot of references to scandinavian culture and I somewhat agree with the "viking" approach, but not totally. "Taake is black metal for people who hate black metal." - it's a bit of a strong statement but I get that you're thinking about them as a product. I don't think I agree about Immortal not having welcoming melodies....BM explores the melodic or melancholic element contrasting with the brutality and ugliness. But we see less and less something in the vein of Deathcrush, or early Venom/Celtic Frost/Sarcofago. I think that is justified by the creative will to experiment with new elements (a second guitar added to lineup, keyboards or female voice). But you look at bands like Tsjuder and where do you place them? I think that BM lost dirt and gained noise, accumulation of elements and a kind of evilness that we all can bear with. If we turn into nsbm or some dsbm acts the lyrical content can be quite harsh but the music doesn't add much, in my opinion. I'm not a fan of either of them so not the right person to write about it. Thanks for your insight.
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