Exploring Metal Music Through Active Imagination Techniques

Active Imagination is one of the pillars of Jungian therapy[1] , and simply consists in engaging with the symbols of the mind in a way that allows us to contemplate them or even engage with them. Outside the stale therapeutic environment of clinical psychologists, we can discover emotions, situations and characters inside of our minds (and presumably in the collective mind) by using the same technique in a slightly more unhinged and less sanitizing direction. We can use the musical, lyrical and visual contents of metal albums which are more often than not intended to be mythical, and are thus a great source for archetypal projections.

Several different approaches can be taken when we attempt to engage metal albums in an exercise of Active Imagination. We may either focus of the music, the cover art or the words written. Or we may decide to involve any combination of these at the same time or in sequence. In any of the modalities, we recommend reducing all unnecessary sensory input. If we wished to concentrate solely on the music (having seen the artwork before but not concentrating on it), we could use headphones with some manner of isolation, and cover our eyes to prevent light stimuli from distracting us.

A simple process for Active Imagination to explore metal albums could go like this:

  1. Sit/lie in a comfortable position and relax by focusing on your breath while observing the album artwork. Keep your mind focused on breathing deeply and your eyes on the image, exploring its details, letting impressions and emotions surge without following any of them. Your mind does not follow anything but the inhaling and exhaling of air from your lungs. Do this for as long as it feels right, or until you cannot wait to listen to the music.
  2. Put your (noise-cancellation) headphones on, press play, and cover your eyes with a piece of cloth or eye mask. The music will begin and you must remember to take a back seat to your impressions, emotions and mental images that arise, letting them coalesce on their own. A note to those more technically inclined: there is no excuse for not being able to do this with some practice, you can overcome your impulse to analysis by learning restraint through calm.
  3. After you have finished listening to the whole album and you have allowed yourself a moment, uncover your eyes and bring out the lyrics for the album, if any. As you slowly read each line, wait for the effect of each verse wash over you like a rolling wave. Move on towards the end and listen to the music again now, with or without headphones, with or without covering your eyes.
  4. Write an account of the world visited, characters seen and events witnessed, & send it in any form (raw, embellished, sanitized, sadistically enhanced, etc.) you see fit to editor@deathmetal.org.


[1] http://www.jungiantherapist.net/jungian-therapy-101-active-imagination/

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Black Fluxions

In his quest for accuracy and rigour eventually leading to his contributions to Calculus, Sir Isaac Newton borrowed terminology from an area of classical mechanics called Kinematics[1]. The terms fluent and fluxion incorporated eventually came to be known as variable and derivative. Each set of terms has its advantages in describing the object in question, highlighting one or another aspect. Fluxion in particular is quite useful in poetically illustrating an ‘instantaneous rate of change,’ and may serve us outside the realm of pure mathematical abstraction to bring attention to such immediate movement at each point in time. So, while the change from a measure to the next, from an idea to the next are changes in fluents, there can be said to exist fluxions in music which describe movements across a separate dimension —that of the inner experience. But such a transposition into the realm of musical description is only metaphorical, if useful to expand perception, and should be taken as a flexible mental aid.

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Song Contest Results

It has been over a month since we have launched the song contest here at DMU. Our suspicions that very few people would enter the contest due to our reputation for honest yet harsh reviews were confirmed. This was probably why only two contestants presented themselves in any capacity. Consequently, no winner shall be appointed nor will awards be handed out: two entries do not constitute a contest.



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Transitions MMXVIII

Death Metal Underground wishes to announce a constructive change in editorship, in which the present author comes to complement rather than replace the current leadership. We have a great team of writers, ever too few but still dedicated and talented enough that the last few months have seen a non-stop inflow of high quality and insightful content on a variety of metal-related topics. (more…)



RIP Brock Dorsey 1985 – 2018

It is with a heavy heart that the DMU staff mourns the loss of one of their own.

Earlier today, we were alerted to the sad news that Brock Dorsey, our fearless leader and editor, has passed on.  Brock was killed in a horrific sky diving accident over the Hamptons during a luxurious vacation with several other venture capitalists.  (more…)


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Sadistic Metal Reviews: Flavor of the Week Metal Pt 2: Death Metal

Last month we ran the first  of a two part series on flavor of the week metal subgenres, focusing soley on black metal. The plan was to release a second edition a week later, but the Tulio Baars DDOS attacks prevented that from happening. That is, until now…


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