Possessed by the Moon

full moon norway

Article by David Rosales.

A legendary time and place for underground metal, the Norway of 1993 is an esoteric landmark (1994 being the exoteric) in time and space in black metal history. It saw the rise of a mythology of its own, the mythology of black metal, and an eventual catastrophic demise worthy of a saga of its own.

Few have been able to witness that the best black metal is art, borrowing and melding ambient and neoclassical music. Many have pondered on the meaning of black metal, failing to understand why black metal, god and hitler belong in one sentence as a direct consequence and in the same breath as the idea that relates Blake, Goethe and Romanticism with it.

It is the anti-modernist and traditionalist elements in black metal that may further complicate the issue for mundanes. Those who long and desire the black metal flame enough but don’t possess it yet must ask how to get into black metal.

gorgoroth pentagram
GorgorothPentagram (1993)
Not as refined as the band’s next offering, Antichrist, this album overflows with an uncontrolled longing for the mistress of darkness, for a desire abandon oneself to the forces of the lower world. Statements in Pentagram lack the potency of what followed, but their more innocent obfuscation already contains that germ of sincere evil mongering that fills the hearts of those who will not yield.

Burzum-Det_Som_Engang_Var-Frontal
BurzumDet Som Engang Var (1993)
Perhaps the most heart-tearing and magical album by Burzum, Det Som Engang Var lies on the boundary between the shaded fiend that is the debut, and the flight and cycle through existence manifested in music that is Hvis Lyset Tar Oss. Composition-wise, this may be the most technical of any music written and published by Vikernes under this monicker, and as such should be studied carefully. It is, however, much more than just an exemplary metal composition, it is sorcery, it is a gateway — a nexion to the acasual.

darkthrone under a funeral moon
DarkthroneUnder a Funeral Moon (1993)
Here we have Darkthrone in the alchemical process of becoming, their adept efforts going at it again and again. A year later their efforts would materialize in the pure flow of raw and unabstracted forces that Transilvanian Hunger would be. While that next album has proved as inscrutable to the common metalhead in its transcendental use of technique and molding of musical reality, in Under a Funeral Moon we can still see experiments executed on primal energies to reach that inverted nadir.

We are possessed by the moon
We are possessed by evil
We are possessed by Satan
— ‘Possessed (By Satan)’, by Gorgoroth

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25 thoughts on “Possessed by the Moon”

  1. Kermit the Fucking Fuckface Frog says:

    The ‘black metal, god and Hitler’ article is really insightful.

    1. David Rosales says:

      One of the best I’ve read from anus-dmu

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      It’s not exciting if you’re so hungry that you end up checking McDonald’s tablet shelves for burger left-overs. Or »being lost in the woods«. I had this once (and thankfully only once) and there was something four-feeted and howling and looking for blood close enough to me that I thought “Ok, now I’ll have to have a display of superior aggression unless I want to end up as food myself”. As I’m the larger animal, this worked and I even dared to get some sleep on a meadow in the rain. I then had a companion until I re-entered the realm of civilized men I never saw and never really heard again but I recognized when the presence went away and missed it. That’s not an armchair sensation for people who are bored to death with themselves.

      NB: It’s also not terribly frightening, just a lot more real than worrying about Coca-Cola.

      1. What are you talking about? says:

        NB? Neon Bitch? Nachos Balsame? Nature’s Balcony? Nanny Booby?

        In general, what the hell are you talking about?

        1. all of my what says:

          This.

        2. Rainer Weikusat says:

          Metal finds beauty in darkness.

          Modern society tries to shut out darkness and, in doing so, removes beauty.

          Coca-Cola or wandering in the woods, wondering if you’ll find fresh water or die of thirst.

          One is safe, one is exciting.

          I don’t know where the person who wrote this came from but I’m – by uprising – a country boy. Unless you’re walking in circles, you will find open water in the woods as plants don’t grow in waterless regions, especially not in abundance. Even assuming you wouldn’t, you could dig for it (a lot of simple tasks can be accomplished with branches and stones).

          Then, being starved to the point of gradual but persistent weight loss ultimatively ending in death (this takes some time) is not exciting – I had the mispleasure twice in my life so far – you’re just terribly hungry and end up eating whatever you find. This obviously applies to thirst, too.

          I’m not going to try to explain the nightly encounter again as I probably shouldn’t have tried to begin with. Google knows what NB means.

          1. David Rosales says:

            Your nature bit was beautiful.
            What might be confusing for some is the (at least apparent) lack of context or introduction you gave it in relation to the article or the previous comment posted to which you replied.

  2. C.M. says:

    “Acasual” should be “acausal” but both words can work here.

    1. David Rosales says:

      Yes, it was a very stupid typo… they both work but ACAUSAL is intended here…

      1. C.M. says:

        Not stupid, a simple mistake. My brain read “acasual” the first few times I encountered the word myself. I was just amused that the typical misspelling made sense in context for once.

      2. Good buddy says:

        Also just for nitpickings sake: misplaced the space here “this may bet he most technical…”

  3. blackmetalkid says:

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to claim black metal is the highest of all forms of metal to exist. It raised to altitudes that death metal can’t even dream of.

    1. David Rosales says:

      It has taken me years to discover this from the inside out.

    2. David Rosales says:

      It’s also the form that is most difficult to do well and satisfactorily, even if it is easy to do at the bullshit level.

    3. Rainer Weikusat says:

      This really invites cheap sacarasm of the kind of “Were I to walk over to the HMV and remove everything marketed as black metal from the corresponding shelf, it would end up pretty empty. Could be a great opportunity to spot the preciously few death metal CDs more easily”. This is also mirrored in print and online publications: Whatever calls itself black metal is almost invariably hailed because the idea that – after all – “It’s about melodies, stupid!” is very compatible with the common understanding of music</em and "Ready-made meanings a dime a dozen!" is also commercially very attractive. In contrast to this, death metal bands are either chastized as old school insofar they actually dare to play death metal (amazingly, nobody was ever called old school for imitating NWOBHM) or damned with the faint praise of how far they’ve ‘developed’ their abilties and skills in proportion to the amount of commercially-friendly consonant melodies they’ve integrated into their tracks. Consumer-friendly black metal is really the mother of all sell-outs since Metallica started playing stadium rock.

      But this is obviously crap so let’s not do that. The comparison you’re making here is really meaningless. Take Darkthrone as an example: This is great music and anybody who claims otherwise is either deaf or a moron (or a deaf moron). But when comparing it with something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXuj7ukzwUs (1990 Pestilence live recording) would you really say this is even remotely similar music with regards to either construction (not much of that visible here) or purpose? I certainly wouldn’t. The Darkthrone album is essentially contemplative music and based on simple parts which gradually develop out of each other. Intuitively, I wouldn’t call this metal at all, more some metal-ambient hybrid. This can be said to try to create the atmosphere of a nightmare (and it’s quite good at that), the Pestilence stuff (or any other death metal worth its salt) is something which banishes nightmares (maybe not intentionally, but that’s one of the effects for me — going from a night of horrors to Death & Decay [Interment] is going back from my inner fears to an often harsh real world I must not fear because I have to cope with it).

      Putting this in another way, except insofar it has been watered down to be more melodic/ crowd-pleasing (there’s also some great music in this segment) death metal is (almost) entirely unromantic — it can’t achieve what black metal aims to achieve because it doesn’t try (this is my insignificant opinion on the topic).

      1. David Rosales says:

        Early, and the highest Death metal has always been romantic.
        The peaks of morbid Angel, morpheus descends, incantation, etc,.. all deeply romantic.

        Keep in mind that romantic does not imply softness,as a defining feature, which seems to be what you are implying. Remember that norwegian so called 2nd wave black metal (in reality, the only wave of actual black metal), is a reaction to the quick degeneration of romantic death metal into surface technicality.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          This question necessarily rests on what one actually understands as »romantic«. There were different national traditions referred to as romanticism in the 19th century and there’s also a more modern »Hollywood version&laquo of it. The softness most likely belongs to that (or mostly belongs to that).

          What I’m thinking of in this regard is closely associated to your heart-tearing and magical above: A central concept would be the notion of transcedental beauty experienced by an individual. This is often requires a catalyst, with catalysts found in untamed nature, eg, the woods or the coast, possibly combined with relics of an simplified and idealized past, or in traditions/ lore dating back to such a past. This experience is also usually associated with certain actually negative emotions, sadness, lonliness, a sense of being lost, terror, awe and longing for something which stopped being available a long time ago (there are obviously overlaps in there). These are understood as positive on a higher/ more transcedental level and actively sought after and supposed to be evoked by works of art. All your musical examples fit into this, very simplified, they all convey a mystic feeling of forlorn sadness, of the devil’s lost children alone after nightfall.

          And that’s something I don’t see in Ghouls attack the church/ Crush the holy priest/ Turn the cross t’wards hell/ Writhe in Satan’s flames and the music going with that doesn’t support it, either. This is about a bonfire we are dancing around after drinking the blood of the creature who suppressed us. It’s also not in more reflective songs like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbAyWFbFmW0 (Grave), certainly not in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3hHUUNWNM4 (someone here is a big Iron Maiden fan) and not even really in something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3hHUUNWNM4 (‘newer’ and heavily infected with ‘beautiness’).

          One can justifiedly call this a lack of depth but this is really about as sensible as accusing a stone of not being able to swim (also ‘beautiful sadness’ is a bizarre idea for people who have encountered full-blown depressions: I don’t want to feel ‘helpless and lost’, I do that all of the time, anyway, and if it gets the better of me, I won’t be able to get up in the morning as I can’t muster the energy for fighting another day).

          1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

            Do you not see the similarity between a romantic work like the tale of Faust, and Swedish death metal like Left Hand Path?

            Frankenstein and Dismember?
            etc?

            1. Rainer Weikusat says:

              Faust is a character from a German legend dating back to the 16th century and the literary adaption I’m somewhat (dating back to school) familiar with is a play by Goethe who is, except during his really early period (Sturm und Drang, considered to be a predecessor of romanticism) the exponent of German neo-classicism (Faust, der Tragoedie zweiter Teil is an IMHO unreadable [opinion dating back to 1990] tour de force through classic metres). Which ends up squarely in the definition problem I already mentioned. It’s possible to define romantcism such that it include later works by Goethe but whoever attempts to do so ought to be glad that he’s beyond an instructive opinion of the author on that (Goethe is somewhat famous for a less-than-encouraging attitude towards German romantic scribes).

              This is also not really helpful (for the issue at hand): It’s possible to define the term such that it encompasses both the in darkness, there is beauty-style stuff and the storming of the chapel by abominable fiends hell-bent on slaughter and destruction of beauty I mentioned but the distinction between the two still remains and finding fault in one for not being the other is IMHO still pointless. I could as well point out that, compared to the playing of Charles Westmoreland (most recent Hate Eternal drummer), anything on any of these recordings is primitive shit really not worthy of an intelligent beings attention and miss the point of the other music completely, too. And that wouldn’t be about technical proficiency for the sake of itself but about something which belongs into the Hate Eternal music but wouldn’t fit into Darkthrone.

              1. Ludvig B.B. (vOddy) says:

                I haven’t heard much Hate Eternal. What I have heard of it, however, was bad.
                But, unless I have an incorrect definition of ‘romantic’, Left Hand Path and Like An Ever-flowing Stream are obviously very romantic, in the nocturnal dangerous nature sense.

                1. Rainer Weikusat says:

                  You have a point re: the latter two and I’d agree to a statement like “Darkthrone reached an altitude Entombed could never dream of” because that’s comparable in this respect. But considering that Entombed apparently dreamed of becoming ‘everything I never liked about Led Zeppelin’, that’s not much of virtual downfall. Stuff like the synth sample on Left Hand Path (I’m retroactively ashamed of buying this) is not exactly typical for music I listen to nowadays.

              2. fenrir says:

                You are going too literal on the lyrics.
                Forgetting or not seeing the ultimate whole.

  4. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Out of curiosity, does someone here have an opinion on Winterfylleth and would be willing to share it?

    1. fenrir says:

      generic and long overdrawn.
      poorly balanced (texture versus motific content versus no. of repetitions)
      Lots of words but nothing to say, as well

  5. Lucius Big Pole says:

    I just come here to hunt for hessian cock, i’m hungry for some introverted, longhaired hunk with a nice veiny meat rod.
    But yeah, maybe add Ancient – Svartlvheim to this list and you got it nailed.

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