The Heavy Metal F.A.Q.


Archive-name: heavy-metal
Posting-frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: 23-January-09

Heavy Metal FAQ:
Introduction to Metal Music and Culture

Archive name: Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) about Metal
FAQ Name: Introduction to Metal
Author: S.R. Prozak

Version: 0.3

Periodic posting
alt.rock-n-roll.metal, alt.rock-n-roll.metal.heavy,
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.death,, alt.thrash,,,,,
Infrequent Posting,,

Introduction: This periodically posted article introduces heavy metal
music and the heavy metal genre, including the sub-genres of speed
metal, death metal, black metal, thrash, doom metal, grindcore, and
ambient metal.

Summary: This FAQ explores the development of heavy metal as a musical
movement through its place in a larger culture, and reflects upon the
ideological and sociological circumstances that motivated that
development. These circumstances are tracked through music theory,
symbolism, and behavior.

It also explores the subculture of heavy metal music and its members,
known as “Hessians,” who listen to the music and attempt to live by
the values expressed in the music. It includes but is not limited to
a history of metal music, the philosophy of heavy metal, the styles
and sub-genres of heavy metal, etiquette in the heavy metal groups,
where to find heavy metal t-shirts and CDs, and the cultural values
of the Hessian subculture.

Authorship: The Heavy Metal FAQ was written by metal radio
presenter and writer S.R. Prozak for the Dark Legions Archive at and features contributions from USENET metal
experts 1993-1999.

Archive: The current ASCII text copy of this article may be found
online at

CONTENTS :: Heavy Metal FAQ
Introduction to Metal Music and Culture

I. What is Heavy Metal?
1. Definition
2. History
3. Imagery
4. Impact
5. Miscellaneous
II. Metal as Concept
1. Music Theory
2. Sub-Genres
3. Ideology
4. Culture
5. Technique
III. Metal as Physical Manifestation
1. Concerts
2. Recording
3. Production
4. Gear/Merch
5. Journalism
IV. Metal as Virtual Community
1. Web
2. Email
3. Experts
4. Newsgroups
5. About

PART I :: What is Heavy Metal?

1. Definition
2. History
3. Imagery
4. Impact
5. Miscellaneous

– Heavy metal originated as a counter-reaction to the hippie rock
of the 1960s, and wanted to sound like a horror movie soundtrack

– Heavy metal fused progressive rock, hard rock, and soundtrack
styles using the power chord to make phrasal composition

– Heavy metal culture resembles European literary Romanticism
in its emphasis on the individual and nature, not social mores,
dictating value in life

– Heavy metal ideology could be an active form of nihilism, in
which the individual believes in nothing because belief is not
needed as much as a creative, intuitive, warlike principle of

– The musical and cultural influences of heavy metal suggest
this idea has been injected into the mainstream, but that a
constant struggle exists to “norm” it to social mores

1.1 What is metal music?

Defining heavy metal requires we look at its many aspects. First and
foremost, it is a musical style with certain compositional tenets
without which music cannot be said to be heavy metal; however, even more
profoundly, it is also a set of ideas that shape its composition, and
without those you can have something that “sounds like” metal but
does not appear to be metal. From this juncture of idea and sound we
can see that metal music is a mental outlook that influences how the
sound is created and the corresponding outlook on reality that it

1.1.1 Heavy Metal Music

Heavy metal can be described by the following:

(a) Songs are written using forms of the power chord, or a fifth
chord lacking a third, in a moveable form based normally on
the low E chord. Since these chords lack a third, they are
neither major or minor, and can be played in any position,
which lends itself to writing longer, more dynamically melodic
or lengthier phrasal riffs.

(b) Having a musical aspect of heavy derived from a songwriting
style that emphasizes a return to unison, above and beyond
other harmonic objectives. The promenade-style riffs and
theatrical conclusions of metal songs derive from this need.

(c) Dark subject matter, and use of heavy distortion, vocal
distortion, intensely fast or slow tempos, and other ways of
converting the normally disused into a musical language, as if
attempting to find beauty in darkness.

(d) Familiarity with the past musical language of metal riffs and
imagery, and ability to build on it, both musically and

(e) A preference for cadence where rock bands would use rhythmic
expectation. Although metal beats are syncopated, this is often
reduced to a constant which ends phrases on the downbeat.

Emerging from the ruins of rock music, it contains the Celtic folk
and blues basis of that genre, which has an international flair in
that it uses Celtic song structures, European music theory, Semitic
scales (the “blues scale” originates in the middle east), an Arab
instrument converted by Spaniards and electrified by Americans, and
timbral singing which is probably an Asiatic influence on Africa.
However, these remnants were tapered by a tendency toward progressive
rock song structures, which approximate those of European classical
music; the rhythms of garage punk bands, which come from the first
two music lessons of an aggressive teenager; and finally, the
thematic tendencies of horror movie music, which is generally
borrowed from modernist- and Romantic-era classical composers like
Anton Bruckner, Camille Saint-Saens, Johannes Brahms, Robert
Schumann and Ottorino Respighi.

The traits of this modernist music — mobile fifths, conclusions in
unison, thematic repetition with inflected motifs, layered harmony
and use of inversion — takes music a step beyond its classical roots
but also a step back toward the origins of that music, in that by
playing fast and loose with harmonic identificative structures, it
returns to the modal, melodically-structured, narrative compositional
form originally pioneered by earlier civilizations like the ancient
Greeks. When classical music emerged from the rigor of baroque
styling, and went into the theoretical but passionate world of the
Romantics as defined by Beethoven, it reached a height that demanded
a further gesture to continue its artistic specialization. The final
point of departure was to liberate melody from many of the intricate
harmonic architectonic infrastructure of Romantic music, and in doing
so, to make melody more than harmony the leading compositional tool,
which resulted in music that tended toward a nearly chromatic base
scale with motifs clustered around it in varied modalities imposed on
contact points in that progression of tones. As it did so, it became
more motif-driven, spurred on by the “leitmotifs” of Richard Wagner,
and so in its Brucknerian climax approached a juncture of music,
narrative, theatricism and architecture — Bruckner famously referred
to his works as “sonic cathedrals” — in which it was one step of the
screw away from becoming the rigorously correlated drama, ritual and
music of the Greek theatre.

Heavy metal inherited all of this through a modern form because of its
desire to escape the cognitive dissonance reaction to modern life. In
part, this impulse comes from the metalhead who realizes that he or
she is basically powerless, except in a future time when predictions
about the negative nature of modern society will come true. Of
course, in the now, parents brush that aside and go shopping,
stockpiling retirement funds so they can carelessly wish their
children a good life before disappearing into managed care facilities
with 24-hour cable movie channels. A more fundamental part of this
dissident realism is creative. People who see most of society going
into denial because they cannot handle their low social status, the
dire future of human overpopulation and industrialization, and the
negative motivations hiding beneath social pretense, aka “cognitive
dissonance,” will often mourn most for the opportunities lost when
people value putting their heads in the sand more than finding beauty
in life. It is the convergence of these ideas that creates the
violent and masculine but sensitive, Romantic side to metal: it is
a genre of finding beauty in darkness, order in chaos, wisdom in
horror, and restoring humanity to a path of sanity — by paying
attention to the “heavy” things in life that, because they are
socially denied, are left out of the discussion but continue to
shape it through most people’s desire to avoid mentioning them.

This same principle underlies classic European and Greco-Roman
art and music, the idea of an aggressive and warlike but wise
and sensitive motivation that is both religious and scientific,
peaceful and belligerent, because it understands a principle of
order to the universe and asserts it because it is beautiful in
that it is a “meta-good,” or the harmonious result of darkness
and light in conflict. For this reason, it is not moral in the
sense of judging as good or evil, and neither fits into the hippie
“peace, love and hedonism” approach nor the conservative, market-
bound ignorance-is-bliss smoke and mirrors of mainstream music
and bourgeois art. Unlike any other musical principle, the one
thing that unites the varied borrowings from baroque, rock, jazz,
blues, folk, country, classical and electronic music that form
heavy metal is this Romantic principle of doing what is right not
in a moral sense to the individual, but in a sense of the larger
questions of human adaptation to the universe, the conceptual
root of “heavy” in metal and what throughout history has been
called by a simple syllable: “vir,” the root of virtue in a sense
older than a modern moral interpretation as chastity. Vir is doing
what is right by the order of the universe discerned by asking the
“heavy” questions, and speaks to an abstract structure of right as
opposed to an aesthetic one, where the individual picks the non-
threatening as an option to the threatening.

“It’s a concept album about what once was before the
light took us and we rode into the castle of the
dream. Into emptiness. It’s something like; beware
the Christian light, it will take you away into
degeneracy and nothingness. What others call light
I call darkness. Seek the darkness and hell and you
will find nothing but evolution.”
– Varg Vikernes,

For these reasons, where rock has simpler unifying principles
(tension between pentatonic and harmonic minor scale) and other forms
of music have more clearly genrified technique, like funk, which
supports a variation not musically much distinct from rock and jazz,
metal is both a polyglot and a theory of its own, helped greatly by
the flexibility which the power chord bestows. The ability to move
chords rapidly without harmonic obstruction led to a desire to write
more evocatively phrasal riffs, which led to riff domination, which
in turn led to longer song structures using a modal sense to unite
motifs in an otherwise disparate, chromatic context. This process
evolved through the proliferation of sub-genres that marks the
development of metal since 1970.

Heavy metal music, as a genre, encloses sub-genres which implement
the above list with varying degrees of proficiency, leaving behind
rock conventions as they do so for a uniquely metal musical language.
While much of this change occurred within speed metal, it was
enhanced during death metal and perfected with black metal, and can
be seen as an ongoing stratum of concept developed with the first
proto-metal album, and continuing in refinement toward a higher
vision of itself.

1.2 Heavy Metal Music History

Heavy metal adapts the format and instrumentation of popular music
to a style of composition, narrative phrasal melodic structuralist
songwriting, that emerges either from a healthier former age or from
a better future, depending on your perspective.

The first proto-metal emerged in 1970 when Black Sabbath released
their self-titled debut in an attempt to make the musical equivalent
of a horror movie, being both inspired by the soundtrack and topic
matter. This occurred after vocalist Ozzy Osbourne observed that it
was “strange that people spend so much money to see scary movies”
(NY Rock, August, 2002).

In contrast to the hippie culture, flower power, populist “love”
sentiments and oblivious happy songs about romance that were the
norm of the time, themselves being a reaction to the innocent but
wholesome rock of the 1950s, the new proto-metal was a dirge of
the insignificance of the individual: it was “heavy,” slang for
bringing the mood back to serious reality, and it wrote about a
life beyond the individual and individual desires.

Through this decision, they echoed an earlier divergence, where
bands such as Link Wray, MC5, Blue Cheer and Iggy and the Stooges
had stripped down rock into fast, distorted power chords as if to
convey an urgency and dominating importance to their work. These
bands throughout the middle 1960s defecated all over the peaceful
oblivion and unrealistic pacifism of the hippies, which was
promptly disproven by a brutal Cold War which held the world
hostage to nuclear conflict for four decades. To those nascent
influences were added the heavy blues of Cream, the folk-music
of Led Zeppelin, and the acerbic progressive rock stylings of
King Crimson and Jethro Tull (Black Sabbath guitarist did a
stint in Jethro Tull, and came back claiming it had taught him
a more rigorous work ethic). Underscoring that “prog rock”
traditionalism was the influence of the apocalyptic poets of
rock, LA’s the Doors, who brought a literate Nietzschean sense
of doom through the inaction of morality toward constructive ends,
something echoed throughout early Black Sabbath lyrics in the
fusion of decadent Judeo-Christian mystic symbolism with techno-
industrial terminology and subjects.

Through both the horror movie soundtracks that inspired its
new sound, and the progressive rock desire to approximate the
classics of generations past, Black Sabbath inherited a heavy
classical influence. This influence eventually absorbed others
because the type of chord used in heavy metal, the power chord,
can be easily played with the same finger position in any part
of the fret board. That ability lends itself to a technique of
writing riffs with more development than rock riffs, which tend
to bounce to a rhythm with a very basic harmony; metal riffs could
and did move dynamically and approximate a melodic style of
composing, and their dramatic horror movie underpinnings
encouraged these riffs to imitate what they were portraying, giving
them a neo-Wagnerian, operatic feel. This more complex style of
distinctive riffing, and its “heavy” tendency to run through
multiple motifs on its way toward a theatrical conclusion, was what
above all else was to define heavy metal music.

Heavy metal offended the cosmopolitan society of people who had
been supporting the peace, love and profits of hippie rock music.
From the earliest times, they looked askance at the classically-
styled but gutter-minimalist, violent, gnarled and ugly heavy metal
riff and classified it as the product of a lower-income mentality.
While it is true that Black Sabbath members came from the working
classes in England, it seems a fallacy to assume that all people
of that background are primitive or regressive. More likely, it is
the wounded pride of music critics, generic rock musicians,
politicians and marketers that is retaliating against the upstart,
which immediately sent shock waves through rock music.

All those who distrusted the hippie-centric music of the time, or
saw it as unrealistic (as history would prove it to be), as well as
alienated kids from the boring outer suburbs where reality was
deliberately kept in quarantine, thronged over the new music. The
first Black Sabbath album reached number 8 on the UK charts and
number 23 in the USA, making it a minor hit, and the followup
_Paranoid_ made it into the top ten despite panning from critics,
and produced a number one single, “Paranoid.” The music
establishment, in criticizing the financial establishment, was as
much a force of calcified “conservative” thinking as was the
factory and agriculture establishment before it. Black Sabbath
threatened the order of the music industry by making the rock
elites look as fat, stuffed-shirty and retrograde conservative
as the suited bankers they hoped to replace. (One theory of
civilization is that its economy cycles according to its stage
of life, with new civilizations being agricultural, middle-aged
civilizations being manufacturers, old civilizations being
financial services economies, and death-bound civilizations sellers
of media and services that do not directly generate income.)

For this reason, heavy metal was born controversial and has remained
so for the entirety of its life to date. Since its inception, it has
split into several sub-genres, ranked according to time period:

1970-1974 Proto-Metal

1975-1980 Heavy Metal

1981-1987 Speed Metal

1983-1985 Thrash

1985-1993 Death Metal

1988-1992 Grindcore

1990-1995 Black Metal

Each of these sub-genres continues to this day, but the dates
designate its most formative period, in which the definitive form
of the sub-genre was created.

When proto-metal of the Black Sabbath variety was fused with the
popular hard rock of Led Zeppelin, and influenced again by the
dramatic flair and long song structures of prog-rock bands like
King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Jade Warrior and Yes, it became the
first “heavy metal.” In this usage, heavy metal is a sub-genre of
the genre “heavy metal,” because it is musically separate from the
metal to follow but generic enough that it also inherits that
appellation. From 1970-1976, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple
commanded the most attention, but after that, a new series of bands
arose making both (a) stadium heavy metal, which was closer to the
rock music of Led Zeppelin (but often without the virtuosity or
interest) and (b) a more aggressive variant, culminating in the
New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) which attempted to return
to the power of Black Sabbath, generally by incorporating faster,
punk-influenced tempos and the grander song arrangements of prog-
rock bands.

Much as heavy metal exploded into the public eye and then became
a media product, and then counteracted its impulse, metal returned to
its roots as oppositional, outsider art with speed metal. The pattern
of popularity rising, creating “false” and “sold out” music, causing
underground musicians to retaliate with a more extreme form, repeats
throughout the history of heavy metal. In the case of speed metal,
which made its formal appearance in 1982, the crucial influence was
the punk hardcore bands who from 1978-1982 made aggressive, stripped
down music that escaped rock conventions and the use of pentatonic
scales, favoring chromatic music with impromptu melodies and abrupt
tempo and melodic shifts. This type of punk hardcore culminated in
1982 with Discharge _Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing_, which
used a unique new technique — fast tremolo strumming of power chord
melodies — and sounded the death knell for punk hardcore by
summarizing all that it had done, and adding to it the new dimension
of melody and with it a new ideological theatricism, escaping the
dramatics of musicians emphasizing their own personalities. Unlike
pop music, punk hardcore was about “something,” namely the condition
of humanity and human thought.

With this infusion of punk hardcore, as opposed to the somewhat pop
punk that had influenced prior bands, heavy metal gained a serious
outlook which never left it, and two fundamental techniques. The
first was the tremolo strumming described above, which was faster
and more agile than before, creating a type of sustained note that
allowed simple music to escape the bouncy, expectation-driven
syncopated rock sound; also, a counterpoint to this style was
created in the use of muffled power chords, where the palm of the
strumming hand lightly touches the strings as the chord is played,
giving it a full percussive sound that grated on the ears of
normal people. Speed metal used both of this, with a preference
for the latter, as the bassy “chugging” sound was warlike and
evocative of machines. Speeding up heavy metal, giving it a bass
intensive sound, and re-directing it toward hardcore punk
inspired topics like nuclear war, world politics and personal
doom, speed metal was the most extreme thing to come out of metal
and for a long time remained free from the compromise endemic to the
experience of its more commercialized cousins.

Speed metal suffered a fatal flaw in that, as extreme as it was, it
was also rhythmically hookish like a pop song, and soon lesser bands
had adopted the style and were making pop music within it. That in
turn drove speed metal bands into the public light, and by 1988 it
was apparent that the formative days of the genre were over and the
long slow descent into selling out had begun. Luckily, some years
prior, a flowering of heavy metal sub-genres had occurred in the
underground of indie rock. When Discharge created their formative
sound, they inspired others, most notably Slayer, Bathory, Hellhammer
and Sodom. These bands created music that straddled genres, being
called speed metal, black metal (the “black” designation means
Satanic, as most of these bands had a joyful affiliation with the
occult if not a sneering delight in blasphemy) and finally, death
metal. During the years of 1983 through 1985 these bands formed a
new sound, but in 1985, with Possessed, Master and Sepultura, a new
form of music — hybrid punk hardcore and speed metal — came about,
using metal riffs at punk tempos with punk technique and the
elaborate song structures of speed metal. This new “death metal” was
at first indistinguishable from “black metal,” but it was soon
agreed that the latter was the more melodic variant of this new
style, but death metal took off before black metal could formulate a
mission statement for itself. From 1988 to 1994, the death metal
style raged across North America and Europe, creating many formative
works before lesser musicians adopted its technique, began writing
pop music, and turned it into a self-mocking, ironic hipster

Luckily, black metal had not been idle, since after 1990 it became
apparent that death metal would follow speed metal in short order.
Its emphasis on insistent rhythms won out over its most salient
technique, which was a method of stringing together phrasal riffs
so that they appeared random until heard together, at which point
a developing sense of change, like the narrative of a story, emerged
from the music. The outward attributes of death metal — double bass
drums played at a higher speed than the snare or cymbals, guttural
vocals shouted in a gurgling antipathy to bourgeois aesthetics, and
loud fast guitars using chromatic scales to launch modal assaults
which were unified more by rhythm of phrase and melodic compatibility
than any sense of harmony or verse-chorus song structure — easily
were cloned by a new generation that removed their unique attributes,
simplified the music into verse-chorus structures, and then took it
to new heights of silliness. At the same time these bands degraded
death metal, acts like Death and Cannibal Corpse used their
popularity and the similarity of their music to rock and heavy metal
to convince more people to flood the genre. Soon the bassy, guttural,
chugging sound of death metal was not hard to find, but at this
point most musicians had moved on to its cousin, black metal, which
used death metal technique more sparingly and united itself through
consistent melodic playing where much of death metal was pure phrase
composed of chromatic scales interrupted by whole intervals and
occasional melodic ones.

Black metal, born to uncertainty and neglected for nearly a decade,
flowered in the early 1990s. Frustration with an increasingly
liberal West that had become as oppressive as the conservative
version, and a new global economy that seemed to be removing
culture as fast as it attempted to make every corner of earth
safe for business, as well as a Romantic desire for ancient times
in which, it was perceived, meaning was more readily attained through
tradition and struggle, drove black metal to become not only the
most articulated form of metal yet, but the most popular to rise from
the underground. After a dramatic series of church burnings, murders,
conversions to National Socialism, blasphemous adulation of sodomy,
and other crimes and taboos which affected all but a few of the
original Norse, Greek and American black metal bands, the genre got
captured by hipsters who re-mixed radio heavy metal with black metal
vocals and keyboards, Satanobabble lyrics, and a new attitude of
postmodern personal chaos, and from it made the virus that sold the
genre out.

Since 1996, little of note has happened in heavy metal except for
a few established bands and a handful of newcomers who uphold the
classic styles releasing albums that are a minority for their
quality and coherence. Death metal and black metal hybridize
languidly, and mainstream metal added funk and hip-hop influences
to death metal to create a rock-based horror known as “nu-metal.”
Increasingly instability in the music industry has prompted first
an onrush of new black metal and death metal, and now, a
stagnation in which fans download much but because little of it is
as powerful as the formative bands, listen in random order with no
enduring favorites. Since 2007, quality has steadily rebounded as
hipsters have lost interest, and the music has lost its more recent
ironic qualities and is again becoming something other than a self-
parody. It is likely that three factors — the US election in 2008
bringing back trendy liberalism, the greed of corporate barons
causing oil prices to rise before scarcity, and the collapse of the
world economy — will return enough angst to metal to propel forward.

1.3 Heavy Metal Imagery

We define “imagery” to mean lyrics, symbolism and ideology.

Metal music comes from a world-wide subculture which can be seen
as rebellion against parental and social authority, or an attempt
to create a different underlying value system to society, depending
on how favorable the reader is disposed toward heavy metal.

As a collective system of thought, metal both believes in the
individual as the vector of judgment, and denies individual
importance by writing music that is lyrically and musically “heavy”
or suggestive of larger patterns and importances outside of the
individual. This pattern appears also in European Romanticism in
literature, art and music, and Romantic themes pepper the metal

Heavy metal expresses its value system through a number of
meta-motifs, including: the redemptive power of struggle, the
nihilistic callousness of warfare and disease, the lack of
moral certainty, the certainty of death (and, as a corollary,
the positive aspects of easeful death), the power of destruction,
the intensity of creation, the transient nature of material and
moral objects, the infectious descent of sensuality and hedonism,
and the individual as struggling against social norms.

The heavy metal value system could be a de-ontological decision
tree, in that all motivations are driven by existential value in
the context of the “heavy” patterns larger than the individual.
It supposes that our inner and outer axes are reciprocals of an
inverse relationship, so that when we choose absolutes inside of
us, we lose the sense of the absolute outside, and it is this
balance that obsesses heavy metal writers.

Over three decades and four generations of world marketplace
culture metal music – from heavy metal to the intermediate states
of speed metal, early hardcore-deathmetal, and an early evolution
of heavy-metal-based blackmetal, to the moderns, such as the
abstract incarnations of death metal and black metal, ambient
metal, and progressive chromatic death metal alongside ambient
grindcore – metal music has held forth a philosophy of parallel
human interpretations of reality which involves no authority or
control for a variety of fundamental reasons:

1. No single rule fits all of us, as we are unequal in ability.
2. Authority is a human, not natural, construct.
3. Chaos is necessary to the universe, as are pain, death and war.
4. Stagnation dominates unless destruction through creation
renews the abstract patterning of nature.
5. Humans create barriers to insulate themselves from the fear
of making decisions in an uncertain world.
6. Nihilism, or accepting uncertainty and emptiness, demystifies
decision-making into a logical system.
7. Metal as a culture attempts to find beauty in conflict,
darkness, horror, distortion, chaos, mayhem, butchery, evil,
sodomy and lust, in an attempt to show that positive and
negative forces together create the ultimate good, which is
reality itself — a competing absolute to our false social
8. The only way to realize feelings of Romantic longing for
meaning in life is through violent positive creation, where the
individual accepts meaninglessness and revels in it like an
observer to an apocalypse, while summoning what beauty there is
within to convert dark industrial sounds to sonorous structures
if not sonorous textures. This outlook parallels the Romanticist
fascination with the Roman concept of “vir,” or virtue through
self-negating struggle for what is right according to an abstract
and inherent/immanent order to the universe.

Metal is a genre of music which refuses to compromise the inherent
lack of intervening personality in life; we could call this nihilism,
because outside of human beings, there is no apparent supernatural
order which delivers life in moral form. Good people who step on
land mines die just like bad people who step on land mines.

This nihilism, feared by those indoctrinated in social mores, is
accepted by metalheads as a means of liberating themselves from
illusion. This act, in that it results in existential inconvenience,
is a philosophical heroism because it asserts a difficult truth
over a convenient illusion.

1.4 Social Impact of Heavy Metal

Whatever people thought of it, and many continue to take the popular
attitude that it is anti-culture and not culture, heavy metal created
a profound impact in culture and society, one equaled by few genres.
In the age of ideas, any fundamental philosophical split and in the
case of metal, a consistent one, becomes worth observing to see how
it alters social perceptions of the ideas it finds most tantalizing.

1.4.1 Musically

The influence of metal mainly spread to rock music, where its
techniques and tones are being practiced in other packaging. Power Chords

The principles of detuning and using low E power chords
have made it into mainstream music, a Black Sabbath
innovation worn into mainstream culture by countless doom
and speed metal bands.

The rhythms and power chord geometries of metal have
fascinated many experimental musicians who have used them
to create extreme influences in varying genres.

It is now common for rock bands, and mainstream product
commercials, to drop in heavy metal riffs as a fast
food styled leitmotif for “outside the norm.” Metal Riffing

The sense of melody, and the breakdown of melody into
technologically specialized pieces, is something shared
between metal music and ambient/electronica, and
psychedelic music shares with metal its epic structures
and demanding melodic regimen. Grunge

The basic model patterns of grunge are based on the work
of Black Sabbath in re-arranging the pentatonic scale for
their own usage.

1.4.2 Aesthetically

In the abstract, aesthetics have as a whole been
influenced by the ideas in metal: distortion, dirt,
ambiguity, nihilism. Other systems of people were at work
on similar ideas as well, but this area is where metal,
through its network of fans from whom the intelligent are
often successful, distributed valuable information and
ideas. Degraded Aesthetic

The abraded or washed-out textures of jeans in the 80s
were a precursor to the higher-grade graphics of the next
generation, where worn-out or grainy, gritty surfaces were
part of the aesthetic that inverted the conditions of its
own slick, context-less appearance. Dynamism

The dynamicism inherent in the presence of metal, and its
structural coherence, demonstrate a stark or shocking
aesthetic which also is at work with current designers of
visual media. Structuralism

When an aesthetic seeks to outdo itself, it goes to the
next level: intense structuralism, which such as the kind
used in metal can be used to create a vaster depth of
emotional connection through its literality and
universality. Metal’s structuralism has influenced radio
rock in the 90s more than any other attribute of any other

1.5.3 Philosophically

Philosophically metal has been the only major underground
movement to tackle a technical philosophy of existence and
spirituality, and has contributed through its public image
an association with hedonism and spirited off-the-cuff
living. Nihilism

The cold-eyed stare with which metal reduces the
negative or ambiguous in life to null or little value
gives it the same epic power as the raw literality of
its characters during a journey.

Nihilism remains the major conflict of the 21st century
as it was for the 20th. When we enter a time when we do
not have traditional culture and gods imposed on us, how
do we find direction? Do we try to prove it to ourselves
with science, or do we turn to aesthetics, or to the
immanent and holistic, in effect choosing the former world
order as antecedent and response to industrial society? Hedonism

The excesses of metal players and fans are well known,
spreading the virus of divisiveness between drug takers
and others. Romanticism

Metal embraced all aspects of European Romanticist
thought: an ambiguous relationship toward death, love of
the ancient (and ancient ruins), a desire to get beyond
Judeo-Christian morality, respect for our Greco-Roman
ancestors, a non-politicized nationalism, worship of the
natural including the horrifying, praise of tragedy and
an occult, intuitive imagination that desires a return to
the more honest (if less convenient) social orders of the

“I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.”
— William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet

Artists of influence from the Romantic time period and
Romantic movements in all genres include: William Blake,
John Keats, Richard Wagner, Johannes Brahms, Anton
Bruckner, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary
Shelley, Bram Stoker, Lawrence Sterne.

This Romantic thought has now influenced other genres
which share allegiances with metal. Politics

Politically more people are electing to follow metal
lifestyles, meaning that fewer moral and more logical
decisions are going into politics. Occult mysticism

As the public forefront of popular culture’s
fascination with evil, metal music is almost an ikon
for Satan himself.

People often ask why metal is fascinated with evil and
has been since its inception in Black Sabbath, who were
formed partially to enable their occult beliefs a
forum. The answers perhaps lie in the definitions of
romanticism and nihilism coming together for a dark but
empowering worldwide: as if inspired by Dionysos, the
crafty god of wine of the Greek era, or by Fenris, the
wolf of apocalypse of the Norse, metal bands have
rejected order in favor of chaos and hedonism. The
hedonism is explainable to the materialistic
parametrics of nihilism combined with the passion and
life-seeking sensuality of romanticism, and the chaos
is the midnight tempest which buffets away the weak and
encourages autonomy and independent direction in those
who would survive. Humanity’s path toward apocalypse
has made even more trenchant these views, and
consequently varying interpretations of evil exist in
metal today.

Some have even taken this farther, to associate the
Bacchus/Dionysos spirit of mind with its Nietzschean
metaphor of the brave, independent, and analytical yet
impassioned artist struggling in a world of sleepers.
I have said too much and will leave it there.

“Watch as flowers decay
On cryptic life that died
The wisdom of the wizards
Is only a neutered lie
Black knights of Hell’s domain
Walk upon the dead
Satanas sits upon
The blood on which he feeds”
— Slayer, “Die by the Sword” (Show No Mercy)

1.5.4 Postmodernism

Metal, like most Postmodern art, is an experience and not
a medium. Hence there are several layers which must be
removed from their compacted form, “decrypted” and served
up to the reader by some part of the inner brain. This
enables the music to survive longer before being
aesthetically ripped off. Experiential Conception of Art

The lyrics, culture and music of heavy metal warriors
is heavily encrypted within experiential reference and
heavily technological language, but like many other
genres from this period it does provide a literal
level, and a meta-level, to all three facets of its
art. Existential Gateway to Darkness

To decrypt it is to understand it and be open to virus

Metal’s virus comes wrapped in the appearance of
death, meaning that where there is a weakness to
death, it equalizes and penetrates. The morbidity,
paranoia, passion and politics of metal over the
years has shown a passage by which one accepts
death, and the nihilistic chaos of material reality,
and in doing so lays down the foundation for
transcending it.

To do that is to become a gleeful nihilist; a
postmodern nihilist is a “post-nihilist”

One would transcend material with nihilism, and then
transcend nihilism with its natural self-reduction:
a “post-nihilist” would be one who could
nihilistically view human existence and see within
it a space for creativity, joyful in the emptiness
and impermanence of reality. Metal, by introducing
structure and spirituality and Romanticist
individualism and nihilism, issues to its listeners
a challenge to explore it deeper and bond with what
causes it to be, rather than what it “is.”

“Falsified spirits farther they fall
Soon they will join us in Hell
See the sky burning the gates are ablaze
Satan waits eager to merge.”
— Slayer, “Chemical Warfare” (Haunting the Chapel)

1.5 Miscellaneous

Things which could not fit elsewhere.

1.5.1 Fear of Metal

Many politicians and community leaders have expressed a fear of
heavy metal on the basis that it causes crime and anti-social
behavior. Since metal is opposed to mainstream society, it is
hard to argue it should not be censored from their perspective,
but it is not guilty of the physical crimes of which it is

1.2.1 Black metal crimes

What were the crimes in Norway and other states related to
black metal and their extent?

“Beginning with a small, ineffectual fire at Storetveit
Church in the month preceding the Fantoft blaze, there
have since been a total of at least 45 to 60 church
fires, near-fires, and attempted arson attacks in Norway.
Roughly a third have a documented connection to the Black
Metal scene, according to Sjur Helseth, head of the
Technical Department of the Directorate for Cultural
– Lords of Chaos, p 79

1.2.2 Suicide/metal lyrics?

This is forthcoming as soon as someone can show us a
definitive connection between lyrics/music and suicide; I
believe there is an incidental connection in that
teenagers especially use music to define “mood” that
resonates with their socioemotional representation of life
at that moment in time. Hence, sometimes the right
soundtrack must be chosen and Slayer is a reasonable bet.

However, it is useful to analyze the lyrics of Slayer to
examine this supposed “suicide-inducing Satanism” of which
media trumpets and social bores have made quite a
celebration of resentment. For this purpose, the nihilism
of Slayer’s lyrics is reproduced here to demonstrate its
logicality and statement of critique of modern society:

“Fear runs wild in the veins of the world
The hate turns the skies jet black
Death is assured in future plans
Why live if there’s nothing there

Specters of doom await the moment
The mallet is sure and precise
Cover the crypts of all mankind
With cloven hoof begone

Sadistic Minds
Delay the Death
Of twisted life
Malicious world

The crippled youth try in dismay
To sabotage the carcass earth
All new life must perish below
Existence now is futile

Convulsions take the world in hand
Paralysis destroys
Nobody’s out there to save us
Brutal seizure now we die.”
– Slayer, Hardening Of The Arteries (Hell Awaits)

1.5.2 Metal Lore

Questions about stories, errata and personalities in metal. Emperor/Enslaved Split tracks

Q: Can someone refresh me as to what the deal is with
the Enslaved half of the “Hordanes Land” split? They
only have three tracks, but seven are listed. Were they
indexed incorrectly or are the last four just missing?
I’ve got the red Century Media version, if that makes a

5.Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor
6.Allfadr Odinn

The rest is just a [garbled] listing of the various
‘parts’ of the songs.
– “Sybren,” poster to

N.B.: Both the Century Media version (red/black) and
the Candlelight version (black) of this album contain
the error. Metal Musicians in Jail

At the time of this writing, here are the current jail
totals for metal musicians:

Varg Vikernes 21 years Bergen, NO
He will be out in 2008 if all goes well.
“Faust” 15 years Oslo, NO
Out of jail for some years.
“Samoth” 2 years Oslo, NO
Out of jail for some years. origin of name “heavy metal”

Some say the name Heavy Metal had been used by
Steppenwolf in the ’60s in “Born to Be Wild”:

I like smoke and lightning
Heavy Metal thunder
Racing with wind
And the feeling that I’m under
– “A Heavy Metal FAQ,” by

The term “heavy metal” was used to describe mass
technological destruction to the point of biological
toxicity in William S Burrough’s book “Nova Express,”
published in 1964. He may have also used it in a story
written before “Naked Lunch” in 1959.

It is difficult to trace the etymology of the term
“heavy metal.” Most likely, it arose simultaneously
as inspired by the class of metals, including mercury,
described by the same term: volatile, toxic, and
disproportionately heavy both in physical weight and
the responsibility of those who handle such dangerous

“The earliest citation in the OED relating to the
musical sense of ‘heavy metal’ is from William Burroughs
in 1964. Here is an earlier Burroughs usage I have found:

1962 William S. Burroughs _The Ticket That Exploded_ 39
The Other Half was only one aspect of Operation Rewrite–
Heavy Metal addicts picketed the Rewrite Office,
exploding in protest.”
– Fred Shapiro, “Antedating of Heavy Metal,” American
Dialect Society

lead (n.)
“heavy metal,” O.E. lead. Black lead was an old name
for “graphite,” hence lead pencil (1688) and the
colloquial fig. phrase to have lead in one’s pencil
“be possessed of (esp. male sexual) vigor,” first
attested 1941 in Australian slang. Adjective form
leaden is a relic of O.E. The fig. sense of “heavy,
oppressive, dull” is first attested 1577. Lead
balloon “a failure” is from 1960, Amer.Eng. slang.
– Online Etymology Dictionary

PART II :: Metal as concept

2.1 Music Theory
2.2 Ideology
2.3 Culture
2.4 Technique


– Metal is a form of composition rather than a specific music
theory unique to metal, but its form of composition is found
nowhere else but in classical music

– Metal’s ideology is based around the concept of _vir_, or
doing right in a non-moral sense, which means acting as an
individual but not individualist, and putting individuals
second to the shared ultimate physical reality in which we

– Metal culture is not a counter-culture, but a reaction to it,
but is also not an affirmation of the dominant culture, because
it has esoteric aspects and seeks to modify rather than overthrow

– Varied heavy metal techniques are summarized by metal musicians

2.1 Music Theory

Heavy metal music uses at its core the same music theory that propels
all music found in the West: the diatonic scale and its harmony, the
same rhythmic divisions and calibration, and the same types of song
structure. Like rock music, and the Celtic folk music that was its
origin, metal is built on a verse-chorus format which originally
favored I-IV-V progressions; metal, built on fifths, developed from
this standard to have greater flexibility by using narrative, motif-
based compositional structures, and as a result of that technique,
increasingly varied song structures which return to a state of
harmonic unison. What distinguishes metal is its use of motifs which
negotiate a balance between oppositional states to synchronize
starting and ending points; this technique allows the unification of
diverse riffs that seem initially unrelated, but together form a
narration that carves out a space for its conclusion. As a result,
metal song structures vary more than those of any other popular genre
and contort themselves to the unique needs of each song. However,
since metal is still a popular music, this variation occurs as an
addition to the dominant verse-chorus structure, much as metal is an
addition to culture as opposed to a counter-reactive, revolutionary

In this sense, heavy metal is the inheritor of the technique of
Romantic, ecclesiastical modernists like Anton Bruckner, fused with
the technique of hardcore punk musicians that stripped aside the
preconceptions and scales of rock music to write in pure modal
stripes of 3-4 notes within the context of a chromatic scale. It
inherits its narrative song structure both from the progressive
rock like King Crimson or Jethro Tull that was part of its founding
inspiration, and from the horror movie soundtracks that were
derived directly from modern classical and inspired it through the
horror movies from which its iconography descends. Using the
instrumentation of rock, metal is able to channel its more
traditional heritage and, like its founders Black Sabbath, oppose
the dominant illusions of a time where pleasant mental escapism
pretends it is combating a dominant undercurrent of decay based
in human evasion of reality.

2.1.1 The Sound of Heavy Metal

Metal music may utilize any collection of aspects including
but not limited to the selection below.

Downtuned – quite often, lower or more dissonant tunings and
fingerings are used for a physical presence to the music.

Convergent rhythms – metal bands tend to use rhythmic
structures which target themselves for reduction by
deconstruction of similar patterns to dominant themes.

Tone centric – as part of the directedness and rootedness
that makes music “heavy” in one school of the idea, a
coherent and direct identification of a root tone is present
in music that often refuses to change keys in the rock sense,
moving tones in a referentialism closer to
“classical” music than popular tunes.

Abstract – because its nature is tone-heavy its expression
is an extremist structuralism, where the relevance of a
sequence of melodies and polyrhythmic constructions defines
part of an inner structure with relevance to an external

Minimalist – as the industrial age expanded itself into a
flattening, technological existence took over and prompted
a simplicity expressed in rock n roll which attempts to
remove paradox from the communication.

Reactions many people have: angry, scary, depressing,
violent, upsetting, disturbing, morbid, sadistic.

2.1.2 Theory

Music “theory” is a language of describing the shared
process of the communication that is art and how we as
individuals are able to speak to the whole of intelligent
beings by addressing the common interpretations we must
make, as thinking machines, to inference our own existence
in a chaotic world. In metal, there are numerous instances
of theory, many of which are expressions of an underlying
philosophical evolution.

Technique –> Structure

Technique, which normally serves to embellish, became
under metal the science of structure, with any number
of strumming and picking techniques developed by metal
musicians. Heavy metal worked through the austerity of
power chords and a jazzlike rhythm to a deeply chaotic and
abstract blues. Speed metal used muted-palm picking to
create a mechanical, grinding sound, where death metal
bands began to use a flutterstrum which would turn a chord
into a stream of undulating sound with a massive tremelo
effect, building a powerful tool for ambient melody.

Melody –> Harmony

Harmony in metal is used to unify a number of melodies
to a sequence of tone centers which represent the parts of
the idea being manipulated by the song. The riffs which
metal bands use are structuralistic in that they describe
rather than categorize, by the nature of their wandering
phrases which use structural similarity for coherence
rather than tonal unison. Where harmony serves to
preformat a range of emotions for rock bands, in metal,
melody drives harmony, letting the composer take the music
into whatever direction he/she desires by dynamically
associating tone centers with contrapuntal arrangements,
layering strips of reference to narrative and joining them
with harmonies.

Tonality –> Dynamicism

The major element of metal’s evolution is a progression in
tonality from the blues-rock extrapolationist grab bag to
the chromatic, dark and almost mystically nihilistic tone
patterns of death and black metal. The ability to change
from a fixed-tonal system to a system which, like the
Doppler effect, is based on proximity and speed to
establish a current point of reference, provides for a
basis of composition which is more specialized for
systemic expression than for linear expression. This is
similar to the postmodern novels of James Joyce and
William S Burroughs, where a series of divergent threads
unified unspoken topics indicated by metaphorical
assonance with consensual reality experience.

Chaotic music

Many will say metal is “chaotic” meaning “there’s a
lot of noise,” but to others this indicates that its
composition involves specialized structures for what
the song is trying to express, instead of variants
on working general-purpose structures (Verse/Chorus).

Heisenbergian Chaos

The discoveries of Heisenberg indicated that
one could not observe a wave/particle
interaction without influencing its outcome
by presence as a chaotic attractor. This in
turn indicates a systemic awareness, in that
if moving elements closer together means they
reflect an attraction, the grouping of items
in life itself suggests a series of attractors
extending beyond the organism to its
environment. If there is a level at which
we are contrainfluential, as Heisenberg
suggests, then there is some level of
abstraction in which every particle is
connected to every other, and thus that the
thing that is life works as a whole, as a large
system of connected orders.

Relativism –> Dynamicism

In metal, relativism (or: the state of
assessing relevance of events based on
their current context and not an
absolute) is used as a method of
defining objectivism; it is a strategy
of finding local relevances to compare
in order to project a placement in a
larger, complete order. As this
translates into music it becomes a more
ordered use of chaotic composition, in
which notes are picked arbitrarily and
used as the foundations of specialized
melodic systems, custom-created to express
the significance of the whole in what is
only an example.

Objectivism –> Melodic structure

Where harmonic interplay is specific to
the juncture of notes, melody allows a
structuring first by leading the music
through tonal changes and second by
gesturing toward a larger structure that
unifies the disparate changes in melody
as narrative. Metal is more melodic in
overall structure than any mainstream
music, a tradition it inherited through
speed metal’s covert obsession with 70′s
prog rock bands and neoclassicism. In the
era of death and black metal, this allowed
bands to dynamically allocate needed
musical structures for integration into a
narrative suggested by a metacontextual
interpretation of melody, removing the
barriers for progressivism (romantic
rationalism) and minimalism (nihilistic
structuralism) to join.

2.2 Sub-Genres

Heavy metal as a term reflects both a genre and a sub-genre within
it, which is a testament to the musical diversity of metal’s genres.
In the four decades since its inception, metal has evolved along the
lines of its original thematic material, advancing technique and
ability to express it with each generation.

2.2.1 Proto-Metal

Heavy metal arose from loud simple rock and is defined by
its primary progenitors: Black Sabbath.
Taking the rhythm of blues and jazz and using it to
underlay minimalist epic power-chord riffs, Black
Sabbath took the blues to the next step of insidious
artful subversion and glorification of the
anarchistic freedom of demonic lust. Alongside hard
rock originators Led Zeppelin the blues raised its
twisted and morally dubious head again in mainstream
rock; where Led Zeppelin augmented rock’s knowledge of
harmonic structure Black Sabbath reinvented it
altogether, being in the mind of one prominent
critic “the second most important rock band to the

2.2.2 Heavy Metal

Some will doubt this distinction and classify Led
Zeppelin and their family of blues-form hard rock as
similarly heavy metal, but this makes no sense given
the clear compositional direction within Black
Sabbath’s music: 1) more ambient beat structures
focusing less on phrase than granular looping
repetition, 2) dissonant elemental riffs with abrupt
cycles, 3) bizarre song structures and experimental

During their reign Black Sabbath built the foundation
for the harmonic essence of grunge, created a rhythmic
synchronicity in punk and rock, and opened experi-
mentation in noise music, ambient beat-music, and
progressive minimalism. The period from 1969-1977 bore
the most influence of their work, a morose conclusion to
the hippie rock of the middle sixties.

Other influential music from this period: The 13th
Floor Elevators, MC5, Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, the
Doors, Dick Dale, The Rolling Stones, King Crimson.

It is worth noting that a primary influence on Black
Sabbath was the guitar work of Django Reinhart, a jazz
player in the 1930s, who like Black Sabbath guitarist
Toni Iommi had lost the practical use of several
fingers, compensating through a reductivist attitude
toward harmony.

Heavy metal continues to this day as an artform, in
practice by endlessly recombinant commercial bands and a
series of artists who spend their time exploring new
paths for a vitally organic, earthy and yet tech-aware
genre. There are two or three major threads:

“Black Metal” (I)

Starting with British middle-fingered madmen
VENOM in the late 1970s, this style of heavy
metal used punk work ethic to make a simple but
surprisingly dark and expressive form of
anti-life art. At first humorous, it grew toward
illustrating the obsession with
negativity that is a hallmark of postmodern
consciousness, paranoia, and drone existence in
western nations.

“Doom metal”

Slow and painful, often gothic in its
suicidal “desires”, mournful music, much of which
is based in the musicality of heavy metal, will
deliver a grinding and also almost ecclesiastical
experience of morbid anarchy.

“Power metal”

The marketing department came up with this
tasty term for hopped-up heavy metal that is at
musical essence a cross between speed metal and
prog-ish heavy metal, with bouncy rhythms and
jazz-inspired double-hit percussion. The
music of power metal is based in the work of
decent heavy metal musicians as well as
atmospheric speed metal bands like Prong or

2.2.3 Speed Metal

As the seventies waned metal faded into a sad repetition
of the image of its glory. Excess and a lack of musical
innovation lead metal to still waters, where it drifted
into either the hair-and-makeup wailing guitar tradition
of stadium metal or the rising punk movement.

Exceptions were Iron Maiden, who brought melody and
narrative tempos to heavy metal, and Motorhead, whose
proto-punk progressive metal grated against tradition
and sensibilities with its biker graffiti narrative of
nihilism in modern culture.

These acts brought to a close the fading image of
blues-oriented rock (“heavy metal”) and the rise of the
inherent progressive anti-aesthetic minimalism in bands
such as Black Sabbath, spawning separate tendencies at

In reciprocation to the decay, a furious tendency toward
hardcore punk use of strumming rhythm over driving
percussion simultaneously developed alongside the melodic
and progressive intentions of the more
advanced bands of previous generations. The
counterpoint of punk — whose violent rhythms and
anti-consonant phrasing were vanguard of
the new deconstruction of pessimism — was the
glitter-laden complexity of heavy metal, complete with
classical melodies and rock virtuosity; the fusion of
these two begat speed metal, racing tempo music using
the muffled strum to form hard-edged and precision riffs
with embedded melody, emphasizing _structure_ where
traditional heavy metal used shorter phrasing to
emphasize _placement_ and _tone_.

Of these rising acts Metallica (1982), sister act
Megadeth (1984), and northern cousins Exodus (1984) were
the primary disseminators of groundbreaking material.

Metallica, of special note for their use of open chords,
complex harmonics and melodic composition, began their
career in emulation of faster versions of older metal
bands. Soon acquiring musical skills and theoretical
counseling in the dual virtuoso team of Kirk Hammett (lead
guitar) and Cliff Burton (bass), Metallica grew in renown
and peaked in musical development with _Master of
Puppets_, combining the complex composition of 1970s
progressive rock bands with the thundering domination of
violent hardcore.

Burton died soon after in a tour bus accident and the band
never recovered, but soon they had spawned 1) groups of
emulators and innovators in the style of muffled-strum
epileptic-tempo speed metal and 2) other groups interested
in the possibilities of metal/hardcore fusion, so that by
1987 when they retired the metal scene had become more
extreme and more erudite almost overnight.

2.2.4 Thrash

Before the peak of speed metal had even begun Alief, TX,
hardcore crossover band Dirty Rotten Imbeciles were busy
inventing the Sabbathified hyper-punk fusion that would
project their extreme views and emotions upon a fragile

Deliberately low-fi and abrasive, DRI’s first two albums
featured an unheard of brevity (18-25 second songs) and
trenchant criticisms of modern society. This earned them
fame in both metal and hardcore scenes as they injected
needed energy into both genres.

Also of note were micro-riffing shredthrashers Corrosion
of Conformity, who blasted out several albums of curt
songs destroying social control with metaphorically
divisive structural deconstruction in a musical
inheritance from hardcore and early death metal.

Cryptic Slaughter and MDC (an acronym of varying
significances) followed with even more acerbic anthems
of distrust and anarchy; Cryptic Slaughter are
especially interesting for their basic death metal on
the latter side of 1985′s _Convicted_.

Despite innovation in both genres, speed metal was
destined to collide with corporate megaculture and
thrash was to burn out its intensity as audiences
moved away from the extreme to the more commercial in both
hardcore and metal genres.

The fomenting anger of the metal scene, as well as the
increasing destruction of the planet and world
superpower fascism, prompted retaliation with the
negation of speed metal’s “heavy metal” vocabulary of
consonance through the most nihilistic form of musical
expression to date: DEATH METAL.

2.2.5 Death Metal

When society seemed even more hopelessly fallen into
acceptance and worship of its own collapse, the
conventional tonality and “save the world” messages of
speed metal and its ancestor, heavy metal, became too
trite and ridiculous for the newest generations of
alienated youth.

Discarding harmony and nihilistically embracing the
chromatic scale as law, early death metal bands espoused
beliefs in the evil and orderless, the chaotic and the
painful. Their rhythmic violence and insistence upon
wildly-constructed and atonal guitar solos made them an
instant target of both critique and shameless ripoff.

The first wave of this technique, from Slayer (1982),
had its roots in the old-style metal of Judas Priest
evolved to become faster, ripping-strum styled
metal that shifted with muscle over rigid, ambient
repetitive beats.

However the second wave — Possessed (1985), Morbid Angel
(1986), Deathstrike (1985), Rigor Mortis (1988) — were
more obscurely and bizarrely formed from raw innovation
and chromatic scales. (It is worthy to note that Slayer’s
“Reign in Blood,” of 1987, is an impressive musical
definition of death metal that is often overlooked for its
lack of “growly” vocals.)

As the decade waned and humanity seemed further flung
into the pit of materialism, death metal reached toward
the progressive and explored the extremes of melody (At
the Gates), ambience (Obituary), percussion
(Suffocation), atonality (Deicide), and microtonal music
(Atheist). Simultaneously however the bulk of death metal
shifted toward a more percussive and chromatic style,
composing their material visually from power chord forms
along the bottom three strings of the guitar.

By 1992 the peak had been reached, and afterwards
soundalikeness pervaded all but the most
individually-conceived bands. The overuse of death
metal’s nihilistic inventions — chromatic open phrasing
and chaotic soloing — had made that genre, like hardcore
punk a decade before, the anti-commercial musical
breakdown that in the end made it easier for ripoffs to
dress up rock n roll in new production values to create a
new product flow to meet a genre-identified need.

In addition, a horrible trendy underground had developed
around the idea of righteousness and moral good;
consequently, they bankrupted death metal’s ideals by
conforming to mainstream expectations, and their music led
itself back toward the dogmatic, tendentious, and most of
all judgmental system of scales and harmonies.

Back into the blues, there was suddenly a clear peak –
significance and value — arbitrarily imposed by scale
structures that truncated the value of the music and made
its ability for chaos limited to aesthetics only. A
fatalism had invaded metal, once again; that which plays
with the aesthetic of power must serve its time in the
hell of that paradox.

2.2.6 Black Metal (II)

As if to rectify this stagnation another form of metal
arising through the same channels of heritage began to
spread its wings and develop its raw essence –
ambience, melody, and stark nihilistic structuralism — as
it came closer to underground consciousness. The first of
these bands were Hellhammer (1984) and Bathory (1985),
with the former playing slower sensually rhythmic
material while the latter banged out mutating riffs over
strict simplistic ambient drum-machine percussion.

Where death metal went for logical appeals black metal
presupposed the end of the world and celebrated
decadence, destruction, agony and morbid emotion as a
means of exploiting the social climate to its own
revelation. The melodramatic, overstaged and ludicrous
“evil” presence of these figures drew attention to their
mythological interpretation of the coming — or perhaps
ongoing — apocalypse.

2.2.7 Grindcore

An important genetic component of death metal, grindcore
arose from the ashes of hardcore and thrash as the
alienated punk-rockers and sociopathic metalheads of the
world sought something more extreme, more evocative of the
discompatibility they felt as a process of soul.

With the rise of Napalm Death (1985) and Carcass (1987) in
England the genre was well-founded as an
alternatingly slower or faster version of punk, with bar
chords colliding at high speed outside of the blasting
furnace of rhythm. Deliberately dissynchronized timing,
detuned instruments and guttural distorted howls of vocal
brought this genre to the attention of death metal heads
who appropriated vocal and tuning habits, and to
the innovative mind of Napalm Death-founder Justin
Broadrick who made “industrial grindcore” with 1988′s
_Streetcleaner_ and immediately created a detour
for angry metalheads and industrialites and punkers to
make crossover music that was as unfriendly as
industrial sounds like it should be.

In 1994, Napalm Death’s “Fear, Emptiness, Despair”
sounded almost the last note for grindcore as its course
of innovation started to veer from the minimalistic to
abrasively coarse and simple, death metal-like music with
complex jazz-y rhythms.

Grindcore, like hardcore, thrash, speed metal and early
forms of death metal, continues to this day, but most
innovation remains at the aesthetic level and the
original thrust has been lost.

2.2.8 Ambient Metal

Ambient metal is a category that spans genres, and addresses those
artists who, in a desire to get closer to the classical ideal of
phrase entirely dominating the changes in tempo and harmony of the
piece, abstract drumming into a background timekeeping which is
absurdly flexible so that rhythm guitars playing melodic
constructions can be the lead instrument. Question of Existence

The question with ambient metal whether it is a
style or a subgenre rests in the conclusion to the
query: does the music employ a new form of composition?

Technique is not entirely new, but in new places,
and the new way of writing music is so desolate and
empty yet beautiful for that same ultimate potential
that one is inspired to say: yes, it is a
differentiation of the form of art. Members of Genre

There is overlap with other genres but suggested
acts to check out are: Gorguts, Burzum, Graveland,
Immortal, Demilich, Slayer, Behemoth, Hellhammer,
Darkthrone and Cadaver for an understanding of how
this tradition manifests itself in metal. Related Genres

Electroacoustic/Noise – K.K. Null, Tangerine Dream
Hardcore – Discharge, the Exploited, Black Flag
Prog/Psychedelic – King Crimson, Camel, 13th Floor
Classical/Neoclassical – Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner
Jazz – Django Rheinart, Ornette Coleman

2.2.9 Styles and Crossovers

These are metal-related and metal-hybrid styles. Doom Metal

“Doom metal” does not merit a separate genre because it
is one of two things: 1) very slow heavy metal or 2)
very slow death metal. Although its ideology is more
gothic and its aesthetic morbid, no significant changes
have been wrought from inventors Black Sabbath (1969)
and the doom work on Morbid Angel’s _Blessed Are the
Sick_ 1991.

Of note: St. Vitus, Winter, Cianide, Skepticism, early
Cathedral. Industrial

“Industrial” as used in the record industry denotes a
reliance on electronic beat equipment and often digital
sounds. However, it does not govern the music
underneath, which is almost always rock or heavy metal
in essence.

The exception being Godflesh, whose innovation prompted
mainstream acts Ministry (1989) and Nine Inch Nails
(1991) toward their more commercial rock-industrial
terror dance music. Black metal (I)

“Black metal” as a term was invented by Venom, who with
simpler but more violent and “evil” melodramatic
versions of the heavy metal radio hits they heard,
crafted an image which would be filled in the next
generation with bands like Hellhammer, Bathory, Celtic
Frost and Sepultura. Power metal

Heavy metal stadium rock dramatic extravagance coupled
with the bouncier, violent rhythms of speed metal and
especially speed/funk hybrids Suicidal Tendencies and
the Infectious Grooves, together with a more
testosterone attitude, makes a commercially viable
genre: power metal. The Pantera variant described
above is the main divergence from the pure hybrid,
which is often in the form of technically-powerful and
rhythmically precise heavy metal, in a style opened up
perhaps by Helstar or Psychotic Waltz or Mekong Delta
while most other bands were getting into the decon-
structed aesthetic of death metal. Speed Metal/Death crossover

After the appearance in 1985 of Slayer’s “Hell Awaits,”
Possessed’s “Seven Churches,” Sepultura’s “Morbid
Visions,” Deathstrike’s “Fuckin’ Death” and the second
round of Morbid Angel demos, death metal had
established itself as the next most extreme translation
of the metal idea.

Simultaneously in Germany, a movement to combine
speed metal ideals with a more abstract and logical,
dark sequence of tones took hold in the form of bands
such as Kreator and Destruction, who put together
deathy speed metal, or intense hardcore-inspired
extremists like Sodom who built three-chord high-speed
songs to accustom an audience to enjoying a fast and
violent melody.

2.3 Ideology

Although not a vital component of the music itself, the
ideology that propels metal reflects the range of spirit
which enables one to create music that is both free and
structural. An evolving history of ideas is presented
briefly here.

“I’ve never thought it an accident that Tolkien’s works
waited more than ten years to explode into popularity
almost overnight. The Sixties were no fouler a decade than
the Fifties — they merely repead the Fifties’ foul harvest
— but they were the years when millions of people grew
aware that the industrial society had become paradoxically
unlivable, incalculably immoral, and ultimately deadly. In
terms of passwords, the Sixties where the time when the
word progress lost its ancient holiness, and escape stopped
being comically obscene. The impulse is being called
reactionary now, but lovers of Middle-earth want to go
there…[Tolkien] is a great enough magician to tap our
most common nightmares, daydreams and twilight fancies,
but he never invented them either: he found them a place
to live, a green alternative to each day’s madness here
in a poisoned world. We are raised to honor all the wrong
explorers and discoverers — thieves planting flags,
murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the
colonizers of dreams.”
– Peter S. Beagle, introduction to “The Hobbit,” 1973

“According to the Romantic conception, the lost unity could
not be restored by external means; it had rather to grow
out of man’s inner spiritual urge and then gradually to
ripen. The romantics were firmly convinced that in the
soul of the people the memory of that state of former
perfection still slumbered. But that inner source had been
choked and had first to be freed again before the silent
intuition could once more become alive in the minds of men.
So they searched for the hidden sources and lost themselves
ever deeper in the mystic dusk of a past age whose strange
magic had intoxicated their minds. The German medieval age
with its colorful variety and its inexhaustible power of
creation was for them a new revelation. They believed
themselves to have found there that unity of life which
humanity had lost. Now the old cities and the Gothic
cathedrals spoke a special language and testified to that
‘verlorene Heimat’ (lost homeland) on which the longing of
romanticism spent itself. The Rhine with its legend-rich
castles, its cloisters and mountains, became Germany’s
sacred stream; all the past took on a new character,
a glorified meaning.”

2.3.1 Ideals

As all of us are, metallions are children of history who
look to the past to explain the thinking behind the
present. Here is a brief sampling of the identifiable
movements metal’s got into. Romanticist

As a philosophical movement romanticism predates
existentialism in its desire to explain life to the
individual, as if entertaining the theodicy of
Milton as a Protestant necessity for personal
self-actualization. It was about breaking free of
social confinement and finding the transcendent self
which could see the beauty in all things, an
extension of the egalitarianism of the Deists who
founded commercial America. Much of its focus
included a dialogue with death, a morbidity, an
insouciant desire to experience life as it occurs, a
hedonism, a fascination with the ancient, a querying
of self in vast universe, and a desire to achieve
that which is unique for its precision expression of
self. This movement empowered emotion to lead the
human on wild adventures, while setting logic free
in a world of its own to dream. Some say this is
the last time people in Western society reported
significant experience.

A fragment from the OED defines romanticism as “tending
towards or characterized by romance as a stylistic basis
or principle of literature, art or music; designating to a
movement or style during the late 18th and early 19th
centuries in Europe marked by an emphasis on feeling,
individuality and _passion_ rather than classical form and
order, and preferring grandeur or picturesqueness to
finish and proportion.” This snippet defines both the
style and content of romanticist works, at least as
commonly known; investigating metal reveals their

The distinguishing characteristic of metal throughout
its history has been its youth-culture rejection of the
established world (youth reject their world for they can
afford to; once they are educated to lose hope they find
themselves in an easier existence) and declarations of
autonomy from the surrounding world and its disease of
bourgeois commercialism, sexual elitism, intellectual
denial or spiritual cowardice, depending on what
generation of metal is expounding. In this metal has
affirmed the rejection of proportion/symmetry and the
overthrow of external principles which would control \
such as morals and aesthetics (finish); the root of this
tendency is the dependence on passion that takes over when
one has accepted science (see Nihilism, 3.1).

The romantic movement of literature in Europe
(predominantly England and France) inspired poetry and
existential literature such as Mary Shelley’s
_Frankenstein_, the story of a creature brought to life
finding his essence unfolding as he grows, only to realize
the conditions of his life doom him to obscurity and
isolation. These works are the ancestors of the seminal
modernists James Joyce, William Faulkner, and W.S. Burroughs,
as well as the genesis of genres such as science fiction,
fantasy, and horror.

The fascination with the eldritch and morbid, the
biological and the destructive, as well as the unfolding
question of humanity’s place in a technological world, are
hallmarks of this movement leading a clear trail through
history to today’s metal movements, especially black metal
in which all logic is rejected in favor of total emotional
hatred and nihilistic passion for the abstract.

“A dream of another existence
you wish to die
a dream of another world
you pray for death to release the soul.
One must die to find peace inside, you must get eternal
I am a mortal but am I human ?
How beautiful life is now when my time has come
A human destiny but nothing human inside
What will be left of me when I’m dead, there was
nothing when I lived”
— Mayhem, “Life Eternal” (De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas) Existentialist

Existentialism is the science of the evolving
individual, and how to understand human development
from a psychological, sociological and metaphysical
view. “Existence before essence,” as it has been
summed in the past, depicts existentialism as the
concept that without any inherent purpose, we “wake
up” when we are born here and then must find some
way to explain value into our lives. As we grow we
become more of what we are, or wander in a
personalityless materialism.

“Mankind does not represent a development of the better or
the stronger in the way that it is believed today. ‘Progress’
is merely a modern idea, that is to say a false idea. The
European of today is of far less value than the European of
the Renaissance; onward development is not by any means, by
any necessity the same thing as elevation, advance,

In another sense there are cases of individual success
constantly appearing in the most various parts of the earth
and from the most various cultures in which a high type
does manifest itself: something which in relation to
collective mankind is a sort of superman. Such chance
occurrences of great success have always been possible
and perhaps always will be possible. And even entire
races, tribes, nations can under certain circumstances
represent such a lucky hit.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ Postmodernist

The inversion of value so that its inside might be
seen, postmodernism is about mirrors. A mirror of
the self, so that it can be seen as the subjective
in a world of objectives that it is; a mirror of the
world and a mirror of that mirror, to keep
consistent projections (time).

What makes postmodernism most distinctive is its
absorption of intensely “chaotic” theories such as quantum
physics or non-linear mathematics, by virtue of its
foundation in technology and looking past
superstition, but also peering beyond the intellectual
process of illusion to see how the universe functions as
organism, with universal principles of growth.

Founders such as James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, William S
Burroughs, and Emperor make this movement valuable for
what it is: a violent fist against the aesthetic remainder
of rationalism, where an illusion of public good and
intent is manipulated to justify vast thefts.
Afflicted with knowledge, postmodernism tends to
emphasize the “subtext” of each situation, where
there is an acknowledged reality and an underlying
larger picture which often has nothing to do with
the material props at hand. As such, dreams of
death and great journeys past the land of the dead
are complex and intriguing material.

“The people in power will not disappear voluntarily,
giving flowers to the cops just isn’t going to work. This
thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like
nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I
like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot thrown
from a a high window.”
-William S Burroughs Mysticism

The basic belief of a mystic is that events and objects
are interconnected in a structure that is larger than
immediate material parameters and as such can be accessed
if one is open to transcendence, or letting go of the
visible for the abstract. The mystic finds significant
experience in interpretation of everyday events.

While we may believe
our world – our reality
to be that is – is but one
manifestation of the essence

Other planes lie beyond the reach
of normal sense and common roads
But they are no less real
than what we see or touch or feel

Denied by the blind church
’cause these are not the words of God
the same God that burnt the knowing
– Burzum, Lost Wisdom Shamanism

A shaman is a tribe’s seer sent forth into the
wilderness of his own personality in order to dig
forth the answer to the question everyone is blinded
from asking. A master of finding the obvious behind
a whole structure of reality designed to hide it. Nihilism

Nihilism leaves a complex etymology in the Oxford English
Dictionary: “Total rejection of current religious beliefs
or moral principles, often involving a general sense of
despair and the belief that life is devoid of meaning.”
This gives a historical sense of the word as something
anti-religious, anti-moral, and anti-meaning, but does not
explain the root of that: a belief in the lack of
arbitrary values except the immanent and contextlessness
function-value. Nihilism rejects conventional valuations
and replaces them with the pragmatic assessments of
science and atheism, allowing freedom of movement before
considering precedent and normativity.

In modern times nihilism is a dual entity, composed of
emotional nihilism or the breakdown of all values or
caring (closer to apathy) as well as the nihilism
described above, which is merely a removal of arbitrary
illusion as imposed by social conditioning. Metal has
always espoused some form of nihilism, from its roots in
god-rejection and social cynicism to its over-glorious
heavy metal days when no excess was enough. Death metal
took nihilism to new extremes of rational description of
human irrationality, fragility, and doom, but black metal
takes nihilism a step further and assumes it as a weapon
against conventional moral and spiritual restrictions.

“My name is Varg Vikernes and I play in Burzum. Burzum
means either darkness or light, depending on how you see
it really. If you’re a Christian it probably means
– Varg Vikernes, Organicism

The tendency of mathematical systems to go from the
linear, or vector measurement, to chaotic multidirectional
entities is a measure of its organicism, or the point at
which it moves from chartable projections to the zone
decided only by theory. Organicism is a philosophy of
information science which holds that in order for
something to articulate itself independently, it must be
of an unmeasurable state of chaotic motion.

It’s as if in escaping Heisenberg one becomes integrated
into a system in which all measurements are variable in
chaotic patterns, e.g. without linearly predictable jumps
(a pattern with linear jumps suggests the order is evident
within that pattern, where a pattern with chaotic jumps
suggests an order behind the evident pattern) and
therefore a science of fuzzy logic and organic decisions
is needed.

The sheer relentlessness of the fact that the human mind
still so far outperforms our computers a comparison is
ludicrous indicates that a more powerful and efficient
logic than our stacks of decimal calculations will be
needed. Hence an emergent organicism in many things,
including metal, which approach problems in which binary
solutions (those composed of yes or no, off or on, right
or “wrong”) lead to illusion, since the binary nature is a
projection of the intelligences observing the situation
and not emergent from the properties and methods of the
system itself.

“The essence of liberalism is individualism. The basis of
its error is to mistake the notion of the person with that
of the individual and to claim for the latter,
unconditionally and according to egalitarian premises, some
values that should rather be attributed solely to the former,
and then only conditionally. Because of this transposition,
these values are transformed into errors, or into something
absurd and harmful.

Let us begin with the egalitarian premise. It is necessary
to state from the outset that the ‘immortal principle’ of
equality is sheer nonsense. There is no need to comment on
the inequality of human beings from a naturalistic point of
view. And yet the champions of egalitarianism make equality
a matter of principle, claiming that while human beings are
not equal de facto, they are so de jure: they are unequal,
and yet they should not be. Inequality is unfair; the merit
and the superiority of the liberal idea allegedly consists
of not taking it into account, overcoming it, and
acknowledging the same dignity in every man. Democracy,
too, shares the belief in the ‘fundamental equality of
anything that appears to be human.’

I believe these are mere empty words. This is not a ‘noble
ideal’ but something that, if taken absolutely, represents
a logical absurdity; wherever this view becomes an
established trend, it may usher in only regression and
– Julius Evola, Men Among the Ruins Naturalism

A belief in or intense study of nature, Naturalism is a
fundamental component of metal’s fascination with the
natural and the dual appearance of natural order. In
order to appreciate the beauty of a system including its
most brutal and predatory moments, one must understand it
as a whole to see the function which this tendency plays,
and for what conceptual development to reality. The
inexorable but chaotic order is studied through musical
emulation and lyrical hyperbole in a genre partially
dedicated to transcendence of natural boundaries, with an
appreciation for the strength and continuity of nature.

“Afraid of what lies after death
Your screams are unheard to Him
Resisting your wake of adorn
Your pleading falls deaf on your lord

‘Go #@&!% your god’ will be my final words
To die is just the concept of living
To be forgiven, salvation blessed with pain
Endeavored is the blame of creation

Pathetic lives, every second someone dies
Delightful is the sight of repention
No destiny, just a certainty of death
In pain inducing lies of salvation
Never repent…”
– Deicide, Repent to Die (Legion) Individualism

Strongly in favor of the independent evolution of
individuals so to allow them space to grow without the
persistent damage of scar tissue formed to avoid
intervention by the arbitrary appearances of demands by
others, the individualist genre metal has developed a
subculture with focus on the development of the individual
as a force of chaos and change in the otherwise patterned
material/causal world.

The reasons for individualist thought usually center
around the idea that those who know what they want for
personal fulfillment will not project that on to others
for purposes of control. Individualism is a property of
art and any other discipline which demands independence
and focus; systemic and/or chaos thinkers understand it as
a form of parallelism.

“A fundamental, devastating error is [having a] political
system based on desire. Society and life are been organized
on basis of what an individual wants, not on what is good
for her…Just as only one out of 100,000 has the talent to
be an engineer or an acrobat, only a few are those truly
capable of managing the matters of a nation or humankind…
In this time and this part of the World we are headlessly
hanging onto democracy and parliamentary system, even
though these are the most mindless and desperate
experiments of humanity…In democratic countries the
destruction of nature and sum of ecological disasters has
accumulated most…Our only hope lies in strong central
government and uncompromising control of the individual
citizen.” – Pentti Linkola, The Year 2017 Will Never Come

2.3.2 Influences

In addition to having core tenets of belief, metal also has a
long heritage of influences whose ideas or responses to the
same have provided foundational, contextual material
regarding the time and space of the genre’s evolution
(background). Ideologies

Ideologies are united by a belief in the human ability to
better its existence, and an understated logicality in
which some form of rationalism is needed for coherence
with the collective. Rationalism

Can be summed up easily with the idea that a systematic
process of logical thought will provide the germinal
material for a practical solution or creative
contribution even in a lawless and chaotic natural
context. Looming out of the advancements in theory of
Europe after the Renaissance, Rationalism was a
restatement of a historically consistent theme in human
thought which underscored the Scientific Method, which
had recently be used by the same European empires to
provide the basis for an industrial revolution. Autonomism

Anarchy, or the political state in which there is no
leadership and the ideological state in which no
leadership is wanted, decayed from its own politicism
and the inherent materialist, power-control structure
to politics. Fading at the same time as punk rock,
anarchist culture produced believers in autonomism, a
philosophy in which the independence of all beings is
the highest goal, and each being is seeking a way out
of a natural state of confusion into a
self-definitional state after which comes greater
freedom of intellect. Existentialism

A very alcoholic writer once summed up Existentialism
with the simple switch, “Existence before Essence”;
however, this provides a great place to start a context
comparison between Existentialism and the prevailing
flavor of Utilitarian logic prevailing at the time.
Christianity and its forefather Judaism believed in an
inherent and inexorable logic to a world controlled
from another system of logic by an omnipotent “god”, a
situation in which one’s moral “essence” would be
connected to one’s creation off-camera by an
omnipresence. Existentialism freed the human to admit
a developing consciousness, and thus to self-refine
according to where one found joy. Existentialism was
heavily influenced by transcendentalists who in turn
had been inspired by the Romanticists before them, and
carried with it the revolution of philosophy in the age
of the twilit gods: a further science of spiritual
insight so that a wide range of individuals could
perceive and think dissimilarly but remain unified by
abstract logical agreements. Buddhism

The evolution of eastern religion from a caste system
into a peaceful, self-empowering religion, Buddhism is
an example of intense “spiritual technology” from which
participants find an increasing clarity in perception
and valuation. Among its many core concepts are the
ideas of meditative calm, enhanced perception,
ego-reduction, self-abstraction and parallel views of
reality. Classicism

Classicism is a study and belief in the older
civilizations in the western world such as the Romans,
Greeks, Scandinavians, Sumerians and Egyptians, all of
whom had legal systems, some technology, learning, and
a lack of morality in their belief structures. Their
gods were personalities who represented recombinant
elements in nature, combining in stories which
displayed a patterning of the troubled souls of ancient
peoples. These societies perished, some might say,
from their own success: they got large without the
ability to control that largeness, and so relapsed into
anarchy and death. Structuralism

Structuralist philosophies have existed for some time
but a recent resurgence came after the logical
rejection in Dada and other collagist philosophies
which sought to eliminate a meaning not inherent in
life through a randomness calibrated to defeat
intellectual analysis. Structuralism is an evolution
of Rationalism to the next level, in a technological
age where any problem is a design issue, to be solved
by changing the structure of the object(s) or
process(es) based on logical deductions and
corresponding creative outpouring. Transcendentalist

Transcendentalist thought has been part of many
philosophies and will hopefully never go away, because
it’s a positive and universal view of life. Such
scientific mystics as Emerson who found a deeply
personal connection to nature and a complex beauty in
the larger system of life established Transcendentalism
as an idea in art and philosophy, but transcendentalist
ideals are also common to Buddhism, Romanticism and
Existential thought. Thinkers

As influential as ideologies were and are, they often
consist of choices made in thoughtful response to the
ideas presented by any number of writers or thinkers or
performers. Hence this listing. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Born into a religious family, young Nietzsche showed a
gift for scholarship and became successful enough that,
by his early twenties, he held a professorship at a
prestigious university teaching philology, or the study
of the evolution of meaning through language, and
ancient Greek tragedic theatre. Over the course of the
next thirty years he bashed out multiple treatises on
philosophy which were innovative, forceful, articulate,
artistic and honest, granting them eventual approval
with a worldwide audience.

Nietzsche’s philosophies centered around existential
valuation, objectivism, and freedom from the mental
weakness of morality as expressed in Judaism and
Christianity. His works as a result promoted the
predator over the prey, rejected pity and guilt, and
affirmed a physical existential experience as a
fundamental anchor of the self to world. To this day
he is not widely understood, and his works are known
for having inaugurated in the postmodern era, a
humanity after facing the stark naked empty reality of
its existence. Immanuel Kant

A strict and diligent philosopher, Kant was nonetheless
marked by the inconsistency and often evasion of his
thought; led by the developing ideas he had toward
certain conclusions, he would equivocate where they
conflicted with fundamental ideals of his Christianity,
leading to some “hypothetical” conclusions used to wrap
up the whole of his philosophy. That aside, Kant laid
down the first epistemological view of modern
philosophy and build a core structure of philosophical
concepts and the boundaries of knowledge which remains
useful today. His work in technical philosophy,
especially moral philosophy, enabled him to clearly
define the lines which would become battlefields in the
future of 20th century philosophy. His importance to
metal musicians comes mostly through his identification
of the “perceptual filter,” or a mask of association
through memory which we as thinking beings use to
reduce the complexity of external reality through
tokenization. As metal journeys further into the
postmodern, the model of strict consciousness which
Kant developed becomes more and more useful in
deconstructing reaction to limitless chaos. J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was a professor of the
English language at Oxford during the first half of the
twentieth century, infusing his fascination with
Germanic themes of honor and ancient mythology into a
fantasy series involving a “middle earth” where magic
and science were one. His works, which emphasized the
journey over the end result, and a sense of personal
integrity over external morality, are the third most
popular cause of Hessianism, after Dungeons & Dragons
and marijuana. Jim Morrison

James Douglas Morrison was born to a father who was an
Admiral in the U.S. Navy, served under a classicist
society of the 1950s, and came into his own at film
school in the early to middle 1960s in Los Angeles,
California. His subsequent project, the Doors, became
the first truly dark rock n roll/pop band and laid down
many thematic and musical paradigms metal bands would
later reference in their innovation. William S. Burroughs

The infamous writer of “Naked Lunch,” William S.
Burroughs, is known as much for his heroin addiction as
for his contributions to literature, including what
might be called the first truly postmodern novel in
“Naked Lunch.” However, his contributions were vast,
starting with his “cut up” style of literature which
would weave a complexity of connections between
granular sections of text randomly recontextualized in
a chronological narrative. The philosophies of
individual freedom, control, darkness and politics
contained within “Naked Lunch” and subsequent works
(“The Nova Express”,”The Ticket that Exploded”,”Cities
of the Red Night”) provided an unfathomably
universalist basis to metallion rejection of authority,
conformity, and materialist aesthetics. William Blake

One of the first transcendental poets to articulate his
ideas in a structured metaphorology designed to
transcend the calcification of Christianity, Blake
spoke of sensual and intellectual excess as salvation
for the soul and invented a form of morality based in
joy which used its romanticism as a basis for its
respect and fascination with life. Blake’s detailed
exposures of human reason and fear at its most primal
and yet most symbolologic delivered a scientific
mysticism to those who came after him (including Jim
Morrison and William S Burroughs!) a shadow in which
motion was possible, a darkness which mostly concealed
a limitless beauty of freedom. Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft

Writer of horror and other imaginative tales, the lurid
and detail-oriented Poe captured complete control of
the attention of his readers through shaped,
articulated and very controlled words. Similarly,
Lovecraft developed mythologies from simple brutality
and built a spiritual structure of a phenomenology of
evil from the myths of Ancient Sumeria combined with
his perceptions of pre-religious darkness and fear.
Together these writers contributed much of the basis of
gore and horror and adventure in fantasy that pervades
metal in the current time. Ralph Waldo Emerson

An American thinker and writer, R.W. Emerson remains
most famous for his philosophies surrounding
transcendentalism, or the belief that one can overcome
limitations and error in life through enlightened,
spiritual, meta-conscious thinking. He asserted that
redemption could be found only in one’s own soul and
intuition, and encouraged those who were inspired by
his words to turn back toward nature and introspection
instead of relying on an increasingly externalized
society. John Milton

An English minister and poet, John Milton conceived and
wrote the epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” in which Satan is
portrayed as a beautiful angel who rejects servitude in
heaven and is exiled in flame, only to learn how to
love the barren but self-decisional realm of Hell. Counterculture

Starting in the late 40s American society slowly began to
fragment after the pragmatism of focus on supremacy that
had been the war effort which made the country a
superpower had worn itself down in the contradiction of
positivity and planning for nuclear warfare. Partially
because of the intense political polarization along lines
of materialistic duality (capitalist/communist) the social
structure had become fascist and so dissenters were
alienated, dropout characters who had to write their own
book of survival. Hippie

As Black Sabbath grew into what it would be the hippie
movement was carrying through the aftermotions of
flowering in order to fully sell out, having peaked at
perhaps a 1967-68 frame in which it expressed its
ideology and desires. Hippies were hedonistic,
semi-naturalist, anti-material-value, open to dynamic
or chaotic action and peaceful/stoned as a collective
character trait. Beat

In the late 50s and early 60s as American culture
ground itself further into commercial uniformity and
categorical boundariededness another subculture grew up
which addressed the existential loss of American
culture with am embrace of the impermanent, the
powerless, the divinely mundane, in an effort to spread
the word of value in life. Their fascination with the
distorted, macabre and placeless, drifting existence
which metaphorizes the modern lack of groundedness
expressed a subconscious fear of the times which would
precipitate coming social unrest. Biker

As far as everyone can tell a universal culture, bikers
are the gypsies of the industrial age with a nomadic
existence outside of economic planning and therefore
responsibility and reactivity. The party keeps rolling
and the nihilism of the road is welcomed as it keeps
all things from having meaning and a debt associated
with their maintenance. Punk

Punk culture rebelled against the status quo with a
total rejection of value and a nihilistic embrace of
all that is worthless or destructive. It rejected
materialism with a pragmatism of homelessness. A sense
of romanticism founded a wandering nihilism, a violent
pointlessness and a refusal to accept anything at face
value. Since it had been taken to such extremes, it
had become a characterizable appearance and sound which
was soon cloned, promoted, budgeted, destroyed. Horror Films

The genre of horror films, despite on its commercial
end having some of the stupidest material ever produced
on celluloid calling it home, also communicates deeply
with the unconscious mind through imagery of possession
and entrapment by an unidentifiable but pervasive evil.
Its description of evil, and its portrayal of human
panic in reaction to it, won the horror film genre a
place in the hearts of many Hessians. Drugs

No study of counterculture is complete without drug
culture, which by its absence of any fundamental
ideology guarantees its perpetuation through
generations of thought and flesh, to illustrate how
power and authority move through a simple model of
supply and demand. We can blame W.S. Burroughs and
Aldous Huxley for this. Once again, however, a
metaphorology of connections between the physical and
the mental. Traditionalism

This spiritualist hybrid became popular in the 1990s when
people sought a word for an alternative to the fragmented
modern world: traditionalism, or the belief in an inherent,
holistic, immanent order in which each person had a role
and morality was relative to this role, not the survival
of the individual. Seemingly formed from equal parts Hindu-
inspired occultism, deep ecology, latent fascism and
Tolkien-esque love of past grandeur, traditionalism got
radical in the 1990s as centuries of decay began to show the
fruit of decomposition they had so patiently nurtured with
the selfishness and fear of the individual. Seeing how
individualism had previously been considered the salvation
of humans lost in an industrial society, and egalitarianism
became its watchword, traditionalism was a shocking
violation of social taboo that somehow never got the praise
that fisting a pink spraypainted seal while singing the
national anthem offkey received amid enthusiastic applause.

“The world may be explained in sociological terms. David
Riesman describes three basic social personalities in _The
Lonely Crowd_. ‘Other-directed’ people pattern their
behavior on what their peers expect of them. Suburban
America’s men in gray-flannel suits are other-directed.
‘Inner-directed’ people are guided by what they have
been trained to expect of themselves. [General Douglas]
MacArthur was inner-directed. The third type, the
‘tradition-directed,’ has not been seen in the West
since the Middle Ages. Tradition-directed people hardly
think of themselves as individuals; their conduct is
determined by folk rituals handed down from the past.”
– William Manchester, American Caesar

2.3.4 Methods

What differentiates art from most normal forms of
communication is that art is not a referential causality
structure but a disconnected, purely abstract form of
expression in which reality is left as interpretation and
knowledge of the reader. It is a form of immortality not for
the author but for the experiential language with which it
expresses its time, place, and transcendence thereof. Some
argue that art can possibly be dogmatic, but for that to
occur, art loses its elegance as a metaphor and becomes a
command, which inevitably boils it down to someone telling
someone else “to be” something. Control. Art is
anti-control. Throughout the ages it has led the evolution
of society with visions of new ideas that appeal more to the
subconscious mind than the constant flow of ideas from the
articulative/conscious mind, allowing it to transcend time
and place and circumstance to communicate an ideal. Pure
aesthetics leads to almost instant boredom in that it has no
placement beyond the immediacy and thus creates a void in
time in which amusement was achieved, rather than a transfer
of data; this is solipsistic to both parties and results in
an expectation of null communication, a broken connection
rather than some new idea/creation.

“How do you account for the vision of the man possessed on
stage, and the man sitting before me?

We are quite the opposite to what is personified on stage.
Every band has it’s own way of dealing with shit and if
they play this kind of music, or even just any extreme
music, maybe they are like that full time, maybe not. Like
we always say, people like Rick Astley are probably the
biggest wankers in the world.

They probably come off stage, and wanna kill kids. With
us, its the contrary, on stage we are executing the whole
other persona, in regular social conditions we are pretty
straight forward.”
– Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead

As much as any other form of expression has a purpose, art
does: to communicate that which is out of range for other
forms of known interaction. In art the surreal can be real
and the unstated the visually unavoidable, so there is a
tendency to explore our minds with a rendering engine of
mental projection. Metal uses this projection to communicate
a bond to existence outside of social conditioning and
materialism, creating an ideology of freedom and chaotic
possibility which by accepting death instills more hope than
those who deny darkness.

After the industrial age, we in the information age look to
the next age, when we’ve as a species had some time to play
with our new toys. In the information age, the
highly-trained are valued; in the post-information age, the
highly intuitive and powerfully analytic at an organic level
are intensely valued. When machines have handled the
mundane, pure thought will reign, if humanity does not
suicide first. Metaphor

Metaphor is the primary expression of abstract
communication, by demanding that the user inference a
commonality between two events and by that, to understand
the “device” of the metaphor: how it functions as a truth
for a wide variety of input or context, and can take on an
ironic meaning the closer one comes to a full expression
of understanding its “truths”: where its implication of
correspondence between two objects events methods is an
abstract match and there is information created by
knowledge of the similar workings of both entities. Pattern Languages

Metaphor expands a mundane thing into a much larger
one, in many usages. Such a thing happens in metal,
where some of the most mundane activities on earth -
partying, mass slaughter – stand as metaphor for
existential doubt and resurrection overside the void.
These metaphors work both ways and so often in metal an
ancient legend is a form of diagnosis for the current
context of a work’s reception. (Artists live two
lives; before they are discovered, they are able to
create and project, and, when they are known: when they
address a waiting audience with an evolving concept of
worldview and intellectual language.) Subconscious communication

Metaphor often “feels” right to individuals because
what it expresses is beneath the level visible by their
articulative mind, thus can be more complex than what
ordinary language, visual information or sound can
possess. The metaphorology of journeys, death, decay,
apocalypse, winter, death, war, and genocide in metal
are subconscious manipulations of our sense of reality
and the future it holds. Post-quantitative Symbology

The Judeo-Christian revolution in western thought
brought with it great power because its theology and
worldview/theodicy supported the idea of quantitative
symbology, which worked around ages-old prohibitions on
division of existence. However, the tradition of
morality and character from which Judeo-Christianity
descended is fundamentally material, and so it is no
surprise that this foundational religious theory of
western thought after its invasion in 1100 AD has
supported the largest expansion in material wealth and
mechanical structure in history. As anything ages
however it approaches the time in which its
foundational principles need expansion and as such this
age is approaching for material aesthetics (morality)
as a philosophical doctrine, with whatever replaces it
facing a need for coherence in chaos and post-dystopic
society. Metaphor provides an insight to this kind of
thinking by associating a matrix of ideas with a
central narrative as a method of explaining options and
situational function to anyone willing to accept an
idea and manipulate it. Metacognitive thinking

The ideology and metaphorology of metal stresses a
larger view of existence than the immediate and as such
produces thinking about the nature of thinking as a
means of interpreting the highly abstract. Mythological fantasy

Romanticism in metal stresses fantasies not of the
sexual but mythological or mystical nature, an emphasis
on creativity through a journey whose structure is
known. A greater metaphor is seen for existence in
which creativity and adventurousness are the traits
which survive the filtering of reality’s demands. Structure

Fundamentally based in melody rather than harmony as
most rock music is and interpreting that idea through
multiple metacognitive
worldviews/metaphysics/generations allows metal to
express structure Autonomism

Since a metaphor is abstract, it must be interpreted
personally and in context, a case in which it will
apply objectively as it always has through a
translation of one’s application of the idea to
circumstance. GIGO. Will

To explore a metaphor, one must will to do so. It is
not an accidental process. There are more metalbands
with complex mythologies than one might expect; some
highlights: Morbid Angel, Immortal, Darkthrone. Inertia

A martial art is the study of converting energy from an
intended percussive move to a continuous kinetic move,
deflecting violence while tiring the opponent while
ready to strike. Postmodernism

A movement of reflection for society as it entered its
twentieth century development phase of technological
industrialism, a method of analysis known as postmodernism
arose as a new style of modernism which reaffirmed
traditional goals of rationalism, structuralism, and
transcendental metaphysics but to this added the
realizations of new interpretations in philosophy and
physics (Nietzsche and Einstein) as a means of explaining
the seeming isolation of being human when one is caught in
a matrix of powerful information which is dead to the
artificial arbitrary network of values society imposes for
the sake of control. Postmodernism emphasizes an
integration of many different ideas into one,
articulation of the subjective persona behind authorship,
an aesthetic which in order to keep itself pure inverts
itself into the unmanageable, and an emphasis on structure
behind events rather than events themselves. Metal
manifests this to an absurd degree with its paranoid
obsession with the occult and the fundamental alignment of
different personalities of power. Aesthetic

The constant distortion, grittiness, and organic
structures of death metal and black metal would appeal
to many postmodernists, as would the comedic antics of
exaggeratedly “evil” black metallers who are reflected
back to their audience a mockery of evil to illustrate
how the dichotomy is false, that there is only thought
and chaos. Taming chaos is a mystical science, so
mysticism is portrayed through minimalistic structures
which shift dynamically to demonstrate a nihilistic yet
existential worldview of exploration and growth (as
patterns in the music modulate into structures of great
spaciousness). Structure

Structural emphasis in metal reflects a design that is
aware of chaos and how to channel it, indicating a
larger awareness than categorical or fixed data
structures which deliberately finds ways to articulate
musical ideas at more abstract, nihilistic, and
minimalistic levels. It removes metal from the
recombinant world of rock, based around the scale of
fixed intervals, and allows chromatic experimentation
for true pantonality. Artistry

Usage of the techniques of art to new dimensions of
nihilistic exploration, even addressing the
relationship of art to viewer/hearer, postmodern works
often experiment with gritty production values, strange
or surreal tones, absurdist and extremist
structuralism. All of these apply to metal from Slayer
onwards; black metal and death metal owe their origin
to this idea break, which moved metal from its
classicist heartbroken nihilist motivations to a more
scientific and abstract, dissonant response to the
decay of human society into suicide. Philosophy

A pervasive doubt and feeling of human helplessness
against the limits of perception permeated the
atmosphere that birthed postmodernism, in which a
morbid fascination with the conventionalized
implications of Nietzsche had the bean-counting sheep
of society in terror.

He removed a structure they found reasonable, and as a
result, the trauma resulted in much dramatics before
postmodernists explained the more positive side of
Nietzsche: if one understands him as a whole, not much
has changed in his view of existence from the status
quo, but a method of perceiving truth – a clearer one.

His innovations, like those of the Buddhists, were
primarily used to invent a spiritual technology for
perceiving the nihilistic roots of a chaotic nature,
avoiding superstition and seeking a mysticism rooted in
the logic of existential value.

Second-level interpretations of Nietzschean morality
analysis, power ethics and the resulting desire for
existential meaning can be found in such works as
“Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs, Ulysses by James
Joyce (who is arguably a modern), The Sound and the
Fury from William Faulkner and “Hell Awaits” by Slayer
– and all metal afterwards. Presence

In much the same way as its invocation of the author
removes a barrier imposed by a media society,
postmodernism’s presence as dogma (post-dogma?
meta-dogma?) in the active lives of its adherents
contributes to a trickle-down effect not only through
the politics and personal choices of that individual,
but through the lives of others who look up to that
individual if that individual “succeeds” in some
appreciable way. Cultural individualism

One theory of self-identity suggests that one’s self
identity should be relegated to those things literally
which are pleasures of the earth and her diversity itself,
but this leads to an unsettling suggestion of wholesome
values unless you couple it with intense drug use.
Especially in the last decade, intense culturalism has
permeated metal, some of it celebrating the cultures now
scorned for previous decades of nationalist activity. Identity

In a Hessian ideological state, identity is relegated
to a simple statement of function that is unconnected
to being. Most normals will say, “I am a fry cook,” or
whatever the occurrence of employment might be, but a
Hessian would probably say, “I’m here… I was
somewhere else, but now I’m here, and I’m thinking
about…” in an encounter that might likely end up
involving drug use. Ideology

The concept of ideology as a product of individual
differentiation, e.g. according to most psychological
models as a level of development of personality and
intellect, is taken for granted in the Hessian
community. Where in mainstream society to have
political values other than “don’t rock the boat” is as
it has been through all of history taboo, Hessians
carry a variety of extremisms, but any Hessian who has
been thinking about the music for a while and letting
it get into his/her blood will see the presence of
ideological values in the discipline, compassion and
personal relevance of such music. It’s interpretive
artistic spirituality as culture. Politics

Politics are the physical incarnation of one’s
metaphysical and/or ideological structure. So one acts
out what one feels. Extremist politics in the
postmodern society reject society, conventional values,
morality, and ideas of punitivism, control, authority
and hierarchy. Most Hessian are anti-capital, but most
are also anti-communistic. They are pro-”A really new
way of doing things” in a world that promises new
innovation and delivers it under the same old terms. Spiritualism

Through its metaphorical and systemic qualities, metal
is mystically inclined as much as it is by its romantic
qualities, if not more. The connection is a pragmatic
attitude to life as something that is beautiful not
through mystery but experience, the evolving construct
of information that is one’s life. Such a metaphysical
view often requires an address of spiritualism to
explain its back-end significance, e.g. why such a
discipline was conceived. In the age of the end of
history, however, any source of hope is viewed
suspiciously as spiritual, since spiritualism remains
one of the few unquantified and hence vastly oversold
commodities on the planet. History

With Black Sabbath, a postmodernist inversion was
reified as the subtle contextual morbidity and paranoid
fear of an increasingly technological society. The
bomb – and then, computers – 1984? Terror in the minds
of the people at this, as transmuted through music,
became a powerful method of channeling alienation. The
morbidity within was expressed without, allowing the
within to leave what was external there and to move on
its own, creating a space of inner peace in which
ambition could foment. Henceforth there have been
plenty of morbid metal bands, from Hellhammer to Morbid
Angel to Darkthrone to Ildjarn.

2.3.5 Events

These historical events influenced artists to make metal with an idea
of finding expression for contemplations of these events. Atomic bomb In 1945, two atomic weapons were detonated over
large Japanese cities, ending WWII in the pacific, setting
the stage for the evolution of human power structures
after the war ended. The next forty-five years were a
precarious balance between two warriors nations who fought
only through proxy, never quite willing to invoke their
main means of defense, the nuclear weapon. True paranoia
sunk into a populace too patriotic to admit it, giving the
1950s a quaint appearance to us now. Viet Nam

When Black Sabbath laid down the foundations for metal in
1969, not only was the world still at nuclear standoff but
also, the war in Viet Nam was going badly for the
Amerikans. Instability was present but not discussed as
to do so was to undermine the war effort which had never
ended. For some, the corporate thematics to the execution
and bureaucratic nature of the war in Viet Nam raised the
disturbing notion that underneath the “reasons why” for
the war which people acknowledged at a surface level of
social interaction, there was an insidious, materialistic
truth. In 1972, Thomas Pynchon wrote a book called
“Gravity’s Rainbow” centered around this idea. Reaganification

A return to the righteousness of the 1950s, in which a
justification of threat had been replaced by
ultrasimplification of politics in which material ethics
prevailed over ideology which was by its nature perverse,
since it did not accept the bounty of material as its
ideological goal. This was probably the most destructive
period in American history: when she highjacked her own
standards to push brutally forward in a political struggle
with no clear outcome. However, the social changes
brought about in this era were, like everything else in
the 1980s, a trend and so they flitted through the
viewfinder of history for several seconds before being
replaced by the newest morph. End of Cold War

After the cold war ended, a great relief permeated the
period of instability following the interruption of the
balance of hegemony while inside itself, the politicized
portion of western thought forgot about most foreign
policy decisions. The warfront excess flooded society and
soon social control turned inward during an increasing war
on drugs and a paranoid age of technological integration
of citizenship information. However, the main delineation
for this period is the vast apathy. There is nothing left
to prove, or do. We’re out of the hot water but we’re
still insane. So the greatest tension here is the entropy
of humanity slowing down for death. Internet

When the Internet connected the world, what we saw was
that technology was making our lives remarkably similar in
different parts of the world. The unification of
information also gave one a greater view of the human
behavioral spectrum as a whole, revealing some of the
greatest insanity. Also, the Internet is living proof of
the postmodern theory of subtext, since the faceplate
always talks about customer service but the reality is
that everyone wants to download porn discretely. Millennium

The coming of the millennial change has forced neurosis
into apathy, creating a tension of unreality as the date
hovers near. Mass destruction fear is our public terror,
but our private fear is that it will not occur – thus
dooming us to the same apathetic existence we have known
in the presence of technology, where all basic problems
are solved and the consequent need for further space has
us feeding on ourselves. This illusionary cycle weighs
heavily on our minds as the guilt of our lack of
achievement weighs heavily at the second millennium marker.

4.1.5 Objective Communication

This paragraph is written in a persona as interpretation
of the metal subcultural ethos, in order to establish the
strong polarity which is felt by most of those making the
metal that matters, if not by all the imitators and
clueless fans.

Hence, while this inclination might seem ultra-subjective,
one must consider that in an objective data reading from a
physical system, what an individual will tell you
subjectively may constitute in the abstract form a part of
a heuristic tree of knowledge that provides for the
differentiation of belief, .: beliefs originate in
different methods of approaching a situation/object, and
in differentiation open themselves to evolution, or
selection of the superior strains of idea while allowing
the weaker to lapse. Scientific method

Scientific method – the formation of hypotheses in
response to testing as a means of testing accepted
hypotheses as well as new, in an ever changing system of
cross-indexed knowledge – is the basis of any kind of
deconstruction, backward engineering, or analysis of how
something previously unknown works.

This is also the basis of communication, where as in
digital protocols there is a handshaking phase of
equalization of symbolic (quantitative) tokens, and where
interpretation uses logical constraints to narrow a search
to a reasonable set of answer data. When analyzing music,
a similar set of requirements exists: that one use
rigorously objectivist means of finding
publically-referentiable data.

So when objective terms are used to describe music or
musical movements, it is structurally necessary for
coherence that objective experiments and scientific theory
underly such language. As it is, here, we attempt to
document much of this from a thinking Hessian’s view.

Many people believe objectivism, or the science of a
shared space which really is consistent despite our varied
perceptions of it, is something a few of us would rather
call subjectivism, or solipsism: the belief that the world
is formed of one’s perceptions.

Objectivism however is the study of consistency. Of
constantly verifying one’s worldview with experiments in
every possible area, to find consistencies in behavior and
to use abstract principle to deduct structure from a
number of these consistencies.

It’s science. The core of it. How we inference our way
to technology as intelligent apes.

It does not assert that all things are the same, or that
we are controlled by an external force. No: only that
there is an external reality which is consistent, and
provable as such with repeated demonstration from any
number of angles.

This is how we have come from clothing ourselves with mud
and boar carcass to having intercontinental ballistic
missiles. Repeated provability = cornerstone of theory.
What we in the outside-the-box school of objective
analysis call, “the back end.”

The back end is what gives certainty of placement to any
thought – a known truth at which to begin decoding the
interaction of the unknown with the known. It’s like
plugging known data into weird math equations to try to
figure out what’s going on in the equation by how the
numbers change.

Inference, or inductive reasoning based on abstract
similarity (“resonance”) of patterns, without a back end
to begin with is a form of “deep” or “mystic” inference,
in that it rests upon a collection of basic principles
interpreted in the deep abstract with tokens of the same
in such a way that none of it is _provable_, only

An example of such a theory would be Christianity: one is
asked to presuppose a god-being, and take it on faith that
it exists and is omnipotent and wants you to do what you
are told through its book. Buddhism, as it claims to be,
is not: all things are verifiable through its only “true”
method, meditation. All else is “untrue” and therefore
has no necessary logical value.


Some kind of work producer channeled through an


An object or idea which converts energy.


A structure of tokens to have adaptive description
as a function of their recombinant structure, so
that they favor encapsulation in levels of
abstraction. Artistic relevance

One asks, what is art?, because art seems different
from other forms of media, or works of communication.
It does not tell you what it is telling you to think;
it tells you what it is thinking, and requires you meet
it half way. It is the high abstract, and functions by
metaphor: jarring as if through drunkenness windows of
physical confinement to reveal similarity in event,
object, and ideal.

Understanding the related nature of structure brings an
understanding of the function of nature, and in doing
so, can address the pain and suffering and more
importantly, the fear thereof that cripples before the
disease hits, and bring a calm and peace to human

The varied reactions people have to art confirms this.
Despite a storm of protest, the only coherent comments
are usually those who originate from the people who
have identified with the art – who find ideas in the
art or metaphorically similar ideas in the art that are
constructive to their own.

Don’t get us wrong – the tools of art are always
abused. Advertising, as an industry of convincing
people to give up their own free will, uses artistry to
convey simple messages. Political propaganda does the
same, wrapping a bundle of thoughts around a single
spindle and firing them off wildly in an emotional
reaction. But art does not stoop this low.

And what is amazing? Metal fans at least can tell the
difference. Consistently the albums that are pure
cheese are popular for a few years, and fade, where the
creations of the distinctive and bold and intelligent
stand forth as classics for years. The ones that fade
have a material significance: at that time they were
new, and fulfilled a need for music with something

And so the fan base with the widest variance, who are
always looking for something new and different-looking
to stand out from the rest, seize it as a commodity:
something with consistent effect and function toward
improvement of physical being. Others look back on a
definition of a time through a cultural, metaphorical,
metaphysical interpretation of how it was lived, and
reference an oft-quoted list of “classics” with reasons
why ranging from articulate philosophical appreciation
to intoxicated nostalgia.

Products work toward consistency; art works toward
opening spaces. New ideas build space not by being
“new,” or previously unseen, but by developing an
unknown method of executing the current objective
through a development of its concept. A postmodernist
might argue that “all history is but a struggle for a
point of view to share,” but quite often, the
postmodernist might “be” right.

Art functions by introducing new ideas for the listener
to appreciate. It anticipates their… how does it do
this? Through using the scientific method: the artist
decodes world, and interpreting the universalism of its
methods, builds a simple virus to speak its own
contents. A language of characters which put together
resemble views of the experience; a series of slices of
crystal ball.

Art is the science of understanding what it is to be
intelligent, and in manipulating its symbology,
expressing its relevance and structure as spiritual
events rather than physical confrontations. The path
of intelligent abstract reasoning has so far led
humanity away from chaos and destruction into
organization and reasonable living; is it possible that
now it is in the hands of chaos again?

Yes – in that with art we have a back-end inference, in
that we are comparing its pieces as those who see them
and have no knowledge of the background of their
production. But based on the common intellectual
properties of artist and viewer, the art is created to
put into sight some very abstract and often emotional
ideas; the viewer will then interpret these, especially
as relevant to his or her own life.

In short, art is different from “normal” communication
in that it doesn’t hope for change in the physical
world, e.g. buy this tampon/car. It is about the
transaction of ideas in a scientific sense: passing on
the abstract so that others may test their own theories
against it, and emerge with their own placement of its
value. Call it client-server psychology. What Does Art Address

The amazing thing about art is its universality. The
artist will make it; many will comment. The artist
will speak. Usually many are disappointed, as their
interpretations were insane, but quite a few are
pleased in that their view is ratified by the artist’s
words. This is where human psychology comes into
interpretation: “art” is both “subjective” and


A rehash from above: art manipulates life to
speak an idea in the abstract so humans can place
it, based on a reality we both can sense and test
with the scientific method.


Different people have different responses, but
this doesn’t mean that they’re all “right”.

If I play a Darkthrone record to a random audience, and
the Priest says, “it’s the work of the devil,” the
Buddhist monk says “it seems to express the simplicity
and loneliness of structure”, the prescient junior high
math whiz says it reminds him of matrices, the
politician says he hears loose morals in the “dissonant
chords and malevolent pauses”, a limbless retarded
midget quadriplegic leper might call it “drool pain
sound car crash foofth gurshs”, but the first is insane
but correct, the second sane and correct on levels of
both abstraction and literality (making him the only
sane analyst of art here), the junior high math whiz is
sane and correct in a way that even he can’t yet
understand, the politician does not care about his
answer only the votes it generates so why do we listen,
and the midget is only there for late night sexual
abuse, is insane, and incorrect.

Concepts on art:

– Art has no teleological objective, or physical and
conclusive end, but expresses an idea in a non-literal
way. Why would it be non-literal?

– Art is interpretive, and never forces itself upon the
reader. Does this mean it has no effect? No – on the
contrary, the reader comes back for more because it has
an effect upon him or her.

– Language, despite being quantitative, can cover
almost any range of situations with its capability for
fuzzy logic allowing abstract similarities between
concepts to stand for physical scenarios. For example,
we call a certain kind of grenade a “potato masher”
because that is what the grenade resembles in shape.
Art arranges quantitative elements in a way that they
imply and manipulate a greater structure; therefore it
is in the range of the metaphysical: the abstract
interpretation of existence and the metaphysical.

– “Art states what is invisible.” In any everyday
situation there are many truths evident in that people
share a belief and therefore act in accordance and
expectation of its fulfillment. Hence, art sometimes
wakes people up about commonsense ideas.

– Aesthetic or material valuation, the process of
assigning value to objects in a subjective sense based
on appearance or physical value, end thought processes
when an action is complete, but art seems to deal with
the moments before an action, or understanding that
action later.

– Art does not confuse value with relevance. Art
manipulates its objects unkindly often, and does not
hesitate to create imaginary worlds where doom may
prevail. But these characters and objects, while
imaginary, do have life: they are similar intelligences
to human, and therefore can be identified with by the

– Art is beyond politics. Politics uses linear power
structures; x = value and y = value and if x is good
and y is bad then y is to blame for the continuing
failure of human interaction. Art, by being
interpretive, is meta-democractic: those who can
understand can use these ideas and implement them, but
those who can’t can only see a confusing appearance.
Art is self-filtering for the kind of symbolism that
becomes dogmatism in Christianity, or National

Music, by those people who enjoy it enough that they wish
to understand it after dissecting it musically and
conceptually, is analyzed as art, and as art an expression
of a level of some universality through its
conceptualization of awareness. There are other stages of
its appreciation, including:

I. Aesthetic Fascination — tangible
II. Sentimental Self-Identification
III. Technical Appreciation
IV. Heuristic Comparison/Academicism
V. Abstract Analysis —- logical
VI. Artistic Conception —- mystical
VII. Spiritual Immersion

The three stages expressed on the left are also stages of
the development of a human child; it first appreciates
objects it can hold, and then learns to render/model them
in its own head, so that it can compare situations and
learn to interpret and react to its world. Eventually it
becomes self-aware, and from that shock goes on to seek a
meaning in existence, a study which leads one beyond the
directly scientific to the mystical, a deep-end
interpretation of tendencies in the universe as
metaphysical suggestions toward the structure of its
non-visible, abstract structural and original elements.

What Separates Art from Non-Art?

Art is interpretive. Anything that tells you what to do,
or demonstrates something with obvious symbols of
emotional manipulation, is probably propaganda and not
art. Hint: One rarely finds metal bands singing “KILL FOR
SATAN” but many metal bands use Satanic imagery. Is this
the face of metaphor?

Art is not accepted on faith. If it doesn’t work for you,
you abandon it. Propaganda only wishes your assent,
however you justify it. Art allows you to develop for
yourself, using art and other forms of perception as
reference materials.

Art has no material objective. It is about abstract
communication and nothing more. Propaganda is always
directing different interests in a linear path to a
physical world accomplishment.

Art is not entertainment or propaganda; both are
neutralizers of the perceptive and inference faculties, as
both aim at consistency and stability over-riding
existential value in the unfolding paradox of being.

Art is a science self-refining enough to tackle the
spiritual realm, where strict discipline is necessary for
the lack of direct back-end inferential centers to not
prevent discovery.

Where most political or religious endeavors require a
“leap of faith” employing what to a highly-ordered thinker
is meta-logical but in the average interpretation is a
“blind” but dogmatically-justified inference, art is
self-interpretive by the user and is only a continuing
process as long as it is interactive. Art requires user
interpretation constantly and, since it often builds
layers of ideas on top of basic concepts, requires
“correct” interpretation of the general idea of what the
artist is addressing and trying to convey. “Correct” is
however made loose by the layers of initial meaning,
repetition, and other factors designed to let the user
misinterpret most of the message but still understand on
some level the ideas of art.

Levels of Communication

I. Aesthetic

– What it “sounds like” or “looks like” tells you
the mood and object of the piece.

II. Structural

– How it puts itself together musically posits
and emotional and academic meaning.

III. Meta-Structural

– What type of theory for music as a whole via
the interpretation of a “next generation” mind is
suggested by the work.

IV. Inferential

– Deep interpretation of the presentation of
ideas reveals a spiritual or philological
interpretation of the ideas addressed, or a
statement of ambiguity revealing the confusion of
art or user.

We are lucky that art generally does not have a
material objective, except when it’s sold out, of
course (Yes, argue with me all day – to your loss.
Metallica’s first three albums have a quality what came
after did _not_ in common observation: a passion from
an emergent conception of existence and a fluidity of
acceptance of its darkness).

Art, functioning on the highly abstract level, can only
utilize highly abstract concepts of learning and
through that, initiate a heuristic tree of learning
where similar ideas are filed, allowing the user to
“understand” the material first and then to appreciate
an internal decision on how to analyze it for relevance
without the preaching of a dogmatic teleology to the
work shadowing any interpretation with a disbelief in
individual interpretation itself.

As often happens, we resort to metaphor when talking
about art itself. We could call it the science of
metaphorical epistemology, e.g. how to give lyrical
significance to a world by symbolizing interpretation
on top of mundane description, but more likely we could
simply borrow Count Grishnack’s phrase, “to stimulate
the fantasy of mortals.”

Role of the Postmodern in Art of the late 20th Century

It’s a ludicrous thing to attempt to communicate using
a word as charged as “Postmodernism,” since most of
what that did mean, or could have meant, or might have
meant, is enmeshed in the entropic chaos emerging from
the polemic of the new freedom to do what looks like
stripping all structure from reality.

To explore postmodernism as an idea, it is best to
return to its origins. After the rise of industry and
the philosophy of Nietzsche, the world was a nihilistic
place caught in the quandary of that philosopher’s most
famous statement “God is dead – and we have killed
him.” Aware of its lack of values but unable to
divorce itself from a commercial path, the world was
settling into a lifestyle of emptiness and commercial
vapidity yet to come. And awaiting two world wars.

Writers such as James Joyce and William Faulkner
demonstrated a new method of thinking in their
contorted and highly technical novels, showing the
underlying human consciousness unexpressed in the
socialized self-justifying “self” used to survive a
brutal and often bitter world.

With its intense power of analysis and metaphorical
connection, postmodernist writers also tackled history,
reinterpreting it as a study for worldview, as Joyce
did in “Ulysses” with a technical re-articulation of
language through the ages and its evolving meaning.
Similarly Nietzsche, a renowned philologist (one who
studies the interpretation of history through
linguistic analysis), used words carefully to trace and
revive meaning in otherwise placeless events or
traditions, interpretations.

Postmodernism’s basically positive outlook carried an
underlying shriek born of understanding the
metaprinciples of several sciences: to murder the
organic cycles of life by imposing an artificial and
simplistic “order” of material consumption is an error
indicating our refusal to accept the weight of making
decisions in an increasingly overwhelmingly complex
world. Joyce likened the everyday man to a great and
mythologically complex hero Odysseus, whose ten year
journey from a distant moronic war (an early Viet Nam
style “police action” no doubt) back home is marked at
every step by a cretinous evil opposing a natural ally
through mutual respect.

In a Joycean interpretation of the mundane, the
external world has significance in its symbology of
where we place our lives and expectations as a global
organism, and if our communication decays from language
into granular symbology (ikons) decisions will no
longer carry any differentiating value to their varied
outcomes, leading to an aimless nihilism and spiritual
darkness. Further writers such as William S Burroughs,
Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLilo confirmed a growing
horizon of massed uncertainty: the age of information
overload resulting in meaninglessness.

It’s as if Dada, in its “reaction” to Modernism, had
created the babble that interpreted an unawareness of
the same babble, and this was integrated into a logical
system such as the structuralist nihilism and systemic
analysis of the Postmoderns. Postmodernism is not an
“answer” to modernism; it is a meta-modernism: an
interpretation of modernist principles in a data
structure spanning the highest abstract to the most
granular, earthy detail.

So now we consider the value that Postmodernism would
have to progressive industrial rock, aka heavy metal
and associated movements, in the time after hope? We
can see in metal movements a mirror of the history of
humanity, from the strict romanticism of Black Sabbath,
to the modernist righteousness of a moral authority
Metallica, to the darkness and existential nihilism of
a fiery fury of hatred Slayer, and from this
progression we can interpret the history of humanity
“as we know it” as a global maturation of the human
consciousness for artificial information and the need
for abstract comprehension and most of all, coherent
order, that comes with the communicative complexity of
a modern age.

Now in the spirit of both the Modern and the
Postmodern, let us interpret the history of human
philosophical systems until the present time as the
struggle for worldview that they have been, and then
project a series of futures and how metal music, as an
evolving philosophy, addresses them.

Classic history is all we’ve got so far that can give
us a start, but the facts being in it’s reasonable to
say most of this stuff comes from a more innocent age
and is mostly not forged – something we can rarely say
about data from the twentieth century, when politicized
media portrayals have functioned powerfully to bias our
perception. In this view of social evolution, the
first written legal code addressing societal issues was
written by a king in the decayed remains of Sumeria
after the Akkadians (Semites from the Arabian/Israeli
area) invaded and absorbed what culture they did not

Hammurabbi’s code was a material interpretation of law.
If you killed another man’s wife by accident, you could
“recompense” him by paying him a certain part of your
income. If another injured you, you were “owed” an
amount of money to justify the intrusion. The later
evolution of “an eye for an eye” truisms was based in
this idea, as, eventually, was the Christian protestant
concept of divine grace, where those who did as the
will of God was were rewarded materially.

During the millennium following the age of Hammurabbi,
Judaism became the primary religion of the Middle East
to oppose the more Western thoughts of the Roman and
Greek empires, as well as the evolving Indo-European
civilization stretching from Scandinavia to
Afghanistan. Its insistence upon divine
“righteousness” or correctness to behavior made it a
natural philosophical system for understanding the
material tokens of a technological realm: money.

In this age, money was at a low stage of evolution and
so there were none of the resources for making and
losing imaginary fortunes that there are today. And
for most, it was a mundane concept – money was only
useful to have things to live. But newer thinkers saw
that putting together resources allowed technology to
propagate, and, in doing so, generated its own consumer
base. Various societies enduring varying periods of
adaptation to this idea.

When the peak of Judaism’s influence rose, a
counter-movement rose from its orthodoxy, in which a
liberal interpretation might be taken at an abstract
level in order to escape adaptations to the past.
Jesus Christ, as a reasonably intelligent Hebrew
prophet, sought to liberate the soul of his religion
from form and in doing so, hoped to translate
spirituality to an articulation not found in symbols
but personal connection to the absolute.

Interestingly, the extremity and quantitative nature of
the conception behind what becomes a very organic
proposition is based in the logical systems of the
Roman and the conquered Greeks whose knowledge was
absorbed, some through Macedonian and Arabian
connections whose portrayal of Sumerian _gnostics_
brought ideas from the Quabbalah and other pagan
spiritual technology into the mixture.

Christianity, as the fusion of Greco-Roman culture and
Judaism, has an interesting abstraction behind all of
its technology, where the duality of mind and body is
portrayed in a denial of self in favor of symbologic
victory “for the next life.” This removes the more
organic reality of the Jews, whose pragmatic belief was
for action in the current life, but whose abstract
basis of comprehension still rested in an absolute God
whose favor determined success or failure,

We imagine the past happened in black and white, or
cave paintings. But more likely it was as flavorful as
time is now, with humans with a similar if not
comparable intelligence, trapped in the impotence of a
pretechnological age but also free from the rigors of
human neurosis in an age when symbols dominate. As
scientists discover ancient cave paintings of great
complexity (32,000 years ago) and American land
dwellers of multiracial complexity (8,000-12,000 years
ago), it becomes apparent that ages before our own
existed in greatness and health.

Indeed, in the western hemisphere we are used to this:
the great Aztec, Maya (Toltec, Olmec), Inca, Cherokee,
Sioux, Comanche and Apache once walked our shores.
Most perished for the material value of their religious
idols; it seems most of these societies banished
personal materialism with a religion glorifying
sacrifice of the absolute but meaningless to abstract
gods. But these changes helped “finance” the discovery
of a new world for resource exploitation as the
religion behind its impetus justified it.

Industry moved toward social domination during a time
when poverty struck many parts of Europe, and so worker
domination was not unheard of. Karl Marx (1818-1883)
reflected on this a generation later, but the peak
occurred as the last of the idle wealthy as a social
class reflected in romantic poetry upon the beauty and
potential of life. In the moralistic public conscience
of Christian politics, the spreading of this wealth to
all was the idea, and to do so in any way possible was
the only path to righteousness.

It was seen as following justice, mercy and compassion
to be democratic, and to enforce equality where not
possessive. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) addressed
this tendency in his _The Genealogy of Morals_, which
suggested that the quest for character and morality to
life was an avoidance of the question as individuals of
how we want to spent our time, and, behind that
question, what it is that we value. Nietzsche’s work
suggested the most of social justification and stronger
was, quite frankly, a scam which covered up the real
agenda, or subtext, of profit-making and power-dealing
as ways of denying mortality and doubt.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) stated his case in _On the
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection_, in
which what was first interpreted as a rebuke to
Christian theology but later assimilated as its
pseudoscientific justification, an articulation of the
process of evolution, made the backbone of a scientific
description of the world’s occurrence.

After the hysteria, Christians and Jews alike began to
accept the ideas – could these not be the mechanisms
of an all-powerful deity? Indeed: if one
backward-interprets Darwinian logic from the present
time, any of one’s successes or failures are judged to
be “decisions” in an evolutionary tree of a perfected
world. If reward for being one of God’s allies comes
in material form, would it not be fair to say that
material favor constitutes success – _evolutionary_
success as part of the plan of God?

With this morality entered its final stage of
development where, with its basis in an actual process
of “God” rendered incoherent, faith became an
interpretation based in the evolutionary process as a
perfection. Interpreted in a social pattern, as it was
as soon as 95% of the working population were
accustomed to hourly wages and an hour-value for their
time, social Darwinism became an explanation for
success or failure as external to human control: divine
choice through earthly method.

This assaulted the older ideal of Platonic separation
between abstract and real, claiming that the abstract
existed only in the significance of the real, where not
totally inapplicable. Morality was inherent in what
the result was, and not the intent or significance of
the action. Hence even reprehensible criminality
became accepted in a commercial society. This theory
was in its nascent formation at the time of Nietzsche,
and growing toward a dogma during the nihilistic shock
of the age of Joyce and Faulkner.

Since the time of these thinkers, society has become
more technologically-empowered than ever before, and
Judeo-Christianity remains the dominant philosophical
justification behind the great empires of North
America, Europe, and the Middle East. However, in
America, the rate of dissenters has risen dramatically
since the focused public intent reacting to the
monolithic violence of imminent WWII.

Our counterculture, or “sub-culture”, reacted
powerfully against the rising of an empire whose goals
betrayed their justification. The degradation of the
beatnik 1950s and the instability of a peacenik late
1960s are testimonies to the demographic influence of
rebellion, but the question has always been, where to?

A successful rebellion is not possible without either
solving or finding an adaptation to the conditions
suggesting impulse to rebel, and so far social
rebellions have most commonly remained part of the same
thought process of the mainstream society: a
morality-based, modernist politicism based in the
materialism of Judeo-Christianity as interpreted
through socially accepted science. Many movements have
decayed in their age into a parody of their former
selves; having lost passion, their only option is the
same materialism they once rebuked.

Generation X, a maturing crop of technologically- savvy
children, found the inversion of values in their
parents to be a sickening symbol of the death of hope.
Their parents, who were around in the late 1960s,
survived the same instability that prompted a
hyper-activism on the part of music: Black Sabbath
invented a spiritual approach toward complex modern
issues, and cloaked it in the machine-like sounds of
logical structures shaped from basic chords and
classically-influenced melody. Heavy metal was born
from that fusion of future and past, expressing a new
interpretation of an older order through the coming
darkness of the current order’s technology.

Several generations later, metal remains strong, mostly
through a rigorous ideology which dictates what is
“true” and what is not; that which is “true” has a
consistent belief structurally evident that the
principles of nihilism, existentialism, and
anarchism/Satanism are reconcilable with ancient
concepts of honor and value, a tradition leading
through both Judeo-Christianity and pagan
(Asatru/Greco-Roman) interpretations of the Sumerian
gnostic ideal. (Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra”
addresses the dualistic ideology of Zoroastrianism, a
religion based on the material abstractions from
Sumerian mythology, an the origin of the good/evil
polarity as found in Judeo-Christian mythos.)

We can “sort of” understand the current cultural abyss
as “modern culture”: it too has been subverted to feed
the dominant paradigm of dogma, and as such holds only
utilitarian and moral tokens, all of which can be seen
in its products: mercy and compassion over all, with a
strong underpinning of guilt and fear of natural
environment, and a happiness that results from material
value and “pleased” responses from others. The
symbology of modern times is a holdover from the last
renaissance mixed with a Darwinistic morality: there is
a way out of the darkness through learning, science and
technology, as long as it is used with _virtue_. Our
virtue has, after the vast corruptions of the cold war
unfurled, that no ideology had virtue and that inert
and harmless behavior was therefore the only virtue.

This kind of conditioning has been with us through the
ages, and so far has assimilated every system of
philosophy or ideology into some form of “product”: a
symbolic existence whose entire purpose has been
subverted to reduction of individual will so that it
may serve a “collective goal” of continuing power for
an elite (there have been some exceptions, and many
argue that Hitler was one). One removes the coat of
choice and replaces it with morality, which could be
interpreted to read “I’m with the good guys.” Because
God rewards the powerful, the good guys are _always_
the guys in control.

Examining metal as a postmodern culture, we find great
evidence of that ideological presence where logically
coherent with the other beliefs of the genre. A
gritty, distorted voice and constantly distorted
instruments break the clarity of symbology; lyrics with
metaphor of fantasy, journey, violence and might
reinforce both an awareness of mortality and a desire
to explore beyond it (what Nietzsche would call
crossing the “abyss,” or the spiritual darkness created
by the doubt arising from the implications of external
control in awareness of death). It is death-shaman
music, like Jim Morrison’s Doors were: bringing back
hope from the world beyond death.

Around us we see the usual decay of human ideals into a
pragmatic obedience to doubt, the “might be” which
conveys terror and coincidence of deadly action. It
is, as many “ideals” have been through history, a call
to throw down the difficult process of making decisions
in exchange for obedience to a cult of power which
rewards its disciples with tangible “idealizations” to
substitute for the ambiguous, metaphysical reality
behind the power of symbology and metaphor.

Generation X-Y-Z-0 find themselves facing the difficult
choice of producing an ideology to handle their world,
if possible to improve it, and on the fly because
although technology evolves toward a post-scarcity
social system, there is a deficit in the damage done to
the environment, and the corruption of our society to
the point where they shoot each other in high schools.
Postmodern thinking and its seeming nemesis, F.W.
Nietzsche, together speak a language of avoidance of
the “void” or “abyss” through creativity, an ethics
rather than a moral standard, and intoxication.

In this there is a place for metal: by embracing the
taboo, that being the triad of hedonism, nihilism, and
structuralist mysticism, metal becomes the foremost
vanguard of a new form of existence which hopes to
transcend the crisis of modern consciousness at an
abstract level and thus, to free us from war with and
sadistic torment of ourselves. Language of Art

Art speaks a consciousness of the world beyond the
visible through a complex set of structures deployed as
metaphor: the visual and intellectual familiarity of
ideas overlaid to create a structural vision of overall
similarity, cloaked in an aesthetic vision which unites
its significance to the living being and its intricate
emotional intelligence.


The use of extended simile – comparison of two
objects, ideas, or entities – to create a
comparison of worlds as a mirror of the
encircling aspect of reality to a single
consciousness, kept in contrast with a spiritual
component of metaphor that constantly hints at an
larger interconnection of consciousness itself.


Postmodern thought targets the subconscious mind
with its often grandiloquent collages of
juxtaposition of imagery and abstract; the
belief, arising from the work of Sigmund Freud
(based on the work of Nietzsche) and C.G. Jung,
that the subconscious is the seat of the real
interplay which decides our conscious decisions
was assimilated early into artistic thought,
which knew it easily as the language of dreams.


Artistic intent does not involve direct change in
a specific material situation but aims for an
overall evolution of intellectual and emotional
capacities of the human population as a whole,
through those who appreciate art and those who
create it. Art defines the cycle as the current
method of survival, our “world view”; art defines
the meta-cycle as the concept or change that will
increase the complexity of the cycle by a level
in order to allow its own transcendence: a
recognition of its meaninglessness in the face of
broader opportunity offered by change.


In pre-Modern times, Chaos was the sign of a
medieval daemon of mythological power: a
regression to atavism and savagery. Modernism
made it a raw force of no potential which could
be trapped and destroyed by technology, which
asserted a much more rigid and simplified order.
Writers such as Thomas Pynchon and William S
Burroughs suggest, along with Nietzsche, that a
reduction in _natural_ complexity will lead to a
failure of our will to live in, as Pynchon would
call it, “entropy” of decisional capability.

“Strife is evolution, peace is degeneration.”
– Varg Vikernes,

2.4 Heavy Metal Culture

Heavy metal can be seen as a subculture, or culture within a larger
culture, as opposed to a counterculture, or oppositional culture
within a larger culture. The reason for this distinction is that
while heavy metal is rebellious it does not exclusively define
itself as being the opposite of what exists, but sees itself as a
modification (or “fork” to the brachitic hierarchy of revisions) to
existing society, mainly because it operates on a level lower than
that of institution — it is a spiritual re-alignment through a
re-arrangement of values, or maybe we should say, a re-evaluation of
all values.

In that light, it also makes sense to consider heavy metal to be a
series of ethnocultures, because each nation produces music of a
unique sound and attitude, often with a unique subset of the values
and situations discussed in death metal. A fan can instantly tell
the difference between South American black-death and Swedish death
metal, or Japanese grindcore and American thrash. There are clear
conventions to each that correspond to culture and ritual, which
correspond to ethnicity and geographic area. Since heavy metal was
created in response to the counter-culture, and was negative about
the counter-culture but not enamored enough of the dominant order to
be a reactionary counter-counter-culture, we consider it a subculture
but refer to it generically as a “culture,” because it has all aspects
of culture: values, rituals, symbols, clothing, lifestyles and art.
These are unique to each ethnicity that indulges in heavy metal but
are in the most basic distinction shared across all heavy metal-
tolerant cultures.

The heavy metal subculture makes itself instantly recognizable
through its heavily codified visual appearance: youth in black
t-shirts with logos across the top and cover art below that, with
long hair and possibly tattoos, gathered away from society at events
involving metal music and places where metal is distributed. They
resemble a small army in public, which has caused many a hipster or
journalist to wax poetic about the lack of individualism in the
culture. It seems instead that in coherence with the concept of
“heavy,” metal culture has placed itself zenlike beyond a simple
division into individualist/conformist. It recognizes the need for
unity in belief to make power. Within that, it allows for variation,
as can be found in the proliferation of diverse tattoos and the
variation in shirts that metalheads wear, with a type of caste and
preference system formed by who appreciates what band, with those
who like the brainier music being the unacknowledged elite. It has
rituals — concert behavior, meetings for listening to new music,
record store power structures, friendship and courtship — that
borrow from their parent cultures, composed of both traditional
culture and its modern adaptation, although they borrow more from the
ancient remnants than the contemporary hybrid.

This culture was so distinctive at American high schools in the
1970s during the first generation of heavy metal that it was
branded with a variety of names: heshers, threshers, Hessians,
headbangers, metalheads. In Europe, other names came about from
similar impulses, including metallion, metaller and metalist,
although these grated on American sensibilities and did not
transfer. The name mutated into “thrasher” for those who listened
to thrash, a type of music formed of the hybrid of hardcore punk
and metal riffing, exemplified by D.R.I. and Cryptic Slaughter. For
this reason, metal culture became known as “Hessian” or “thrasher”
culture, with most people outside recognizing its members by site
without much knowledge of the music or values behind their behavior.
Much of the reason for this approach originates in the attitudes of
mainstream society, somewhat correctly, toward standard teenager
behavior: spoiled by an indulgent attitude toward parenting, yet
forced into rigid behavior to compete for future jobs, teenagers
rebel but very few do so in a way that both asserts childhood and
adulthood as metalheads, generally ludic types, do.

Metal culture, or Hessian culture, involves loud heavy metal music
made in the postmodern interpretation of classical music and rock n
roll arrangement, creating a disturbing noise and profound motion
in its practice and social implications. Author Kurt Vonnegut
likens the role of an artist to society as the role of the canaries
miners brought into the coal tunnels to warn for the presence of
gas: when the birdsong changes or stops, death is near. At the end
of the twentieth century, as we suffocate in the meaninglessness of
the social machine we have made, metal and punk music are striking
alarms of misery and fear hidden beneath the commercially-viable
good assurances which have more than once prompted the adage, “Talk
is cheap.”

2.4.1 Anti-Commercialism

Metal culture is what keeps the music from becoming like
everything else that’s in the consumer market – products.
Products want to do something so visibly, it is entirely
distinctive, while not doing anything beyond the norm so there
are no objections to purchase.

Culture keeps spirit alive by serving as an interpretive
landmark of existential questions, delivering to the interpreter
a sense of combining the metaphor of the art with the catalogue
of past experiences in life that might be relevant.

In metal, our culture is not to make music for people who want
entertainment; our culture is to make epic and powerful things
out of the forces and remnants of destruction. There’s a reason
for everything we do.

2.4.2 Meaningful Post-Rebellion

One function of metal culture is to provide some sense to
post-rebellion use of consciousness as an interpretive
guide to reality. To get into what we do, they must fall
- from the Heaven of oblivious iconistic belief – and
accept what will come next, which is the transition to

Crossing the void occurs not just in a philosophical
sense, but in a proto-adulthood state also, where it is
the question of what to do after the shaped existence of
childhood is replaced with the patterned survival of an
adult, all while the clock of mortality races through its
orbit. In this sense, metal is a mirror of what the self
faces and observes the self reacting to in a modern
existence after the twilight of the kingpin of
idols/ikons, “God.”

“That depends on how you see Utopia. In a sense, an ideal
society would be a static society, and any such society is
an evolutionary dead end. Happiness is a byproduct of
function, purpose, and conflict; those who seek happiness
for itself seek victory without war.” – William S
Burroughs Culture has caught up with rebellion

Mainstream culture long ago appropriated rebellion as
its source of “cool”, by replacing the values of the
previous generation with a new lessening of

From James Dean to Jeff Spicoli, our heroes went from
being people of action to coalescing into ultimate
introverts who issue a complaint and then reject it
all, but with no idea, fluster and collapse into the
same morass of pessimistic conservatism which hides the
fears of the rest of the herd.

Metal is about a rebellion which comes from a
disagreement, less of a complaint than a challenge and
a rebuke, as it was when the metaphorical Satan looked
toward God and rejected Heaven’s law for a freedom he
could not explain, but felt a thirst toward – an escape
from the fixed behavior of holiness to the random and
dynamic possibilities of an unformed land – Hell!

“In his book-length essay The Conquest of Cool,
Thomas Frank explores the ways in which Madison
Avenue co-opted the language of youthful ’60s
rebellion. It is “the story,” Frank writes, “of the
bohemian cultural style’s trajectory from
adversarial to hegemonic; the story of hip’s
mutation from native language of the alienated to
that of advertising.” This appropriation had
wide-ranging consequences that deeply transformed
our culture–consequences that linger in the form of
’90s “hip consumerism.” (Think of Nike using the
song “Revolution” to sell sneakers, or Coca-Cola
using replicas of Ken Kesey’s bus to peddle
Fruitopia.) ”
– book review on of Thomas Frank’s
“The Conquest of Cool : Business Culture,
Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism”

Metal does not wish to fall into the pit of becoming
another “fad” which is hyped-up, sold out, and then
worn into the ground as it is rehashed and overhyped.
This is the way of the transient. Metal is about
finding lasting value in nothingness and one’s own
creativity together – not in fads, meaningless
indulgences, mindless “entertainment” or other forms of
life-denial. Inversion of values in media hipness

Media hippies are public-identity characters that are
composed from statistical reasoning to reach the
broadest band of people who could project their
insecurities into an avatar of that character and in
that identification, become loyal consumers following
the instructions in the ads that came with that show.

Marilyn Manson, Korn, Pantera, “new” Metallica, Motley
Crue, Ani DiFranco, Rage Against the Machine, Cannibal
Corpse, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Dark Funeral and
Marduk provide this same function – these are “sold
out” bands who move their music not with an internal
drive to express but with a desire for the material
reward they get in exchange for experience, including
the experience itself.

Metal believes in an inversion of the inversion of
values which constitutes the media hipness, meaning
that values had to be taken to a greater complexity of
abstraction, as they are in lyrics such as Slayer,
Morbid Angel, Burzum, Gorguts or Death. Metal rebels against the reason why there are
things to rebel against

Many genres feature bands which find something to rebel
against and fight it, hard. Metal rebels against the
need to rebel by taking a metaphorical look at the
process of power, in a method similar to William S
Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.”

The metaphors of killing, death, destruction, sodomy,
infection, possession, suicide, hate, violence, and
necrophagia/coprophagia found in the songs and imagery
of metal music are not meant as literal objects but
implications that they are everyday objects – denied
objects – which confronts the listener with a more
morbid fate than nightmare, reality as a neutralized
dream. And by understanding destruction, is aware of

Destruction is the force that clears the way for
creation, or opens opportunity, at least. A world that
is cluttered, murmured the author, describes our world.

There is too much: other people, requirements to
society, debt to commerce (rent/health), excess
information, marketing information, terrifying news.
We wish to kill the waste and clear away the irrelevant
– hence the enticing motifs of forest fire, battle,
winter, genocide, and apocalypse.

2.4.2 Meta-Rebellion

The rebellion against the parameters of power doesn’t stop
at the next generation of rebellion. As this facet of metal
ideology is assembled of the roots of romanticism, it is best
to see it as a celebration of the uniqueness of the
individual. De-ontological desire for unconstraint

Metal expresses a desire for mental clarity and a
limitless power for self-motion. The impulse is to have
nothing interfering in motion so that there is no
constant obsession with material intrusion. To derive thought independently

Individualism and its trademark, independent thought,
are highly valued in metal culture and lyrics. To exist in organic harmony with death and life

A recognition of death and the forces of decay in metal
prompts a revelation of its philosophy of integration, an
embrace of the impermanent in life by recognizing the time
to life for all things in a larger, naturalistic

2.4.3 Mythos

Mythos is the science of placing together a sequence of
metaphors in order to build a living structure, a story which
is always in the process of evolution while maintaining its
integral character. This mythos is the key of
self-identification within a subculture, in that it allows
one the space in which to create a character matching its own
ideals. Introduction

In a subculture, beliefs have to work alongside a
sequence of tenets which run contrary to the subcultural
beliefs. Hence most mythos from this area focus on the
individual, and how to develop that to freedom. Mythos a method of expressing character

A personality mythos carries with it the character
of warrior or journeyman ethos: to be free, to work
when that’s needed and to play/pillage otherwise.

The hedonistic modern Hessian descends from Vikings and
Vandals of ages past. Personal decisions political choices

In the modern age, we realize that personal
decisions imply a political value system, or at
least filtering system. The Hessian cultural
movement reaches out to network personal choices by
knowledge rather than force. Mythos defines a public personal ideal

When one is able to speak the metaphorical language of
a personal mythology, one is able to express a subtle
but powerful reminder of who one is and why. There is
not scorn in “We who are not as others” but a hope
brought by enlightened choice. Ubermensch

The idea of overcoming, or surpassing fear and
transcending limitation, to become a personal god or
omnipowerful human being is rooted deeply in metal, a
genre of people who work hard under adverse
circumstances to do very complex things. Metal Mythos

The value of Hessian mythos can be seen in what it
manifests: a gentle ideology based in a placement of
self instead of a self image, a hopefulness for
environment and humans alike. However, such a
progressive view greatly clashes with contemporary
social values. Mythos of Job

Job is the patient servant who waits dully for a
task that will free him from worrying about his
choice for another few hours. That is why in the
Bible, when Job is tortured in a battle between
“God” and Satan for Job’s soul, his faith is so firm to
him – he wishes to know nothing but to what he can
adapt, since he has ascribed all his choice to divine
power. Hessians dislike Jobs and avoid them at all

“No jobs!” – Demonaz Doom Occulta, Immortal Mythos of selling many albums

Similarly selling many albums is recognized as
mythically important, at best. Most people consume
without ever thinking about even the contents that they
are able to digest and repeat. So selling more albums
could even mean reaching fewer people, if society is a
sliding scale from awareness to oblivion. Mythos of sexual appeal

Newer metals (speed and newer) do not use
gender-related words, as they work toward the
abstract. Once leather-clad metal warriors were
sexual powerhouses. Now they are powerhouse
warriors because they are almost asexual in their
abstraction (yet earthy in their behavior). Anti-convention

Conventions are the calcification of a working
process. The independent yeoman information farmer of
the new frontier steers away from the known once it
becomes obvious how redundant it is. Anti-tonesome

The self is envisioned as out of place, dissonant,
by the nature of its recomposition and so nothing is
whole, or perfect, ever; this is the essence of
tonal degradation. Subculture

Participation in a subculture frees the ego and
subconscious from explanation, or justification, in the
same way drug addiction frees a madman from his dark
and morbid destiny. Lasting ethos of ideology

Ideology is the essence of what is communicated as
mythos: a series of abstractions based on character
value which create a sense of uniqueness, or
differentiation, for the Hessian population. As such,
they hold to their ideology fiercely, as it is
essential for both self-image and self-placement in a
time where information filtering is the first line of

2.4.3 Hedonism

Hessians are both abstract thinkers and Hedonists. The
latter means a fair amount of partying, e.g. social behavior
involving the forbidden fruits of intoxication and/or
sexuality, even while thinking (and vice versa). Activities

Hessians are known to smoke a lot of pot, drink beers,
take ephedra, play loud music, form unlistenably
distorted bands, destroy religious icons, play video
games, watch horror movies, go to concerts and smoke a
lot of pot as commonly accepted social interactions,
while Hessians as individuals and more informal groups
engage in wide varieties of probably weird and lurid
behavior. Intoxicants

Hessians favor a wide range of intoxicants for differing

The most common Hessian intoxicant is THC
(tetrahydrocannabinol, the major active ingredient in
marijuana, hashish, bhang and kif) for the following

– Ease of availability
– Mild or no long term effects
– Ease of consumption
– Hallucinatory/Psychedelic properties
– Non-capitalist distribution system
– Social activity
– Not an artificial “happy” reality

Some Hessians drink, but recently more have been
rejecting it in favor of a less corporate existence, as
have many smokers. Many Hessians used to take speed, or
methamphetamine, but more are taking the less-harmful

Blood of illegitimate children of priests is also
intoxicating and delicious. Events

Major events in the Hessian community include: concerts,
radio shows, drug parties, demolitions, fires. Dialogues

One of the most important activities as a Hessian is
communicating. Hessians as part of an intense
structuralist desire articulate many different things, and
are more than willing to share information, guaranteeing
another at least temporary connection in the matrix of the

2.4.5 Language

Hessian language is an abstract but organic rendition of
English (or other native language) into an abstract and
psychedelic descriptive field of structural importance.
Hessians are often highly technical, and their language
follows this model. Relation to human animal

One very postmodern trend in metal is to declare the
dependence on a “human animal” and to speak of that
duality, between abstract mind and human flesh, with
familiarity. Its major function in the ideology of
metal is to make individuals aware of their
distinctiveness, or what they gave up when they let it
go. Gender pronouns

Metal uses few gender pronouns, at least in recent
genres, as a way of distancing from the flesh and
the entire question of physicality of avatar. Self-reference

There is little self-reference in metal for the
ostensible purposes of identification, but quite a
bit in the description of personal experience (as
in, of decay) or observations of physical occurrence
to the self. Abstract

The most important aspect of metal’s language is its
reliance upon abstract, Latinate and Germanic
structures as a method of describing something for
recognition as if by antigen. From the dooming
blast of old Slayer with its mythological lyrics to
bands like Morbid Angel with their philosophical guide
to post-Babylonian religion, death metal integrated a
fundamental change to the way we view language in
metal. Satanism

To discuss the topic as briefly as possible,
several popular types of Satanists and their
beliefs include:

– LaVey Satanists: They use The_Satanic_Bible
as an inspiration or basis for their belief system,
which is closely related to humanism. They do not
necessarily believe in the existence of
supernatural figures, including god and Satan, and
believe that worshipping these imaginary figures
does no good and is degrading.

A good reference on this Satanism is
The_Satanic_Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey.

– “Hollywood” Satanists: This group uses a
combination of the name Satan, Satanic worship,
Satanic rituals, and Satanic references to shock
and offend those who buy into the “Satan is evil”
that mainstream groups/cults have propagated. They
often are poorly educated in the occult and more
well studied occultists will reveal errors and lack
of knowledge in their statements on Satanism.

– Devil-worshippers: There are few, if any, of
these groups in Satanism. Christians and Jews
would like you to believe otherwise. You are
advised to not take statements from their religious
opposition as truth, when it is far more likely to
be a “straw man” argument, where a biased mockup of
your beliefs is created and then skewered for its
artificial extremity.

– Gnostic/Transcendental Satanists: These apply the
principles of “evil” in a very distributed and
analytical, abstract method, coming up with a
peaceful but nihilistic philosophy that is
terrifying to normal people but highly sensible.

“It’s a concept album about what once was before the
light took us and we rode into the castle of the
dream. Into emptiness. It’s something like; beware
the Christian light, it will take you away into
degeneracy and nothingness. What others call light
I call darkness. Seek the darkness and hell and you
will find nothing but evolution.”
– Varg Vikernes,

Black magic night
We’ve been struck down
Down in this Hell
Spells surround me day and night
Stricken by the force of evil light
The force of evil light”
– Slayer, “Black Magic” (Show No Mercy)

2.5 Technique

Ways to make metal with your instrument(s).

2.5.1 Blast Beats

Blast beats are the torrents of alternating snare and
bass which increase the speed of death metal at the
point of retribution. Some words on blast beats:

Most drummers play blast beats as bass/snare/bass/snare
etc. really fast, while hitting a hi-hat or a ride on the
bass drum. From a blast beat “purist asshole” point of
view it should be done with one foot. If your right foot
isn’t fast enough then keep practicing. Double bass should
only be used when the bass is supposed to go twice as fast
as the snare. If you are just alternating bass/snare
bass/snare it should be with one foot. If you can master
it with one foot it sounds way more brutal than with
double bass (I don’t know why, but it does). It’s
analogous to the way alternate-picking a ‘chug’ riff
sounds way weaker than all-downstrokes. That’s just the
way metal is.

The snare usually came down on 2 and 4 or on all the
offbeats. I’ve read (I can’t tell, it just feels
different) Pete Sandoval sometimes blasts leading with the
bass drum, but when he does it, the snare hits twice every

B = Bass
S = Snare

Dave Lombardo:

1 2 3 4

Pete Sandoval (I think he does this):

1 2 3 4

I’m pretty sure it’s like this:

1 2 3 4

Right. Most drummers blast on the downbeat. But sometimes
it sounds like Pete Sandoval leads with the bass.
– Lord Vic,

2.5.2 Fast Tremolo Strum

This technique involving whipping your pick lightly across
the bottom three strings of the guitar (mostly) for power
chord tremelo action that, with the influence of the
distortion, creates enough tremelo for an
atmospheric/melodic effect.

Fast strumming was a technique innovated first by Slayer
and then perfected by Morbid Angel and others who made a
sizzling tremelo technique out of what once was just
playing faster. After a couple generations in the genre,
the style is advanced enough that it can be used to
carefully encode polyrhythmic data within a dominant
rhythm, and is often used as foreshadowing by metal
guitarists. Some ideas for how to do it:

– use the wrist, and not the forearm
– allow sparse motion in a whipping rhythm
– dip the pick lightly against strings
– move pick in circles for single-note strumming

“Everything just kind of flows along. Sure, they used a
lot of asymmetric time signatures (5/4, 7/4 etc.) but the
note values don’t vary so you can have 20 seconds of
tremelo picked quarter- and half-notes at times.”
– RWTodd,

2.5.3 Double Bass

Death metal percussionists often add a strict machinism to
their work with the alternating full bass hits of
oppositional kick drums, creating an undulating wall of
sound that conditions listeners to act out the diabolical
bidding of the bands and their master, Satan.

“Actually louie bellson is credited with being the first
drummer to put 2 basses together; his solo stuff is
awesome but his stuff with big band and jazz artists is
lame. And what I mean by that is him playing by himself no
other instrument. Ginger Baker from cream also used dbl
bass Nick Mason from Pink Floyd uses double bass, lots of old
psychedelic bands used it. it’s been around for quite a
– Steven PATRICK

2.5.4 Harmonics

Pitch harmonics – playing a note that is one of the
integral harmonic properties of the string – create an
eerie unfinished yet definitive sound, producing a
disturbing morbidity to their use in death metal (see
Immolation, Morbid Angel, Incantation, Gorguts).

2.5.5 Performance

When you perform as a metal band, there are some antics
to liven up the show. Drinking blood

When drinking blood, be sure to have it chilled, or
else it will curdle (clump up and become nauseating).
It is recommended that you verify the blood is from
meat for human consumption (or, of course, DIY). Fire-breathing

The useful thing I can say here is that if you are
breathing fire by blowing a highly flammable liquid
over open flame, ready yourself NOT to inhale no matter
what happens – get away from the flame first.
Otherwise, you will fry your lungs and die in a brief
paroxysm of intense pain followed by helpless
suffocation. Sodomy

Sodomy is most commonly legally defined as any contact
between the genitals of one person, and the mouth or
anus of another. The word has its origins in Biblical
Christianity. It is sometimes used to mean sexual
deviation, though in legal contexts it is defined as
above. Throughout history, “sodomites,” mostly male
homosexuals and bestialists, have been punished by a
largely theocratically controlled government, in hopes
of stamping out “ungodly practices” that might bring
divine retribution against Judeo-Christian society

PART III :: Metal as Physical Manifestation

3.1 Concerts

Concerts can be a rewarding experience of metallic
sub-culture observation, if the experience is conducted
properly. Beware the haphazard, as those are the fools who
are full of excuses when someone gets stabbed or hurt.

3.1.1 Information

Metal concerts are generally advertised in local
circulars and weekly newspapers like the _LA Weekly_
or _Houston Press_. Promoters advertise in the backs
of these publications, or in rare cases metal-specific
magazines or papers, so fans can find concerts. When
you locate a concert, call the venue, as often you can
save some money buying tickets in advance or through a
broker, but beware of “resale” outfits that are legal
scalping agencies.

3.1.2 Attendance

With some attention to logic, concert attendance is
graceful and enjoyable. Ear protection

Amplified systems within clubs sometimes go over 120 dB
in terms of effect on the listener, so it is wise to
purchase intelligent ear plugs (either the silicon
blobs or the compressible sponge probes). Anyone who
scorns you for doing this is probably deaf already, so
don’t bother replying. Social interaction

If you walk with respect for self, others, and world,
and do not interfere with the needs and spaces of
others, you will almost universally be fine. You may
witness violent cultures such as skinheads, cholos, or
deranged Hessians on speed and the best way to handle
it is gently. Provocative behavior usually will result
in violence.

Should your intelligence save you from destruction, you
will wish to display prominently the t-shirt obtained
by wearing it:

(Preferred) As your sole garment except black pants
all day on the following day.
(Acceptable) Underneath your uniform of slavery the
next working or school day, hopefully wearing some
mark of violence/evil as well.
(Degraded) As your sole garment all day for the next
three days. Rules of evidence

It is wisest to keep all “evidence” (things that are
likely to be confiscated) on one’s person in soft
objects, rather than cases. One is often frisked at
the door and all strange hard objects explored to see
if they are weapons; keeping the stuff on one’s self
reduces the task of one’s car being impounded and sold
by the cops.

Moving joints into concerts has always been easy for
me; I avoid socks, as they often frisk there, and
prefer to either sling the baggie under the scrotum or
in the wallet, where although it is flat, it will
rarely be disturbed (but be careful whipping out your
wallet!). Smoking joints is easy; you want no flame to
be visible near the scent of marijuana, so you curl
your hand around the joint and cup it to your mouth
like you are holding your chin. Always pass it to
partners below the line of sight, e.g. waist level, and
blow smoke toward the floor.

As far as I can tell, the only way to smuggle alcohol
in to a show is to have a woman with you, as often they
don’t frisk those.

3.1.3 Merchandise

Buying merchandise at concerts is often the only way to get it. Shirts and prices

T-shirts are usually sold in XL and other sizes and are
$20 for short sleeves, $25 for longer sleeves, with the
bigger shows charging even more. CDs

Usually bands will sell their CDs for $12-15 at
concerts or clubs. Quite often more of the profit goes
to the band instead of the distributor and possibly
more than the label, so this author enjoys buying CD’s
before the encore. Royalties breakdown

When buying t-shirts and CDs from the bands themselves
at this venue, one is directing a much larger chunk of
profit toward the band than thru a record store or mail
order from the label. Forget not that record stores
buy major releases for $7, and then sell for $12-17;
that extra money in the CD cost goes somewhere and when
there’s no store, label, or venue involved, it’s the
band. Order of preference for buying objects in terms
of how much money is returned to the band:

1) Band
2) Band at show after official merch period is over
3) Label
4) Underground Mail Order
5) Specialty record stores
6) Chain record stores

3.2 Recordings

Purchasing metal recordings can be very sensible and
efficient if you know what you’re looking for.

3.2.1 Audio

Audio is any recorded sound, whether live (bootleg or live
album) or studio (recorded with intent for release). Live

Live sound is either a live album released by one of
the band’s labels, or a bootleg recording which is
released by a fan or scammer. Studio

Studio music is produced by agreement between band and
label as pushed as the regular “product” containing the
music of the band.

3.2.2 Video

Video is any recorded motion picture imagery, whether live
(bootleg or official concert performance) or studio
(recorded with intent for release as a separate

3.3 Production

Production is how technology is used to make something sound
like the artist wishes it to, and includes a number of
acoustic and electrical disciplines.

3.3.1 Techniques

Methods of production that produce a consistent effect, as
requested. Swedish distortion

The Swedish death metal of the early 1990s had a
blistering electric guitar tone heard most prominently
on “Clandestine” by Entombed and “Like an Ever-Flowing
Stream” by Dismember.

“I have always loved the Swede death metal guitar sound
above all. Maxing the highs and lows on an old BOSS
‘Heavy Metal’ gets that heavy Entombed ‘Left Hand Path’
sound. Put the Level and Distortion each at half, then
just adjust your EQ’s in your amp accordingly. You are
more likely to find a BOSS ‘Heavy Metal’ at a pawn shop
or something of that sort, seeing as how BOSS
discontinued them a couple years ago…”
– Gary (Morgion)

“i seem to remember somebody said they used a small
Marshal 50W combo for that album. Also, last i bought a
dist box, the recommended one was Boss distortion II (i
_think_, anyway it’s the orange one).
But that could never beat a custom rebuilt marshal
(rewire the preamp to get one distorted and one clean
channel, need not be that expensive).
Guitar mics are important too, i still admire the
Duncan Seymore ‘Invader’ mics that someone persuaded me
to buy (and with that cool a product name, how could
they go wrong). Now these are oldish wisdoms, but if
you go to the store and drop that kind of talk, they
might at least tell you something useful besides the
sales pitch…

Check out the Meshuggah paper at under ‘Sound’
– Rasmus (Comecon)

General consensus seems to be that one should use two
distortion pedals in sequence and EQ heavily; favor the
mids instead of the bass. Distortion mini-FAQ

This section to be completed in the future. Vocal effects

This section to be completed in the future.

3.3.2 Studios

Some classic studio names are mentioned often in the
annals of metal history and so are worth knowing, for that
bored day when you’re wondering what the difference
between Tampa Guttural American Death Metal production and
Norsk Arisk Frozen Tempest production. Morrisound

Home to many famous productions, mostly from the
Florida scene of Amerikan metal: Death, Malevolent
Creation, Monstrosity, Deicide, Resurrection. Grieghallen

Home to many famous productions from the Norse scene,
including Immortal, Enslaved, Burzum, and Gorgoroth. Sunlight Studio

Home to many famous productions from the Swedish death
metal scene, including Carnage, Entombed, Dismember,

3.3.3 Producers

These people are known for their various styles, some of
which empowered musical advancements in metal to be heard
by the masses. Harris Johns

Producer who engineered records for Kreator, Voi Vod,
Coroner, Tankard and other bands during the middle to
late 1980s, was a madman. Tomas Skogsberg

When the first school of Swedish death metal appeared,
it utilized a new form of blisteringly destruction
distortion, requiring a producer who could tame that
sound into coherence. Sunlight Studios and Thomas
Skogsberg forever will be remembered for that
utilization. Pytten

Produces most of the Scandinavian school of blackmetal
at Grieghallen. First name Eirik, unknown if he is
related to the person by that name who played bass on
the first Immortal LP. Tom Morris

The “Morrisound sound” can be either a curse or
blessing, depending on your intended audience.
Although it is mocked often for its consistency, the
Morrisound folks were the first to figure out how to
consistently preserve bass AND tone in metal music.
Some say toward the end of the American death metal
period, Morrisound was producing almost
mechanical-sounding boosted recordings that destroyed
the texture of sound. Scott Burns

Known mainly for being the guy in the “NO MOSH – NO
CORE – NO FUN – NO TRENDS” circle on old mayhem
records, Scott Burns cranked out an amazing number of
death metal albums as producer and engineer. Some say
his work sucks, and at least a lot of it sucks, but
he’s done some reasonably adept productions as well.
Also, metal bands/grindcore bands are rarely working
with matched sets of current equipment. Of late has
worked predominantly out of Morrisound Studios.

3.4 Objects

The various assorted physical objects one can get in addition
to recordings can contribute to a sense of groundedness in
the genre, but could also be a waste of time. T-shirts
however serve the useful social function of spreading
information; the band name and logo are shouted at every
occasion by intense visuals.

3.4.1 Gear

The soft goods of the metal scene. Clothing

T-shirts: should be $15 for short sleeves, $20-25 for
long sleeves

Hooded sweats: should be $25 Patches

Generally $1-$5, these are band logos in (manly)
embroidered patches. Armor

Many Hessians choose to make their own armor. However,
many mailorder places will sell Armor and Weapons. Weapons

Many Hessians choose to make their own weapons, but
these too are sold through the mail. Mostly this
involves medievalism and other forms of classicism, but
often there are Hessians making nuclear weapons for
Satanic annihilation of life in the most normal

3.4.2 Distribution

Metal uses an internal network of underground
distributors, activists, and content architects in order
to ensure the distribution of ideas. It is a remarkably
efficient chaotic machine.

For a list of underground merchants, see the entries
in our database of CD sellers, mailorder, venues and
bootleg traders:

3.4.3 Person to Person Sales

Net sales are common as they allow the seller to
receive $6-12 for a CD otherwise returning $2-4 at a
record store or $0.50-2 at a corporate music outlet.
Most transactions occur through a posted ad in USENET
and an email agreement, then check or cash or money
order transfer followed by shipping.

Yes, this runs on the honor system, but what doesn’t?

If you get ripped off by a merchant, you _could_ sue –
if you had ten thousand dollars and several years to

Remember that how you treat others influences the
likelihood of how you will be treated. Buying and Selling on the Net

When selling, post a list of CD’s, prices, and terms
and conditions (postage, quality of merchandise, time
required) with a Subject: line beginning with CDSALE:
and you will get the most response by convention. When
buying, ask conditions and consider asking for a bulk
discount if purchasing many items.

Always keep contact information for the seller, because
if the package doesn’t arrive, you want to ask before
slinging accusations. However, if something goes wrong
and the person with whom you’re dealing does nothing
for a couple of months, post a message to the metal
groups explaining your experience and asking for

Usually the seller will either wake up and give you
straight answers or the underground will boycott the
person who has so dishonored themselves.

At the Dark Legions Archive, there is a list of links
to current cautions/”bad” trader list:

- Tape Trading

Some consider tape trading “illegal” and “immoral,” but
such things make no difference to a busy metalhead,
especially when tape trading is the background of
diversity in metal.

Finding new bands is difficult, especially with catalog
descriptions like “Necro-fuck carnal excretory metal”
and “Trollish folkloric sado-metal,” so often people
will spend time and effort making custom sampler tapes
for friends in exchange for a similar offering. This
allows metalheads worldwide to hear a much broader
range of music than if they were confined to hearing
only what they could afford, and spreads different
kinds of music to the different groups of people who
appreciate each kind.

Not only does it benefit the fans and the bands, but by
extension the labels, who in exchange for hosting the
capital that funds each new release take most of the
profits for their own satiation. For this reason, it
is the opinion of this writer that it is best to keep
tape trading as a metal institution.

On the newsgroups or via IRC or via personal web pages
you can make contact with other individuals wishing to
tape trade, and then arrange for the trade in email or
by phone.

Most IRC clients will allow you to have a DCC file
server from which you can dish out your “for
sale/trade” list, as you can post it to USENET or other
open forums.

Spread everything you can, especially demo bands, who
self produce their tapes and sell them through local or
metal-specialty record stores.

“Unauthorized duplication of this release is not only
permitted but encouraged, make a tape of the shit and
give it to a friend. This is the underground, support
it. If we were in it for the money we would have quit
long ago.”
– Skinless

The Hessian Studies Center created a “dub trade label”
for those who want tape or CD-R copies of out of print
classics that would otherwise be lost:


Record stores often make more money on used CD’s – for
which they pay $2-$5 and sell for $6-$10 – than
shrink-wrapped brand new versions. Hence most of them
now have some form of used music display.

Netwise buyers sell mostly used merchandise at often
better prices, if you’re chary enough to buy bulk, and
transfer more of the money taken in toward buying more
metal, on the whole. Support yourself and the
underground with a person to person transaction.

A newer breed of record stores exist which specialize
in bulk resale, e.g. they have a ton of stock in a
warehouse environment. These often will sell you two
decades of metal for $25 or thereabouts.

3.5 Playing

Part of the Hessian experience is to get involved in music
making, which instigates a respect for the beauty things
create in one’s mind even when the things themselves are
fully deconstructed. The “aesthetic barrier” is what
restricts most people from understanding music; they
understand it as a whole, usually based on its production
values or choices of coloring within the pieces. To be a
musician is to transcend the aesthetic barrier or to forever
be a slave to the translation factor of pushing music through
one’s instrument.

3.5.1 Guitar

Learning Guitar through Music Theory is an excellent
resource. This link is a mirror; the original has
gone offline.

For a “metal” sound, it is recommended that you get a
guitar with deep tone and if possible double humbucker
pickups for extra crunch. Of all the picks commercially
available, the “Tortex” last the longest compared to
normal planned obsolescence plastic erases. Many metal
musicians swear by thicker-than-normal strings, also.

Most of the fast strumming techniques seem to be centered
around holding the guitar at a radical angle nearly over
the shoulder, and cutting diagonally across the bottom
three strings often in a circular wrist motion.

3.5.2 Drums

I have found some tricks that will allow great speed with
minimal effort. On Monday I saw a recent edition of Modern
Drummer has published a technical section by Virgil Donati
who I consider to be the master of double bass drumming.

I only got a quick glance but I know it goes through his
concepts of playing doubles on each foot. This generally
allows you greater speed and endurance than if you were
just to play singles all the time.

I used to listen to Virgil practice in a room just next to
me as I was waiting for my drum lessons and the stuff he
can do with his feet are amazing.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time to develop the
strength and accuracy of doubles on the left foot so that
it matches the right foot.

As I have continued to work on my left foot doubles, I
have found that I can utilize the speed of my right foot
to get to faster tempos without worrying the left foot too

Instead of doing straight singles or doubles, I use a
mixture of the two. Doubles on my right foot and singles
on my left. This means I have groups of three notes
happening on my feet faster than I can play them with
normal singles.

The way to practice this is simply to play them as

Left-right-right-left-right-right- etc. With the
quarter-notes in capitals it looks like this:

L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r L r r

Once you get to the stage where all notes sound even you
can then make this stream of notes into anything. To play
them as sixteenth notes your feet do this:

L r r l R r l r R l r r L r r l R r l r R l r r

This can feel a little weird at first because the pattern
your feet are playing resolves after 1.5 or 3 bars but
most music is in four bar phrasing so it sometimes can
seem strange to get in and out of.

Trust me though, once you practice this for a couple of
days you should be gaining in speed immediately.

I like to use this technique a bit but it is only a
passing thing until I get to using doubles on both feet.
— Richard Beechey,

Well, I started out as a death metal drummer so here’s
my .308:

1. Don’t sit low (preferably so that when you sit on your
drum throne your arse is higher than your knees). I find
it a lot easier to play doubles faster and for much longer
periods of time when I sit a little higher

2. Buy a metronome, and a book with the basic drum rudiments

3. Practice the above with legs ,feet, both starting out slow
and gradually increasing speed when you feel comfortable
with the slower tempos.
Also practice playing trip lets,quads,quintuplets etc. to a
steady 4/4 rock beat and “four on the floor” 8th,16th and
32nd note rolls with hands,feet,combined,slowly at first
and also learn the associated rests ie. This is all about
learning to walk before learning to run.

4. I normally play a set with the snare and ride at more or
less the same height (sitting down ,a little lower than
elbow height) the hi hat a little higher.Toms placed a
little higher than the snare at a small angle.Crashes and
china at about shoulder height and the splashes halfway
between the tom rims and crashes.This makes it easier to
play fast and otherwise because the movement needed is
basically minimal.

5. Listen and play along to Gene Hoglan,Sean Reinert,Tomas
Haake,Tim Alexander,Pete Sandoval,Dean Castronovo,Vinnie
Paul,Arcturus and Mayhem :)

6. Try your pedals at medium tension and the drumhead a
little tighter. More rebound and a quicker response

7. Use ankle weights and practice rudiments with big ass
…A little help I suppose

8. When practicing don’t tense up, when you feel like your
arms are starting to tense up, slow down to a comfortable

9. Stretch out before you start to play, pay attention to
the hands.

Warm up a little.Ignoring points 8 and 9 can lead to
serious problems in the future ( I know).Stretch out after
you finish playing.

A little help I hope

3.5.3 Bass

I use a lot of chords in my playing. I mostly play metal
genres though which is a different situation than you are
in. I think my use of chords (2,3, and 4 note) stems from
my days playing in one-guitar groups where the need to
fill things in during solo sections drove me to cover for
the lack of a rhythm guitar. Now I play in a 5-piece with
two guitars so there’s not as much room but I still find
places to let loose some excessive bass frequencies.
– Brian (Ion Vein)

For metal playing generally, look for a low action – a
little fret buzz is okay – and a basic sound that has
plenty of top and bottom. That it’s generally a good bass
with a good setup, that you’re comfortable playing, is
more important than the particular brand.
– David Hodges

3.5.4 Vocals

When performing death metal, grindcore, or black metal
vocals, it is important to remember that believe it or
not, one is still singing. The harsh sounds in the throat
are produced by the aggravated resonance of the vocal
cords, but the cords themselves will be damaged unless
given amplification by a whole lot of wind from below.
This brings in the diaphragm, a beltlike muscle around the
base of the lungs which allows for external pressure to
work the dual sacs as a billows. Contracting that muscle
is as easy as deep breathing; once you’ve memorized that
feeling enough to reproduce it, you can control this
muscle to shove more air across your vocal cords and thus
to pre-amplify your sound.

“Gorgoroth is heavy, but not the heaviest. They play a lot
in mid-tempo, and my main point of criticism is the
vocals. The singer sounds like a duck being castrated.”
– Sybren Hettinga

PART IV :: Metal as virtual community

1. Web
2. Email
3. Experts
4. Newsgroups
5. About

4.1 Web

This author cannot speak comprehensively for the Net,
and so issues general pointers to starting points for Net
metal exploration:

The Dark Legions archive has reviews by this author as well as information and analysis of death
metal, black metal, speed metal, heavy metal and grindcore bands; it is unique for its
philosophical and sociological analysis of metal.

Thomas Wolmer’s massive site of meta lists and genre trees, worth visiting for its high content of
underground information.

All of the new, the old, the excellent and the scary in metal during this radio show for hardcore

The Hessian Studies Center is a political action group for metalheads worldwide.

There is a “link forest” maintained on ANUS.COM for the
Dark Legions Archive which will be more current than
the above:

4.2 Email lists

Currently, we have only one entry due to the declining popularity of
email discussion lists:

4.3 Experts

One way humans understand other cultures is to explore the
personalities inside.

4.3.1 Who listens to metal?

Many people ask, do “normal people” listen to metal, or do
we all come from beyond the pits of hell? The answer is
gratifyingly and surprisingly mundane: one of the greatest
benefits of metal’s lack of grounding in any automatic
tradition is that those who become Hessians choose this
culture and determine their own principles within it, so
they are essentially normal people who have by choice
elevated their consciousness to a metal method. So
although we are “normal” on the outside, it takes
something pretty rare to want to become a Hessian.

“Generally, metal fans are human beings who have grown up
in similar environments to most people in their areas of
origin, with worldwide presence in a Poisson
distribution.” – unholy GOAT


Albania: Metalist, Metalari
Argentina: Metalero
Belgium: Hard-rockeurs, Metal Heads
Brasil: Metaleiros
Canada: Freaks, dirties, metalheads
Chile: Metaleros, Metalicos, rockeros
Colombia: Metaleros
Finland: Metallisti
Greece: Metallades or, in early 1980s, Heavymetallades
Hungary: Metalosok (pronounced “metaaloshock”)
Italy: Metallari, Metalloni
Mexico: Metallista
Poland: Metalowiec, pl. Metalowcy
Portugal: Metalicos
Puerto Rico: Metallicos
Romania: Metalisti
Russia: Metalist
Slovenia: Metalci
Spain: Heavies
Sweden: H�rdrockare (“H�rdrock” means both heavy rock and metal)
Ukraine: Metalist
USA: Metal Heads, Thrashers, Heshers, Hessians, Headbangers
UK: Metallians, Headbangers
Venezuela: Rockeros
Yugoslavia: Metalaci pronounced “metaalatzi”
Croatia: Metalaci pronounced “metaalatzi”

4.3.2 How to find metal fans?

Unsurprisingly, our best suggestion is to go to metal
events, metal (virtual) communities or your local
metalhead with a fat joint in your hand. Metalheads
congregate around what they know as metal when they’re
thinking metal, and otherwise are normal people, except
for long hair, t-shirts and some fundamental belief

4.4 Bands

It seems exaggerated the amount of confusing regarding bands
and the treatment thereof that permeates certain sectors of
the community, so this section addresses the subject with
some quick pointers for the otherwise unalerted.

4.4.1 Listings

Bands are listed in local newspapers, usually
entertainment specific papers like the _L.A. Weekly_ or
_Alternative Press_ or _Metropolitan Times._

4.4.2 Approaching

When approaching bands, walk with respect. Remember that
no matter how “normal” these guys seem, they’ve taken big
chunks of their life and time and put it into the project
of their music, so on some level they are serious creators
and deserve respect and compassion in understanding.

Also, many of them smoke marijuana or drink beer, so
bringing those is always a touching way to make a
karmic-deductible donation to the cause of human futures.

4.4 Newsgroups and IRC

USENET provides the easiest access to most metalheads;
however, it is also the most annoying, given the high
prevalence of noise to signal from personality disorders
rendered into text.

4.4.1 Newsgroups

Metal groups at the time of this writing:

alt.rock-n-roll.metal – commercial metal
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.heavy – commercial metal/grunge
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.death – death metal – black metal
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.metallica – fan group
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.ironmaiden – fan group – black metal – nazi black metal – fan group – metal fan social group – fan group – fan group – prog heavy metal
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.doom – doom/commercial metal
alt.thrash – thrash music – grindcore music – underground metal/crossover – underground death

4.4.2 History

One of USENET’s earliest hierarchies was the
alt.rock-n-roll hierarchy, started to complement .sex and
.drugs in the middle eighties. By the next decade, a
.metal had been added and by the early nineties a new
group, .metal.heavy was added to accomodate “heavier”
metal, not knowing that “heavy metal” is a keyword for
more commercial, rock-based offerings.

Somewhere in this time alt.thrash was created for
skateboarders and taken over by crossover music fans.

In order to advance this hierarchy to a contemporary
state of metal knowledge, in 1993 I created the newsgroup
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.death, which was followed by
.progressive, .doom, and the newer hierarchy of in the middle 1990s.

4.4.3 Constructive use

Metal newsgroups should function to empower the most
possible users both as reference and interactive medium.
Thus the best way to split their identities is to divide
them according to musical genre tree and history, as that
is how they are marketed and how people will know to find

alt.rock-n-roll.metal – general commercial metal
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.heavy – “heavy metal”
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.doom – doom metal – grindcore – death metal – black metal – thrash music – metal lifestyle
alt.rock-n-roll.metal.commercial – product ads

4.4.4 Etiquette

Unlike most of the rest of the net, the metal zones are
not based on morality or material aesthetics; therefore,
nothing is taboo and anything not expressly permitted is
completely legal. People fire flame and fist across text
that is in the end to all of us completely meaningless,
and so Hessians do not worry about rules, only keeping the
content meaningful.

Metalheads are naturally anarchistic, and so there is no
need for rules. A few good ideas:

1 – Look to see if someone has asked/answered your
questions by scanning the Subject: lines of your news
messages, and then by using to
find older messages on that topic.

2 – Avoid taking USENET seriously; it is a playground
for minds and personalities, and much of what goes on is
not “serious” in that it is not “real,” but is serious in
that someone is attempting to communicate something, even
quite possibly something of which they are not yet fully

3 – Use a fake address in order to avoid letting spammers
harvest your email address. Use a free web page with a
contact form to allow people to reach you instead.

4.4.5 IRC

Internet Relay Chat, while being a bastion of the petty
and authoritarian, has some useful contributions in the
form of active worldwide metalhead chat. Check out these
channels for metal discussion:


4.5 About this FAQ

Brief authorship information about those who created this
FAQ, their origins, beliefs and other projects.

4.5.1 Authorship

The staff of the Amerikan Nihilist Underground Society and
the Hessian Studies Center contributed extensively to this
FAQ. Most written by Spinoza Ray Prozak, formerly a DJ at
KSPC FM (88.7) in the eastern Los Angeles basin, and now a
free-lance writer in The Netherlands.

For contact, corrections or additions, please contact SRP

Design and contents copyright 1994-2008 Spinoza Ray Prozak
and the Hessian Studies Center.

4.5.2 Contributorship

The position of contributor is shared with a constant
stream of references to USENET or email list postings from
talented individuals worldwide. If we use your text,
attribution will be given including your name and a cite
to the publishing of the original work.

4.5.4 Affiliated

The staff that produced this FAQ are involved with a
variety of sites:

Master philosophical metal reviews, history, info,
pictures and sound.

Institute for the study of death metal.

Academic study of grindcore.

Political representation for metal culture.

4.5.5 Inspiration

Call the Metal AE!
+1 201 879 6668 (8N1)

(c) Copyright 1994-2011 Hessian Studies Center