The thread title is kind of misleading but stay with me here.
Recently I have been thinking about the Black Metal bands which have gained significant popularity recently and which more or less fall into the Orthodox/Religious Black Metal category, namely bands such as Deathspell Omega, Watain, Ofermod, Mortuus, Antaeus, Malign, Katharsis, Acrimonious, etc. (basically anything associated with Norma Evangelium Diaboli and Ajna Offensive). Now, I quite like a lot of this stuff but the point I want to highlight here is more to do with the quality of presentation that these bands share. I think that we can more or less agree, whether we personally like them or not, that these bands produce BM which is composed, performed, recorded, produced, and presented with a level of professionality, competency and clarity which heretofore was uncommon or perhaps even unheard of in BM. Leaving aside for the moment the debate as to whether this characteristic is at odds with the spirit of Black Metal, which I intend to start another thread on, I want to address the question of why we do not get as many (or any?) Pagan Black Metal bands approaching these high-standards of production/presentation? The only bands I can think of which come close are Fauna, Wolves in the Throne Room and Drudkh. Is there something inherent to the Satanic theme which has driven this development? Is it simply a case of Satanic Black Metal being more popular than its Pagan sibling, and hence attracting enough bands and enough fans (i.e. enough talent an enough cash) to drive higher standards or, perhaps, standards more typical of the overground Music Industry? Is Pagan Black Metal condemed to be the fodder of one-man, bedroom-recorded, CDr-produced, Nat Soc BM? I have to confess that I much prefer pagan themes to satanic ones, so I hope not.