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Understanding Metal Composition

Re: The Nature of Evil & The Meaning of Metal
October 17, 2011, 06:49:52 AM
What still puzzles me is why this oppositional or adversarial nature of aesthetics, one that implicitly engages with opposites like light and dark, truth and lies, beauty and ugliness etc., is so enduring when most developed philosophies in Western nations point to this distinction being a convenient fiction, usually most convenient for the Christian church, for whom it served the purpose of conquering and focusing an entire continent of pagans. Why do our artists persist in using it, and yet our philosophers and scientists do not? Metaphor of course has great control over the passions, but if the distinction between good and evil is untrue, or at the least unrealistic, then are we justified to use it at all, let alone in art? How can we read "Beyond Good and Evil" and then listen to any occult or religiously themed music and keep a straight face?

Greetings.

You've posed a very interesting question here, Goluf, which I'd like to examine by dividing it into a couple of queries related to the nature of evil and the way in which evil is known. Therewith, I'll ask you to consider some of your own presuppositions in turn.

With regard to distinction between what could be said to be "polar" opposites, one would hasten to add that no symmetry is had between any given quality and what is but a privation thereof. The very nature of evil, from a certain perspective, is nothing more than privation, whether it be of goodness, beauty, or truth; thus, we can speak of such and such an evil--by speaking of meanness, ugliness, or falsehood--but can we, without falling into absurdity, speak of evil as such? In other words, if evil is a manifestation in the direction of nothingness, this nothingness is but a pole or limit which is never reached; were it to be attained (quod absit) we would find ourselves lacking any positive qualities of which we could speak: there can therefore be no "pure evil" or "principle of evil". The nature of evil thus understood, we can reason that we come to know of evil through privative phenomena, all of which function as referents back to the qualities which they deprive. To repeat the examples above, meanness is but a deprivation of goodness, ugliness of beauty, and falsehood of truth.

One could object that the distinction between truth and falsehood is itself nonexistent; the contradiction of relativism by way of this example is made plain, however, in a consideration of the conclusion of such an utterance: if "nothing is true", then this statement, too, is false. One could further object that I am missing the point in failing to see the contingency of partial truths, to which I could reply in agreement, while noting the absolute nature of the truth of this statement, itself serving analogously, through its positive content, as affirmation of the very principle in question.

Transitioning now from ontology to cosmology, we can say that a consideration of contrasts--of which the world is as it were woven of necessity--is on the whole indispensable to art, which, traditionally understood, is the "imitation of nature in her manner of operation" (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I.117.1). Without broaching a discussion of traditional philosophies of art, one could in all seriousness ask what painting would be without the antagonism of paint upon a blank surface, or music without the interplay of rhythm and melody? The answers to these questions are readily found in the works of so-called "modern art", which, in attempting to "liberate" art from what are perceived to be dogmatic stylistic restrictions, result in a deplorable impoverishment of the very idea of art, failing to adequately represent the structure of reality: they too, become but privative phenomena, perhaps reminding the more perceptive among us, a contrario through their ugliness, that "beauty is the splendor of the true".

Where, then, does one situate metal in the context of such discourse? The answer to such a question becomes quite interesting; prior to sharing my own perspective, I'd ask others to contemplate the preceding considerations, and posit some of their own conclusions.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
October 22, 2011, 12:42:39 AM
The good/evil duality has to some extent been addressed by a band such as Burzum, transitioning his work from traditional christian descriptions to an altogether different axis (indo-european paganism). I think this is about as far as metal has come thematically but even on Filosofem (his final important work) there's still an inverse duality or tendency to want to describe the process itself.

I think our true evolution lies in getting over the christian (anti-christian) worldview which has never been more meaningless as it has today and utilizing the wealth of symbols and concepts in pre-christian europe and other cultures around the world, much of which would be more suitable for artistic exploration.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
October 22, 2011, 03:34:38 AM
Quote
Where, then, does one situate metal in the context of such discourse? The answer to such a question becomes quite interesting; prior to sharing my own perspective, I'd ask others to contemplate the preceding considerations, and posit some of their own conclusions.

It seems the point you make is that evil is a privation of good.  But as Goluf points out, good vs evil is unrealistic.  It's what works best, and what sucks in a given system.  I'm not sure why artists, especially death and black metal folks, are being held to the same intellectual standard as philosophers and scientists..I'm sure in most cases they see a world of christians or what have you, use a little hessian sense, and say fuck this, it's all bullshit, I'm going to write a song about it.  Yes, there are contrasts of what you could call anything, and occult themes, but the overlying point is, regardless of their individual intent, is they used the classical paradigm, and smashed all these faggot illusions and symbols.  Yeah, they gave us some new ones, but fuck what they want them to be.  It is above that, the top tier albums in death and black metal, and it seems the consensus here at least is pretty solid,  encapsulate the spirit of OUR time, a loss of culture in the west, a loss of connection to the natural world almost everywhere, and a reliance on symbols and lip service because we R all important on an 1ndiViduAl  LVL.  It then sodomizes it, or a reality check if you will.  ONLY DEATH IS REAL FAGS, SO GET BURNED AND DIED.

This is where good metal fits in.  It rejects anthropocentric thought, consumerism, individualism, and aids.  It fucks christ, and gives birth to what we make of it.  Such beautiful images.  Sandstorms, hurricans, tornadoes.. I've seen these things and it's metal.  Hi, I am Ben.. you are hot.. want to fall in love then I'll write a song about it?  Hey bitch, you got a nice ass, shake that shit and I'll write a song about it.  Fuck that, it's commonplace lowest common denominator hedonistic wankery.  There HAS to be more, art feeds the soul , not the emotion, or the cock.  The soul is comprised of existence, which is bound to reality.


Re: Understanding Metal Composition
October 26, 2011, 04:27:06 AM
Aweomse original post Goluf, I learned alot. Death metal black metal = process worship, and if a philosophy can possibly be derived from a form of music without inviting laughter, it is deism, in that metal identifies with the whole, and particular aspects of this whole which individuals find displeasing (death, change, conflict) it places in a greater context to derive a transcendental meaning. As a cultural movement, the use of satanic, ancient, occult aesthetics and a fascination with the mysterious and dark is an unconscious (sometimes conscious) expression of the universal human desire to seek something 'above' the narcissitic and transient perspective of the inidividual... and hence is frequently adopted by 'atheists' in whom this aspect of human nature of course continues to operate unconsciously, despite conscious professions of a-theism.

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Re: Understanding Metal Composition
December 13, 2011, 12:49:30 AM
I've noticed in some of the best metal songs and albums, that the conclusion does not imply a feeling of finality, but a feeling of perpetuity.  It doesn't say, "well that's that, thanks for coming" it says, "I will be back, this isn't over."  The concluding riff of Det Som En Gang Var implies this perfectly.  The last track on Pure Holocaust seems to say this is just the beginning.  And the riff from Transilvanian Hunger could go on forever and ever.  I also think it's curious when a new riff will be introduced right at the very end for just a few seconds as it fades out - Slaget I Skogen Bortenfor (Epilog / Slaget) from Hordanes Land comes to mind, specifically.  That's something that is unique to metal as far as I know.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
December 13, 2011, 01:28:40 AM
I'm pretty sure I've heard a fair amount of Classical music include endings like that.  Brahms is one composer I can name off the top of my head who does this: the end of the first part of his 4th symphony seems at first to be "final", using the Beethoven-y, dramatic chords, but the two quieter, more drawn out chords which actually end the piece say to me "that was part one; the scene is now set for part two".  Like looking over a battlefield once the fighting is over, and realising that that was just the start of the war.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 04, 2012, 04:50:41 PM
I've noticed in some of the best metal songs and albums, that the conclusion does not imply a feeling of finality, but a feeling of perpetuity. 

Transcendence of ego (perspective of the listener)?

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 05, 2012, 12:42:59 AM
Sounds right, no question for me. Obscura does this most directly, in form and content (imo).

In the title track of the Infester album, I like to express it as a return to wisdom. Transcendance to a higher state of the same reality, as a barely heard riff is forcefully united with the one preceding the first verse; giving a perspective of the same thing, only better. Strong (transdimensional) nationalistic tendencies in the lyrics make it even more enjoyable.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 05, 2012, 10:23:06 PM
I've noticed in some of the best metal songs and albums, that the conclusion does not imply a feeling of finality, but a feeling of perpetuity. 

Transcendence of ego (perspective of the listener)?

Yes, I think that's the most succinct way of putting it.  If you've ever had the pleasure to lose yourself in the throes of work and creation (writing music, writing poetry, even computer programming I would imagine) or any high-level problem solving, you might describe it as being a conduit of the universe/reality/nature, you lose yourself in your work, and when you're really truly inspired, you're not expressing yourself, the universe is expressing itself through you!  Because when you really think about it, there is no such thing as "endings" or finality.  Only to the puny individual ego do we think things "end."  So when art is really good, it's reality expressing itself, not the individual self, and it would only follow that to reality, there is no such thing as an "ending" or finality in the sense that we understand it.  To reality, things just keep going and going and going in cycles forever.  And as we know, those black metal boys were truly possessed by reality and wild nature, so that's why those songs and albums I cited probably "feel" the way they do.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 06, 2012, 09:33:42 PM
I've noticed in some of the best metal songs and albums, that the conclusion does not imply a feeling of finality, but a feeling of perpetuity. 

Transcendence of ego (perspective of the listener)?

I think the final piece from Holst's The Planets has this quality.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 08, 2012, 11:34:07 PM
I've noticed in some of the best metal songs and albums, that the conclusion does not imply a feeling of finality, but a feeling of perpetuity. 

Transcendence of ego (perspective of the listener)?

Yes, I think that's the most succinct way of putting it.  If you've ever had the pleasure to lose yourself in the throes of work and creation (writing music, writing poetry, even computer programming I would imagine) or any high-level problem solving, you might describe it as being a conduit of the universe/reality/nature, you lose yourself in your work, and when you're really truly inspired, you're not expressing yourself, the universe is expressing itself through you!  Because when you really think about it, there is no such thing as "endings" or finality.  Only to the puny individual ego do we think things "end."  So when art is really good, it's reality expressing itself, not the individual self, and it would only follow that to reality, there is no such thing as an "ending" or finality in the sense that we understand it.  To reality, things just keep going and going and going in cycles forever.  And as we know, those black metal boys were truly possessed by reality and wild nature, so that's why those songs and albums I cited probably "feel" the way they do.

This could not be further from the truth! I  believe in simple terms when I create music. It is not about me, but the cycle as you said that continues its eternal loop. The lesson for me is that when I try too hard I fail, but when I apply Zen to my technique success in bounds. I have been practicing  as of late to get back to my form.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 09, 2012, 02:05:23 AM
What you have said is in perfect congruence with the quoted post, at least in my understanding.

Virtuous musicians have frequently been referred to as channeling the divine; this is considered high praise in indian classical, a form of music that is pure tradition. Inspiration itself can be considered to be an expression of the universe.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 09, 2012, 03:33:16 AM
This is why it is reasonable to say whether or not someone is conveying e channeling correctly or playing music for show. I can tell the difference...

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 11, 2012, 10:39:10 PM
huh??  haha!  Forza, my friend, you must be misunderstanding me because I don't think we disagree.

Re: Understanding Metal Composition
January 12, 2012, 07:21:25 PM
Eeks am I that unaware of what you have said? I must be losing my edge!