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Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepaint"?

Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepaint"?
April 05, 2007, 12:42:32 PM
I am interested in learning more about the subject but am having a hard time finding a credible and in-depth source to research.

Are there any suggestions from those that are familiar with the cultural significance of the art?

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 01:55:38 PM
I suppose you've read Lords of Chaos?  They liken it to the look of the Oskorei of Odin's Wild Hunt.

Other than that, I'm not aware of any external conceptions put forth on the subject.

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 02:23:28 PM
The celts of the British Isles used to cover themselves in blue paint in battle in order to intimidate the enemy. I believe it was Immortal that used to refer to corpse paint as war paint. It could symbolic in that sense, as an embodiment of the warlike spirit.

There can be similar examples found throughout history, but it was Sarcafago and Celtic Frost that fisrt started to use it in black metal. Unless of course you count Kiss.
In a state of permanent Abyss

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 03:17:53 PM
Quote
There can be similar examples found throughout history, but it was Sarcafago and Celtic Frost that fisrt started to use it in black metal. Unless of course you count Kiss.


King Diamond certainly doesn't count.

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 03:58:57 PM
It depends if one wears it for the theatrics such as King Daimond or Kiss, or if they're wearing it for some deeper symbolic meaning. The music sounds bestial, so why not try and look like a beast as well.
In a state of permanent Abyss

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 05:31:37 PM
I was being slightly sarcastic, but nonetheless I agree with your last statement.

Annihilaytorr

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 05:58:23 PM
Corpse paint in metal music derives from King Diamond, who got it from Alice Cooper. Slayer, who were very influenced by Mercyful Fate in turn used paint during their Show No Mercy era. Sarcofago then emulates Slayer's image and this in turn inspires Mayhem, which causes all of Norway and all other Black Metal to follow suit. The end.

Of course at various stages bands have always claimed to have this or that as the real inspiration behind the corpse paint they wear, but any reasonable metal follower knows that that is simply an attempt to graft deeper meaning to something that originally just had shock/show value, similar to this....


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Are there any suggestions from those that are familiar with the cultural significance of the art?


Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 06:47:52 PM
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Of course at various stages bands have always claimed to have this or that as the real inspiration behind the corpse paint they wear, but any reasonable metal follower knows that that is simply an attempt to graft deeper meaning to something that originally just had shock/show value, similar to this....


Apparently "reasonably metal followers" come to the same conclusions that academics and other extrernal and disconnected parties would reach.  Especially in this case where there have been many reasons given contrary to "shock," what is the point in settling on such a superficial idea for explanation?

Myrrdin

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 05, 2007, 07:51:59 PM
There haven't been any specific reasons other than "to shock" posted so far. Even the tenuous cultural basis (wild hunt/celtic tradition) motivation is derived in part from the initial idea of terrifying others.

For musicians it's about 75% an attempt to shock the audience/appear as something "other" (connotation: more) than human; and 25% Because another band they liked did it too.  

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 06, 2007, 02:37:29 AM
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There haven't been any specific reasons other than "to shock" posted so far. Even the tenuous cultural basis (wild hunt/celtic tradition) motivation is derived in part from the initial idea of terrifying others.

 For musicians it's about 75% an attempt to shock the audience/appear as something "other" (connotation: more) than human; and 25% Because another band they liked did it too.  


"Shock the audience" and "appear as something 'other'" should not be considered the same motivation.  Even phenomena that appear as shock in the immediate can generally be described in a greater cultural context, even if that has zero meaning to the persons of interest who happen to be partaking of said activity (which in this case isn't true).  I believe an answer of that sort is what the original poster was seeking.

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Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 06, 2007, 01:14:04 PM
The bands that wore corpsepaint for reasons besides wanting to be shocking/different, did so to detatch from their human personas and become connected to  the eternal, archetypal forces  which are mirrored in black metal.

Iconoclast3

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 06, 2007, 07:04:28 PM
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The bands that wore corpsepaint for reasons besides wanting to be shocking/different, did so to detatch from their human personas and become connected to  the eternal, archetypal forces  which are mirrored in black metal.


Yeah, I bet that's exactly what they were thinking!  Go you!

Iconoclast3

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 06, 2007, 07:05:44 PM
It's really just an aesthetic like any other, to add-onto the music.  Personally, I find it to look tacky, but whatever.

Annihilaytorr

Re: Historical/cultural origins of "corpsepai
April 06, 2007, 07:10:11 PM
While their may be some validity to the reasons later BM bands claim they wore corpse paint, the original impetus still comes from looking at Slayer and Sarcofago inserts and posters and thinking "man that's fucking cool".  

This is similar to long hair and its connection to metal. Originally it simply stemmed from rock tradition, but later became fused with medieval aesthetics. The same is true for spikes and belts and leather and all the other cool shit associated with metal music.