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Metal as a divided culture

Metal as a divided culture
February 26, 2008, 08:35:20 PM
On one side, we've got those who want to throw meaning away. Hedonism, individualism, loud simple fast angry music, maybe some token rebellion in the form of Satanism/Nazism.

On the other side, we've got nerds. Geeks. They are the ones who go for the Lovecraft, Nietzsche, and Greco-Roman references in metal, and they want to make it into classical music.

What an interesting split.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 04:36:08 AM
I think that you're describing something that is generally true, but could be framed with more clarity and depth.

A contact of mine was speaking about something similar recently. Let me go and dig that up...

"And hasn't black metal always been a struggle between two general opposing forces within itself, the entropic side and the inventive, romantic, life-affirming side? I think this is part of the reason Euronymous and Varg make popular mascots; the ideas of them embody these opposing forces in some ways. This mirrors the existential struggle of the people most attracted to it, the people who know something is wrong with how they are expected to live and search for the answer, making errors here and there but hopefully eventually becoming the people they should have been all along. Even in single bands there is this dualistic battle going on."

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 07:08:33 PM
not to sound like a dope, but Varg would be the "entropic" side and Euronymous the "inventive" side in this little dichotomy, then?

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 07:54:32 PM
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not to sound like a dope, but Varg would be the "entropic" side and Euronymous the "inventive" side in this little dichotomy, then?


I thought it was the other way around. It would explain why I like Varg's music way more than Euronymous'.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 08:09:28 PM
Yeah I'm not sure, either.  I'm something of a novice here.  If DionysianDeath wants to clear this up and even expound upon this dichotomy, I would be interested in reading it.  

I fall on the 'nerd' side of the dichotomy, by the way - ha!

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 10:07:27 PM
Mayhem created the Norwegian black metal subculture, but, if you look carefully, it was a reaction to death metal at the time. Varg comes along, he challenged Euronymous's leadership with new ideas, and more importantly, more creative music. Mayhem, whilst creating incredible music; varg did something new without turning to the voilence and brutality that mayhem seemed to rely upon.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 10:57:31 PM
both paths have some value when not taken to the absolutes mentioned in the first post. like anything, it comes down to balance of elements.

Beherit is a brilliant example of this dualistic struggle, on the one hand it evolved from very earthly, savage, animalistic roots (i mean you could put it in league with impaled nazarene, havohej, von etc etc) but by the time he made H418ov21.C and electric doom synthesis he was on the verge of some deeper cosmic idealism, yet still had this raw unrefined energy that started it all.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 10:57:55 PM
To clear that up, Dave and 'we hope you die' are correct. Varg represents the creative and vitally positive urge, while Euronymous represents entropy and empty "passive nihilism".

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 27, 2008, 11:09:35 PM
It's more like Graveland versus Origin.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 28, 2008, 07:20:11 PM
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To clear that up, Dave and 'we hope you die' are correct. Varg represents the creative and vitally positive urge, while Euronymous represents entropy and empty "passive nihilism".


Then how utterly ironic it is that the majority of the whole "suicidal BM" style emulates the aesthetics of Varg's music while spouting out the proposed small-minded fatalism/hedonism/self-worthlessness of Euronymous in its lyrics/image.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 28, 2008, 07:25:05 PM
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Then how utterly ironic it is that the majority of the whole "suicidal BM" style emulates the aesthetics of Varg's music while spouting out the proposed small-minded fatalism/hedonism/self-worthlessness of Euronymous in its lyrics/image.


It baffles me how these bands can advocate suicide without being willing to do it themselves. I actually kind of like Leviathan (Xasthur is fucking terrible though), but when the guy talks about suicide in interviews it makes me embarrassed to like his music.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 28, 2008, 08:09:33 PM
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It baffles me how these bands can advocate suicide without being willing to do it themselves. I actually kind of like Leviathan (Xasthur is fucking terrible though), but when the guy talks about suicide in interviews it makes me embarrassed to like his music.


It's more of a philosophical statement than anything; take it as realistically as Autopsy, Mortician and their ilk's obsession with homicide and gore. The whole suicide-centric stripe of BM, while not only a modern fad, seems to be the most pure statement of wretched self-worthlessness of all. Some get it and some don't: where the music [if not the lyrics] of Graveland, Burzum and Summoning is destructive, it is so reflected towards the disgusting elements of modern society [NOT ALL LIFE ITSELF], and there is room for beauty, in an idealist sense. This whole gray, anti-life, pro-suicide strain of Metal is, artistically, a lost tangent.

What do you say about artistically important musicians, such as Dead and even Ildjarn himself's positive comments [in some cases, action as well] about suicide, especially when they have excellent music backing them? Do you assertively stand your ground and write them off, or do you hear some kind of "active nihilism"/positive alternative in their music? "Freezing Moon" speaks to me a world of fantasy, as vivid as anything Summoning ever wrote, and with that, I can say he transcended the petty concept of life and death. Do Xasthur, Nyktalgia and Leviathan do the same, or is their music of the same substance as their outlook: dull, lumpen "nothingness"?

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 28, 2008, 09:36:43 PM
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It's more of a philosophical statement than anything; take it as realistically as Autopsy, Mortician and their ilk's obsession with homicide and gore. The whole suicide-centric stripe of BM, while not only a modern fad, seems to be the most pure statement of wretched self-worthlessness of all. Some get it and some don't: where the music [if not the lyrics] of Graveland, Burzum and Summoning is destructive, it is so reflected towards the disgusting elements of modern society [NOT ALL LIFE ITSELF], and there is room for beauty, in an idealist sense. This whole gray, anti-life, pro-suicide strain of Metal is, artistically, a lost tangent.

What do you say about artistically important musicians, such as Dead and even Ildjarn himself's positive comments [in some cases, action as well] about suicide, especially when they have excellent music backing them? Do you assertively stand your ground and write them off, or do you hear some kind of "active nihilism"/positive alternative in their music? "Freezing Moon" speaks to me a world of fantasy, as vivid as anything Summoning ever wrote, and with that, I can say he transcended the petty concept of life and death.


I agree with the comparison of suicide in black metal and violence/gore in death metal. Honestly, I've always thought the whole gore part of death metal was really retarded, hence I've never really gotten into it. I know not all death metal bands are like that, but bands like Cannibal Corpse really turned me off to the whole genre. Regarding suicide, I think it's equally retarded to dwell on it the way some of these bands do. I can't remember what it was exactly, but in some interview Wrest from Leviathan said something about suicide that sounded really stupid to me. This was like a year ago, so I cannot remember what it was at all. I like the outlook of Camus, that we should be "absurd heroes" who admit the absurdity of life but don't commit suicide. That's why I've always kind of like the existentialists, authors like Camus, Sartre, and Frisch. Anyway, I do see a "positive alternative" in music like Ildjarn (and Mayhem, in the way you described "Freezing Moon"). There is a certain forcefulness in Ildjarn's music that reminds me of the will to live, to assert oneself over all the bullshit that bogs down society.

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Do Xasthur, Nyktalgia and Leviathan do the same, or is their music of the same substance as their outlook: dull, lumpen "nothingness"?


That pretty much sums up Xasthur, actually. But not Leviathan, and I've never heard Nyktalgia.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 29, 2008, 02:39:01 PM
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I agree with the comparison of suicide in black metal and violence/gore in death metal. Honestly, I've always thought the whole gore part of death metal was really retarded, hence I've never really gotten into it. I know not all death metal bands are like that, but bands like Cannibal Corpse really turned me off to the whole genre. Regarding suicide, I think it's equally retarded to dwell on it the way some of these bands do. I can't remember what it was exactly, but in some interview Wrest from Leviathan said something about suicide that sounded really stupid to me. This was like a year ago, so I cannot remember what it was at all. I like the outlook of Camus, that we should be "absurd heroes" who admit the absurdity of life but don't commit suicide.


Wow, this is awesome. I totally agree.

The point of gore was to show that death was bigger than social constructs (death, like race and inequality and gender, is inherent to nature, where equality and morality and justice are social constructs).

Then the idiots got ahold of it, and turned what Carcass and Autopsy did into something utterly stupid and repetitive.

Same with suicide -- "half in love with easeful death" became an excuse to sing about dying constantly and how great it is, because someone cut the vocalist's balls off long ago and now he's afraid of life.

Your point about Absurdism (capital intended) is a good one. Heroes exist because they turn their back on the common sense idea, which is to keep lounging on the African coast and eating fruit and living in round huts, and instead struggle for something to give life purpose, direction, meaning.

In the transcendental sense, that gets us the lyrics to Dunkelheit.

Re: Metal as a divided culture
February 29, 2008, 03:59:59 PM
Dualism, anyone?

I'm not sure metal is served by becoming a wholly intellectual artform to the exclusion of the simple, tactile enjoyment of art well-executed.  That's the mindset that pretty much murdered the classical tradition in Western art-music in the first place.

Then again, maybe it's just my natural suspicion acting up.  I can't help but notice that heroic excess is integral to the tradition of the vir as heroic forbearance.  I've never found any evidence to disprove my belief that if you scratch and ascetic, you'll more than likely find someone who is afraid to die.