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A point of clarification

A point of clarification
October 20, 2008, 08:14:26 PM
Have people here given up on the aesthetic of black metal entirely?  Do you think metal needs a new aesthetic alltogether?  Or is the problem that new bands and newer albums don't offer anything BESIDES black metal aesthetics?  In other words if a new band or new album HAD SOMETHING TO SAY and had content BEHIND it, is the black metal aesthetic still a viable vehicle for the content?

Re: A point of clarification
October 20, 2008, 11:15:59 PM
Averse Sefira's dialogue on the subject:

Shall all aspects, such as lyrics, music, makeup... have a central ideal?

Sanguine: Of course, but such are the foundations of Averse Sefira. Unification of muse is key to all the locks of creation. Without and within the gates will fall and there will be joy and strife unending for those caught in the storms.

Wrath: Regarding imagery, as you see we attach significance to every part of our presentation. The music cannot truly exist without the imagery and vice versa. This is one of the ideals upon which Black Metal was founded, and too many bands are forgetting this. Some people like to argue this point and claim a band such as we are “posers” for adopting and adhering to the battle standard. My response is that if they feel these elements are unnecessary, then they should go play Death Metal and leave Black Metal to bands who are brave enough to hold the banner high.

The artwork of Battle's Clarion is better than the last one. I see the imagery and the artistic side of the band is just as important as the music. It isn't what Death Metal bands normally like...

Sanguine: All aspects of Averse Sefira are interconnected and consanguineous. The paint is the visage of tormented Humanity and Divinity, scourged by the plague of "Faith", the artwork are representations of things untouched in song, the lyrics are all individual pieces of a great narrative lineage that will unfold when it has completed its incubation. Averse Sefira cannot be without such a weaving.

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 12:02:19 AM
The aesthetic still has a place(AS being a great example)to a degree. The problem of course is that so much of it has lost its intended effect in a post Cradle/Dimmu/Dark Funeral/Behemoth world. Once something becomes a virtual parody of itself(whether fairly or not), it's difficult to re-infuse credibility and believability into the fold. I do believe I could live quite contentedly without seeing another photo of gape-mouthed, claw-fingered twenty-somethings with bad King Diamond makeup smeared accross their countenances, posing menacingly in their suburban backyards. By and large the moment has passed - the Darkthrones, Emperors  and the like figured that out well over a decade ago.     

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 01:15:48 AM
Right, it does seem as though the moment has passed.  Let me clarify one thing.  When I say aesthetics I mean strictly the "sound aesthetic" aspect.  Forget corpse paint, forget Satanic lyrics, forget album covers, forget pictures of the band.  I am speaking strictly of distorted guitars, tremolo picking, metronomic drums, reverbed/croaked/shreiked vocals, melodic composition that aspires to Classical music.  I figure this won't change anything but I just wanted to clarify.  Is it possible that a change in aesthetics can fuel "content?"  Or do I have this in reverse?  If I have it in reverse, then doesn't black metal need to simply get away from Satanism, LaVey, Crowley, Lovecraft, Tolkien, and go towards Blake, Goethe, Nietzsche, Bataille, Jung (for example).  Do black metal musicians need to simply read more and thus have content/ideals/a message to fuel the aesthetic?  Or does it boil down to composition and better composers?

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 02:00:48 AM
I would imagine they would need a new aesthetic.  The aesthetic is ideally just a means of clearly getting the artist's point across, so different ideas should mean the development of a different aesthetic.  What we've come to know as the black metal aesthetic, after all, was coined by those bands we continue to consider the great ones.  Those who came after played off this so they sounded aesthetically similar, but fell short because the aesthetic value is only superficial.  So, perhaps having more well-read musicians, as you suggest, would help.

Bands are just building off the past no matter what, though.  They are building off past concepts as well as past sounds.  So, theoretically, each would just be an extension of what is already out there.  I think it's safe to say that just about anything which can be expressed using the exact same aesthetic has been expressed, but that is not to say it must be scrapped entirely.  Who knows what must be changed, though.  That decision falls upon whatever musicians finally happen to have something interesting to create.

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 02:24:23 AM
Right, it does seem as though the moment has passed.  Let me clarify one thing.  When I say aesthetics I mean strictly the "sound aesthetic" aspect.  Forget corpse paint, forget Satanic lyrics, forget album covers, forget pictures of the band.  I am speaking strictly of distorted guitars, tremolo picking, metronomic drums, reverbed/croaked/shreiked vocals, melodic composition that aspires to Classical music.  I figure this won't change anything but I just wanted to clarify.  Is it possible that a change in aesthetics can fuel "content?"  Or do I have this in reverse?  If I have it in reverse, then doesn't black metal need to simply get away from Satanism, LaVey, Crowley, Lovecraft, Tolkien, and go towards Blake, Goethe, Nietzsche, Bataille, Jung (for example).  Do black metal musicians need to simply read more and thus have content/ideals/a message to fuel the aesthetic?  Or does it boil down to composition and better composers?

Aesthetic and content are connected. Darkthrone created the Transilvanian Hunger aesthetic for what they had then; it didn't extend to other albums.

Black metal fell short because it is now imitating that past, and recombining it, but has no content to drive it in a new direction.

Certainly aesthetic alone can be innovated, but the music generally falls by the wayside. Venom, for example. Enslaved.

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If I have it in reverse, then doesn't black metal need to simply get away from Satanism, LaVey, Crowley, Lovecraft, Tolkien, and go towards Blake, Goethe, Nietzsche, Bataille, Jung (for example). 

That would be a logical next step

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I am speaking strictly of distorted guitars, tremolo picking, metronomic drums, reverbed/croaked/shreiked vocals, melodic composition that aspires to Classical music.

That is the essence.

Any new developments in that will bring on new complexity of ideas, and so reach toward what you describe.

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 05:54:16 AM
An essay (one in the monograph "On Record: Pop, Rock and the Written Word") discussed the "extensional" development (towards new forms) that happened in classical music versus the "intensional" development (towards a new interpretation of the same form) that happened in blues music.

In later rock and metal music it seems that it was never one way or the other but that experimenting pushes boundaries and creates something which first lacks substance a bit and then later developers put more life into it and make it into a more listenable and lasting form. Hellhammer and Bathory created the more substantial and listenable version of Venom, Darkthrone and Burzum created the more listenable version of Mayhem and I hope someone will do the same to Deathspell Omega, Portal & co.

It should not get away from Tolkien to Goethe but away from the desire to please either the Tolkien-clique or the Goethe-clique. The old scene was a more natural kind of interaction process, now when everyone is in touch with everyone, everything is just either aimed to please some certain forum or some certain group of critics or is an indecipherable individualistic mess.

Re: A point of clarification
October 21, 2008, 12:21:45 PM
Is it possible that a change in aesthetics can fuel "content?"

I don't think so. At least it shouldn't be that way.
In searching for greater context I can say that sometimes technological developement can give us "new" ways of expression, or even dictate what kind of theme can be aproached with certain aesthetic, because they can corresponds somehow or aesthetic's simple symbolism is self evident. While in 70s many musicians had opportunity to use distortion and synthesizers only those with desire to reach concrete theme used it properly (be it Black Sabbath or Kraftwerk)...
On the other side what matter most is how notes corresponds with each other (structure) and how it act on our mind ( I belive that we have some immutable archetypes, maybe cultural dependent, according to which we "percept" music), because it's evident that same effect can be achieved via different methods of expression. But sound or tone are easier to comprehend than context and structure hence most music rely only on the first two.

Re: A point of clarification
October 22, 2008, 05:12:36 AM
I don't see Averse Sefira being so different to the Black/Death metal of the past. They aren't forging a new path for Metal as far as I'm concerned.

Re: A point of clarification
October 22, 2008, 01:57:08 PM
I agree, they merely write excellent music within the genre's established aesthetics

Re: A point of clarification
October 22, 2008, 04:39:34 PM
I'd caution against new-and-fresh reasons for aesthetics and instead council for purpose. The gothic, medieval, pagan and barbaric atmosphere will continue to be appropriate for the metal arts because history and tradition are eternally relevant to listeners. Complementary to this past-gazing, sometimes nostalgic aesthetic, is one that looks ahead. Industrial and thrash pulled this off by illustrating the cold, dark horror of the present and future. A pessimistic ahead-gazing, rooted in mass enslavement to the inhumane modern machine system and the psychotic, unnatural alienness of the thoughts behind modernity's invention, is just as relevant for black metal listeners.

deathandhell.com describe this deeply pessimistic ahead-gazing in an abundant archive of online fantasy literature.

Re: A point of clarification
October 22, 2008, 09:31:56 PM
Read what Nietzsche writes about Myth in The Birth of Tragedy, I think it relates.

Metal is dead because the myths of metal are dead.

Re: A point of clarification
October 22, 2008, 10:49:43 PM
^ what are the "myths of metal?"

Re: A point of clarification
October 23, 2008, 01:49:32 PM
I'd caution against new-and-fresh reasons for aesthetics and instead council for purpose. The gothic, medieval, pagan and barbaric atmosphere will continue to be appropriate for the metal arts

I agree.  In fact, I quite like the black metal aesthetic/sound just the way it is.  I guess it boils down to purpose and, correct me if I'm wrong, composition.  I argue that the black metal community simply needs to READ MORE in order to understand that purpose can be more subtle and of a "higher" nature than burning churches - not that burning churches bothers me.  Rather than Tolkien, read the actual Norse myths themselves (Snorri Sturlason), and the Greek myths, and Aeschylus, and Beowulf.

Re: A point of clarification
October 26, 2008, 02:21:30 PM
anybody out there know what Sunn-Goatse is referring to when he refers to the "myths" of metal?