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Sublime in Death Metal

Sublime in Death Metal
October 22, 2008, 09:22:08 PM
The nature of the sublime is a philosophical topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublime_(philosophy)
(forgive me for using \/\/ikipedia, and if the link doesn't work just look up sublime.)

Perhaps there are some parallels to be drawn between:

"Sublime - Turbulent Nature. (Pleasure from perceiving objects that threaten to hurt or destroy observer).
Full Feeling of Sublime - Overpowering turbulent Nature. (Pleasure from beholding very violent, destructive objects)."


"... articulate the lawless extremity of nature."

Re: Sublime in Death Metal
October 24, 2008, 01:47:39 PM
Something occurred to me once when I was watching a local black metal band play on a generous amount of psilocybe cubensis mushrooms.

They ripped into their set with blasting warhymns. Not phenomenal composition by any means but that doesn't matter for this story.

Everyone else in the room seemed reluctant to approach these people, clad in leather in corpsepaint with an upside down crucifix on their micstand, their vocalist taking a deliberately antagonistic demeanor (not in a rude way) towards the audience. The crowd (about 25 people) were just hanging out in the back of the room, sipping on beer bottles with their arms crossed.

I approached with childlike curiosity, beholding the chaos they had unleashed. I stood right in front of them, alone. Suddenly, it became clear that the attitude and appearance all had a meaning to it. They were actors, it was all part of a theatric presentation. This vocalist has presented himself as an enemy. An enemy to me, the crowd, to anyone and anything. I was not threatened by them in any way, after all, it's just a role, much like Zombie #4 at the haunted house.

They seemed to emanate hatred, and instead of being insulted or threatened by it, I enjoyed it, toyed with it, mocked it, and gave it back to them...

It's like watching a tsunami. Everyone on the beach is running, but they're doomed anyway. Just stand, watch, and go out in style. Much is the same when an amazing band takes the stage. Some people headbang, some people try to get on some toughguy shit and try to knock people down, and then there's the people who truly appreciate it, taking in every note, being washed away by a force that's larger than life.

Anyway, that's just an experience I had. I was tripping, so take it with a grain of salt.

Re: Sublime in Death Metal
October 26, 2008, 04:22:33 PM
For me, music has become the closest i will ever be too a truly religious experience

Some people go too shows just for the music
Some too get wasted and mosh
Some too get high and trip

What a lot of people fail too do is really take the whole experience in...
When they focus too much on a single aspect of the show, they loose in the greater value of the music..

Re: Sublime in Death Metal
October 26, 2008, 07:05:20 PM
Sublime - Overpowering turbulent Nature. (Pleasure from beholding very violent, destructive objects).

Metal is the sublime, the Faustian. Death cannot be conquered, and why should we want to? Worship power, death and destruction, creation through destruction and the defeat of the stupid, weak, criminal, perverse, etc. Metal is war because life is war to create before we are destroyed.


Re: Sublime in Death Metal
October 27, 2008, 09:05:10 PM
Creating art about that which has the power to destroy us is a form of worship. Celebrating the higher functions in nature that will ultimately claim all of us shows that we don't look to deny or postpone the inevitable, but to work alongside it, knowing that one day we must all pay our final due.

Am I reading you right, ASBO?


Re: Sublime in Death Metal
November 03, 2008, 06:59:47 PM
To be clear, in a Kantian sense, the dynamically sublime is the feeling of “dominion” we have over nature when we realise that we are able to resist its power. The mathematically sublime is our inability to imagine what we can reason (e.g. we can reason infinity but cannot imagine it.).

Because Kant is quick to equate resistance with violence I think that the dynamically sublime, at least, holds too much to a dualism of Man vs. Nature to be of much use in black metal - though it must be stressed that this dualism arises as a "sublime" disposition within man as opposed to the sublime in any sense existing in nature itself. Black metal is worship of man’s dwelling process in Nature (not as the disinterested contemplator of Kant); death metal is a realisation of the awesome and terrifying fragility of life. Wordsworth (“How divine, the liberty, for frail, for mortal, man to roam at large among unpeopled glens and mountainous retirements”) seems closer to black metal’s notion of the sublime, while Burke (“The passion caused by the great and sublime in nature is astonishment; and astonishment is that state of the soul, in which all its motions are suspended, with some degree of horror.”) seems more akin to death metal.

In Kant, though, the subordination of the imagination to reason gives us quite an interesting literary trope. To paraphrase de Man, only someone who has read too much 18th century German philosophy would actually believe that they have faculties (e.g. reason, imagination, understanding etc.) just as they have a nose, eyes and hair. Kant is, essentially, telling a story in which the imagination sacrifices itself (just as a tragic heroine might) to reason for the sake of sublime disclosure. De Man likens the imagination to Antigone but I think we can avoid a psychoanalytic or feminist reading (and perhaps tease out a Nietzschean) if we regard it as a dramatic sacrifice in general. Perhaps this perfomative sacrifice of imagination functions as a medium to make the numinous “truth” of the sublime bearable for contemplation much like fate of Oedipus makes the wisdom of Silenus – that it would be better for man to never be born – palatable and even ecstatic. This is not to propose an eirenic relationship between reason and imagination but rather to suggest a fundamental tension from which black metal might spring.