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The spirit of metal and of classical

The spirit of metal and of classical
January 07, 2009, 07:28:10 PM
Note these micro-symphonies:

Metallica - Orion
Burzum - My Journey to the Stars
Metallica - Call of Kthulhu
Asphyx - Depths of Eternity
Dismember - Override of the Overtures
Atheist - An Incarnation's Dream
Therion - The Way
Hellhammer - Triumph of Death
Rigor Mortis - Six Feet Under

People think they want what they don't, because they are trying to find the appearance of what they want and not the underlying structure.

When people say they want simplicity, what they really want is organization. It's why "My Journey to the Stars" works even though it's "complex" in
theory -- complex means having a central idea that is simple and clear, and then manifesting it in different forms so people can compare them
like metaphors and see the abstraction. (The dumbass variant of this is the Dark Funeral play riff at fret n, then play it at fret n+1).

The role of art is to be a silent philosopher, meaning that it does not make explicit but gives us a clear spiritual commandment and its corresponding aesthetic from which to work.

There's too much of a causal malfunction: man A does something, and man B sees the results, and tries to work backward toward the cause. The genre doesn't understand its own spirit and aesthetics (the cover of the new Kreator is a brilliantly stupid manifestation of this).

But there's still room for someone to translate the spirit, aesthetics and organization of classical music -- narrative motives -- into death/black metal. That's the real ground to conquer. Whoever does that will be initially unpopular, like death metal and later black metal were, but later acknowledged as a hero. People can't put into words what they want. When shown what they want, they will initially resist it because it doesn't "look like" or "sound like" what they want -- people in 1990 "wanted" simpler, catchier, groovier speed metal, and that movement went nowhere.

Similarly, now they claim to want the fusion of black metal/shoegaze/Blink 182/speed metal that is popular, but no one really seems to love it. There is still great room in this genre for those who can conquer.

Re: The spirit of metal and of classical
January 08, 2009, 06:20:46 AM
I've spent a lot of time listening to South of Heaven of late.  Like any true classic, it consistently rewards re-readings (or, I suppose, re-hearings) with new insight into its methods.  I've really been struck recently by the way the album is held together by motivic continuity between songs, and not just within them.  For instance, the arpeggiated melody that opens the title track (and the album) is frequently alluded to in variation several times throughout the album.  The way that relatively simple fragment of musical data is constantly being reimagined and recontextualized to simultaneously create a binding sense of unity and kaleidoscopic sense of symbolic unfolding (At the Gates' wonderful image of an 'ever-opening flower' comes to mind) is both remarkable for its creative economy and brilliant in its nearly limitless possibility.  But hey, they're just stupid, violent Satanists: what we really need to be promoting are real innovative gerbils like Pink Frothy AIDS and Cynic.

Busy is not the same as productive and more riffs doesn't inherently equate to complexity.

Re: The spirit of metal and of classical
January 08, 2009, 03:28:21 PM
I was trying to explain Ildjarn to someone once and ended up spitting out: "All the best metal albums must be listened to as albums. You don't need to pick out songs separately."

It's like the whole genre is just looking for an excuse to write a symphony.