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Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem

Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 02, 2009, 02:21:47 AM
My knowledge of musical theory is extremely limited, so this may come off as a bunch of non-sense, but I think I'm onto something.

One aspect of many early black metal releases that I have not found in recent releases is the presence of brief, semi-ambient tracks that usually explore a central theme with minor variations, explorations, and developments on that theme, while always returning to it, sometimes with a new realization or take on it. You might call them interludes, but that isn't quite adequate. Where most quality metal plays out like a journey, or a story, and most shit metal is a disorganized mess, these tracks feel more like musical poems. They serve not as an adventure for the mind and spirit, but rather a period of quiet contemplation after the adventure (or between adventures), where the logical and rational mind attempts to frame the experience of the adventure into a unified whole within the spirit and mind. It seeks understanding from the experience.

Three of the strongest examples of this "metal poem" are many of Burzum's works (The Crying Orc, Naar Himmelen Klarner, much of Hliðskjálf, Decripitude I and II, etc),  Xibalba - Carchah (this track feels very influenced by the aforementioned Burzum songs), and  Isengard - In The Halls And Chambers Of Stardust The Crystallic Heavens Open.

Other bands that make a lesser use of these techniques: Summoning, I Shalt Become, Beherit, Gorgoroth (Sorg).

Am I totally off, or has anyone else noticed this use of song construction? If so, what are some other notable songs in this style?

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 02, 2009, 10:28:14 AM
I've always thought that Emperor's "Towards the Pantheon" operated in a similar fashion, partially because the main theme is first given without "Metal instrumentation".

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 02, 2009, 12:29:19 PM
I often see them as a transition to the second half of the album, a build up to the climax or last song of the album. A way of changing the pace or mood from one half to the other.

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 02, 2009, 02:34:15 PM
I often see them as a transition to the second half of the album, a build up to the climax or last song of the album. A way of changing the pace or mood from one half to the other.

I think this works neatly into my idea of them as a contemplation between journeys.

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 02, 2009, 08:49:45 PM
Tracks like these are some of my favorite metal tracks, period.  I think you are on to something. 

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 03, 2009, 06:57:53 AM
You're definitely not off. The end of Far Away from the Sun.

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 03, 2009, 09:07:04 AM
Summoning - Orthanc comes to mind

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 03, 2009, 03:09:17 PM
You're definitely not off. The end of Far Away from the Sun.

I considered mentioning Finis Malorum, but where that song starts contemplative, it ends with the beginning of what is implied to be an entirely new, perhaps endless journey. Very beautiful.

I agree with Far Away From The Sun (Part Two), I don't know why I didn't think of it.

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 03, 2009, 10:24:31 PM
I think the reason we don't see many of these anymore is because most bands are looking to write songs, not albums.

The album format has become increasingly irrelevant in popular music.

People just want a couple of songs to throw on their IPOD and shuffle into in a random playlist, and the songs mentioned in the original post only serve a purpose when the listener is going through an entire album in a single sitting, which these days, is a rarity.

Re: Lost Art of the Black Metal Poem
December 04, 2009, 02:58:31 PM
Darkthrone-en as i dype skogen