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Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 09, 2010, 06:47:19 PM
My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for.
...
They are constantly avoiding controversial topics and instead only scrape the surface of things.
...
As such this symposium only harms black metal by confusing people more about its meaning.

I think the reason for this is pretty obvious. The ideas conveyed by the original Norwegian bands were very hostile to liberal humanism and glorified conflict and often nationalism, all of which academics tend to disagree with. That's why they don't mention the originators. Instead, they focus on newer bands so they can interpret black metal into something that fits their beliefs held before encountering it. They even refer to the music as a form of rock n' roll.

The idea that black metal exists to rid of transgressive acts by discussing them  (i.e. "blow off some steam") is a perfect example of this.

To me it seems like a wet dream turned into a nightmare...

Or is the nightmare of real black metal turning into a pleasant wet dream of a softer, more politically correct black metal?

I hate being so negative about this, I want the ideas of black metal to reach intelligent people in positions of influence, but that is not what is happening here. And now that the wrong impression is being put into their heads, it'll be that much harder to convince them of the original meaning. Especially when you take into account academia's notorious closed-mindedness.

Try discussing Ildjarn, Graveland or Burzum with one of these people in a few years and they'll tell you it's not real BM.
Hypothetical response: "It's a commonly accepted fact that BM exists to provide an outlet for aggression and fight inequality. Listen to some Wolves in the Throne Room and you'll get it."

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 09, 2010, 07:03:42 PM
My impression is not that they are treating black metal like an art form. My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for.

(Disclaimer: I haven't read/heard any of those presentations, so my bad.)
As an anthropologist I can say that it's a major tendency in academia to analyze general discourse as opposed to ideas proposed by specific groups. I could sympathise with what these people are probably getting at, that is, relating the popular understanding of metal ideals to broader cultural trends. What Conservationist pointed out is correct: these guys mostly invent topics to brood upon, and I guess that people here consider that modus operandi a tad too passive.

Believe it or not, the symposium is probably doing its best to keep an objective point of view. Since the perception of art is subjective (yeah, lynch me), it's more reasonable to study the way the regular 'perceivers' (metalheads, or maybe 95% of the metalhead community) create an intersubjective vision of what metal is about and subsequently act upon that notion of theirs, rather than write dissertations about the meaning of heavy metal from an outsiders perspective -- we've all seen that sort of stuff on Christian websites denouncing the satanic message of rock'n'roll, so I guess some people don't want to keep on blundering.

Frankly, any academic social scientists or philosophers here should start coming up with ideas to troll their egghead communities into considering the ideas expounded by the DLA seriously. It's better to find new ways to be useful than to whine about pretentious hipsters ;)

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 09, 2010, 09:36:26 PM
My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for.
...
They are constantly avoiding controversial topics and instead only scrape the surface of things.
...
As such this symposium only harms black metal by confusing people more about its meaning.

I think the reason for this is pretty obvious. The ideas conveyed by the original Norwegian bands were very hostile to liberal humanism and glorified conflict and often nationalism, all of which academics tend to disagree with. That's why they don't mention the originators. Instead, they focus on newer bands so they can interpret black metal into something that fits their beliefs held before encountering it. They even refer to the music as a form of rock n' roll.

The idea that black metal exists to rid of transgressive acts by discussing them  (i.e. "blow off some steam") is a perfect example of this.

To me it seems like a wet dream turned into a nightmare...

Or is the nightmare of real black metal turning into a pleasant wet dream of a softer, more politically correct black metal?

I hate being so negative about this, I want the ideas of black metal to reach intelligent people in positions of influence, but that is not what is happening here. And now that the wrong impression is being put into their heads, it'll be that much harder to convince them of the original meaning. Especially when you take into account academia's notorious closed-mindedness.

Try discussing Ildjarn, Graveland or Burzum with one of these people in a few years and they'll tell you it's not real BM.
Hypothetical response: "It's a commonly accepted fact that BM exists to provide an outlet for aggression and fight inequality. Listen to some Wolves in the Throne Room and you'll get it."

So in other words academic discussion of anything other than 'kvlt' black metal is disingenuous, because it isn't dealing with "real" black metal?

I am not against having a symposium about BM either. In fact I think it's pretty cool that these guys got this far. I've read the articles Transcix posted but every time they mention a shitty band I just feel like quitting reading. My impression is not that they are treating black metal like an art form. My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for. Then they try to intellectualize whatever loose ends they come up with but lack a solid foundation for their claims about black metal. They are constantly avoiding controversial topics and instead only scrape the surface of things. To me it seems obvious that if one wishes to analyze art it's better to start with the root and ignore meaningless offshoots.

So you're saying that they should focus more on the bands that you consider to represent "real" black metal? What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

Let's not forget that art is in some ways subjective, and it's debatable whether black metal can only stand for what the musicians themselves intend it to mean as opposed to what listeners take away from it. And at the very least I would say opinions you don't agree with should still be welcomed assuming that they are reasonably well laid out and that the marketplace of ideas is not already over-saturated with them--unless perhaps you believe your own position is too weak to endure scrutiny.

These people are more obsessed with typical hipster stuff than with anything I'd consider respectable. As such this symposium only harms black metal by confusing people more about its meaning. To me it seems like a wet dream turned into a nightmare...

I don't think it's at all fair to characterize the symposium as being hipster-esque. For example when I read Nicola's paper Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya I jotted down a brief description to include on my website (and I still recall the article well enough to know my description is accurate): "From an arguably 'life-negating' or 'transcendental nihilist' perspective, discusses black metal as a means of realizing spiritually enlightening/liberating catharsis or Zen-like direct experience of reality" Nicola was one of the organizers of the symposium, and I don't think his paper smells of hipster.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 09, 2010, 09:59:49 PM
So in other words academic discussion of anything other than 'kvlt' black metal is disingenuous, because it isn't dealing with "real" black metal?

So you're saying that they should focus more on the bands that you consider to represent "real" black metal? What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

For some strange reason I've decided to call black metal what was put forth by the majority or Norwegian bands in the early 90's and not the aesthetic imitation made by American bands in the late 90's/early 2000's. The symposium's interpretation of the music is based on the later and not the former and even contradicts the former as I've said; So, no, I don't consider it to be "proper" or "legitimate" or "real black metal".

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 01:28:25 AM
What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

"Why don't you have a seat over there?"

Edit: I'll explain why I find your argument absurd. With so much mainstream and underground material available about black metal a consumer doesn't need to look far to find at least some background story about the origins. It seems more likely that the speakers at the symposium found talking about church burnings and murder to be "boring" and overdone, in which case I'd disagree with them but that's besides the point right now. What you are suggesting with the gross of your arguments is that there should always be room for debate and different opinions, that's hardly an argument for anything is it? So I can't take your post serious. I also dislike the tone you use when you present your arguments.

So in other words academic discussion of anything other than 'kvlt' black metal is disingenuous, because it isn't dealing with "real" black metal?

See here you start by twisting my own words and coming up with a populist easy way to interpret what I just wrote. If I just presented an argument then why do you need to reinterpret that argument before you can even come up with a counterargument? Because you refuse to deal with my post seriously, in your mind you know you're right and no argument will convince you otherwise. After all... that would kinda be like losing

So you're saying that they should focus more on the bands that you consider to represent "real" black metal? What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

Here we go again. The same thing I just explained above. You are a poor debater.

Let's not forget that art is in some ways subjective,

Ok, so now you're finally going to present your counter argument. And how do you do it? "Let's not forget" As if it is a perfect truth known and understood by everyone. I really dislike your tone by now.

and it's debatable whether black metal can only stand for what the musicians themselves intend it to mean as opposed to what listeners take away from it.

Debatable. So it's not true or false. So that is a weak argument.

And at the very least I would say opinions you don't agree with should still be welcomed assuming that they are reasonably well laid out and that the marketplace of ideas is not already over-saturated with them

Ah, here you do something right at last. "I would say" That's cool. You even start with "at the very least" Not sure what that's supposed to mean in this context but oh well. I'm just addressing your tone right now.

--unless perhaps you believe your own position is too weak to endure scrutiny.

I really don't like you by now. Why do you insist on these childish attacks on character? Unless of course you are insecure about your own position... You still haven't offered any good defensive argument why the symposium seems to be lacking so much focus on black metal's past.


I don't think it's at all fair to characterize the symposium as being hipster-esque. For example when I read Nicola's paper Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya I jotted down a brief description to include on my website (and I still recall the article well enough to know my description is accurate): "From an arguably 'life-negating' or 'transcendental nihilist' perspective, discusses black metal as a means of realizing spiritually enlightening/liberating catharsis or Zen-like direct experience of reality" Nicola was one of the organizers of the symposium, and I don't think his paper smells of hipster.

Oh ok, because you wrote a description about the symposium it's not a hipster symposium. That's a great argument man. I haven't even flat out called this a hipster symposium so far anyway. For someone who puts so much emphasis on allowing people to have different opinions you certainly seem to have problems dealing with other peoples opinions yourself.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 02:20:34 AM
So in other words academic discussion of anything other than 'kvlt' black metal is disingenuous, because it isn't dealing with "real" black metal?

So you're saying that they should focus more on the bands that you consider to represent "real" black metal? What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

For some strange reason I've decided to call black metal what was put forth by the majority or Norwegian bands in the early 90's and not the aesthetic imitation made by American bands in the late 90's/early 2000's. The symposium's interpretation of the music is based on the later and not the former and even contradicts the former as I've said; So, no, I don't consider it to be "proper" or "legitimate" or "real black metal".

I'm not sure that the dichotomy between what is and isn't true black metal is exactly like you say it is, but let's suppose that you're right. Do you really think that the organizers of the symposium would have prevented a potential speaker from submitting an entry just because their paper would have been coming from the kind of perspective you're describing here? No, I think that it would have been happily entertained, as long as it was written well enough (and for all I know such papers were indeed accepted and presented). I think a main point of the symposium was to investigate and discuss the identity of black metal music--mistakes will always be made, there will always be ignorance, but surely you are not suggesting that the investigation of black metal music should never even be attempted in the first place?

What if they think its origins were sketchy and that it took time for the scene to evolve into maturity?

"Why don't you have a seat over there?"


I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate, but note that I was only offering a hypothetical alternative and I did not mean to imply that it is the belief of anyone from the symposium (or that it is my belief either, for that matter).

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 02:40:19 AM
Of course academic interest is going to fall first on those bands that touch on themes already closely studied by academics.  That's neither surprising nor worrisome. 

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 02:58:15 AM
Of course academic interest is going to fall first on those bands that touch on themes already closely studied by academics.  That's neither surprising nor worrisome. 

But how do these bands touch on those themes in ways that the early black metal bands didn't?

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 03:08:40 AM
Of course academic interest is going to fall first on those bands that touch on themes already closely studied by academics.  That's neither surprising nor worrisome. 

But how do these bands touch on those themes in ways that the early black metal bands didn't?


Well, for starters, they don't have the crypto-fascist subtext.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 03:26:14 AM
I'm not sure that the dichotomy between what is and isn't true black metal is exactly like you say it is, but let's suppose that you're right. Do you really think that the organizers of the symposium would have prevented a potential speaker from submitting an entry just because their paper would have been coming from the kind of perspective you're describing here? No, I think that it would have been happily entertained, as long as it was written well enough (and for all I know such papers were indeed accepted and presented). I think a main point of the symposium was to investigate and discuss the identity of black metal music--mistakes will always be made, there will always be ignorance, but surely you are not suggesting that the investigation of black metal music should never even be attempted in the first place?

Surely they would accept it. Surely.

OK, they probably would,

What I'm saying is that just like in so many other fields of study, academics project their own values onto the subject and interpret it through that lens. In this case, it seems their worldview is so at odds with the views portrayed in the subject that they are having great difficulty understanding the subject, going so far as to call the subject something it pretty clearly is not.

I already said I hate to be so negative because I like the idea of a symposium, but that things would be better off without this particular one or these particular perspectives being accepted.

"Why don't you have a seat over there?"
I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate, but note that I was only offering a hypothetical alternative and I did not mean to imply that it is the belief of anyone from the symposium (or that it is my belief either, for that matter).

The implication that black metal has improved (matured as you said) over the last decade makes you seem clueless, or if not you, confirms that the symposium-ites are clueless, invalidating their writings.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 03:38:23 AM
I'm not sure that the dichotomy between what is and isn't true black metal is exactly like you say it is, but let's suppose that you're right. Do you really think that the organizers of the symposium would have prevented a potential speaker from submitting an entry just because their paper would have been coming from the kind of perspective you're describing here? No, I think that it would have been happily entertained, as long as it was written well enough (and for all I know such papers were indeed accepted and presented). I think a main point of the symposium was to investigate and discuss the identity of black metal music--mistakes will always be made, there will always be ignorance, but surely you are not suggesting that the investigation of black metal music should never even be attempted in the first place?

Surely they would accept it. Surely.

OK, they probably would,

What I'm saying is that just like in so many other fields of study, academics project their own values onto the subject and interpret it through that lens. In this case, it seems their worldview is so at odds with the views portrayed in the subject that they are having great difficulty understanding the subject, going so far as to call the subject something it pretty clearly is not.

I already said I hate to be so negative because I like the idea of a symposium, but that things would be better off without this particular one or these particular perspectives being accepted.

I'm not a fan of the scholarly mindset at all, either. But I don't understand why you say that the scholarly mindset defines the symposium's perspective so well. I guess I am asking for concrete examples, because from the three papers I read I just do not see it.

"Why don't you have a seat over there?"
I'm not sure what you're trying to insinuate, but note that I was only offering a hypothetical alternative and I did not mean to imply that it is the belief of anyone from the symposium (or that it is my belief either, for that matter).

The implication that black metal has improved (matured as you said) over the last decade makes you seem clueless, or if not you, confirms that the symposium-ites are clueless, invalidating their writings.

You misunderstood what I wrote. As I tried to clarify just before, I just plucked the hypothesis that black metal has improved/matured over the last decade out of thin air to illustrate a point.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 10, 2010, 05:54:01 AM
My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for.
...
They are constantly avoiding controversial topics and instead only scrape the surface of things.
...
As such this symposium only harms black metal by confusing people more about its meaning.

I think the reason for this is pretty obvious. The ideas conveyed by the original Norwegian bands were very hostile to liberal humanism and glorified conflict and often nationalism, all of which academics tend to disagree with. That's why they don't mention the originators. Instead, they focus on newer bands so they can interpret black metal into something that fits their beliefs held before encountering it. They even refer to the music as a form of rock n' roll.

Remain true to the earth!: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal does touch on a lot of social taboo subjects and even bluntly states that black metal is "in essence right wing" Unfortunately the writer only uses excerpts from an interview with Peste Noire to base his arguments on. In fact after he mentions Peste Noire the rest of article only seems to deal with Peste Noire which is obviously not the way to represent all of black metal. It is really unfortunate because I do agree with the writer in the broad sense of what he's trying to say yet I think his choice to only focus on Peste Noire is highly questionable. Why not pick Burzum or Graveland whose music and lyrics expressed these themes a lot better and a lot earlier than Peste Noire did? If Remain true to the earth would have mentioned both Graveland and Peste Noire you could accuse me of overreacting but so far it can be argued that they are focusing too much on recently popular (trendy) bands.

I'll read/listen to the rest to see if all the old school BM fans stayed at home during this one. Too bad if they did, they missed an opportunity.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 11, 2010, 02:19:17 AM
It seems all the presentations from the symposium are available in Google Books preview here (happily the copyright is Open Access).

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 11, 2010, 08:22:01 AM
Here's a rip from google books for those who'd like a portable PDF version:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4DAN1AWS
or
http://www.mediafire.com/?d1gygjloqyj


Paper version is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Hideous-Gnosis-Black-Theory-Symposium/dp/1450572162


Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 11, 2010, 11:29:37 AM
Would I be correct in assuming that one or some of the people responsible for ANUS.com had a hand in this then? Because I cannot see some of the twaddle that is written here being in any way appealing to the staffers unless they had a personal interest. Come on guys - tell which of the humourous stage names (Stephen Shakespeare, Hunter Hunt Hendrix) belongs to you!