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Artistic Direction after Black Metal

Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 24, 2010, 06:46:29 AM
I think this is an interesting phenomenon, particularly with the Norwegian second wave you can tell alot about the commitment of the artists by the direction they took after black metal.  The best 'post black-metal' works are the electronic albums by Burzum, Ildjarn, Neptune Towers and Beherit.  These were the works where the artists still had ambition.  The rest of the black-metallers either reverted to ripping off their influences; later Darkthrone and Immortal, or making second rate versions of their earlier work ie. Gorgoroth.  As things stand electronic ambient music still represents an avenue for metal musicians who wish to avoid the dumbassery that is associated with metal nowadays, as is witnessed by the multiple successes of black metal musicians in this genre.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 24, 2010, 09:15:15 AM
I agree that the electronic albums of Burzum, Beherit, etc. showcase an interesting period in black metal. But that period was about 15 years ago by now. I can't think of any metal-related ambient albums released since then that come close to the quality those earlier works had (with an exception of Hardangervidda which is significantly better than Idjarns earlier ambient works) So I don't agree that ambient still has much future in BM. With the internet (myspace and downloading pirated software) it's become even easier to start your own "bedroom dark ambient project" All you need is a midi-keyboard and at least one finger, the software will do the rest.

Personally I wish certain metal artists would have moved to composing classical music. But apparently the sad truth is that classical music is too difficult for them so they stick with rock or go for "experimental" music.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 24, 2010, 10:18:56 AM

Personally I wish certain metal artists would have moved to composing classical music. But apparently the sad truth is that classical music is too difficult for them so they stick with rock or go for "experimental" music.


Composing classical music requires significant musical training, and the intellectual atmosphere of the modern conservatory is the antithesis of true metal.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 24, 2010, 04:54:31 PM
The best 'post black-metal' works are the electronic albums by Burzum, Ildjarn, Neptune Towers and Beherit.

And Lord Wind!

Metal wants to be beyond pop/rock/blues/jazz -- like Tangerine Dream (Neptune Towers), Conan the Barbarian soundtrack (Lord Wind), classical music or Kraftwerk/Autechre ambient (Beherit, Burzum, Ildjarn).

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 25, 2010, 04:55:33 PM

Personally I wish certain metal artists would have moved to composing classical music. But apparently the sad truth is that classical music is too difficult for them so they stick with rock or go for "experimental" music.


Composing classical music requires significant musical training, and the intellectual atmosphere of the modern conservatory is the antithesis of true metal.

Ahhh, a blend of these two is one of the finest dreams of mine. The atmosphere can be whatever you make it out to be, especially with the aid of music.... Just imagine a black metal orchestra. FANTASTIC, I say!

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 25, 2010, 05:43:39 PM
It would be "Black Metal" only by association.  I'm relatively certain that a large proportion of the Classical music I listen to would, when arranged for a Metal band, be Black Metal (generally of the In the Nightside Eclipse variety).

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 25, 2010, 06:00:51 PM
It would be "Black Metal" only by association.  I'm relatively certain that a large proportion of the Classical music I listen to would, when arranged for a Metal band, be Black Metal (generally of the In the Nightside Eclipse variety).

Right, but instead of keys imagine a whole strings section. I think it'd be pretty interesting to say the least.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 25, 2010, 11:47:45 PM
It would be "Black Metal" only by association.  I'm relatively certain that a large proportion of the Classical music I listen to would, when arranged for a Metal band, be Black Metal (generally of the In the Nightside Eclipse variety).

Most of the classical I've heard that has been transcribed for the electric guitar -- whether Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, or Brahms -- almost always sounds like Yngwie Malmsteen or Dragonforce. As classical generally tends to utilize a much broader range of notes than metal, it inevitably suffers from losing its emotional impact when played on an electric guitar -- which, due to its tone quality, seems to suck the emotion out of the notes being played, regardless of genre. Exceptions in metal in particular tend to involve heavy amounts of distortion, tremolo picking, or a focus on the lower end of the instrument.

I'm wondering if this has to do with the inherent incompatibility of an electric instrument with classical music, or if most of the people who play classical in a "metal" style are just being obnoxious on purpose. I don't play guitar, so I don't know, but if there actually are metal versions of classical pieces where the guitar is used in a way that doesn't make the piece sound like a bombastic Yngwie Malmsteen finger exercise, it would be good to let the world know about it. Until then, it looks like every search on YouTube yields stuff like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn0JxTiiGDE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypx1gCNVIZA&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bASrMSLp9Bs

Is there anything that can be done to a classical piece (Brahms, Bruckner, Liszt, etc.) on a guitar that would ever make it sound more like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osD0RdTMTMA&feature=related

...or is it better that each set of musical statements sticks to the instruments which work best for them?

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 12:47:28 AM
There's many a tall tale about how a lot of Black Metal bands started out playing Death Metal, sometimes in the bands that would-be black metal (Darkthrone) and sometimes in different, earlier bands (Old Funeral, Wagner in Sepultura-to-Sarcofago), but were there any Black Metal bands that successfully made the crossover into Death Metal while stilling maintaining the interest of fans? I know Gehenna plays Death Metal now, but I've never listened to them to be able to give a confident assertion of their quality.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 12:55:36 AM
Most of the classical I've heard that has been transcribed for the electric guitar

There's a significant difference between transcription and arrangement.  Yngwie Malmsteen &c. fail on two counts: firstly, they do simply transcribe the rudimentary forms and movements of Baroque pieces for electric guitar; secondly, in doing so, they lose a great part of that which makes Classical great - the interconnectedness and certain direction of the notes/melodies/themes/movements (as in Metal, interestingly enough).

As far as the rest of your post goes, I agree.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 04:19:13 AM

Personally I wish certain metal artists would have moved to composing classical music. But apparently the sad truth is that classical music is too difficult for them so they stick with rock or go for "experimental" music.


Composing classical music requires significant musical training, and the intellectual atmosphere of the modern conservatory is the antithesis of true metal.

Ahhh, a blend of these two is one of the finest dreams of mine. The atmosphere can be whatever you make it out to be, especially with the aid of music.... Just imagine a black metal orchestra. FANTASTIC, I say!

In my opinion black metal already found the perfect instrumental configuration for expressing itself.  Excessive focus on aesthetic qualities like orchestration lead to low quality music.  This happened to classical music when orchestration ceased to be a merely functional tool (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), and started to become a compositional end in itself (Debussy, Ravel etc), there's no comparison in musical quality.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 08:19:58 AM
Engram showed clearly that these different styles (metal and electronic music with ambient tones) can do magic together, and by no "metal-gaze" meanings of Filosofem. And there are sufficient variation of styles, in both metal and electronic music (from hardcore to second wave black metal, from Kraftwerk, Eno etc to noise, power electronics, techno, d'n'b and so on ... ) to be forged together into terrific alloys. I dont think this is dead, along with the piece of cake regular dark ambient process of creation and accessibility. It takes great attention and dedication in finding the right portions to be stirred together. Laiho knows it and it took some years to become familiarized also with synth world.


Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 08:11:49 PM
I'm wondering if this has to do with the inherent incompatibility of an electric instrument with classical music, or if most of the people who play classical in a "metal" style are just being obnoxious on purpose. I don't play guitar, so I don't know, but if there actually are metal versions of classical pieces where the guitar is used in a way that doesn't make the piece sound like a bombastic Yngwie Malmsteen finger exercise, it would be good to let the world know about it. Until then, it looks like every search on YouTube yields stuff like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn0JxTiiGDE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypx1gCNVIZA&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bASrMSLp9Bs

Well the Beethoven cover is definitely meant to sound obnoxious on purpose. The Bach cover adds a lot of extra notes at the beginning and removes the complex harmonies of the original. An exact guitar cover of the original would be very difficult because easy chords to play on a piano-like instrument are difficult or impossible to play on guitar; likewise easy chords on guitar can be impossible on piano. The Wagner cover fails because it tries to condense an entire orchestra into one instrument, a retarded idea. The guy also tries to mimic violin techniques impossible on guitar; thus making a horrible sound.

Quote
Is there anything that can be done to a classical piece (Brahms, Bruckner, Liszt, etc.) on a guitar that would ever make it sound more like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osD0RdTMTMA&feature=related

Sure, transpose a piece down a few octaves and add palm-muting and power chords. Would it sound good? Probably not.

Quote
...or is it better that each set of musical statements sticks to the instruments which work best for them?

This may be the case. Transcribing pieces from one piece to another is difficult, and sometimes notes and techniques need to be changed to maintain the feeling of the original. Most metal covers of classical music just add a bunch of licks where problems arise. There are a few problems when trying to change classical pieces to a black metal or death metal arrangement. First, the heavy use of distortion usually makes playing more than two notes at a time sound like crap. It can be done in the higher octaves and also if the notes are far apart from each other; however, most classical pieces don't try to keep the different voices apart throughout the piece. This causes problems. Second, orchestras use a lot of instruments; black metal bands use two: guitar and bass. Like the Wagner cover, you can't just try to condense an orchestra to just guitar. Even if you use several guitars, it won't sound right. Third, dynamics are near impossible on electric guitar. This is crucial. It's a subtle way to add emotion that is killed when people like Malmsteen cover classical pieces. There's a lot of other technical problems like the fact that guitar is a tempered instrument while violin and trombone are not. Looking at these limitations, it greatly restricts what classical pieces can be arranged for a black metal band, but it's still possible. Piano songs can be mimicked on guitar and in fact improved given that they are arranged to be played on say three guitars and a bass rather than just one guitar. There are other ways around the limitations like simply adding more instruments to the band.

Re: Artistic Direction after Black Metal
June 26, 2010, 10:48:45 PM
I am honestly hoping for more black, or death metal that ventures closer to the earthly, or ethereal sensibilities of Tangerine Dream. Most that do go toward a more space oriented direction.