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Topics - death metal black metal

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Metal / Averse Sefira - Jan. 14th in Austin, TX
« on: January 09, 2006, 06:13:18 PM »
Averse Sefira will be playing a show on Jan. 14th at Room 710 in Austin, TX. Those who have missed previous shows would be advised to see this brilliant band while they can. - rain is a secret

Metal / Metal, Rock and Jazz by Harris Berger
« on: January 09, 2006, 03:42:11 PM »
I recommend tracking down the book "Metal, Rock And Jazz" by Harris Berger and especially reading the chapter in which he and a death metal guitarist go through a harmonic analysis of one of the guitarist's songs.


Metal / Demilich - first USA show ever
« on: January 04, 2006, 05:48:35 AM »

Maryland Death Feast IV
May 27 and May 28, 2006
@ SONAR (Baltimore, MD)
MDF is an ALL AGES event.

Metal / Future of metal? (Yes/No)
« on: January 04, 2006, 05:41:12 AM »
So we've seen punk wipe away the pompous, overblown dinosaur rock of the 70's; we've seen the grunge backlash against the hairspray cock rock of the 80's...

Good summary - to that point.

Black metal was a revolution against all rock music.

Next, metal's going to have more singing, and get progressive in the way Morbid Angel and Slayer were (e.g. not Opeth). I think it's going to expand lyrically to be further like the English Romantic poets. I don't think it's going to get anti-Nationalists, or leftist/rightist like the boring punk bands.

Emo is doomed, indie is doomed, and black metal and death metal will hybridize.

After the Chinese invade, it'll be harder to get CDs out, so quality will go up too!


Metal / Books About Metal
« on: December 31, 2005, 12:05:15 PM »
White Line Fever, by Lemmy Kilmister

Metal / Tom G Warrior on Amazon.com
« on: December 31, 2005, 12:02:44 PM »
Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost, now user "rumorbid"

This answers the question, "Do metal innovators use cheesy online stores like the rest of us?"

Metal / Appreciating Metal in the Context of High Standard
« on: December 31, 2005, 10:05:31 AM »
I think it makes sense, when talking about art (as opposed to "entertainment," in which category Linkin Park is a better product than Gorguts) to pick the highest-reaching, most comprehensive, most articulate and most feeling works you can.

In that light, I'd like to say that in order to appreciate the next generation of metal, you should first have taught yourself to appreciate Beethoven's 3rd and Bruckner's 4th symphonies.

You might not think you like these, but if you can wrap your mind around them, there's a lot more learning here than in 1,000,000,000 post-1996 black metal albums.

Good luck.

Audiofile / Bruckner, Anton
« on: December 31, 2005, 09:56:17 AM »
Bruckner, Anton MP3s

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 0 + Overture in G minor (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 0 + Overture in G minor (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 0 + Overture in G minor (Mega)
Chailly, RSO Berlin, 1989

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 1 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 1 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 1 (Mega)
Jochum, Dresden, 1976

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 2 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 2 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 2 (Mega)
Tintner, 1996

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 3 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 3 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 3 (Mega)
Karajan, Berliner, 1981

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 4 (Rapidshare)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 4 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 4 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 4 (Mega)
Haitink, VPO, 1986

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 5 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 5 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 5 (Mega)
Welser-Möst, 1994

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 6 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 6 (Rapidshare)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 6 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 6 (Mega)
Inbal, RSO Frankfurt, 1989

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 7 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 7 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 7 (Mega)
Jochum, Dresden, 1978

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (Rapidshare)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 (4shared)
Giulini, VPO, 1985

Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (Rapidshare)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (Mega)
Abbado, VPO, 1996

Anton Bruckner - Te Deum, Motets, Psalm 150 (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - Te Deum, Motets, Psalm 150 (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - Te Deum, Motets, Psalm 150 (Mega)
Jochum, 1966-67-71

Anton Bruckner - The String Quintet & rarities (SendItz)
Anton Bruckner - The String Quintet & rarities (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - The String Quintet & rarities (Mega)
L'Archibudelli, 1994

Anton Bruckner - The 3 Masses (4shared)
Anton Bruckner - The 3 Masses (Mega)
Jochum, 1963-71-72


Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 9 (FLAC)
Furtwängler, Berliner Philharmoniker, 1944

Audiofile / Therion
« on: December 30, 2005, 04:57:33 PM »
Therion MP3s

"Distinctive among the Swedish death metal bands, early Therion combined the Celtic Frost aesthetic and style with heavy old school death metal on several albums, reaching from their roots on Of Darkness... to the epic and melancholy Beyond Sanctorum to the apocalyptic Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas. After that, the band faltered with Lepaca Kliffoth but then reinvented itself as a type of neoclassically-influenced, occult-driven, esoteric power/progressive metal hybrid."

Therion - Of Darkness (1991) [ CD $6 ]

Therion - Of Darkness (1991, Mega)

Therion - Beyond Sanctorum (1992) [ CD $9 ]

Therion - Beyond Sanctorum (1992, Mega)

Therion - Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas (1993) [ CD $13 ]

Therion - Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas (1993, Mega)

Audiofile / Misfits
« on: December 30, 2005, 04:14:36 PM »
Misfits: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Megaupload


Misfits - 12 Hits From Hell (1980, Mediafire)
With original guitarist Bobby Steele - better production, good selection of classics.
Some information for this release.

Metal / How to use a forum productively
« on: December 30, 2005, 12:06:02 PM »

Baxter, this is for you, and you, Chthgoneawayalready.

Basically, a forum should consist of stuff that adds to knowledge at hand. Ego-posts, pointless me too posts, etc. don't contribute anything and force others to read low-information-value bullshit. If you make a forum that reads as interesting information, people with brains will attend.

If you don't... FMP.

Metal / ANUS cited in research paper
« on: December 29, 2005, 07:13:56 PM »
Background in cultural studies. Black Metal is a musical subgenre of Heavy Metal that appeared in England back in
the 80’s. It combines radical political ideologies and left hand path religious beliefs with nihilism, misanthropy and a
dark aesthetic. This subculture spread in Norway in the early 90’s and got infamous due to violent episodes of
murdering and church-arson (Moynihan, 1998).
Background in sociology. Young people of western countries are growing up in a Judeo-Christian influenced culture.
One mean of rebellion is to reject the biblical and become adept of everything that is described as evil in it. In this
case, they search for a social group based on their insurgent beliefs and consequently adhere to Black Metal which is
unanimous in its destructive impulses toward Christianity and its parent religion, Judaism from the Middle East
(Prozak, 2002).

Metal / Mayhem Feature
« on: December 29, 2005, 07:09:16 PM »
Like a dark breath of forbidden fantasy, black metal came into a world of orderly containers and sprayed them with foaming blood, black bile, and most of all a poisonous uncertainty about the safely egalitarian but boring lifestyle of the first world. In this genre, Mayhem were the band that by sheer persistence evolved into being one of the founders of the new black metal style, but only after years of thrashing in the dark and confusion of the fatalistic tendencies that eventually brought the band to artistic collapse.

Formed in the early 1980s by Oystein Aarseth, or Euronymous, the band released two demos which built upon what Bathory and Celtic Frost had achieved by making it more minimal, Mayhem less coherent, and less friendly to the ears; in truth, the first anti-social music. The latter of these, "Pure Fucking Armageddon," had attributes of extreme crustcore infused into its fractured heavy metal stylings, bringing criticism from a metal world which was then just beginning to accept Morbid Angel, Kreator, Destruction and others as a new form of "music."

As time went on, two important things happened: first, Mayhem released "Deathcrush," their first release and the best snapshot of the musical style they were attempting to produce, and second, the vocalist "Dead" [Per Yngwe Ohlin] from the Swedish band Morbid joined Mayhem to replace previous vocalist Maniac. The underground was slow at first to embrace the newer music, but soon there was a firm niche carved out for Mayhem: those who rejected the desire for logicality, in the modernist style, that death metal represented. As Euronymous said, "Black Metal is so extreme that not anyone can get into it. This isn't any funny hobby which stupid kids shall have after they comes home from school."

With the introduction of Dead, the conceptual impetus behind the band changed, and soon the blocky and deliberately awkward music of "Deathcrush" was metamorphosizing into a sleeker, melodic variant with more dynamic change in the songs, producing different "settings" to tell a tale, somewhat like a micro-opera in harsh guitars and howling vocals. Similarly, the appearance of the band went from t-shirts and jeans to black clothing, black boots and facepaint - corpsepaint - in black and white. In concert, Dead cut himself onstage, surrounded by the carcasses and heads of slaughtered animals. A full rejection of the positivity, pity and focus on individual lives of democratic humanism, the new appearance and music of Mayhem emphasized the bold, terrifying, Dead morally ambiguous and deathlike in life itself. To understand it, one had to realize that the passion given to the music was an affirmation of life, but a different form of life, than that endorsed by the nominally Christian Nordic countries.

With this change, the following of Mayhem increased, especially as their recognizably different image placed them ahead of other musical efforts in the world of metal as less socialized and thus more extreme. Mayhem played a series of concerts across Europe, but recording and songwriting were sporadic, thus little material emerged from this period. At the end of it, Dead, in a moment of nihilism and darkness in 1991, slashed both his wrists and blew out his brains with a shotgun, leaving only a note: "Please excuse all the blood." Euronymous, upon returning to the band's shared dwellingspace to discover the cold corpse, took pieces of the brain and integrated them in a stew of ham and vegetables for the pleasure of eating human flesh; the band's drummer, Hellhammer, took pieces of the shattered skullcap and made them into a necklace. As if a primitive ritual, the members of Mayhem paid their respects in death as in life: with coldness, feral opportunism, and a denial of any "sanctity" or "feelings" toward life, even that of a friend and collaborator. As Euronymous said later, about his form of "evil," "It is basically hate to humankind. I have no friends, just the guys I'm allied with. If my girlfriend dies I won't cry, I will missuse the corpse."

During this time, Euronymous and his band were instrumental in the forming of a new black metal social group, or "scene," centered Euronymous around his record store in Oslo called Helvete [Hell]; the downstairs was a necrotic and bleak excuse for a commercial establishment in which the hatred and disassociation from commercial process was as much a barrier to purchase as anything else, but the upstairs was a practice room where Nazi flags and weapons hung over instruments decorated with inverted crosses. During the daytime, the store was a gathering place for musicians and fans of an anti-social nature; at night, Euronymous indoctrinated those who might be useful to the scene by inviting them to wild parties in which orgiastic appetites for alcohol fueled self-mutilation and eventually, rampant church and graveyard desecration [in Europe and many older American towns, the graveyard surrounds the church - a strangely forthright admission of the role of religion in society!]. Euronymous also started the first record label of the modern black metal movement, Deathlike Silence Productions. While these events stood against everything that Norwegian society of the time valued, authorities were permissive and did not "connect the dots" until far later.

It was at this time that many of extremist views, such as the skinhead-turned-rocker Kristian Vikernes - also performing in Burzum, joined the circle - and joined Mayhem on bass. Vikernes was an interesting counterpoint to those in the association so far; he was a hater of life but, like Dead, had an uncanny passion for life through art, and seemed to value his time in nature, away from people and their imaginary rules. His intent could be summarized in his most clarion statement, "I see Burzum as a dream without holds in reality. It is to stimulate the fantasy of mortals, to make them dream" - a replacement of morality with the über-Romanticist ethos of adventure and heroic classicism. Between the Gothic neoclassicism of Dead and the postmodern Romanticism of Vikernes, black metal became more than a style of music, but an ideological and social tool for change away from a highly regimented, moralistic society. Vikernes again: "We want to create the most possible fear, chaos and agony so that the idiotic and friendly Christian society can break down. We are overall not interested in that the truth comes through. When we spread lies we cause confusion and confusion leads to chaos and at last breakdown. People shall be oppressed and we support everything that oppresses man and takes from him his feelings as free individuals."

It was part of this denial of the supremacy of the lives of individuals over ideas, emotions and even real-world activities that helped what happened next to occur. Two polar opposites existed in black Varg Vikernes metal, the fatalism and negativity of Euronymous versus the political and violent doctrine of Vikernes, and these were brought into conflict through the personalities. Vikernes claims Euronymous delayed the release of Burzum albums [on Deathlike Silence] by spending the money instead on degenerate pursuits; Euronymous presumably did not care and was more interested in the upcoming Mayhem release, which was moving slowly because of the personality conflicts in the band. Eventually, reality followed imaginary projections: on the night of August 10, 1993, Euronymous was stabbed to death by Vikernes; of 26 knife wounds, 2 were to the head, five to the neck and 19 to the back. Thus began the projection of Mayhem into legend, since it provided black metal in the modern sense with not only its first model of technique and imagery, but also its first martyrs. Dead was eulogized in a 1992 release, "Live in Leipzig," which recorded an excessively bloody and violent Mayhem concert in East Germany. Teaming up with Attila Csihar of Tormentor, the remaining members of Mayhem put out "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas," one of the most impassioned black metal albums released, yet one with its feet firmly grounded in old-school Venom/Bathory heavy metal styles. Their nihilism was so great they left Vikernes' bass tracks on the album next to the guitar work of the man he killed, claiming in the press to have removed them so not to attract unwelcome attention from his family.

While the lives of its members had mostly run their course, and its most epic work had been produced, at least in conceptual form, before these deaths, afterwards the social and political importance of Mayhem was fully recognized. First, it gave many a central point with which to identify the new movement, and generated a wave of publicity especially in unison with the news of 22 churches burned in Norway, mostly by black metal "Satanists." Even more importantly, Euronymous himself became a central figure, and his ideas [and those of Dead and Vikernes, who heavily influenced him] became dissected and discussed across the globe. Not only was this influential in the fanbase, but labels and bands worldwide began to see the importance of the new black metal movement: unlike anything from popular music since the 1960s, this was shocking; the people in black metal lived on the edge and fought to the death, something metal bands had always sung about but never acted out, much to the derision of punkers and other underground fans. The image of Helvete - the church of the anti-life - became predominant in the minds of many when conceptualizing new forms of social expression to the anti-oversocialization impetus that black metal and heavy metal share. In the years following the death of Euronymous, the focus he brought to the scene brought it to a dramatic rise and sudden death, as in late 1997 the genre became swamped with commercial bands in the mainstream style.

Mayhem itself continued on in the form of two major works, "Wolf's Lair Abyss" in 1997 and "A Grand Declaration of War" in 2000, interspersed with numerous live albums and re-releases. where "De Mysteriis..." continues to be their most popular work, "Wolf's Lair Abyss" is regarded by many as a highly proficient black metal album in the style of Satyricon mixed with old Mayhem, producing something with the same rhythmic thrust as "De Mysteriis" but with less of the operatic lack of total consistency in songs. "A Grand Declaration of War" is more problematic, taking a divergence into math-metal and pseudo-progressive stylings, which creates an album which sounds more like soundtrack Mayhem anno 2003 than foreground listening, with Marilyn Manson influences in both songwriting and image. Because of this, and other factors such as the vast commercialization of black metal during the last six years, Mayhem is effectively dead in the underground and a small player with a devoted fanbase in the mainstream metal scene at this time. However, for every person who gets into black metal, the chorus of voices suggesting "De Mysteriis..." has an effect, for people continue to buy it at a great rate and praise it as immortal metal music and unmatched spirit in a genre filled mostly with angry people of little imagination.

Regardless of the current tedium of record sales and popularity contests, Mayhem contributed an indelible influence on not only metal, but music of resistance to socialization as a whole. Their ideology - part blank-faced fatalism, part fascism and part feral atavism - was carried upwards by the voices of many who were similarly frustrated with the pity-oriented egalitarian society of the first world, which preached that avoiding death was more important than achieving heroic or passionate things. Against this belief system black metal, and Mayhem most visibly, agitated. "True satanists are superhumans," stated Euronymous in a now-infamous interview. A few years later, Vikernes gave a clearer view: "Strife is evolution, peace is degeneration." This did not sit well with not only Christians and Jews, but also many people who had become dependent upon society and its pity toward those who are less-able as a whole, thus raising a cry against black metal as music of "hate" or "intolerance." While those would clearly like to file black metal into a wholly political category, the raw artistry and imagination of bands like Mayhem make that appear a one-dimensional look at the story. As Ihsahn from fellow Nordic rockers Emperor said, "You'll never understand me because you sit in the audience at a horror movie. I'm up on the screen." There is no place in the current society for bands like Mayhem; they are beyond its rules and mental conditioning, and always will be. And for this, wherever anguish at social predominance grinds, there will be new fans of the fundamental works of Mayhem, which not only outlive their creators but will forever be a mythos larger than life itself.

©Written by Spinoza Ray Prozak


Metal / The History of Black Metal
« on: December 29, 2005, 07:08:31 PM »
 Black Metal

The genre that came seemingly last of all the metal genres was the one that considered its ideals the most seriously and consequently, produced a radically distinctive form of music. While black metal was somewhat of the cousin of speed and death metal during its early days, during the 1990s it bloomed into full musical form after developing a philosophy more coherent with its dark aesthetic than the hedonism and liberalism of the past. In a consequent blaze of controversy, the black metal genre streaked across the public perspective briefly before proliferating into a variety of styles and mainstream versions of its sound, forcing older variants out as a flood of similar bands absorbed the genre.

The Early Years
Black metal existed first as a singular concept in aesthetics, and later began to proliferate musically, only differentiating itself from death metal in the theoretical arena when its philosophical divergence became clear to the Norwegians in the early 1990s. A comparison from history can be found in the invention of the telephone; while Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone itself, the complex switching systems necessary to connect multiple parties within a city awaited later inventors. Similarly, the aesthetics [appearance and stylistic refinements of music] of black metal were created long before it really existed as a genre, influencing a period of long lull in the 1980s.

There is confusion as to who "invented" black metal, but it is clear that like death metal, its origins came from the same general area and were spread across creators worldwide contributing to the process. While Venom were the first band to grab headlines with their sensationally stripped down riffing and overtly occultist yet ludicrous image, it was Bathory, Sodom and Celtic Frost who gave the genre its enduring form. Where Venom was limited musically to deconstructed heavy metal, these bands took the neoclassical phrasing and minor key melodies of NWOBHM bands like Angel Witch, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and matched them up with the droning three-note roar of early crustcore as exemplified by Discharge. As both bands depended on diminished melodies in power chord riffing it was a seamless match.

During this formative era of black metal, several general styles emerged. First was Bathory with a smoothly flowing, fast-tremolo picked flow of sound over consistent throbbing drums; next was Sodom, making three-chord primitivism which moved at high speed with unsteady and abrupt changes of riff, tempo and texture; also included were Hellhammer, who specialized in droning minimalist music that often resembled hardcore punk played in minor keys, and Celtic Frost, the continuation of that band into grandiloquent constructions resembling the musical staging of operatic scenes; finally, there was Venom, who continued to produce their heavy metal/punk hybrid which delighted in using the simplest possible musical devices to convey the broadest changes available.

From this time onward, the genre slept while innovations were made in the death metal camp, with a few notable exceptions soon to be covered. The same year that Bathory unleashed its first opus brought about a small but intense wave of hardcore/metal hybrids front by Slayer but including within the next two years formative works from Sepultura, Possessed and Morbid Angel. While the basic approach of death metal was to create intricate arrangements using extended phrasing in an architectural style, its essential approach involved rhythm and chromatic progressions which did not admit much obvious melody. The tightly-woven, complex and interlocked riffing used by early death metal bands produced a sense of deconstruction and immersion but gave little new direction. As the genre wound up for its grand entrace, black metal again split from the pack in the 1987-1988 era with Sarcofago and Mayhem, and was then silent for another four years while death metal raged.

Sarcofago presented something offensive, abrupt and even ludicrous to people of the time who were schooled in the riff salad style of death metal, with stilted and broken sounding rhythm changes matching akward, nearly imbecilic riffs which fit together into songs with an uncanny, barely discernible continuity. While the majority of the formative work of Sarcofago, "I.N.R.I.," was abrasively disassociative rhythm riffing, the album held itself together with some admirably sonorous yet barely logical melodies, seemingly as if formulated on a whim by demons of a distracted but perversely insightful mentality. Ignored at the time by most, Sarcofago in part generated the impetus toward the bizarre and primitive that spurred the next generation of black metal into action.

Simultaneous to the release of "I.N.R.I." was the fourth release from Sweden's Bathory, "Blood, Fire, Death," in which the rippingly fast and simple works of earlier albums had been turned into theatrical yet emotive quasi-operatic pieces in which rasping vocals and singing coincided and song structures staged dramatic encounters of their parts more than repeating cyclic patterns. Across the water in Norway, Mayhem were putting the finishing touches on a massively incompetent but enigmatic work known as "Deathcrush," in which tortuous guitar patterns arced over drumming with the grace of an exhausted pack animal, and horrific howling vocals textured the mix. The following year, Merciless assembled "The Awakening," a fast speed metal album with touches of death but an undeniably morbid melodic sensation. Together these releases defined what would go into the mix of the genre coming next: the aggression and grandeur of Bathory, the abrupt and convoluted structures of Sarcofago, the rough aesthetic of Mayhem and the dramatic staging of Celtic Frost, who had just unleashed their discontiguous but impressive masterpiece "Into the Pandemonium."

The Modern Era
Again some years went by in which death metal was the primary focus of the community and fans. Where mainstream metal had vanished under the dual onslaught of grunge and the progressive selling out of speed and heavy metal bands like Metallica and Testament, the underground shot to the forefront of the minds of those who expected metal, and consequently, became the area where development in metal occurred while the more popular bands did their best to reiterate their essential sound and presence as a means of not losing ground. As death metal became more accepted, however, it became slowly infested with the same mentality that clogged mainstream metal: an underconfident, socially dependent, accepting and undiscriminating mentality which placed excellent bands next to derivative, unimaginative acts without thinking twice.

Born of the desire to surpass this mess, the modern era of black metal began in Norway with the first releases from Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Burzum and Mayhem. Each differed from the death metal before it in an emphasis on melodic composition and intricate, classically-inspired song structures which functioned as motifs, returning to not verses or choruses but clusters of riffs and musical ideas which framed their concepts in a setting, not unlike the work of an opera or ancient Greek tragedy. This new form of metal was more vivid and emotionally evocative than the thunderous assault of death metal, and also less concerned with the immediate social values around it; it embraced independent thinking, a dislike for all social dogmas and humanism, a Romanticist love of nature and predation, and a penchant for fantasy and thoughts of ancient times.

The reaction of the death metal boy's club was unanimous: "fags!" However, the new style rapidly gained ground and soon a second generation of the modern era, including bands like Ancient, Gorgoroth, Graveland, Behemoth, Abigor and Gehenna among others landed in the crowd. Many of these bands were inspired as were original black metal pioneers Darkthrone by the melodic tremolo picking of Swedish death metal bands from the previous generation, which caused the pace to be picked up as the aggression, but the fundamental differences remained. From the reaction to the first wave of black metal, and a desire to get "purer" and farther away from the possible infestation of death metal bands, black metal bands starting with Darkthrone on "Ablaze in the Northern Sky" began to use a fuzzed-out, lo-fi sound and primal song structures similar to those of Hellhammer, early Bathory, and Venom.

While this initially drove away the more sycophantic fans, it was a failing strategy for the same reasons it failed in the production of hardcore music: it made the genre extremely easy to emulate. As demonstrated by bands such as Dark Funeral, it was easy to transition from death metal and make primitive and fast melodic black metal songs which sold in the underground, and soon there were more ex-death metal, ex-crustcore and ex-rock personnel surging into the scene. By the time of the middle 1990s, bands such as The Abyss and Marduk had joined the party, creating in their process templates which any bands could use to emulate the style - and did.

In a few short years the genre had gone from a handful of bands making distinctive music to a horde of bands making indistinguishable music identified only by novelty factors of instrumentation, voice and concept. Nothing was any longer being achieved in the central group of black metal bands, so most of the "old guard" of Norwegian bands backed out and allowed their music to dissipate, as indicated by Darkthrone claiming their "Total Death" album would be final one from the band. As the hordes of scenesters and clone rock artists gathered, bands such as Graveland, Summoning and Ildjarn began experimenting in ambient forms of the original style, writing longer melodies and integrating semi-symphonic instrumentation in digital form in some cases and making rawer, less rock-like music in the case of Ildjarn.

The Drama
Much has been said about the dramatic entry of the Norwegian scene in the early 1990s. Articles ranting about the terror the "Inner Circle" and "Black Circle" would bring to Christian society overstated the case, and so by the year 2000 most fans were tired of hearing the same stories of the genesis of the scene. These will be mentioned here only for the purpose of conveying the ideology of black metal, and its effect upon society at large that in turn reflected the response of civilization to black metal and some of the factors that contributed to its demise.

In the beginning, there were a handful of black metal bands in Norway loosely unified around some ideals and a few meeting places, including the shop Euronymous from Mayhem ran called Helvete [Hell]. There is some debate over whether or not there was a formal "Black Circle" as initially was claimed by American and British publications, but clearly the members of these bands communicated and met within the 4.5 million person country. Strange things began happening in Norway: churches burned, a homosexual man was slit open, miscellaneous assaults and grave desecrations occurred, and then to cap it off, Euronymous was stabbed one night in his apartment. Furthermore, implications of fascism and/or Nazi beliefs were pointed at many members of the underground, most of whom quickly denied them.

First, the vocalist Dead of Mayhem committed suicide with a large knife and shotgun, leaving a note "Excuse all the blood." Some time later, Varg Vikernes of Burzum was arrested for burning churches and murdering Euronymous; at the time of this writing, he is still serving his term [when arrested, Vikernes was near famished from lack of money to buy food, yet had 150kg of explosive in his basement for use in destruction of churches]. Over 20 other black metal musicians and fans were arrested for burning churches; a total of 77 burned in Scandinavia during that time, although not all have been definitively linked to "Satanists." Several other musicians did time for killings, assaults, desecrations or unrelated arsons, including Jon Notveidt in Sweden who served 8 years for being accessory to a killing, and Hendrik Moebus in Germany, who served several years as accessory to a murder before being arrested for making a Roman salute while on parole. While the carnage was not widespread, the effect was; Europe saw a wakeup call to some Pagan values and anti-Judeo-Christian sentiment, and America saw a chance at rebellion and consequently, marketing.

Further, the community of black metal had a chance to demonstrate its values. While most members of the scene when pressed denied they had been involved in fascist or Nazi politics, they were indifferent to the roles of others in such things. Equally noncommittal were many around Euronymous after his murder; Hellhammer, the drummer of Euronymous' band Mayhem, shrugged and said, "One of them had to die," when queried about the feud between Vikernes and Euronymous. Most bands interviewed spoke positively of nature, negatively of Christianity, and displayed disdain for social behavior that placed the lives of individuals above that of a collective movement. This made many uneasy, especially in tolerant, peaceful and normally quite uneventful Scandinavia.

The Aftermath
When the mainstream bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and Marduk that attracted hundreds of thousands to black metal are confronted with the ideology of the founders of modern black metal, they quickly shake their heads and walk away. "Not for us, thanks." In addition, their music is fundamentally different from that of the underground bands; where the originators of this style used diatonic and chromatic riffs and melodic modes, most of the "aboveground" black metal uses pentatonic scaling and much of the same riffs and rhythms of metal bands from the 1970s. Thus is exemplified a split in the genre: the bands who are doing what metal bands always have, and the bands who are moving away from traditional metal toward a more neoclassical, less rock-n-roll, more intricate musical form.

This split extends to every area of the black metal scene at the time of this writing. On one side, let's call it the "left," there are bands who embrace the current era and its variant aesthetics, including the mainstream genres outside of metal; a good example here would be Ulver or Sigh, both of who create postmodern metal from fragments and samples of other genres arranged into pieces delineated by key or rhythm. On the right would be the classicists, the old-schoolers who either only support black metal in the established tradition or who embrace a "purity" of both musical rawness and ideological allusion to the Greco-Roman, Viking or fascist values. For all intents and purposes this split is permanent, with the sides diverging into assimilation on the left and obscurity on the right, yet somehow they keep attracting audience, albeit a degraded one.

Some would say that there was a mystique about black metal that took a long time to die; it didn't break in 1996, when The Abyss made an album so textbook Norwegian black metal that it provided a template for other bands to follow, and it didn't even break in 1998 when all but a handful of the original bands had moved on to making more contented music. The year after however appears to have brought the death of black metal in a form emerging from within, similar to the story of Baldr's death that conceptualizes a later Burzum album: betrayal from within. When the first of the more mainstream bands emerged, the underground took a clue from Darkthrone and it became de rigeur for the non-commercial bands to slap out albums with monochrome art and blindingly distorted, low-technicality music. As before however, this made it easy for further emulation to occur, diluting a genre with exactly what it opposed, and turning it from a movement where concept, music and action were joined into another form of entertainment for couchbound teenagers.

Black Metal Belief Systems
Conventional wisdom in the Judeo-Christian west holds that nature is lawless, dangerous and pointless; to give life meaning, there must be a moral goal, such as civilization itself: the conquering of natural frontiers and environments, taming of natural impulses in humans, and reduction of the law of the fittest - an equalization, as F.W. Nietzsche and later others pointed out. Nietzsche saw this equalization as a form of "revenge" on nature by depriving nature of what makes it threatening to the individual human, namely the potential imminent death - a form of judgment - for being less than capable in a situation calling for endurance and survival.

Sixty years after Nietzsche's most influential period of work, explosions on the Polish border awakened the globe to the second world war. In this war, a conflict between the most fundamental division of ideology was established: collectivism versus individualism, with the latter favoring the kind of product-oriented, technologically-based, container-logical lifestyles currently seen in the first world nations. It was those insular and self-pleasing ways of living that first irked black metallers, and demonstrated to them a social devolution: there was no longer any competence needed, only obliviousness. Many black metallers, like Nietzsche, found greater inspiration in nature than in post-Judeo-Christian western society, and identified what Christians find horrible - the bloody, competitive, anti-individualist character of nature - to be an example of the most sublime beauty.

The ideological inclination of black metal remains disturbing to most and illegal in many countries. Yet it is not unique to black metal; as history shifted in the 1960s from a predominantly conservative society to a liberal society, thanks to the counterculture, and its effects were only felt with the children growing up in the 1980s, their response mirrors that of some who rejected the flower powery view of the politics and society. Among the thinkers and dissidents now coming back into favor are ecological fascists like Pentti Linkola and Theodore Kaczynski, as well as various stripes of nationalist and racial separatist leaders. [The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish self-defense organization, claims that National Socialist and Neo-Nazi movements are increasing "worldwide."] It's hard to see what the future holds but this controversy remains in the forefront of not only black metal, but international politics, as shown by the amount of air time it is given by the entertainment industry, news media and American/U.N. politicians.

Interestingly, black metal joins not only the far right, but the far left, in many of its sentiments. As the world anti-globalist and anti-capitalist movement picks up speed, it echoes many of the ideals of black metal: natural ecosystems; ethnic uniqueness; population control; an end to technology-driven, product-oriented, convenience-based lifestyles. Protestors across the world in anti-war and anti-globalism protests would be shocked to know they have something in common with a group of bloodthirsty church-burning fascists who idealize the occult, but perhaps would be glad at least for a sympathetic ear. Interestingly also, the "modern primitives" movement as seen in events like the Burning Man festival and the survivalist trend around the time of Y2K align themselves in the same general direction these ideals seem to be taking, but the final synthesis has not yet been heard.

After the initiation of modern black metal in the Scandinavian style, a fragmentation occurred along the general lines of techniques used to unify song composition, creating a number of subdivisions in the black metal subgenre [genre = metal, subgenre = black]. The following are general descriptions of these substyles and what they implied for changes in black metal as a whole.

The heavy metal style of black metal, descended directly from Venom and NWOBHM bands like Angel Witch who inspired them, is essentially rock music with some neoclassical influences in the loosest sense. Pentatonic, verse chorus music that stays within basic harmony, heavy metal/rock-styled black metal is recognizable for its radio friendly ways, redundant harmonic constructions and verse/chorus arrangements. Good examples include Venom of course, Dimmu Borgir albums after Stormblast, Cradle of Filth and Dissection.

Descended from Hellhammer and some early Bathory, this is mostly rhythm music which like hardcore punk is fashioned from the harmonic space of a basic interval between two anchoring notes, often a fifth. While this style is easy to do, it is difficult to do well, as the number of bands emulating Hellhammer and falling far short of what Hellhammer produced have found.

Symphonic styles and epic song structures often seem to go together, as seen in bands like Summoning, Graveland, Heidenreich and early Emperor. Where most bands indulge some complexity, these bands aspire to a demi-operatic state of unifying concept with staging, projecting a theatrical view of the action described in a song through the pure sound and arrangement of riffs. These bands are often the closest to classical music in types of melody and depth of layering, but it is important to note that epic is mainly a description of the complexity and arrangement of a band, not its techniques, so there is complete overlap with other styles mentioned here.

Music designed to utilize the undulating nature of the sweep picking of a guitar as suspended between unchanging percussion of a basic nature, this style is inspired by generations of metal with ambient experimentation, including Slayer, Von, Massacra, and Bathory. The most notorious band working in this group is Burzum, but other bands such as Nargaroth, I Shalt Become, Ildjarn and Darkthrone have created great works in this area.

The oldest style of modern black metal, the melodic compositional approach was first utilized by Norwegian bands looking for a way to make simple power chord music more than thudding rhythm and chromatic patterns. Immortal's "Pure Holocaust" is the best example of this, with highspeed tremolo picking whipping distorted noise into a flood of searing yet beautiful sound, but there are also examples to be found in Behemoth, Darkthrone, Mayhem and Sacramentum.

© Written by: Spinoza Ray Prozak


Metal / Relation between heavy metal and classical
« on: December 29, 2005, 06:41:03 PM »
I will go into detail about how two great musical styles-heavy metal and classical music (classical is refferring to music by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and others) are much more closely related than meets the eye.

Both have strong passionate feelings within them when being played or listened to. These feelings include intensity, power, and musical complexity. When rockin out to heavy metal, one feels this glorifying passion, as if he wants everyone to feel his music with him. It is the same when playing or conducting a fast classical piece of music. It's like everything fits together in the song perfectly like pieces of a puzzle. These genres of music are so perfectly arranged. Every guitar solo and drum hit are placed accurately into the song so one can truly feel the intensity of it. It is the same in classical music. I myself have played many classical pieces on piano. I'm mostly reffering to the fast pieces when I say that it has the same feel as metal. The musical ideas in the song seem to build exactly when necessary, and they seem to flow together with all aspects of the chart. The power you feel when you're intensly playing a fast piece on piano is incredible. In heavy metal, the guitar solo's 16th note runs are strikingly similar in form to the lead runs in a classical piece. Take Bach's Concerto in A Minor for example. This piece is about 140 beats per minute, with a hell of a lot of notes. It's as if each note is exactly where it belongs, and not only that, the musical ideas are EXTREMELY clear in this song and I feel that this is very true for many heavy metal songs. The ideas in songs by bands such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, and Deep Purple, are fuckin loud and clear, and at the same time very musically talented. Both Classical music and Heavy Metal make you want to move fast to the pulse, while singing along or improvising lead riffs or runs that are the opitomy of pure intensity. Getting into the feel of Heavy Metal and Classical pieces is telling the whole world, "I'm blasting your mother fuckin head off with my music!" You know when metal comes around, its ass kicking time. Metal is for the warriors, and again, has part of its origin in classical music. One of the main ideas that links metal to classical is that both genres include songs that are built as one, well standing musical idea from start to finish, and on the inside of the song you have aspects of the musical world in every form imaginable: crescendos, accents, syncopation, melodies with counter melodies, scales, huge dynamic changes, the building of one idea into a huge one, the well blended transitions from one idea to the next, and more. If you have ever seen a conductor from the 1700's conduct, take Bach for example, you can see that he's working intensly, putting his heart and passion into his music with FURY, and putting his body and mind through a time of "ecstatic musical experience". I mean God look at how fast he moves his hands to conduct, and look at how he gets really into it and sweats and everything. Beside from both styles having the same feel to them, it's also true that when keyboards are used in heavy metal, talent is expressed perfectly well with exciting kick ass material that when you listen to it you think "God that is just fuckin incredible. I with that were me rockin out like a maniac on that keyboard." And this is why Heavy Metal has some of its origins in Classical Music. Now lets hear others opinions on this; I am eager to hear what other DIEHARD METALHEADS like myself have to say in repliance.


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