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Topics - death metal black metal

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Metal / Heritage of Metal
« on: December 23, 2005, 03:14:14 AM »

classical, rock, jazz, avantgarde
King Crimson  ---- Black Sabbath
heavy metal -- Discharge (1982)
| - Bathory
| - Sodom
| - Hellhammer
| - Slayer
| - Massacra
| - Sepultura
| - Possessed
| - Necrovore
| - Morbid Angel
| - Immolation
| - Incantation
| - Suffocation
| - Morpheus Descends

et al

Metal / 95% of black metal is "pure crap"
« on: December 21, 2005, 05:52:16 PM »
"I think that 95% is pure crap. That's how I look upon it. But it's not just black metal, it's death metal or whatever. I really like just a few bands. The music I like is not only death. It's the best of black, the best of death, classical music. People that really live for music, you need to feel that. People ask me how I have the energy to still do this after 15 years. I'm focused, I know what I want to do and that reflects in the music."


Metal / Top Ten Moron Metal of 2005
« on: December 21, 2005, 05:48:48 PM »
1) Opeth - Ghost Reveries
There are always high expectations for Opeth's albums, and they don't disappoint with their latest effort. It is unbelievably diverse, both musically and vocally. Heavy riffs, acoustic interludes, tempo and key changes, screaming and clean vocals, this album has it all. You'll hear something new every time you listen.

2) Children Of Bodom - Are You Dead Yet?
3) God Forbid - IV: Constiution Of Treason
4) Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine
5) Hypocrisy - Virus
6) Akercocke - Words That Go Unspoken , Deeds That Go Undone
7) Primal Fear - Seven Seals
8) Meshuggah - Catch Thirty Three
Every release by the Swedish band is unique and different, and this is no exception. Strange rhythms, complex riffs and heaviness mixed with some mellow interludes makes for an unusual album. It's one long track broken up into 13 sections of interesting and unique technical death metal. It's refreshing to hear a group that continues to push the musical boundaries and break new ground.

9) Arch Enemy - Doomsday Machine
10) Symphorce - Godspeed


(I left the more mainstream ideas in as quoted. If you want a reason why not to use idiot terms like "thrash metal" it's so you don't become this...)

Metal / Youth culture FAILS
« on: December 21, 2005, 04:38:54 PM »
This article examines an enduring question raised by subcultural studies: how youth culture can be challenging and transgressive, yet ‘fail’ to  produce wider social change. This question is addressed through a case study of the black metal music scene. The black metal scene flirts with violent racism, yet has   resisted embracing outright fascism. The article argues that this is due to the way in which music is ‘reflexively antireflexively’ constructed as a depoliticizing category. It is argued that an investigation of such forms of reflexivity might explain the enduring ‘failure’ of youth   cultures to change more than their immediate surroundings.

(Translation: youth culture always becomes more about socialization and buying products to socialize about, thus loses all impetus. Punk. Hippies. Death metal. Black metal. Techno. All failed, all for the same reason: popularity became greater than ideology. The crowd took over.)

Full PDF text:

Metal / Eyes of Ligeia
« on: December 21, 2005, 04:25:42 PM »
We are proud to announce our latest signing in the cult ambient doom act Eyes of Ligeia. One of the most unique bands to come out of the Doom circle in quite sometime. The band themselves combine droning ambient, eerie keyboardlines, funeral doom, and minamalist black metal. Their new album will see the light of day in spring of 2006.A MP3 from their last album, What The Moon Brings.

"Polaris" - MP3


Metal / Rigor Mortis news
« on: December 21, 2005, 01:21:06 PM »
RIGOR MORTIS Frontman Talks About His Brother's Death, Upcoming Tour - Dec. 19, 2005

Vocalist Bruce Corbitt of the reunited Texas thrashers RIGOR MORTIS has issued the following update:

"I just wanted to give everyone some updates on how I am doing after the loss of my brother and also mention some of our plans for RIGOR MORTIS in 2006.

"As many of you in the metal world already know, my older brother, Jeff Corbitt (RIP), took his own life on November 10. That was the day after I got home from the RIGOR MORTIS reunion tour. So I went from an emotional high after a successful, fun, memorable and satisfying tour… to an all-time low. He was the person I was closest to my entire life. So this is easily the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with.

"I want to thank everyone that has supported me and my family during this grieving period. I have received so many e-mails, messages and calls from people all over the World. All of them sending their prayers, condolences and offering to help in any way they can. It has helped me to know there are so many people out there that actually care. I am convinced that metalheads have some of the biggest hearts in the world and we are all like a big family when it comes right down to it.

"Jeff Corbitt was always my hero my entire life. He was the person that thought of my name Bruce… after Bruce Wayne of 'Batman'. He was the reason I got so into music as a kid. He was 6 years older than I was… so as kids I always looked up to him. When we became adults… the age difference was just enough for him to be able to always warn me of the pitfalls in life ahead of time. It was like he was always driving a few miles up the road ahead of me and was able to tell me what to expect before I got there.

"My brother had a successful career in the sound and lighting business for over 25 years, doing shows all over Texas and on the Las Vegas Strip. In the late 90s he worked with KISS… doing their 'Psycho Circus' 3-D Video and live 3-D for part of that tour.

"RIGOR MORTIS and our road crew all had stayed at his house just a couple of weeks earlier after we played a show in San Antonio. So that is what has made this even more of a shock to all of us. But, I am going to make sure he is not forgotten and use it as motivation to improve my own life to be more like he was.

"The rest of the guys in RIGOR MORTIS told me that we are going to dedicate our entire new RIGOR MORTIS CD to my brother. So I know we are all going to put our lives into this new CD.

"I want people to remember Jeff Corbitt (RIP) for the way he lived his life. Those of us that loved him are going to miss him forever. There is always going to be a void inside of us without him in our lives. But that is because he made our lives so much more meaningful while he was on this Earth. His death is simply a reminder for us that really knew him that we were privileged enough to have known such a great man during our own lifetime.

"You can view the obituary and see a slideshow/movie that was played at Jeff Corbitt's funeral at [this location]. Once you are on the site just click on 'Biography' and 'Play Movie' on the right to view this…

"2006 will be the 20th Anniversary of the original RIGOR MORTIS lineup of Bruce Corbitt, Mike Scaccia (MINISTRY, REVOLTING COCKS), Casey Orr (GWAR, X-COPS, THE HELLIONS, THE BURDEN BROTHERS), and Harden Harrison (PERVIS, SPEEDEALER, MITRA). We have confirmed that they will record a new RIGOR MORTIS CD with this lineup and we are currently setting up 20th Anniversary tours for 2006.

"Casey Orr has been working on setting up a West Coast tour that will start January 14th and should hopefully reach states like Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada. RIGOR MORTIS will also be attending the the NAMM show in Anaheim this year. The tour will conclude back in Dallas/Ft. Worth on February 4th and 5th when RIGOR MORTIS plays at the biggest horror movie convention in Texas history… Texas Frightmare Weekend.

Here are some early confirmed dates with more to be announced soon…

Jan. 14 - El Paso, Texas @ Murphys Cantina
Jan. 15 - Phoenix, Arizona @ Metal Devastatoin II
Jan. 16 - Silverlake, California @ Zen Sushi
Jan. 18 - San Marcos, California @ The Jumping Turtle
Feb. 4-5 - Grapevine, TX @ Texas Frightmare Weekend (Grapevine Convention Center)

Other tours for 2006 are also in the works. RIGOR MORTIS is also about to start writing new songs for the new RIGOR MORTIS CD. This will be the first CD released by RIGOR MORTIS in 15 years. We have had some offers from labels during our reunion tour. But, we are just now spreading the word that we are ready to talk with any record labels, management or booking agents that are interested in us. Also, due to overwhelming demand, Casey Orr is re-releasing a limited run 'Freaks' re-issue CD will be available in mid January. No extra tracks but it will have the lyrics. I have also managed to put all the pics that I have received so far from our reunion tour all together on one site. So if you wanna check out almost 350 pics from many of the shows on our tour… check out [this link]. Anyone else that has pictures or live video footage from the tour… please send them to brucecorbitt@yahoo.com and caseyorr13@hotmail.com."


Metal / The Underground (No Longer Exists)
« on: December 18, 2005, 07:12:04 PM »
The Underground
No Longer Exists

As metal music has further slid into an abyss of genericism and meaningless sound and fury, the bleating of "Support the Underground!" has intensified to the point where its cliche is expected as if a test of allegiance. What none will say is that the underground does not exist, and even were someone to construct it, it would no longer be relevant, as the circumstances which made "underground" metal important are long departed.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, it was more difficult to get one's music published than today. There were few labels, and putting out releases was expensive. A few gigantic companies controlled what most people see and hear (and still do, because only they can afford the advertising). Consequently, small underground labels popped up and tended to put out a couple CDs a year and sell them for reasonably high prices.

When one said "support the underground" back then, it meant going the extra mile to get the quality releases from these off-broadway sources. Because pressure on the underground was high, most of its releases were meaningful art even if not as slick as the major label stuff, and it was not a terrible idea to support the underground as an agenda.

The current decade is a different story entirely. First it is important to note that despite thousands of people chanting in unison how we should support the underground, it has been nearly ten years since the underground produced excellent art in any numbers. Sure, there are some good bands around, like Averse Sefira or Demoncy, but they're the exception and they are not getting the reception one could expect when the underground was vibrant and any band of high quality was immediately recognized widely.

In fact, when an outsider says that all of the current metal bands sound the same, he or she is not entirely inaccurate. The radical differences in music between bands like Emperor and Morbid Angel, or Deicide and Burzum, no longer exist; metal, like a product, has come to sound very similar because the same assumptions propel its creation. Much like in the 1970s, when stadium metal turned the entire genre into cliche, almost all of the bands today operate within the same narrow band of technique, artistic idea, song structure and aesthetic. If you miss one this week, there will be a nearly-identical one next week which will be just as good - or bad, if you're feeling realistic.

While the degree of instrumental ability and production quality has risen, the variation of metal bands from a tedious norm has declined alarmingly. There is an endless procession of bands that people talk about as "the next big thing," but it has been many years since there have been true greats: bands that express something profoundly and well so exactly that a selection of intelligent fans will find it universal.

Our problem now is abundance. Where in the 1980s, getting a CD out was so difficult that there were few bands and few labels, we now have thousands upon thousands of bands, labels, zines, websites and concert festivals. Everyone can record, and everyone does, which generates a flood of mediocre metal.

The problem with this flood isn't its quality in itself. The problem is that when there is a flood of undistinctive material, (a) anything that does not conform to the pattern is not recognized and (b) the information overload is so great than any excellent band that does rise will be ignored. In essence, the underground has replicated the errors made by gigantic record labels in the 1980s!

For this reason, those who might make excellent art are staying away from metal. They know that their chances of success are slim, and that then they will be one voice among millions, with whatever unique or personal qualities they put into the art ignored. For this reason, the fans start to look toward external traits: slick playing over profound songwriting, quality of production, technical concerns like instrumental precision, the novelty of aesthetic and/or band origin, and most of all, whether or not the band has networked socially among what we call "the underground" but is in fact a very accessible fanbase that is no different than the mainstream in how it rewards trends, group favorites, sycophants and the well-financed.

Why play in a metal band if everything excellent that you do goes unrecognized? The crowd of imitators and fools will look over your best work and nod, but they will not give it wings to rise above the others. After all, they each have their own bands and labels and zines to promote, so why defer their own success and participate in yours, even if your work is better? Social favorites dominate over quality. Consequently, the best people go elsewhere, where they can be recognized for what they do well, and where they are not doomed to being one of a crowd which, by its size, will never get anywhere.

If you start a black metal band today, and are as good as Emperor were on their demos, you will first face censure from others who fear that you will "get ahead" of their own mediocre bands without having "paid your dues," which translated into realistic terms means participation in the society of fans. Both of these factors have nothing to do with your demo, or your music.

Such a hypothetical band can expect that, once it has decided to socialize and become popular enough to be recognized, it will become flavor of the week, because there are so many bands that there is no time or energy to single out some excellent ones. Even more, the fanbase is numb to quality, and therefore will rank an excellent band on par with mediocre ones. The end result is that our hypothetical excellent band will get an equal share of the metal pie, but will never rise above that, even if its quality is far above that of all others.

This means the band members will have to content themselves with an endless series of day jobs, the praise of idiots, and a lack of recognition that means when it is all over, their excellent work will be forgotten, buried beneath a landfill of the mediocre. Any artist who is not strictly a hobbyist is going to avoid this genre, because the crowd has taken over and will not recognize quality, thus there is no way to make a name for oneself.

Interestingly, the same thing happened in hardcore music in the 1980s when it became cheap and easy to release seven-inch records. Suddenly, there were no "fans": everyone had a band, zine, label or distro. Consequently, quality went down, because no leaders were picked, and a great averaging occurred. Everyone could participate, but because there was no specialized fanbase, the farthest they got was participation, getting their share. No one great rose above and therefore, the great people stopped trying. There was no direction.

Analogous to the effects of democracy and consumerism on the quality of people in society as a whole? You bet it was. Analogy to egocentricism of the west, and its own cultural failings? You bet: the same mechanism was in effect: a lack of appreciation for quality because popularity/social pressures dictated participation, an external factor, not hierarchy, which requires a measurement of amorphous qualities such as "artistic worth" which are unrecognizable to most people in the crowd. Consequently, hardcore declined to the point where, in 1985, all the bands sounded exactly the same and there were no leaders.

The underground is dead, and if it shows signs of reviving, shoot it. It no longer has meaning and thus has become a way to sell music, a brand name even, not a distinction in quality or attitude. "Underground" metal is marketed exactly the same way mainstream music is, on a smaller scale, and while it does hard to hide this fact behind angry album covers, bad sound quality, and sociopathic topics, the lack of quality reveals what a lie its "underground" status is.

To use the occult terms, our current view of metal is exoteric: show up, participate, and you'll get your equal share. The best years of metal came about when it was esoteric, or rewarded the best among its members, and had a community in place that could tell the difference. Consider it a form of evolution. When such conditions are again in place, quality metal on a broad scale will return.

If there is something to replace the underground, it is the dissidents who choose music based on artistic quality alone. They don't care about the album covers, who the band knows, or how well its production makes it sound. They look for quality art of the poetic but aggressive nature found in early 1990s blackmetal, and when the horde of imitators stops flooding the market with crap, they stand a chance in hell of finding it - if any remains.

(For J. and N., with whom this was discussed extensively.)


Metal / Hail Quorthon & other leaders
« on: December 10, 2005, 04:13:23 PM »
Really, it is kind of embarrassing that we can complain about the obvious wastes of oxygen - Brujeria, Cradle of Filth, Cannibal Corpse and Pantera - while not giving tribute to the masters.

Way back in 1983, Quorthon was one of the inventors of death/black metal. He had considerably fewer resources than others in this task, but contributed much of the technique and imagery of death and black metal to come. Almost all Norwegian black metal has the first two Bathory albums in its bloodline.

He also wrote the grandiloquent lyrics to "Twilight of the Gods."

He was the first metal musician in the black/death era to unabashedly claim influences from classical music, even while those around him referred to it as "fag music."

While the quality of Bathory releases varied, they were honest tries.

He was proof that black metal musicians aren't incompetent through his Beatles/REM-style folk hard rock albums.

His interviews were highly friggin' intelligent.

Quorthon is one of those few who can honestly use the word "innovative" to describe his work. It did not reinvent music, but found a new voice for a worldview that is eternally sensible.


Metal / dead horse frontman: The Plus and Minus Show
« on: December 09, 2005, 09:10:19 PM »
Michael Haaga, of dead horse, now writes indie/alt-rock with groove and a metal edge:


For those who are interested in following his career, here it is.

Metal / Witching Black Records
« on: December 09, 2005, 02:24:10 AM »

Underground black metal, stocks stuff like Demon Realm and Teratism. Alarming lack of Averse Sefira, Demoncy and Absurd ;)

Metal / New Rigor Mortis album
« on: December 09, 2005, 12:30:39 AM »
Rigor Mortis - 20th Anniversary CD and Tour!

The original RIGOR MORTIS line up of Bruce Corbitt, Mike Scaccia (MINISTRY, REVOLTING COCKS), Casey Orr (GWAR, X-COPS, THE HELLIONS, THE BURDEN BROTHERS), and Harden Harrison (PERVIS, SPEEDEALER, MITRA) have confirmed that they will record a new Rigor Mortis CD with this lineup and they are currently setting up 20th Anniversary tours for 2006.

A West Coast tour will start on January 13th and conclude on February 4th and 5th when Rigor Mortis plays at the biggest horror movie convention in Texas history… Texas Frightmare Weekend.

Texas Frightmare Weekend – www.texasfrightmareweekend.com
Feb 4th & 5th - Grapevine, TX
View Guest - http://www.texasfrightmareweekend.com/Guests.html
Venue - Grapevine Convention Center - http://www.texasfrightmareweekend.com/Location.html
Advance Tickets - http://www.texasfrightmareweekend.com/Buy%20Tickets.html

Other bigger tours for 2006 are also in the works… including a possible tour with GWAR.  Rigor Mortis is also writing new songs for a new Rigor Mortis CD.  This will be the first CD released by Rigor Mortis in 15 years.  The entire CD will be dedicated to the memory and spirit of Jeff Corbitt (R.I.P.) You can view the Obituary and see a slideshow/movie that was played at Jeff Corbitt’s Funeral at the link below.  Just click on Biography and Play Movie on the right to view this…

Jeff Corbitt Obituary and Slideshow/Movie


I have also managed to put all the pics that I have received so far from our! reunion tour all together on one site.  So if you wanna check out almost 350 pics from many of the shows on our tour… check out the link below.  Anyone else that has pics from the tour that hasn’t sent them to us yet… please send them to brucecorbitt@yahoo.com and caseyorr13@hotmail.com

I am also waiting to get more videos from our tour.  I have only received one so far… the San Antonio show.  I noticed video cameras at almost every show… so come on lazy asses and please make us copies when ya can.  Let me know if you have video footage of our reunion tour and I will give you my address for you to send us copies.

For now just enjoy all the pics w! e have so far from the 2005 Rigor Mortis “Re-Animate” Tour.  Feel free to use them if you wanna help us promote the band.  Just give the photo credit if you do.  Hails!

Rigor Mortis 2005 Reunion Tour Pics


Be sure to join out myspace pages and groups below if you haven’t already…

Bruce Corbitt - http://www.myspace.com/brucecorbitt
Ara! Corbitt (Niece) http://www.myspace.com/beatlesheart
Casey Orr -http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=3523021&Mytoken=9943fe93-ad54-4876-bcac-ee3d2587aa12
Rigor Mortis - http://www.myspace.com/rigormortis
Official Rigor Mortis Fan Group - http://groups.myspace.com/officialrigormortis
Dallas/Ft. Worth Metal - http://groups.myspace.com/dfwmetal
Texas Metal - http://groups.myspace.com/texasmetal

Hails to all of you and Happy Holidays!

Bruce Corbitt

Metal / Thrash
« on: December 07, 2005, 08:53:40 PM »
Municipal Waste
Thrash / Punk / Metal


Like DRI or COC or Cryptic Slaughter: Thrash, not "thrash metal" or other media stereotype.

Metal / How to be a Black Metal Fan in 2005
« on: December 07, 2005, 02:04:27 AM »
How to be a Black Metal Fan in 2005
Don't Listen to Black Metal

Black metal as a community has grown exponentially since it emerged as a musical style in its own right in the early 1990s. Like a new civilization, it grew from a small group of innovators who were disgusted by the "jogging suit" mentality: people who were essentially products of a modern time, who blindly bleated its ideas, figuring out how to play death metal and becoming popular in the genre by making their music more like what audiences accustomed to rock music expected. In essence, the crowd had infested death metal as it had speed metal before that, and black metal was a response to this.

Recognizing that no matter how they dressed up the music as something "new," appearances could be cloned, black metal musicians decided to go where the crowd could not follow: they would write music that expressed a grandeur of nature and feral amorality, hearkening more to the values of Samurai or European knights than to the disposable ideals of modern time. Since such a topic requires music that infuses the listener with a sense of awe and beauty in the cycle of destruction and creation that renders our world, they could no longer rely on "three chords and the truth," but had to actually put the truth in the music, and write more poetic and complex songs.

"Complexity" is a difficult term here, because it can be made into aesthetic as well; almost every failed progressive rock band in the universe has done this, by adding fills and "technical" parts that contribute little to the music as a whole. "Truth" is a difficult term because Ani DiFranco thinks she has truth and that it's in her lyrics, which she puts over entirely forgettable lyrics - don't mention to her that, to a philosopher, the ideals she espouses are no different than what George Bush rants about in his spacy speeches.

Black metal took a new direction and put the truth into the music, independent of lyrics, making sweeping mini-symphonies which covered a range of emotions and brought the listener from alienation to a unity with nature. An alert reader might note that almost all poetry does the same, by finding mundane details and abstracting them to higher principles, then translating them into an experience which narrates the reader from an initial position to a sense of having learned something and, more importantly, having learned to appreciate it. "Political" music like Ani DiFranco and Napalm Death can't do that for you.

The small civilization within civilization that was black metal was united more by ideals than by aesthetic or musical tenets, although all of its music by aiming to express the same kind of idea had similarities, mainly in its use of poetic complexity and truth within the music (and not necessarily the lyrics; you listen to black metal, and because of its intense artistry, find truth there). Because even educated and thoughtful people are brick-stupid these days, since they're surrounded by infinite voices repeating the same few ideas in many different forms, here are the basic ideas of black metal:

1. Nature as supreme order, where nature like thought is a process of evolution whereby a proliferation of ideas are filtered down by their adaptation to reality as a whole. Many potential designs start out, and those that match their surroundings the best persist.

2. Thought and ideal as more important than physicality. Like the values of knights, of Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ as well as Adolf Hitler, black metal musicians saw it as more important that a functional order geared toward higher evolution persist on earth. They cared at a distant second place how many lives were lost, or what pains were endured, and were primarily concerned that better ideas - forms of organization, designs, personal ideals - endured over the lesser ideas, generally construed as materialism and Judeo-Christian morality, in which loss of life is terrible no matter what is achieved.

3. Introspection. In black metal lore, the only meaning comes from what the individual can interpret; there are no boundaries between individuals and the world (nature) as whole, but the individual can only perceive what he or she can through natural abilities and learning from experience. Not everyone can see all of the truth; we all get it in degrees, but what is most important in black metal is the individual inspecting him or herself for internal values and finding a way to connect these to the world. It's the exact opposite of "if it feels good, do it" rhetoric from the rock-n-roll crowd and American politicians.

4. Morbidity as not only important, but essential, and a giver of meaning. Where most view death paranoiacally, and see it as a great entropy removing all value, black metal musicians viewed it as something giving meaning to life. That we die means we must find value in life (see point 3) and must do that which is rewarding not just to our physical selves, but to our unique and ephemeral souls (see point 2).

5. Nationalism. Racism is a preference for one race above all others, worldwide. Nationalism is pride in one's country, and its native ethnicity, language and culture. Nationalism is a subset of naturalism because, much as one appreciates the diversity of species on earth, one appreciates the diversity of humans and wishes to preserve that by isolating nations from one another. Some black metal musicians are racist, and others not, but all agreed that ethnic separation was necessary for the preservation of their native lands.

6. Holistic morality and spirituality. In Judeo-Christian spirituality, the center of belief is the relationship between the individual and God, and anyone can have it. In ancient faiths, the gods were impersonal and nonjudgmental, and the individual forged a path through life based on the upholding of higher ideals and understanding nature. Judeo-Christian spirituality is a product; ancient faiths are esoteric and little more than elaborate forms of philosophical learning and martial discipline. Occultist, Satanist, Hindu, Nordic and Greco-Roman mythological references abound in black metal.

To any student of European history or art, these values are not new; they are traditional to all Romantic forms of art, whether literature or visual art or symphonies, and were upheld by artists as disparate as William Wordsworth, Anton Bruckner, John Keats, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, Lord Byron and William Shakespeare. For all of these artists, nature was a higher form of order than the rules of civilization, and civilization had become decadent by praising its own "equal" order more than the "unequal" order of nature. Many philosophers, including the celebrated F.W. Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer, explicated these sentiments in their own work. Black metal's ideology is nothing new.

What was new was an expression of these ideas in popular music, because rock music and blues and all of the associated disposable art has always been a manifestation of the crowd revolt mentality: simple music so that everyone in a room could get it, diametrically opposed to the grand works of classical music which were too complex and emotionally involved for a crowd to appreciate (or even to have the attention span to endure). Rock music focuses on one emotion per song, bangs it out in riff and chorus, and makes it very simple by using a relatively fixed number of scales and chord progressions. Rock music is the perfect product because it's easy to make, is appreciated by customers of all ages and not limited by intelligence, and is inoffensive on a certain level in that it has nothing to say that will disturb. The basic message of rock music is to include everyone equally, to appreciate them for being alive and not for their inherent traits, and to come together on simple human values and not higher ideals; rock is inclusivity. Black metal is not.

The "jogging suit" people who infested death metal, a genre devoted to the nihilism of recognizing that death alone is predominant so we, and not our products or warm fuzzy feelings, must define the meaning of life for our mortal selves, were an offshoot of this inclusive impulse of modern music. When death metal was new (1983-1987) it was exclusively an embrace of the light to be found at the other side of this dark tunnel, which is that when one gets over the fear of death that unites modern society, one can return to that which is more important than material comfort or popularity: ideals, nature and real experience. Where black metal was pure Romanticism, death metal was a form of scientific existentialism bonded to a brawler's resentment of those given positions because of their obsequious acceptance of the moronic logic that is popular.

When black metal emerged, it was ridiculed, mocked, hated, and excluded from popularity in metal circles. From 1990-1993, it was hard to find anyone who even thought it had artistic merit: it was simply unpopular, in part because it did not embrace the root of all popularity from movie stars to politicians to drug dealers, which is an inclusiveness that says anyone who comes in the door and appreciates a simple experience is one of the crowd, one of the in-group that then defines itself as important to civilization. After the events in Norway, involving burning churches and murders, black metal was suddenly popular because it suggested there was an "other side" and, the crowd reasoned, by buying CDs they could be part of it.

Much as civilizations are started by a brave few and later, when following generations lose their sense of ruthless struggle against disorder so that civilization can be created, degenerate into societies where popularity and luxury are more important than truth, black metal fell apart shortly after that because of the invasion of the crowd. Suddenly a band like Cradle of Filth, who are basically a bad Iron Maiden cover band playing fast heavy metal with black metal vocals, could be vastly popular and introduce hundreds of thousands of people to the new genre. And they came, expecting more bands like Cradle of Filth, and buying them, and thus drowning out the few bands of merit. If you became a black metal musician, there was no longer safe haven from the crowd, and thus you had a choice between making traditional black metal and being ignored, or making Cradle of Filth style heavy rock and getting rich. The original bands cracked under the pressure, and broke up or sold out, and the newcomers came in.

The average black metal fan today has not heard the formative works of the genre: Immortal, Emperor, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Enslaved, Darkthrone, Beherit and Varathron when they were making essential, complex, beautiful music. All they've heard are the newcomers, both of the blatantly commercial Cradle of Filth variety, and the scene whore "loud, fast and antisocial" type of band that Black Witchery represents. The newcomers are uniformly worthless, as they express nothing that rock music does not, and by giving it an extreme aesthetic, allow their fans to convince themselves that they are "part of" some movement against the dominant trend of society, even though much like Democrats and Republicans in America agree on the same core values, newcomer "black metal" repeats the same empty rhetoric that rock music has been feeding us for fifty years. Newcomer black metal is black metal only in the world of appearance; in terms of musical and artistic structure, it's closer to punk rock or even Dave Matthews Band. It's rock music.

The aesthetic of black metal is easy to clone. Put screeching vocals, midtone guitars, fast drums and heavy distortion on top of fast rock music, and it "sounds like" black metal, even if the dumbest fan can see that somehow it misses the vastness and emotional depth of Det Som Engang Var or In the Nightside Eclipse. The structure of art - its Romanticism, its poetry, its depth - eludes those who clone black metal. And, as we see in hindsight, the original black metal bands like the original death metal bands were not a natural thing, but an aberration in a steady stream of bands that have been cloning the same ideas since early rock'n'roll. Black metal and early death metal were the exception, not the rule.

What we have now is not black metal, although it calls itself "black metal," in the same way that rock music will never be a symphony even if it calls itself so. I tend to refer to the mainstream stuff like Six Feet Under or Cradle of Filth as "heavy metal," since musically it's closer to Motorhead and Led Zeppelin than death or black metal; I tend to refer to the "underground" black metal like Black Witchery or Velvet Caccoon as "black hardcore," since musically it resembles late model hardcore music with black metal aesthetics. None of this is black metal.

Ideals of black metal clones:

1. Everyone must get it. It must be simple, not challenging, and most of all not have any poetic essence to its soul, as most fans can't get that and thus will not buy it.

2. Appearance over structure. It must have a unique appearance, but say the same old things philosophically and use familiar musical ideas so that even the dumbest fans can understand it and buy it. Even more, it must be upheld as dogma truth that adding a flute or screeching spotted owl to the same old music somehow makes it "unique" and worth owning.

3. Simplistic emotions are important. Forget the depth of "Inno A Satana"; blindly praise Satan with roaring, consistent anger, because that way every fan, even the ones with Down's Syndrome, can get what it's about and get into it. Start a big singular emotion party, and make it simple so everyone can buy the CD and come along.

4. Everyone can get it. Black metal clones are not specific to a certain land or belief system, as they are essentially musically the same and are designed so that even a retarded outer space alien could "get it" and start tapping its feet and wearing Darkthrone-brand jogging suits immediately. Nationalism, even elitism, eugenics or belief in anything at all is out; what's in is having some music that sounds angry, is written like punk rock, and can be appreciated by everyone so they can buy the CDs or praise the "underground" scene queens who created it.

The problem with black metal now is that fans, out of a desire to have something contemporary, are buying and praising the mediocre music of right now and thus are diluting any distinctiveness black metal ever had, slowly turning the genre as a community and art form into the same ol' rock music. They are misinformed, or uniformed, and therefore buy the best of what they can find and try to pretend they like it, but even a crowd of uneducated fans can sense that it is empty, so they try buying more and more of it, and going for novelty factors like location or obscurity, but still cannot find the essence of black metal and what made it great. That is because quite simply it is not made anymore; a musician looking at today's black metal scene will recognize quickly that the competition is for novelty and not for quality art, and thus will take his or her skills elsewhere. Black metal is now a trend.

My suggestion to all those who love black metal is simple: stop supporting band that are OK instead of great. If that means there's no black metal that's new to listen to, then accept that like a warrior, and listen to the older stuff or branch out into different genres. Uphold black metal in spirit and not by buying mediocre products that are a cancer eating away at whatever legitimacy the genre once had. If you really care about black metal, you care more about its ideas than your own comfortable existence of buying lots of little CDs so you have something to gossip about with your little friends. To want to understand and care about black metal is to care about its spirit, not the disposable art that now dresses itself up in black metal's appearance. You might even explore other Romantic art instead. The path is clear: you either support black metal's "life" as a mediocre rock genre, or you encourage the mediocre music to die so black metal can be reborn from within, when the intangible elements such as poetry and musical quality once again predominate. Until that happens, black metal will continue to be absorbed the same generic stuff that its creators hated.


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