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Heathenism and Metal

Heathenism and Metal
July 24, 2010, 04:53:13 PM
Arguably started full-throttle with Bathory and being overdone by impostors after Enslaved, Burzum and Emperor came into the limelight. Regardless of this, which ultimately removes a large portion of the value from this cultural and/or ideological lifestyle, when it is done genuinely, I believe this inclusive topic allows music to connect with the listener (or vice versa) on a psychologically altering level that is indeed healthy.

Whether the means suits the end of naturalism, (poly)theism or increases cultural awareness, these few exercises in Heathen evangelism via the medium of metal music has brought into awareness one of the many available spectrums in the metaphysical prism at large.

It encompasses all of the previously discussed topics in former metals:

-Death as a life-process that should not be feared, but accepted as an identifiable truth. Beautiful, natural: the great transformation (Death Metal).
-Mysticism as a reality, possibility, or at least a reflection of nature through archetype. Rebellion against religions that have been altered and twisted to abuse. (Black Metal).
-Battle, Glory, Conquest, Mayhem, Insanity/Berserk and Strife (Punk Rock/ Punk Hardcore).
-The value of the drink alcohol and its beneficial effects (Oi!/Punk Hardcore).
-The championing of strength-of-self while still remaining humble as a microscopic being within the macrocosm (early Crust Punk).
-Environmentalism, restrain from drugs and humanity-debilitating substances that remove the self from reality (Speed Metal/ Thrash).
-Inevitable doom, destruction of all things living, a day of darkness: Ragnarok (Doom Metal).
-Political satire (Grindcore [Unleashed did this a lot]).

It seems great, but the music oftentimes relies heavily on the Heathenism as a crutch. People oftentimes marginalize themselves into "Heathen Metal" or "Viking Metal" or "Pagan Metal" fans and rarely realize that many of these above listed values can be found in non-Heathen, non-Viking and non-Pagan metal bands, namely many of the bands listed on Dark Legions Archive and beyond.

I don't think a band needs to be a Heathen, Viking or Pagan Metal band to display these values, and I think people that are interested in the aforementioned topics should try and discern if these are present within more valuable metal bands than those with gimmicks.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
July 24, 2010, 07:16:40 PM
It's interesting that you should pick out Enslaved, Burzum, and Emperor as "Heathen Bands", and then go on to talk about "Pagan Metal" at the end of your post.  I think this shows an interesting difference between the bands which espouse "Heathen" values and ways of thought, communicating them through the music (Burzum, Enslaved, Emperor etc.), and bands which adopt the styles/forms of "Heathenism" (or "Paganism") to sell their product.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
July 26, 2010, 08:43:20 AM
I never thought about that, but it's true. Black metal used everything that came before it. And then made it all into one idea. It's like a kid growing up, starting with Black Sabbath. He goes through a liberal phase in the 1980's (that's Reagans fault). Then in the 1990s he hits maturity and becomes a fun kind of conservative. War, beer, death, violence and ancient things. And making fun of the peasants.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
July 26, 2010, 10:37:19 AM
- Death as a life-process that should not be feared, but accepted as an identifiable truth. Beautiful, natural: the great transformation (Death Metal).
- Mysticism as a reality, possibility, or at least a reflection of nature through archetype. Rebellion against religions that have been altered and twisted to abuse. (Black Metal).
- Battle, Glory, Conquest, Mayhem, Insanity/Berserk and Strife (Punk Rock/ Punk Hardcore).
- Environmentalism, restrain from drugs and humanity-debilitating substances that remove the self from reality (Speed Metal/ Thrash).

I think all these make sense, but I'd add a vital one:

* You can't have good without bad, and you cannot avoid suffering

The main point of Paganism is that it has no good/evil and no dualistic world. There is no perfection except what we make.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
July 27, 2010, 01:56:28 PM
^Indeed.

Also, I think all paganism and religions at that level are all about reverence.  These people did not see life as something that was supposed to have meaning to it, but instead worshipped the Earth in personified form in hopes that they and their kind would have as long a stay on this planet as possible.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
July 27, 2010, 02:57:31 PM
^Indeed.

Also, I think all paganism and religions at that level are all about reverence.  These people did not see life as something that was supposed to have meaning to it, but instead worshipped the Earth in personified form in hopes that they and their kind would have as long a stay on this planet as possible.

Dead accuracy indeed. Realistically, life back then was something to be cherished, since there were so many things that could possibly take it away. With the lack of strict laws to adhere to, a shaky judicial framework and no modern medicine, people faced sickness, disease, harsh climates, war, strife, and bad rulings that lead to "unjust" executions on a daily basis.

Reflectively (and this is the part that's really awesome), amidst all of this peril, there existed a standard of questing to unfamiliar, foreign territory in search for glory, honor and fame (immortality is to sing your praises and name). Not for political or social power, but just to go out there into the world and see how many things you could conquer for conquering's sake. The sagas of the Icelanders make this crystal clear in that most men would forfeit very comfortable lives in search for these very personal goals that most people in our day and age feel is a waste of time.

Very cool indeed.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
November 26, 2010, 09:23:33 PM
As a practicing Germanic Polytheist myself, i think "pagan" metal or "viking" whatever you wish to call it helps us revive the spirit of our people and our blood. The music of Burzum, for example evokes a certain Mystic, Ritualistic feeling in the listener. Paganism is about Ritual, and unlocking the secrets that lie within us, and discovering the world around us. There is no better way than Heathen music to connect with that long lost past.

Re: Heathenism and Metal
November 26, 2010, 10:47:26 PM
 I'm quite sure many metal-heads had the same interests as children even before discovering metal; Castles, dying in battle, histories of battles and ancient beliefs, etc etc...it was an escape from such a boring society, but with metal, it transcends dreams and puts it into action