Scanning around the web for death metal-related information (a favorite passtime) I found some Christian folks who seemed rather irate about death metal. Although I started life as a radical Christian hater, I now view Christianity as one means through which philosophies can be expressed. Specifically, if we express Romanticism — transcendental naturalistic idealism with vir as its underlying heroic principle — in any form, that form becomes Romanticism and becomes very useful for any society that wants to rise above being posted on FAILBLOG.
When I think of this kind of Christian, I see how these are the utter minority, like metalheads are in American society at least, and they usually get persecuted by the rest. Guys like Johannes Eckhart, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Paul Woodruff and Arthur Schopenhauer come to mind. I would want to live in a society they ran; the other kind of Christian, the kind that treats “God” as a product-welfare-media-icon-sports-team, need to have zero political power — they’re unstable people in fear of death and looking for a schizoid, externalized, easy solution.
The good kind of Christian are “deists”: basically atheists who believe that “God” is a handy way to describe nature, and that meditation on this God will free us from obsession with ourselves, with material comfort, with status and other things that do us no good (metalcore). They’re inherently transcendentalists, which makes them very black metal, and they tended to — like ancient Hindus — disregard human life in favor of the accomplishment of ideals, which makes them very death metal.
Here’s the letter:
I came upon your article about death metal, and wanted to offer some alternate viewpoints. I think you will find after reading this that death metal has more in common with your viewpoint than in conflict with it, despite appearances.
I am not sure death metal should be considered rock music. It is composed differently. While rock music is about repeating rhythmic chord playing over a changing beat, death metal uses “power chords” to make melodic phrases that change in a narrative structure like classical music.
Further, I would suggest that “the blues” itself has its roots in Anglo-Germanic folk music, later called “country” in the USA, and that this music is basically what rock is — rock music just had more marketing behind it, and a few aesthetic changes like more aggressive drumming.
While I do not suggest that death metal is not obsessed with the occult, I think its approach mirrors this statement:
“God is dead, and we have killed him.” – Friedrich W. Nietzsche
His point is that a lack of ability to believe in anything other than (a) the individual and (b) externalized knowledge has killed the personal process of coming to know God or gods through mythic imagination. Death metal, like black metal, restores mythic imagination.
If there is blasphemy in death metal, I believe its ultimate goal is strengthening the bond of mythic imagination, and therefore creating more religiosity in an increasingly leftist, socialist, self-centered, “scientic,” atheistic population.
You may want to separate grindcore (punk derived, all leftist) bands like Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, and Carcass, from death metal bands (structuralist, Romanticist, some right-wing) like Obituary, Unleashed, Entombed, Dismember, Morbid Angel and Deicide. It is also useful to separate black metal (Romanticism, naturalist, all right-wing) bands such as Darkthrone and Burzum from these other two genres.
I am a writer for the death metal website The Dark Legions Archive, which supports any form of transcendental idealism including the positive Christianity of Arthur Schopenhauer, Johannes Eckhart and Ralph Waldo Emerson. We would like to interview you by email about you relationship to popular music, and beliefs, especially as touch on what death metal has wrought.
Thank you for reading,
With luck, he or she will respond and let us set up an interview to talk about death metal, because there’s nothing better in life than death metal, if you ask me.