The spirit of metal must evolve

Note these micro-symphonies:

Metallica – Orion
Burzum – My Journey to the Stars
Metallica – Call of Kthulhu
Asphyx – Depths of Eternity
Dismember – Override of the Overtures
Atheist – An Incarnation’s Dream
Therion – The Way
Hellhammer – Triumph of Death
Rigor Mortis – Six Feet Under

People think they want what they don’t, because they are trying to find the appearance of what they want and not the underlying structure.

When people say they want simplicity, what they really want is organization. It’s why “My Journey to the Stars” works even though it’s “complex” in theory — complex means having a central idea that is simple and clear, and then manifesting it in different forms so people can compare them like metaphors and see the abstraction. (The dumbass variant of this is the Dark Funeral play riff at fret n, then play it at fret n+1).

The role of art is to be a silent philosopher, meaning that it does not make explicit but gives us a clear spiritual commandment and its corresponding aesthetic from which to work.

There’s too much of a causal malfunction: man A does something, and man B sees the results, and tries to work backward toward the cause. The genre doesn’t understand its own spirit and aesthetics (the cover of the new Kreator is a brilliantly stupid manifestation of this).

But there’s still room for someone to translate the spirit, aesthetics and organization of classical music — narrative motives — into death/black metal. That’s the real ground to conquer. Whoever does that will be initially unpopular, like death metal and later black metal were, but later acknowledged as a hero. People can’t put into words what they want. When shown what they want, they will initially resist it because it doesn’t “look like” or “sound like” what they want — people in 1990 “wanted” simpler, catchier, groovier speed metal, and that movement went nowhere.

Similarly, now they claim to want the fusion of black metal/shoegaze/Blink 182/speed metal that is popular, but no one really seems to love it. There is still great room in this genre for those who can conquer.

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Why cultural revolutions are superior

If you’ve got eyes, and a functioning brain, and the kind of warlike disposition that likes to put things into functioning order, you know: this society has become calcified, and stopped striving for abstract goals, preferring instead to divide up the material wealth among its people in ever-tighter circles of bicker.

One example is the arts. Genres stop producing more than a handful of really great objects, and produce instead many thousands of “OK – it’ll do” ones. This happens because as soon as something starts succeeding, all the people who want part of it but could not produce its greatness rush in to divide up the material wealth among themselves. This pattern happens over and over again.

To be a good metal band, you need to make lots of MySpace friends, cultivate buddies in labels and magazines, and make music that sounds roughly like everything else. That will get you success, temporarily, but not greatness. Your work will fade away because there is nothing abstract — a pattern that can be applied in any time — about it.

It’s the same with writing. Get your MFA, make buddies in the literary magazines, and crap out another story about a lost person with a dark hidden secret who discovers some external way of facing this past, and is forced to become aware and finds uplifting happiness. Easy? Yes, it’s a formula. Profound? No.

There are parallels to this in film, where you must do the indie circuit with some dark, edgy and depressing movie that everyone agrees is profound but no one wants to watch again. Academia? Find some trivial idea and make it seem like the key to the universe. Now you’re a success.

When an individual of sound body, mind and disposition sees this, the temptation is to throw the baby out with the bathwater, declare anarchy and burn all previous work. Anyone who thinks more than a step ahead of themselves knows why anarchy fails: by destroying the idea of order, along with the dead order, it reduces society to a lowest common denominator, and almost always restores the type of abuse it complained about. This is why revolutions fail. It’s why France went from feudal aristocracy to crass commercial oligarchy in one generation. It’s why the people in Cuba, despite a revolution, are still earning $17 a month. It’s why the United States went from complaining about freedom from Great Britain to having its own Alien and Sedition acts to suppress dissenters within a handful of decades. Entropy occurs and the solution is not more radical entropy.

There is an exception afforded by civilization: a cultural revolution.

These can take the form of art, philosophy or even customs. Their aim is to change the abstract goal of a society, not its methods. They work because when the underlying assumptions are changed, the way people aim their current methods changes. Over time, the methods evolve toward a greater state of organization and effectiveness as a result.

Black metal and death metal are an artistic revolution that was first obscure, and now is big. One reason we struggle here to find the best is so that we preserve its legacy accurately and deliver a realistic portrait of what its artists believed. The practical reason for this is so that a cultural revolution can occur, subverting old and dead paradigms and replacing them with more realistic — more adapted, for you Charles Darwin fans — ones.

If you think our reviews are harsh, think about why. You have one life. You have limited time. If not now, in the future. You only have time for the best. You don’t need filler; you need music and art that drives your spirit to greater heights. You don’t need “uplifting” or “realism,” which are basically two sides of the same coin (feeling strong emotion through delusional easy answers or negativity encouraging you to do nothing). You need a battle cry.

It’s the mission of this site to preserve, nurture and encourage the best of that battle cry so your time is rewarded and you can participate in the greatest change of civilization in your time. We see no reason to bloviate over the failings of the past, or over the mixed fortunes of metal now. We see a point in holding high the best of past and present and looking toward the future.

Join us.

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Heavy metal misrepresented in media

The problem with heavy metal, Malcolm says, is that the mainstream media misrepresented it for years.

“Every time the mainstream media used to cover it in the 70s and 80s, it was done from the point of view that ‘this is weird, we don’t understand it, we’re going to go away not understanding it but we’re going to present it to you anyway,'” he says.

Heavy metal was painted as the dark preserve of working class men who wore denim and leather and were, for the most part, sexist. That’s even before you take into account accusations of devil worship and Satanism leveled at the genre by Christian activists in the 80s.


Our modern society is spotless and clean, technology and fair, even and balanced. We don’t need this insurgent rush of naturalistic emotions and this affirmation of power. We want no power! We want no imbalance! We want everything to exactly the same, so we can control it and keep it away from us. Heavy metal… that’s dirty, it must be for losers.

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Classic reviews: