Underground occult metal blog Praefuscus Ferrum recently posted a piece entitled “Underground turned Funderground, and the Obscurantist Elite” proposing that what killed underground metal was widespress consumer access to new technologies such as the internet. These and the increased exposure to fans led artistically successful underground metal bands to pursue raw consumerism at the expense of writing transcendent music. D.A.R.G. points out that “the truest artists purposefully hide away from the profane eye” as the communication mediums the underground metal utilized (physical mail, tape trading, and BBSes) have been usurped by ones more accessible to laymen. He states the underground became the “funderground” in the blink of an eye as mainstream rock and pop fans who felt adventurous wanted rock and pop music with “black” and “death” “metal” production aesthetics, not actual death, black, or even heavy metal. Now the musicians actually writing novel underground metal compositions hide unbeknownst to the typical beer metaller in plain sight.
What killed underground metal was not technology, moderate financial rewards, or broader access; the cause of death was its own sublime artistic accomplishment. Underground metal achieving its purpose, its raison d’etre, for being underground in black metal. Then it lost momentum at the same time it became popular with the herd breaching through the gates of Minas Tirith. The herds did what herds always do: dumb black metal down to make it more broadly acceptable and then crowd out the original with the easily digestible, simple carbohydrate laden “fast food” version of black metal.
This new movement, which we might call hidden or camouflaged metal if we do not simply use the overused term “occult,” is not found so much in the bands which hide themselves, but in the bands which seek audience but are limited because they are not dumbed down to Big Macs and Budweiser. What keeps these bands hidden is that they are hidden in plain sight: they are there seeking an audience but the complexity of the thinking required to appreciate the music and differentiate good from bad is beyond the herd. These bands naturally filter out 99% of the listening audience and are at a disadvantage in that most of the 1% have no idea they exist as they are not popular.
The solution is for us and others to brand this “hidden metal” genre envelope and promote the quality bands like Sammath, Desecresy, Infamous, Demoncy, Serpent Ascending, and others featured on Death Metal Underground. Not to promote them based on their background or underground-ness but rather on the solidity of the music alone. This is music that one can listen to for decades instead of merely weeks, months, days, or even hours in sharp contrast to rehashed recordings that warrant merely a few cursory listens before they should be disposed of as if they were soiled squares of toilet tissue.
Tags: Black Metal, consumeriam, death metal, demoncy, desecresy, funderground, hidden metal, infamous, metal underground, praefuscus ferrum, sammath, Serpent Ascending, underground, underground metal, underground music, underground never dies
11 thoughts on “Hidden Metal In Plain Sight”
One could make the same statement about music regardless of genre. Divine masterpieces like this lie dusty and dormant through the ages, only to be disturbed by the esoterics of every generation, who are determined to make these special works persevere on.
Much of that which is not worth preserving will be literally decayed data as centuries go by.
Thanks Phil for the link to the Tallis Scholars, very good stuff, and now am finding any Tallis material, the only Tallis Scholars CD’s in the public library is Christmas material.
This is something I had predicted a while ago. Hipsters and the funderground types have their channels by which they are told what is the new, hip thing to listen to, whereas, quality metal, though scarce, still exists, though it requires assiduous research and intuition to track it down. This analysis will be attempted by the hipster types, but their inherent motivations towards exoteric, primarily social and egotistical will lead them to qualitative dead ends. Thus the underground has gained an intellectual insularity that may prove more longstanding than that of the old underground insulated primarily by extremism, in contrast at least to the more popular moral values of the time. Those who attempted to co-opt metal have instead built a gauntlet through which they cannot penetrate. Foremost because quality was never on their radar, only the illusion of it, and now they have an ever expanding labyrinth of mirrors they can keep themselves lost in, and leave the quality to the qualitatively discerning.
What do you suggest?
I would suggest in addition to tape trading and the like as access to the hidden underground, starting an elitist, strictly moderated forum for sharing. I think having a sort of entry exam (i.e. an analytical, qualitative, well-written review as one example) would filter out most of the Wayne and Garth types, egoistic self-promoters, people who post crap music, and loitering dilettantes with nothing meaningful to contribute which ended up bloating and ultimately destroying the L.A.R.M and anus metal forum. It would need a strict moderator, or to quote Boyd Rice “a brutal gardener” to keep the proverbial weeds and leaf litter separate.
“bloating and ultimately destroying the L.A.R.M …”
i don’t remember the reasons why LARM was shut down —
besides the i̶d̶i̶o̶t̶i̶c̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ “politically correct” crowd with nothing better to do, were causing problems for anybody involved, and calling everybody a nazi or something like that.
“My decision to shut down LARM was not an easy one, but by the time its throat was finally slit, it was more than deserved. LARM was founded on the principle that no opinion should be suppressed, no matter whom it offended – but this same lack of censorship also caused the dilution of LARM over the years. Rather than imposing restrictions on the contributors (which would have been in contradiction to why it was started it the first place), it was taken down.
This archive is the last incarnation of LARM before its demise. No further work will take place on it. Make no mistake of it, you are but feasting on the dead.” ChorazaiM
Abisso could be the album of the decade. It is post-black metal not in the self-pity and resignation way but in recognizing that the first enemy we have to beat and cast out, in this day and age, is inside us, all this withing a naturalistic outlook typical of the genre. Its emotional intensity rivals the best of the genre.
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