Traditional Black Metal

The term ‘traditional’ black metal used here denotes not the ‘orthodox’ movement of imitation or gimmick bands lacking any musical ideas of value, but rather points to the living and evolving movement now referred to as the death-black styles coming forth organically from punkish speed metal voices. The definition does not exclude the developments of the nineties which led to the musical distinction between a purified black metal and the older speed metal. However, this distinction represented only, or mainly, the Scandinavian expression of the genre separating itself from the more common tropes. More raw and unclassifiable bands within this distinction were forgotten in the wake of relative popularity of the Scandinavian stylings quickly became tired trope. The network of original underground minds seeking unique expressions of an undefined darkness became an incestuous cesspool. Unfortunately, this is today misleadingly known as ‘orthodox’ black metal.

Traditional black metal is concerned with preserving the techniques and forms of the past, that the genre and the artist can move into more potent, complete and further-reaching expressions. What intelligent traditionalists of any field acknowledge is not that tradition should be set of rigid rules to be followed in spite of a changing reality. Rather, tradition provides a framework or, as a thinker has illustrated it in the past, a bow whence to shoot the arrow of the individual’s potential. As our knowledge and mental experience as a species has grown faster than we have been able to evolve, each individual must not only learn and memorize, but rediscover much in life first hand before standing up to the stature of what a modern human being can be. Tradition makes this possible, and without it we would not only not have black metal, but neither would we have electric guitars, synths or any instruments more complex than a manner of crude percussion to explore our inner connection to the universe around us.

The dangers of adherence to a tradition are pretty clear, and the dominating, blindly ‘progressive’ thought [1] of modernity often makes a point of these shortcomings. In excess, unjustified narrow mindedness makes us reject new forms or techniques that open up new, more efficient, more potent possibilities. Those subscribing to a tradition may also vicariously assume an air of arrogance based on an illusory superiority without any basis in reality: their own deeds and accomplishments in themselves unable to live up to any kind of standard. As has been said elsewhere, the root of decadence, stagnancy, and what is detrimental, lies in ignorance. The failure of those movements overtly identifying with theistic Satanism (mostly Thelemic in actuality), is that they either become obsessed with a ‘sound’ or ‘form’ [2], or they believe that in merely deconstructing ‘form’ and ‘expression’ they will be able to better channel an authentic new form [3].

What is needed is a living tradition, one that evolves and grows as essence into the forms of new situations and formulations. That is to say, tradition itself must be able to evolve in order to match the evolving species to which it is relevant. Even more importantly, this living organism that enhances and channels the collective experiences accumulated through the history of a group, should also itself improve. And so ideally, tradition should not only remain relevant and useful, but it should also become more efficient, the proof of which is speedier and more powerful, pervading results. Arguably, this can be seen in the progression from an incipient Bathory towards the apex of Norwegian black metal [4]. Ever since stagnancy, and hence deconstruction set in, impeding the authentic growth of tradition .

Above and beyond either ensconsing tradition or rejecting it is the more important vision of a timeless attitude [5] that understands each individual, group, style and technique as a link on the chain of causality. The individual partaking of this timeless vision recognizes, studies respects and enhances the best from the past while at the same time treading a unique path that exhales particularities, idiomatic and organic approaches to both technique and structure. Approaching this idiomatic style for the individual, as well as a genre-wide conception of authentic expression in connection to darkness, requires an equally organic and higher —cosmic— conception of the music itself [6].


[1] An anti-tradition, in that it is blind to its own traditional shortcomings, leading to neurotic denial. An anti-tradition in that rather than aid in shaping a higher kind of individual and society, it subverts even the foundations of what made it possible in the first place.

[2] See Watain’s Trident Wolf Eclipse (2018):

[3] See Abigor’s Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition) (2018):

[4] See Burzum’s Hvis Lyset Tar Oss and Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger.

[5] See the article Transitions MMXVII:

[6] See the article Black Fluxions:

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9 thoughts on “Traditional Black Metal”

  1. 1349 says:

    The present commenter appears to have something worthwhile to say, or relevant inquiries to make regarding the clarity of the article topic, and their words will be displayed once they are able to articulate in a gentlemanly/ladylike manner.

    1. Reduced Without Any Effort says:

      Overt comment censorship is the last thing the site needs.

      1. D.A.R.G. says:

        True. That’s why we do not have overt comment censorship, only elaborate spam blocking.

      2. S.C. says:

        enforcing constructive critique and conversations is a justifiable use of censorship. It only becomes am issue when ideas are censored.

      3. Just short of 20 years ago, the ANUS forum took pride in its stark contradistinction to the then-Full Moon Productions forum which was littered with metaloid scum, career-losers and foul/vulgar jokes of humanity. The standard was set then, and intrusive moderation of comments, sometimes unfairly so, was done to maintain the level of presentation and culture. Notwithstanding, many of the online-Paladins were in actuality walking-scumbags IRL. I was young the, still in high school, and while having my ANUS-honour (did I just type that?), still had much to learn. I was also, subject to moderation, banned accounts and all of that. I also held a moderator position for a short time. People fluctuate along their path to development, but what DARG did here was absolutely necessary. With policing, without standard, and without some threat of shame- how then can we define squalor, or that terrible cesspool of mundanity to which we would rather die than partake in?

  2. NWN War Metal Tranny Rapist says:

    New black metal is fags promoting lgbt rights, when all those people should be dead to rights! Death to the shemale! Sodomize the transsexual ass! Rape!

    1. Tyrone HIV says:

      Interesting analysis.

      Demonecromancy goes a bit deeper in exploring the problem of “new” Black Metal, and in fact asserts that it’s not Black Metal at all ->

  3. The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh says:

    No Root?!

  4. Krustypuss says:

    Very good article, had a discussion with a friend about the narrow-mindedness/Living tradition material.

    Our discussion went a bit like this: that nowadays many bands who have nigh encyclopedic knowledge of metal have set the classics as more of a copycat point then an organic component of their inspirations. They cite, but lack inspiration or vitality because they lack that ‘alchemy’ or transformative element which is arguably at least in part this immersion in a living tradition (though I think there are other parts to it as well).

    In early black metal or these vital spheres there seems to be these periods of ferment and the establishment of a canon prior to a great diversity that comes through the individual EPs, albums, or what have you that the artists were listening to. EG, all the black metal kids were listening to Bathory, Sodom, a smattering of death metal albums- progression from Old Funeral to the various splinter groups that came out of that as the new genre is almost a ‘given’- they needed that new stylized vehicle in order to communicate ideas inchoate (or what would LATER be seen as inchoate) in the music thrashing itself into life.

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