Black metal, again:
Upside-down-cross pendants and spiked bracelets were common accessories. The tabloid-worthy events centered on a musician named Varg Vikernes, of the one-man band Burzum, who encouraged and participated in the burning of churches. In 1993, while playing bass in a band called Mayhem, he murdered the guitarist, a man known as Euronymous.
Until recently, it was a legacy that the genre couldn’t shake. But now American bands such as Liturgy, Krallice, Absu, Leviathan, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Inquisition have left a fair amount of the pageantry behind—not to mention the violence—and helped to create a community, as well as a musical moment that is rife with activity. Because of what the music does formally, there is little chance that we will see a Top Ten black-metal act. The elements of the genre that are common to its bands—even those which don’t subscribe to the term, since black metal’s borders are fiercely policed—are extremely fast strumming of guitars, equally fast drumming, and singing that is either extremely low and almost gastric or very high and vaguely spectral. The vocals in the lower register have been called both “the Cookie Monster thing” and “reptilian.” The most accelerated version of the black-metal beat—in which cymbals and multiple drums are hit with the rapid and even force of a sewing machine, which almost erases the idea of drumming as time-keeping—is called the “blast beat,” which Liturgy has modified into a variable-speed approach called the “burst beat.”
This is all extreme stuff, and, when it’s played by grown men who look like couture pandas, there is plenty of reason to be skeptical. Get past the novelty, though, and you find a level of passion and an attention to detail that make a number of mere rock bands look lazy. People are starting to pay attention. Liturgy, whose members live in Brooklyn, records for the respected indie-rock label Thrill Jockey, which made its name in the mid-nineties releasing avant-garde but civilized rock. Because so many varieties of electronic and non-Western music have been tapped by traditionally organized rock bands, there is great allure in the lesser-known strategies of black metal, which was for years a self-sufficient, distinct subgenre that wasn’t looking to expand. – The New Yorker
They took out the leadership, the unique viewpoint, and the outsiderness.
They replaced it with safe, tame, comforting and unchallenging indie rock.
Now black metal — the true movement of the 1990s — is the disco of the 2010s.
Run for the hills. Or just listen to the new Demoncy, Beherit, Cianide, Divine Eve and others who haven’t quaked.