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.