Bardo Methodology #1

Bardo Methodology started off as a website that published various interviews detailing philosophy and the occult, and were known for really diving in the heart of the matter. The printed formats contain extended versions of the interviews found online and hold no punches as a wide range of artists and writers are interviewed and encouraged to discuss their true opinions on various subjects without censorship or the routing associated with mundane questions that seem to plague metal interviews. Bardo Methodology is an insanely ambitious project that triumphantly succeeds but not without a small share of problems

Printed on Munken Pure 100g/m2 paper instead of industry standard 80g/m2. This gives the paper a very comfortable feel and distances it from the cheap material found in magazines. The lack of glazing prevents it from sticking on to sweaty hands and the ink will not come off when touched with grease. The thickness of the pages is comparable to high quality books making it perfect for extended reading sessions. The eggshell white of the pages make it easier to look at especially in highly luminous areas as it does not reflect the light. The issue is that due to the colour of the paper, none of the images are printed in colour as that would cause a stylistic clash. The printing quality is incredible as there is no sign of pixellisation due to the lack of white spots on the black and detail is retained as seen by some of the more complex illustrations and the older images that have their visible flaws intact. The cover is much thicker and possibly made from drawing paper. What is mind blowing is that since the cover is black, the images were obviously printed with a combination of white ink and other inks that one would not find a standard printer making the images really come to life. A gorgeous book to hold and to look at that sets it apart from other magasines in the style.

The header on each page consists of runes that enrich the occult experience found here and really confines the writing for readability. Different sets of runes are you used for each interview. The writing is perfectly aligned on the left with each letter starting on the same position except for when there is a change in paragraph but on the right side there are a lot of unjustified jumps which makes it harder to read. The summary is at the back of the book for some reason rather than the front which avoids convention and forcing the reader to consciously look at the back each time they want to read a specific interview. The introductions to each interviewee feature stunning feats of page layout as the words are assembled into various shapes or in the case of the Antaeus interview, printed upside down. Written in “Times New Roman” which is the standard for novels further distances this from other magazines. A lack of credits in the pictures makes it hard to find the sources for each image. The graphics frequently used here are were all conceived for the purpose of this issue and are not the simple ones found on the internet as they reflect images conjured by each interviewee. The major issues present with each interview is the lack of clarity on whether the interviewee is talking, Niklas addressing the reader or whether there are multiple people in the interview. Dashes appear when one interviewee is speaking though there is never more than one person in each interview, such a disregard for set standards can confuse the reader into believing that there are multiple people. On a more troubling note is the fact that Niklas’ thoughts appear in the same font as the individual being interviewed and are distinguished by a lack of a dash and a subtle alinea which does not strike the eye enough and regularly causes confusion.

The interviews feature a wide range of people including the very well known and controversial writer Graham Hancock, popular bands like Bölzer, Deströyer 666 and MGLA and underground heroes like Antaeus, No Fashion Records and Dr Schitz of Morbid. Each section change is lead in tone by the each interviewee as can be seen by MkM’s recounting the brutal hardships of being in Antaeus or Okoi Jones detailing the ideology and the process that led to their album Hero or Sadistik Exekution’s fixation on death and chaos in the bluntest terms in regards to their music. The main center of focus is the occult and the relationship each individual possesses with their non conventional beliefs. Graham Hancock expresses in the most eloquent manner his central thesis and the rejection of scientism and its reduction of all matter to tangible matter. Alexander of Phurpa details his obsession with power and the south east Asian philosophies that brought him to such beliefs. Niklas doesn’t refrain from asking the harder questions but doesn’t impose a specific direction allowing each band to completely express no matter how separated from reality they may be as seen by the mediocre Teitanblood attempting to channel the likes of Demoncy and Beherit into their music or Okoi Jones and his implementation of tonal vocals which in reality are flat and often out of key. Ignoring the quality of the artists present, each of them provides valuable insight into their world that they would not otherwise share. Little known Alvaro Lillo provides detailed insight into the world of a Chilean Hessian and the insanity of metal in such a country and great anecdotes on his journey as a musician. Criticism has been aimed at Bardo Methodology for being pretentious and attempting to over intellectualize these interviews. These claims are unfounded as there is never a moment of disconnection between the philosophical and ideological questions asked and the responses of each individual. For those that are not well versed in the practices and beliefs mentioned here, a bit of research is necessary but even without research the concepts discussed are never difficult to comprehend and always lead towards universally understood notions. Sometimes a lot of interesting ideas and anecdotes are passed over in order to attack more pressing matters as each person here has a lot to say and the whole book could have been much longer without any complaint from the reader. These include Dr Schitz using both his personal relationship with Dead and experience as a psychologist to shine light on the behaviour of the iconic frontman and Jon Nodveidt being released from jail and discovering that he has sold a hundred thousand Dissection records and then “demanding” for the rights of his music. The only real regret here is the lack of time discussed on the particularities of the music of these individuals made such as MkM not liking his vocals on the first two Antaeus albums or KK Warslut discussing his lyrics while foregoing his playing. Despite such omissions, each interview shows a depth of knowledge and more importantly references the minds and events that were formative to these individuals allowing the reader to tools necessary to delve deeper into the notions discussed.

The reasonable price and the deceptively large size of Bardo Methodology #1 in conjunction with the overall quality make this a great read. Though this will not teach anyone about occultism it remains an excellent complement to read in between other works as it bridges the small divide between music and philosophy without imposing a certain dogma. While the age of xeroxed “Zines” is over, Niklas Göransson leads the way in a new format that may lack the underground charm of yesteryears but replaces it with professionalism and passion for a craft that most metal media failed at. Bardo Methodology presents some of the best interviews in metal.

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12 thoughts on “Bardo Methodology #1”

  1. Rynathee says:

    Good gods. I offer you my services as an editor, free of charge.

  2. Eknhsm says:

    Just got a couple of issues. Great interviews. Well put together.

  3. papa bare says:

    Few things are more embarrassing than reading metal musicians trying to explain their saranic philosophy or approach to working dark magick in their music. Guys should just stick to the music. Metal is at the same level of art as comic books. Nothing wrong with that until you get deluded into pretending it’s anything besides what it is.

    There is however a particularly funny interview with the Black Funeral guy, as I recall, but I’d hardly call the spurts of amusement a worthy excuse to spend money on this.

    1. papa bare says:

      Yeah, yeah, typos. Dumb smart phones.

    2. Yes because Voltaire and Jules Verne were so profound. This notion of profundity in regards to art is absurd. The best art was made from emotion and the techniques utilized to convey such emotions. A few comic books are actually worth reading. V for Vendetta, Watchmen and Superman Red Son.

      1. papa bare says:

        Yes you misunderstood my point completely though. Utility of art is totally divorced from profundity, whatever that term may even mean.

        What’s bad is when people who create – what I will call here – “coarse” art (meaning work that is outside of the commercial mainstream and low-brow, such as pulp fantasy and horror films) imagine that their intellect and experience is at the level of the occultist, witch doctor, or mystic, and they play-act as if their Luciferian notions are radical innovations that mankind is simply to foolish en masse to comprehend. They are setting themselves up on a pedestal of their own shit.

        Of course I’m not knocking comics – I even like the lowest of the brow such as Spawn (Moore is borderline too artsy fartsy for me) – and of course I like metal, I’m only saying that the creators of those things are just that; creators of entertainment, not enlightened ubermenschen. Not a value judgment here just a critical observation.

      2. Billy Foss says:

        And who’s to say the techniques displayed therein don’t result in profundity?

        Also, you missed a spot: From Hell, Neonomicon, Providence, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, the Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing, Preacher, Garth Ennis’ Punisher MAX, Hellblazer, Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation, Fleischer/Aparo Spectre, Ostrander/Mandrake Spectre, Criminal, 100 Bullets, Hellboy, BPRD, Creepy and Eerie magazine, Mort Cinder, Corto Maltese, Akira, Domu, Berserk, Blade of the Immortal, Lone Wolf and Cub, the entire careers of Bernie Wrightson, Wallace Wood, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Frank Miller, Will Eisner, Mike Mignola, Alex Toth, Steve Ditko, Hugo Pratt, Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, Katsuhiro Otomo, Kentaro Miura, Tom Sutton, Richard Corben and Graham Ingels. That’s to name few; no doubt I missed dozens of other greats, but those are my personal favorites.

        1. papa bare says:

          Aye, Blade of the Immortal got me to take comic work seriously. As a lad it shattered my conception of what was possible to portray in that medium, which to my young American mind was established and limited by a lot of money grubbing serializations by incompetent slapdash creators. And Berserk is worthy art no matter how you approach it.

          I have always excused myself from checking into Swamp Thing but if it as the level of those others mentioned, I’ll have to finally dive in.

    3. “Metal is at the same level of art as comic books.”

      I understand and even hold this sentiment to a certain degree.

      However, even if this were the whole story, why would that necessarily preclude people working through Metal, Comics Books, Horror or any other “low art form” from having any Philosophical influences or Esoteric aims with their work?

      1. papa bare says:

        It doesn’t preclude such. See my above post regarding utiliy.

        I can clarify further on what is meant by utility: It is the capacity of a work to affect you emotionally, physiologically, and subconsciously. Art with this capacity affects your life trajectory (for better or worse.) Some comics and metal impact me in such a way, for the better (motivating, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, overall reinforcing mettle.)

        But the work should speak for itself. If the artists must go on and elaborate on the circumstances which impelled their creation then they are usually failing to tell the whole story in their art. Again see the Black Funeral example. Decent music but deficient in many ways, and it becomes evident that the creator was unprepared from the outset to express what he intended to express using just music. He wanted to be a cult leader, basically, and peddle his Randian nonsense, but ends up coming off as a pussy who is more interested in describing his self-inflicted victimhood for kvlt points.

        Contrast with the Paul Ledney interview in BM in which he just talks about recording and musician friends and regular rock band stuff. He’s said all he needs to in his music and doesn’t LARP as a shaman.

        All I’m really saying here is that the initial attitude and, for lack of better common descriptor, psychic velocity of an artist is revealed eventually when their music is examined and found proficient or lacking, but to read their navel gazing extrapolations leaves no doubt as to how clouded their own understanding of utility is or was from the beginning of their undertaking of whatever their chosen craft. And it happens that the BM interviews reveal a lot of that clouded understanding. Therefore for someone who understands utility, it is an embarrassing read.

        1. Flying Kites says:

          Ledney needs to jack-off more often on his live sets, as he’s been out there a whole bunch recently.

          1. first they came for the towel heads and i did not speak out says:

            okay fag

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