Thursday, February 20, 2014

My thoughts on "true" black metal

Black metal should have been left to die twenty years ago. Everything that needed to be said had been said by then, and everything since then has just been attention whoring with shitty music.

So-called "true" black metal, the way I see it, is even below the retro thrash and retro doom trends that have sprung up in recent years. The reason it is below those is because those two were just passing trends that a lot of people picked on one day and that were gone two or three years later. "True" black metal has been going on non-stop since all the way back in the early 1990s when the first bands began to imitate Darkthrone, Burzum, Mayhem and other big names. It has had nothing to say that was worth saying from the beginning and it remains unchanged in its monotonous inanity to this day. Why can't that fucking trend die like the others? It is as torturous as being force-fed Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste knock-offs for two decades. Why do people feel the need to play the same music that's been played a million times, paint themselves like clowns and moan about Satan or nihilism or whatever other shit they dig out the cliché box? Shut the fuck up, you're pathetic.

There is nothing "true" about this garbage. Dressing yourself up like Dead on the Live in Leipzig cover or Zephyrous on the A Blaze in the Northern Sky cover and calling yourself "true black metal" makes about as much sense as dressing yourself up like George Washington and calling yourself a "true freedom fighter". There is nothing fucking "true" about dressing up like those who were.

I get that albums like Under a Funeral Moon and Det Som Engang Var are really impressive. I get that a band of violent church burners and murderers playing such great music is a really captivating thought, too. And I get the psychological connection of wanting to be a part of this by association. I get all that because I can relate to the feeling, because I played black metal in the past, I did the music, the face-paint, the stereotypical lyrics, the unreadable logos, the tapes limited to half a copy, I can relate. However, once my body rid itself of the last remains of puberty hormones I quickly came to the realisation of how pathetic that whole circus really is. Think about it: You're taking something that was once great and making a cheap mockery of it. And you're making an ass of yourself in the process with your shitty music, painting yourself like a clown, copying logos, spewing random lyrics that have no worthwhile message, and so on. You're not going to become Varg, Fenriz, Dead or Euronymous in the process, you're only going to be a pathetic loser.

You're really pissing on a legacy here. It became hard to even listen to one of Darkthrone's classics without any association to the shit idiots like Kanwulf or Akhenaten played soon after springing up. You are defiling something that, despite the obvious hype making it seem bigger than it was, had a sense of grandeur and nobility to it, if left to stand as a monument to itself. You are the type of people who, seeing great achievements of civilisation such as the Great Pyramid would fuck it up by building a thousand of your own pyramids around it. Entering the pyramid, seeing the ancient hieroglyphs that have endured millennia, you would have nothing better to do than smear every wall inside the structure with your own hieroglyphs like urban ghetto gangta vandals. You're not "keeping the spirit alive", you are hammering nail after nail in its coffin with every note you steal from Transilvanian Hunger.

Then, to make it worse, you feel like you need to slap your own twist on it and pretend it's the "true spirit of black metal", making your band about suicide and proclaim that's what black metal was always about,  making your band about racial purity and proclaiming that's the "real" message of black metal from the start, or how about reading a few books on occultism and mangling the contents through a thesaurus? Yeah, you are really making a unique statement here, and always make sure yours is the only statement that reflects the spirit of black metal and everyone else gets it wrong, because you are the expert with your band formed in the 21st century shortly after you've heard your first black metal album. You and the thousands of other "true" black metal drones sounding just like you.

If something is great, you don't need to repackage it and sell it as your own. That's not "true". That's false. Appreciate the greatness of the original and leave it as a unique product of a unique set of people at a unique time. Because that's what it will ever be. The only actual "true" black metal is the black metal released up to 1994. What came after that is just a bunch of losers trying to get a piece of the glory-pie. Don't take part in it, don't support it, don't condone it, don't tolerate it, don't give it the time of day. Black metal is a rotting corpse thanks to you people. There's no need to further defecate on its grave, is there?


  1. To think black metal is still stuck in aping the Scandinavian scene is a really obsolete way of thinking. There are plenty of bands nowadays that have evolved their aesthetic far beyond what the Varg-wave black metal scene ever dreamed of achieving, to a point where the Norwegian scene is barely relevant anymore apart from the obvious historical heritage. The irritating presence of DSBM bands and crap acts such as Nargaroth and Judas Iscariot (does anyone even take them seriously anyway?) does not eliminate the fact that records such as 'L'Ordure à l'état Pur' and 'Golos stali' are among the most relevant metal records of the 21st century for a number of reasons.

  2. Maybe I'm mistaken but I get the impression that these days it's the Blasphemy-inspired "bestial war metal" style that's overpopulated with generic identikit clone bands, not the Scandinavian type of black metal.

  3. @degtyarov: I am sure plenty of bands developed something entirely new with the basic ingredients of black metal combined with new ideas. In fact, a few of the classic bands even did. Not referring to those in my post.

    I am referring explicitly to the army of "true" clones that bring in nothing of themselves and simply try to be part of something long past by association. And unfortunately, this is not obsolete. I actually spend quite a bit of time looking into new bands, and sad as it is, 95% or more of the stuff that comes out in black metal today is exactly the type I describe. In fact they are probably more common today than they were ten years ago.

    As for bands such as the ones you implied who evolved their own thing, I may or may not rant about them at some other time, though my knowledge on that particular subject is limited, I have always stayed away of bands who were claimed to be "evolving" black metal, each single one of the ones I heard turned out to be terrible, so the motivation to research the field further is not exactly immense.

  4. @Simon: It's the same thing with more spikes and less face-paint. Consider my post to apply to those bands as well, thought it was implied.

  5. Care at all for Spear of Longinus?

  6. I'm also sick of people still worshipping the Scandinavian scene like black metal is theirs. Norway is nothing compared to the current Polish scene.

  7. For the black metal forms he was talking about (and i guess the only ones to name "black metal" for him), it's absolutely true, every single word of the post.

    And all the considerations (or almost all), could go for many other styles of metal too.