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Thread: Alex Kurtagic on Black Metal- Conservative Revolution in Modern Pop Culture

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    Alex Kurtagic on Black Metal- Conservative Revolution in Modern Pop Culture

    Part 1:
    (Warning, this gets very, very long)


    From the viewpoint of racial nationalism, the musical genre known as Black Metal is one of the most significant popular culture phenomena of the last two decades. Yet it has been seldom discussed by politically congenial scholars and commentators. This is surprising, since Black Metal runs counter to the post-World War II trends toward the progressive marginalization, condemnation, and psychopathologization of overt racial consciousness among whites. It is even more surprising when one considers that Black Metal is inspired by and sustains the same cultural and literary traditions that inform modern racial nationalism. Moreover, Black Metal, by means of its highly stylized, frankly European aesthetics, offers an effective weapon operating at the all-important pre-rational level with which to counter the assault on white identity.
    I have written before about the need to create a parallel universe outside contemporary mainstream culture, and this involves not only choosing our own topics of scholarship, but anticipating their being defined through appropriation by the establishment’s own conformist scholars.[See Alex Kurtagic, “Mastery of Style Trumps Superiority of Argument,” TOQ Online, May 4, 2009, http://www.toqonline.com/2009/05/mastery-of-style/ and Alex Kurtagic, “I am not racist, but . . . ,” The Occidental Observer, June 7, 2009, http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net...tRacist.html.] I write, therefore, in hopes of introducing Black Metal as a topic of scholarly analysis within the anti-egalitarian tradition.
    Black Metal has not been entirely ignored by mainstream scholars. It is discussed, for example, in Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge by Keith Kahn-Harris, founder of the New Centre for Jewish Thought; in The Meaning and Purpose of Leisure: Habermas and Leisure at the End of Modernity, by Karl Spracklen; in Commodified Evil’s Wayward Children: Black Metal and Death Metal as Purveyors of an Alternative Form of Modern Escapism by Jason Foster; and in Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity, by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. It has also been discussed by a few popular writers, including Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, whose Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground is available from mainstream booksellers.
    While Moynihan and Søderlind rely on Jungian archetypes for what is otherwise a sensationalist and journalistic analysis of Black Metal, the other texts rely on analytical frameworks derived from the Freudo-Marxist scholastic tradition, which includes Marxist theorists like Louis Pierre Althusser, postmodernists like Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, critical theorists like Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, and so on. It is not difficult to see that interpretations of culture from these quarters, while containing many astute insights, are necessarily limited and distorted by the theorists’ unquestioning belief in equality as a good in itself, by their rejection of evolutionist insights as nefarious and ideological, and by their alienated—when not merely alien—attitudes towards traditional Western culture.
    The limitations and distortions built into this body of theory are exacerbated by its status in Western academia as the institutional orthodoxy, a closed universe of theory where alternative—e.g., inegalitarian, evolutionist—perspectives are rejected in advance as discredited, outmoded, prejudiced, or lacking in scholarly rigor. When the subject of study is a cultural phenomenon that explicitly rejects the first principles upon which such a body of theory is predicated, there is always the danger of analysis degenerating into moralizing incomprehension.
    What is Black Metal? Black Metal is a radical outgrowth of Heavy Metal. During the 1980s bands playing commercialized forms of Heavy Metal entered the mainstream, attaining lofty positions in the music charts and selling millions of albums. This prompted “fundamentalist” elements within the Heavy Metal scene to reclaim it as an underground praxis by developing extreme variants of the Heavy Metal sound, perceived to be more in tune with the genre’s original anti-commercial and countercultural values.[See Deena Weinstein, Heavy Metal: The Music And Its Culture (New York: Da Capo Press, 2000).] Black Metal was one such variant. It is deemed “Black” Metal because it originally defined itself in terms of Satanic and occult themes and aesthetics.
    Black Metal does not sound like Heavy Metal. Both musical forms rely on the same core sonic components (guitar, bass, drums, and vocals); both are characterized by sonic intensity, extreme vocal performances, and the use of heavily amplified, distorted guitars. Heavy Metal musicians, however, tend to favor predictable song structures (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse, chorus), as well as sung/screamed, melodic vocals. In addition, Heavy Metal guitarists, although often incorporating influences from classical music in their style, play in a manner that still evinces Heavy Metal’s roots in Rhythm and Blues. Heavy Metal lyrics tend to deal with relatively superficial matters associated with youth: love, growing up, sex, rebellion, fun, drinking, etc.
    Black metal, on the other hand, is much darker and much more extreme, favoring a rawer, noisier, and much harsher guitar sound; unpredictable song structures; classically-influenced melodies that suggest grimness, mysticism, sorrow, and misanthropic hatred; and inhuman, demonic screeches for vocals, unintelligible and heavily reverberated. In addition, Black Metal lyrics tend to be serious and arcane, dealing with the occult, pre-Christian mythology, pagan pride, war, misanthropy, genocide, and hatred of Christianity.
    Black Metal also significantly differs from Heavy Metal aesthetically. Black Metal favors black above any color. Black Metal logos tend to be tortuous and elaborate, almost always unreadable, and laden with occult and/or pagan symbols, such as runes, swastikas, inverted crosses, pentagrams, and mjölnirs. Tortuous “blacklettering” (gothic letters) are nearly ubiquitous. Musicians use esoteric mythological stage names and obscure their faces with corpse-like black and white face paint. They appear on their albums in nocturnal, wooded, mediaeval, and/or wintry settings, clad in studded black leather and laden with bandoliers. It is not uncommon for the most extreme and misanthropic Black Metal bands to engage in self-mutilation (usually with hunting knives, around the arms and torso) and to have themselves photographed covered in blood after having performed such acts. The object is always to create images likely to inspire fear and horror among observers in the cultural mainstream—although this is merely “preaching to the choir,” of course, an effort to distinguish themselves as radically as possible from the despised “mainstream,” for otherwise Black Metal is nearly invisible outside its subcultural milieu.
    Origins of Black Metal
    Early Black Metal bands were Bathory, from Sweden, and Venom, from England. Venom are credited with inventing the term “Black Metal,” which first appeared as the title of their 1981 album. Bathory, however, proved far more influential. Although Bathory’s early works were dominated by Satanic themes and aesthetics, these were gradually displaced by the infusion of elements from classical music (particularly the Romantic period) and a growing fascination with pre-Christian Scandinavian mythology and history. Albums like Blood Fire Death (1989), Hammerheart (1991), and Twilight of the Gods (1992) eventually inspired the development of an entire new genre, now known as Viking Metal.
    Similarly influential was the Swiss trio, Hellhammer, and its subsequent incarnation, Celtic Frost. Hellhammer was a prototype of such 1980s outgrowths of Heavy Metal as Thrash Metal, Death Metal, and Black Metal, but cannot be categorized as any one of them. Through their highly poetic and esoteric lyrics and increasingly elaborate musical compositions (peaking in 1987’s Into the Pandemonium), Hellhammer/Celtic Frost pioneered the transformation of Metal music into a sophisticated popular art form.
    At a time when Heavy Metal seemed preoccupied mostly with base, low-brow, hedonistic excess (beer, girls, partying), Celtic Frost’s albums dealt with gods and ancient civilizations, and Bathory’s with Asatru, Vikings, and World War II. The British Thrash Metal band, Skyclad, was also significant, instigating the development of Folk Metal, a genre which incorporates traditional Folk music into a Black Metal framework, and whose musicians have links to the Black Metal and Viking Metal scenes.
    Modern Black Metal has long ceased to be characterized purely by Satanism. Indeed, since the late 1980s, some Black Metal musicians have self-consciously refused to be defined by a foreign (i.e., non-European) monotheistic tradition. There is no Satan, however, without Christianity. By defining itself against Christianity, Satanism merely inverts Christian values instead of rejecting them altogether and embracing an authentically European worldview.
    Many Black Metal musicians have, as a result, recognized the superficiality and ultimate futility of continuing “the war against (Judeo-) Christianity” which was central to Black Metal scene during the early and mid 1990s. Moreover, and at least partly in consequence, Black Metal has long since splintered into a variety of vehemently pagan subgenres, such as the abovementioned Viking Metal and Folk Metal, and—the most radical of all—National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM).
    You can find all three parts here
    http://www.toqonline.com/blog/black-metal-1/
    http://www.toqonline.com/blog/black-metal-2/
    http://www.toqonline.com/blog/black-metal-3/

    I find it quite ineteresting, however, even though certain black metal bands may be -consciously or not- reacting against Anti-Germanicisim, 99% of 'black-metallers' I have met are more or less interested in getting drunk and looking evil.
    Let truth and falsehood grapple...truth is strong-
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    These articles have been posted before


    Black Metal is a European phenomenon, and when you want to discuss it, then please dont do it from the perspective of American consuments. I recommend reading the second part of the article some more times to maybe develop a grasp on what it is that is behind. What is to be discussed is the Artists and their Ideologies.

    I remain sort of wary towards Kurtagic though, because he's of the "New Right" fraction, where you never know what they really stand for. Still, his take on the German(ic) Awakening is, while short, not bad.
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