Thursday, July 3, 2014

I suppose, in retrospect….

My words about "Transcendental Black Metal" earlier left out some important details, yea?

Like exactly WHAT I was ranting about?

Firstly, peep this:  Transcendental Black Metal (It's on page 53, though if you're here you'll probably enjoy the rest as well)….it assumes that you have some reasonable depth of knowledge about the black metals (at least in the Scandinavian sense), and I rather like it. It's all true, or at least not wrong, despite what the journalists and fans have had to say….pretentious, of course. But sincere enough I think, mainly because it seems to come from the romantic angle of having loved and loss -or maybe from experiencing a loss of faith?- rather than from an outsider, dissectionary observation. Goes to show that evolution can't be stopped, even if it can be diverted. When even a band (there was a point when I'd say the entire genre, but I think that idea has nearly gone with the wind) so vehemently against evolution and change as was Deathspell Omega originally, was eventually caught out experimenting (in an interview in or around 2000 they said breaking with tradition and musically or lyrically experimenting should be "punishable by torture"), then what is left but to toss all notions of any original or objective truth aside eh? At this point, the bands that DON'T experiment are the ones that are being left behind….Dimmu Borgir still claws their fingers bloody on the story of Lucifer, and Cradle of Filth haven't been relevant in a decade at least….

"Out of pure spite we pretty much always said the opposite of what the other said, no matter what they said, only to mark distance. That's how we ended up calling ourselves Satanists, despite the fact that we absolutely were not. There was not a single Satanist in the whole Black Metal scene in Norway in 1991-92." - Varg Vikernes

In this environment of permissiveness, Liturgy's "transcendence" loses a lot of lustre for me. It is exceptional as a mission statement for their specific genre-fracturing moment….but as some kind of statement on the state of black metal (even at the time of it's writing, which is admittedly quite in the past considering the acceleration of the evolution and fracturing of metal genres in the last 10 years or so), I feel like it just misses the forest for it's particular tree. It isn't enough to simply turn 180 degrees and go opposite the direction you were walking! What about what is on either side of the path? Below or above it? What about the bird that alights for half a second on the path, picks at the dirt, and flits away? What about the person unaware of the existence of a path that stumbles out of the trees, crosses the path, and keeps on walking? Or the same person stopping and marveling at the fact that here is a perfectly worn path, carefully plotted and heavily trod, and deciding to stop their romp through the woods to see where it leads?

"I quite enjoy this genre for its underlying irony: You have to be alive to play it and listen to it." - Henry Rollins

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