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Cuchulainn's Random Tangent Volume II
Harm.us - Death, Black, Doom and Gothic Metal WebZine, bandlist, cd reviews, interviews, mp3 and forum

It's time for installment two.

Black Metal and Black Metal fans

Beginning about a year ago, I started to give more and more aspects of metal a chance. Around this time I started diving headfirst into doom, deathdoom, and blackened death. The more I started listening to the latter, the more I really started enjoying the black metal portions. So I started to give more black metal a chance. I started listening to Emperor, Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Immortal, Satyricon, Lord Belial, early Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Shining, Watain, Darkthrone, early Graveworm, Enslaved, and etc. The funny thing is I used to despise black metal. The whole concept from the outside of this type of music was comical to say the least. I mean seriously even now looking at some of the stuff in black metal is pretty ridiculous even a fan must admit. Regardless, there are still many things about black metal that are either raises questions or I just flat out don't like.

First and foremost, why is shitty musical/sound quality good in a black metal band? I never understood how hearing something that sounded like it was recorded on cassette in someone's basement on analog was "tr00" or "kvlt". Personally, I enjoy music that is audible. Music that I can hear the bassline, a destructive blast beat, or how about even the lyrics? If the most important thing about black metal is the message which I've heard from bands countless times, why would the lyrics not be recognizable? And even for example, a band like Gorgoroth doesn't post their lyrics in booklets. Gorgoroth won't even allow their lyrics to be posted by lyrics sites online. OK, so what if no one knows what the hell Gaahl's saying? (Note: I'm not saying that this band in particular is inaudible because they are, I'm just questioning the whole of black metal artists that share the same mentality.)

Not to mention the fact that the more obscure a band is (i.e. the fact that you are the only person in the world who knows who the band is) the more black metal they are. Why is commercial viability so looked down upon in black metal? Blasphemer just wrote a great (and hilarious) article about black metal which I highly recommend where he blatantly states that commercially acceptable black metal is almost an oxymoron. I still really don't understand that to be honest. If bands want to spread their message to a wider audience and be successful in their craft wouldn't the goal be commercial success (without pandering to mainstream influences of course) if even in a lesser form? Who are you really going to spread your message to if no one knows who the hell you are?

Why are black metal fans some of the most bitter critics in the world to their own bands? This goes back to the whole "tr00" and "kvlt" thing as well, but black metal fans are more likely to disregard a band at the drop of a hat than open their ears and expand not only their personal musical mindset but also the parameters of the genre. Mayhem, as an example, and their album "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" is widely regarded as one of the best black metal albums ever written. However, if you follow their career, their albums "Chimera" and "Grand Declaration of War" are often shunned because of avantgarde influences as well as better production. It wasn't until "Ordo Ad Chao" (one of their worst sounding albums in my opinion) that Mayhem won back the fans they lost. Why can't black metal fans accept changes in their genre and accept progression as a natural part of art?

Now it comes to one of the biggest problems I have with black metal fans: their treatment of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. In my opinion, Dimmu Borgir produced one of the best black metal albums of all-time with "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" and Cradle of Filth (although I enjoy most of their later catalog) definitely expanded the genre with "Dusk and Her Embrace" and "Cruelty and the Beast". Black metal never before has seen the widespread support for any of the bands in their genre like what Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir have garnered. In turn that opened doors, especially this side of the Atlantic, to great bands that would've never been heard had it not been for the success of these bands. Both of these bands do not play your traditional black metal and perhaps that's the reason for most of the resistance they endure from black metal elitists. However, the symphonic and classical elements of both of these bands really pushed the genre as a whole to new heights. And please tell me that the compliment of traditional black metal and dark classical music is not a perfect union? I guess understanding the mentality of shunning these bands up and down in the black metal community is something that I will never understand. Without them, who knows where your genre would be.

I'm really starting to get into a ton of black metal, but I am hesistant to call myself a black metal fan for the fear of being pigeonholed as a stuck-up traditionalist. I will tell you one thing: I'm not "tr00", I'm not "kvlt", and I'm happy as hell about that. Because I'm not those things I've opened my ears enough to hear amazing bands such as the progressive Enslaved, the death-influenced Behemoth, the ferocious Belphegor, the suicidal black metal outfit Shining, the outstandingly produced Gorgoroth, not to mention the symphonic Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. I guess my main request to you black metal fan is open your ears. If you would do that, the black metal genre will grow by leaps and bounds. Do it not, and keep listening to horribly produced repititious crap that's been done a million times over.

April 22, 2008
Harm.us - Death, Black, Doom and Gothic Metal WebZine, bandlist, cd reviews, interviews, mp3 and forum
Harm.us - Death, Black, Doom and Gothic Metal WebZine, bandlist, cd reviews, interviews, mp3 and forum
Harm.us - Death, Black, Doom and Gothic Metal WebZine, bandlist, cd reviews, interviews, mp3 and forum
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