HELVETE

A }OURNAL OF BLACK METAL THEORY




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Winiei :oi¸
HELVETE
A }OURNAL OF BLACK METAL THEORY
!""#$ &' !()*+*,
Winiei :oi¸

ISSN: :¸:6-6S¸X

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EDITORS
Amelia Islmael
Zaieen Piice
Aspasia Sieplanou
Ben Woodaid

LAYOUT EDITOR
Andiew Doiy



liip:]]cieaiivecommons.oig]licenses]by-nc-nd]¸.o]

Publisled by
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Bioollyn, New Yoil
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ISBN-i¸: qyS-o6i¸y¸S:S:
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DILATION
EDITOR’S PREFACE

Zareen Price

Tbe open Joor onJ qopinq sboJowy bolls stonJ wiJe in colJ splenJor of morble onJ
stone } AnJ from pulpits oppeor foces tbot store, cruel mockeries of tbe closest in life
now qone
i

Tlis is an opening.
Tlese aie ile fiisi woids, ile opening iexi, of a piojeci I conceived laie in ile winiei
of :oii. Meloncoloqy, ile second iieiaiion of ile Blacl Meial Tleoiy Symposium, lad
iecenily oozed iliougl London, and ile inieinei-luiling undeigiound's immune ieaciion
io ile inieimingling of Blacl Meial and ileoiy was seemingly ai iis mosi capiious. In a
way, ile foiumiies and blog commenieis weie iigli: Blacl Meial ileoiy is an infeciion in
dangei of becoming an epidemic. Bioollyn's HiJeous Gnosis was paiieni zeio, and Dublin's
P.E.S.T. las biougli ile couni of infecied io iliee. Bui ilese weie ielaiively coniiolled
enviionmenis, bounded io a paiiiculai poini in space and iime÷Helvete is a meiasiasizing
ageni ilai ilieaiens io spiead iliougl ile venous pailways of ile inieinei.
Tlis is an opening. Ii is a ieai in ile slin, siieicling widei and widei io expose ile
eisiwlile sieiile caviiies of ile body. Tle infeciion enieis. Bui wlose slin is ioin? Wlo is
ile infecioi? Wlo is infecied? Tle web is awasl wiil a iepeaied answei: Blacl Meial
ileoiy is ile infeciion of Blacl Meial by ileoiy; ii is ile biuial viviseciion of Blacl Meial's
leieiofoie incoiiupi body.
ZAREEN PRICE
:
Heie we lave only lalf of one side of ile wiong sioiy. Insiead, we slould obseive
low, even if only in ideal cases, Blacl Meial and ileoiy inieipeneiiaie. Tley aie lile iwo
quesiioning iclneumon wasps bonded in coiial embiace, speaied upon eacl oilei's
alloyed oviposiiois, eacl deposiiing puiiefying seeds inio ile oilei's body. Tley aie no
longei individuals, bui neiilei aie iley ideniical now ilai iley aie foicibly conjoined in
nigiedo. As ile masilead ai Block Metol Tbeory iniones: "Noi blacl meial. Noi ileoiy. Noi
noi blacl meial. Noi noi ileoiy."
:
Sianding fai fiom pieiensions io devise some Giand
Unified Tleoiy of Blacl Meial, ile piaciiiionei of Blacl Meial ileoiy engages in ile
mutuol blaclening of ileoiy and Meial.
l open tbe Joors to tbe otber siJe onJ step beyonJ mortolity
¸

Wiil ile publicaiion of lncipit, I lave moved fiom concepiion io piegnancy io biiil.
Tle wasps' bodies lave been lollowed oui as ileii clildien lave gluiied on oigans iley
ioo aie developing, and finally ile laivae emeige. Lile ile wasps, ile vaiied woils in ilis
volume lave consumed me. My body is opened, I am pouied oui in piini. I mingle now
wiil ile auilois and aiiisis wlose iexis and images follow. Wlile ciiiics may call ilis
veniuie a lipsiei's fad, Ovid ieminds us÷and ile massive iedundancy of ile piinied and
digiial veisions of ilis jouinal assuie us÷we siep beyond ouiselves and inio ile iexi, and
ile iexi males us immoiial. Helvete is ile sign of a fulfilled piomise: Blacl Meial ileoiy
will noi die.
And so ilis is an opening. Tle poiial gapes, and we cioss fiom one side io ile oilei.
Ii is a dooi iliougl wlicl many fuiilei iieiaiions of Blacl Meial ileoiy may eniei. Ii
inviies possession. In iuin, possession inviies meiamoiplosis.
Helvete, I lope, will clange. My sloii ienuie leie las iaugli me a gieai deal aboui
oiganizing and pioducing a publicaiion. Mucl of ilis is mundane, bui I expeci io apply
ilese lessons wiil a paiiiculai eye io publisling moie woils ilai fall ouiside ile puiview
of ile esiablisled academic genies. We aie a paia-academic jouinal! We slould noi be
belolden io iigid and aibiiiaiy noims, bui iailei we slould use oui fieedom io encouiage
fecund expeiimeniaiion. Tle jouinal's fuiuie, ilen, is open, awaiiing only ile inieiveniion
of wlaievei foices oi unclean spiiiis may eniei io fuiilei blaclen iis pages.
No beqinninq, no enJ } VorJs beyonJ worJs } leoJ us in } Acts beyonJ octs
(

Ciiiics and suppoiieis alile lave oveilooled ilis waiiing poieniial, and ilus iley iend
io appioacl Blacl Meial ileoiy as meiely ile pioduciion of dense, somnoleni academic
iexis aboui Blacl Meial. Alilougl ilis is ceiiainly an aspeci of Blacl Meial ileoiy, ii is noi
DILATION: EDITOR'S PREFACE

¸
ile wlole, as ii iepiesenis only ile blaclening of ileoiy by Meial÷oi, in ile woisi cases,
ile meie impiisonmeni of Meial in ileoiy. Blacl Meial ileoiy is a piaciice composed of
many possible componeni piaciices. Ii is an aiiisiic piaciice, a musical piaciice, a liieiaiy
piaciice, a ileoieiical piaciice. Wlen ii comes io us as ileoiy, iis woids aie an occuli
inieiveniion, ile acis of ileoiy possessed by ile ouisidei spiiii of Meial. Wlen ii comes as
music, iis dissonani clangs and sliieled lyiics summon foiil ile dail avaiais of ileoiy io
launi us. Ii acis÷upon us, yei mosily upon iiself.
Blacl Meial ileoiisis iejeci any appioacl ilai piivileges one of ilese piaciices above
iis fellows, and we especially iefuse io counienance any call io ieiuin io ile music iiself.
Blacl Meial ileoiy is an impuie piaciice, aiming io desiioy ile iniegiiiy of Meial and
ileoiy's pioieciive membianes. Tleie is no essence, bui only an opening. Wlaievei
demonic oi unclean foices ilai may lodge ilemselves wiilin aie welcome.
Beai ilis in mind as you pass iliougl ilis opening and move onwaid io ile squalling
pages ilai follow. Siaive ile inclinaiion io caiegoiize a given woil of Blacl Meial ileoiy as
"iiue" oi "false," and insiead allow youiself io be caugli up in ile piaciice. As I lave said
elsewleie and seemingly in anoilei life, ile iesulis of ilis expeiimeni cannoi be lnown in
advance. Leap iliougl ile opening. Tasie and see.
¸


! ! !

A woid oi iwo of ilanls aie in oidei. Many, many people coniiibuied io geiiing Helvete io
piini. Fiisi and foiemosi, I am giaieful io ilis volume's coniiibuiois foi ialing a leap of
faiil and joining ilis liiile enieipiise. Tle same goes foi Eileen }oy and lei siaff ai
puncium bools÷ii is a biave publislei ilai iales on sucl an offbeai piojeci in iis youil. A
leaiiy ilanls also io oui ediioiial advisoiy boaid foi ileii commenis and suggesiions, and
in paiiiculai io Nicola Masciandaio foi encouiaging me io siaii ile jouinal. Fuiileimoie, I
am indebied io my co-ediiois, Amelia Islmael, Aspasia Sieplanou, and Ben Woodaid.
Wiiloui youi dedicaiion and occasional willingness io piod me bacl io life, ilis dead moie
of iocl we'ie flying on may nevei lave been subjecied io Helvete. To all of you meniioned
above, ilis jouinal is as mucl youis as ii is mine÷I lope you can be pioud of ii.
Zaieen Piice
Poiiland, :oi:


('&*-
i
Negaiive Plane, "Angels of Veiled Bone," StoineJ Gloss Revelotions (Tle Ajna Offensive, :oii).
ZAREEN PRICE
(
:
Nicola Masciandaio, Block Metol Tbeory, liip:]]blaclmeialileoiy.blogspoi.com. Deiails aboui all
iliee Blacl Meial ileoiy symposia meniioned above can also be found leie.
¸
Abigoi, "Uiopia Consumed," Cbonnelinq tbe Quintessence of Soton (Napalm Recoids, iqqq).
(
Dodsengel, "Toweis of Deiinluyu," lmperotor (Baiglesi and Teiiaiui Possessions, :oi:).
¸
Zaieen Piice, "You Weie Talling Aboui a Blacl Meial Tleoiy; Wlai ile Fucl Is Tlai!!!," Tbe
licbentbrope, Apiil (, :oii, liip:]]ilelicleniliope.blogspoi.com]:oii]o(]you-weie-ialling-aboui-
blacl-meial.liml.






OPEN A VEIN
SUICIDAL BLACK METAL AND ENLIGHTENMENT
1


Janet Silk

Blacl Meial was boin in suicide. Tle image of Pei Yngve Ollin (ala Dead) on ile iqq¸
album covei of Maylem's Down of tbe Block Heorts, lis blown-oui biains oozing oui of lis
slaiieied slull, is an icon ilai foiesladowed ile emeigence of Suicidal Blacl Meial (SBM)
bands wlo sliii ile edge beiween ideaiion and aciion.
:
Foi bands sucl as Slining, Male a
Clange . . . Kill Youiself, and I Slali Become, suicide and self-laim aie cailexes; deail is
ile uliimaie life lesson÷we musi iefleci on ii, embiace ii . . . and do ii. Albeii Camus
aiiiculaies in Tbe Mytb of Sisypbus, "Tleie is bui one iiuly seiious plilosoplical pioblem
and ilai is suicide."
¸
Wiilin ile bioad speciium of plilosoplical posiiions wlicl Blacl
Meial iepiesenis (sucl as nililism, exisieniialism, saianism, and abjeciion) is SBM's
celebiaiion of self-desiiuciion. Wlai migli be ile funciion of ilis celebiaiion?
Enliglienmeni is ofien desciibed as an awalening of consciousness ilai is susiained.
Ii is a siaiion oi place of insigliful awaieness aboui ile naiuie of iealiiy. Tle Sansliii and
Pali woid boJbi means "awalened," and wiilin many Buddlisi piaciices ilis siaie can be
aciivaied iliougl mediiaiion on deail.
(
Paiiial self-buiial (digging and sleeping in one's
own open giave) and foicing oneself io gaze upon a coipse aie classic deail awaieness
piaciices.
¸
As we coniemplaie oui moiialiiy, we may come io undeisiand ile meaning of
oui exisience. By exiension, suicide is ile ancieni playgiound wleie eacl individual can
exploie and coniesi lis oi lei own deail. As Aiilui Sclopenlauei siaies: "Suicide may
}ANET SILK
6
also be iegaided as an expeiimeni÷a quesiion wlicl man puis io Naiuie, iiying io foice
lei io answei. Tle quesiion is ilis: Wlai clange will deail pioduce in a man's exisience
and in lis insigli inio ile naiuie of ilings?"
6
Fiom ilis peispeciive, an individual wlo
siiuggles wiil oi decides io suicide las ile poieniial io aiiain self-lnowledge, wisdom, and
puipose.
Accounis of enliglienmeni aie infused wiil iianscendenial and ecsiaiic language. Foi
example, Evelyn Undeilill in Mysticism iniioduces ieims sucl as Absoluie Realiiy, Tle
Tianscendenial Woild, and Undiffeieniiaied Life. Aldous Huxley, in Tbe Doors of
Perception, wiiies of ile Cleai Ligli of ile Void, ile Innei Ligli, and Unmiiigaied Realiiy.
y

Oilei expiessions use "ligli" meiaplois sucl as "io see ile ligli," "io gaze on ien suns
slining," "io be suiiounded in wliie ligli," "io be guided by ile ligli," oi io encouniei
wliiening, flasling, ebbing ligli. So, alilougl Slining's vocalisi Nillas Kvaifoiil denies
any specific ieligious iopic in ile band's music, ii is significani ilai le las desciibed ile
band's name io mean "ile pail io enliglienmeni."
S
Also, Kvaifoiil claims ilai le siaiied
io exploie desiioying limself plysically and psyclologically ai a veiy young siage in lis
life, in oidei "io bieal all ile boideis and io fucl myself up io gei io a liglei level."
q
Tlis
is analogous io many lieiaiclically oiganized spiiiiual iiadiiions wleie a peison siiives io
aiiain enliglienmeni in siages, ofien iliougl a seiies of paiiiculai piaciices oi exeicises
wlicl may involve self-inflicied plysical pain, self-denial, and self-ioiiuie.
Accoiding io }ames Hillman, auiloi of SuiciJe onJ tbe Soul, self-lnowledge is ile
esseniial moiivaiion foi suicide. He siaies, "Suicide is pie-judged by ile medical mode of
ilougli . . . ii can be undeisiood medically only as a sympiom, an abeiiaiion, an
alienaiion, io be appioacled wiil ile poini of view of pieveniion."
io
Railei ilan negaie
suicide as pailology, le asls wlai ii means io ile psycle; le believes ilai suicide is an
aiiempi io iiansfoim ile soul. Tle diive io lill oneself is ieally a demand foi an encouniei
wiil absoluie iealiiy÷a demand foi a piofound oveiiliow of daily life.
Tlis encouniei iequiies planning and ieleaisal. Siiiing quieily one visualizes ile
scene: ile iigli ouifii, ile ligliing, and ile ambience. Wlai will ile noie say? Wlai iools
aie needed? Is ile bai in ile closei ligl enougl? Rope oi wiie? Razoi blades aie messy,
bui cuiiing is seduciively and siiangely appealing, and seeing one's own blood is
inioxicaiing. By ieplaying and iewiiiing ile scene, one exeiis coniiol ovei one's deail.
Suicide is an escape clause in ile coniiaci of life, a fiee zone wleie one can iejeci oi affiim
deail. By playing wiil ile cloice io live oi die, eacl momeni is iipe wiil meaning. As
Camus siaies, "}udging wleilei life is oi is noi woiil living amounis io answeiing ile
fundamenial quesiion of plilosoply."
ii
Tle suicidal peison wanis io use deail foi a
puipose. Tlis seaicl foi puipose becomes giound zeio foi diveigeni ievoluiionaiy acis,
many suppoiied by an ideology ilai accepis self-lilling as a spiiiiual oi mysiical eveni and
OPEN A VEIN


y
as evidence of one's aliiuism. Some piaciices wiilin Malayana Buddlism, Islam, and
Cliisiianiiy ioleiaie an individual's cloice foi self-annililaiion foi vaiious ieasons
including poliiical pioiesi, saciificial devoiion, and coniemplaiive ienunciaiion.
i:

In pioiesi againsi ile Ngô Ðinl Di!m adminisiiaiion's peisecuiion of Buddlisis, on
}une ii, iq6¸, ile Souil Vieinamese Malayana Buddlisi monl Tlicl Qu"ng Ð#c buined
limself io deail in ile middle of a busy Saigon ioad inieiseciion. His self-immolaiion
gaineied woildwide media coveiage and exaceibaied ile downfall of ile Di!m iegime.
Howevei, Tlicl Qu"ng Ð#c's aciion was noi unpiecedenied. Hisioiically, oidinaiy men
and women, as well as monls and nuns, lave embiaced self-immolaiion foi boil poliiical
pioiesi and in oidei io lonoi Guaiama Buddla.

One aspeci of Malayana Buddlism is
ilai, besides self-libeiaiion, ii is impoiiani foi followeis io lelp oilei seniieni beings. In
ilis coniexi, buining oneself is an aci of saciifice and love foi ile gieaiei good of
lumaniiy. Self-desiiuciive aciions aie iefiamed accoiding io a peison's compassionaie
inieniion.
Anoilei moie ieceni incidence of self-immolaiion occuiied in Tunisia on Decembei
iy, :oio, wlen Molamed Bouazizi, an unemployed, college giaduaie wlo was iiying io
woil as a siieei vendoi, sei limself on fiie as a iesuli of lis fiusiiaiion wiil ile municipal
officeis wlo lad laiassed lim and confiscaied lis waies. Bouazzi's despeiaie aciion is
ciediied as ile caialysi foi violeni couniiy-wide pioiesis againsi Piesideni Zine al-Abidine
Ben Ali's goveinmeni, wlicl foiced Ben Ali and lis family io flee ile couniiy a monil
laiei. Tle Tunisian upiising seived as inspiiaiion foi demonsiiaiions and ievoluiions ilai
lave spiead iliougloui ile Middle Easi. Afiei Bouazizi's suicide, a wave of copycai self-
immolaiions coniinues io bloom, adding a ione of bloody pailos io wlai is ofien cleeiily
iefeiied io as "Tle Aiab Spiing" oi "Tle Aiab Awalening."
i(

Suicide bombing is a fusion of offeiing up one's life foi a cause and foicing people io
wale up io an oppiessive iealiiy. Willelm Sielel (Ausiiian plysician, psyclologisi, and
siudeni of Fieud) iemailed, "No one lills limself wlo las nevei wanied io lill anoilei, oi
ai leasi wisled ile deail of anoilei."

Wisling foi ile deail of a paiiiculai peison oi
gioup, ile suicide bombei iages againsi ile social injusiice inflicied by ile enemy. Tle
bombei is boil viciim and muideiei and paiadoxically scieams, "I'll die and ilen you'll be
soiiy." Tle lope is io suivive÷if noi in body, ilen in spiiii÷and io wiiness ile enemy's
suffeiing. Tle Palesiinian Sunni Islamic poliiical paiiy Hamas (an Aiabic woid foi "zeal" oi
"enilusiasm") las long advocaied suicide bombings. Reciuiis aie assuied ileii place in
Paiadise and ieveied as maiiyis afiei ileii deail. Tle blood of maiiyis liglis ile way, and
Hamas's ileioiic is imbued wiil admoniiions ilai woids iemain dead uniil people aie
willing io die foi ile cause. Tle famed Palesiinian Islamisi Abdullal Yusuf Azzam wiiies,
"Gloiy does noi build iis lofiy edifice excepi wiil slulls; lonoi and iespeci cannoi be
}ANET SILK

S
esiablisled excepi on a foundaiion of ciipples and coipses."
i6
Tlose wlo enlisi as sbobeeJs
(maiiyis) imagine ile laudaiions afiei ile bombing mission, faniasize aboui ile iespeci
and ieveience ilai will be lavisled on ileii families, and lope io be iole models foi oileis
on ile pail io gloiy.
Poieniial suicide bombeis desciibe a sense of elaiion oi of being uplified wlen le oi
sle decides io become a sbobeeJ oi sbobeeJo. Tleie is an ecsiaiic camaiadeiie in ile face
of deail÷eacl bombei lnowing ilai le oi sle will iale lis oi lei place on ile iosiei of
gieai Maiiyis÷and deail is a lind of iioply. A sbobeeJ ieleaises lis deail lovingly, as
many iimes as possible, and ieflecis on ii wiil seiene lappiness. Noi unlile an asceiic
spiiiiual exeicise, a mocl buiial may be peifoimed and a would-be maiiyi may be
iempoiaiily inieiied in an empiy giave, eiilei alone oi wiil comiades.
iy
A feeling of
ienewal is eained by oveicoming ile naiuial feai of deail, and many suicide suivivois
iepoii a feeling of claiiiy and even a ienewed zesi foi life.
iS
As explained by Slafiqa, a failed
suicide bombei, "Ii iool me a long iime io decide . . . Ii was wondeiful io say good-bye io
life. I feli lile I was up in ile clouds fiom ile momeni I lnew I was going io be a
slaleeda."
iq
Accoiding io Hamas, ileie aie pleniy of people enilusiasiically enlisiing foi
ile oppoiiuniiy io blow ilemselves up, and iley insisi ilai iley only ieciuii people wlo
aie "noimal"÷noi suicidal oi depiessed. Suicide bombeis musi lave puie moiives, open
leaiis, and a desiie foi Allal.
:o

Mulammad Aiia is consideied ile iingleadei of ile Sepiembei ii, :ooi ieiioiisi
aiiacls againsi ile Uniied Siaies. His infamous documeni "Tle Lasi Nigli" is a seiies of
iemindeis io lis comiades, mosily piesciipiions and quoiaiions fiom ile Qui'an, Islamic
Slaii'al Law, and Sunnal (ieaclings fiom ile life of Mulammad).
:i
Riiualisiic iiadiiions
aie iecommended along eacl siep of ile lasi jouiney, sucl as ile need io slave body laii
and weai cologne, io lave slaipened lnives, io male suie one's piivaies aie coveied, io
weai piopei socls and sloes, io ilinl well of one's bioileis, io piay and iemembei Allal
in ile iaxi and aiiplane, and io male suie ilai ile losiages aie slauglieied comfoiiably
(as is ile piaciice foi Islamic animal slaugliei lnown as Jbobibob). Ii also slaies advice
ilai, in ile end, ii is impeiaiive io be calm and opiimisiic:

You slould feel compleie iianquiliiy, because ile iime beiween you and youi
maiiiage |in leavenj is veiy sloii. Afieiwaids begins ile lappy life, wleie God is
saiisfied wiil you, and eieinal bliss in ile company of ile piopleis, ile
companions, ile maiiyis and ile good people, wlo aie all good company. Asl
God foi lis meicy and be opiimisiic, because |ile Piopleij, peace be upon lim,
used io piefei opiimism in all lis affaiis.
::


OPEN A VEIN


q
Tlese siaiemenis aie lile ilose fiom an enliglienmeni-seeling aspiiani wlo lopes io
aiiive ai a lappy, calm, and expansive siaie.
Tleie aie many examples of ieligious maiiyis (Dead las been called a iocl-siai
maiiyi) wlo seel leigliened siaies of consciousness and iecondiie lifesiyles; iley uige
lumaniiy io find auileniiciiy in a sea of illusions.

Tlis condemnaiion of ile maieiial
woild÷in coniiasi io ile laudaiion of a luminous leaven oi ile veneiaiion of an
illuminaied alieied siaie÷can be found in many spiiiiual ideologies, some piiiing ile body
againsi ile soul oi spiiii: ile flesly body becomes subjeci io muiilaiion and desiiuciion foi
ile sale of some liglei puipose. Tle ceniial figuie of Cliisiianiiy, }esus Cliisi, is a peifeci
example of ilis; lis submission io ciucifixion and ioiiuie foi ile sale of lumaniiy's
salvaiion was ile penuliimaie saciifice ilai biiiled a ieligion.
:(
Laiei, so many willing
maiiyis followed lis example ilai ile Cluicl faileis became conceined and debaied ile
eilics of suicide foi iliee ceniuiies.

Cliisiianiiy, lile Islam, ieacles ilai eaiilly exisience
is a giim pielude io ile faniasiical, psycledelic, exalied woild ilai gieeis believeis afiei
iley die; ilis ceiiainly offeis an inceniive foi maiiyidom, oi ai leasi males saciificial self-
lilling an lonoiable opiion.
:6
Tliougl maiiyidom a peison becomes loly; ile aci can be
boil puiifying and ievoluiionaiy.
Tle maiiyi's ileaiei ieveals ile benefiis of self-muiilaiion and ile iewaids foi
cloosing plysical oi spiiiiual deail in oidei io aiiain someiling giandei ilan life.
Tliougl lis masoclisiic self-ioiiuie, Saini Simeon Siyliies (one of ile mosi famous
stylitoe, oi "pillai-leimiis") sei an example foi clionic suicide as a ioad io spiiiiual
advancemeni. He siood on one leg foi a yeai, aiop a sixiy-fooi pillai ilai was exposed io
ile elemenis, wlile ile oilei leg muslioomed inio soies filled wiil pus and woims. Saini
Simeon would asl people io pui any fallen woims bacl in, coaxing ile woims io "eai wlai
God las given you."
:y
Gusiave Flaubeii's Saini Anilony boasied, "ilose wlo aie
decapiiaied, ioiiuied wiil ied loi pinceis, oi buined alive, aie peilaps less meiiioiious
ilan I, seeing ilai my wlole life is bui one piolonged maiiyidom."
:S
Tleie aie numeious
accounis of Cliisiians wlo begged io be maiiyied iliougloui ile lisioiy of ancieni Rome.
Because deail was only of ile body, noi of ile soul, iley would iusl io ile pagan judges,
pioclaiming ileii faiil, and wlen senienced, iley would lold lands and sing as iley faced
ile lions in ile Colosseum. Tle ciowd beais wiiness io ile passion of Cliisiian faiil,
ennobling iis cieed, and inspiiing believeis. Tle Cliisiian maiiyi conqueis deail÷ile
body is only a means io an end, a velicle foi ile maiiyi's desiies.
SBM's ilemes, sucl as self-muiilaiion and ile ienunciaiion of life, ielaie io some of
ile ascendani aspiiaiions of ieligious suicide. Male a Clange . . . Kill Youiself inviies ile
lisienei:
}ANET SILK
io
My gieai salvaiion lies wiilin
Tlis suicidal mind of mine.
}oin me in ilis wicled siaie of suicide.
:q

Tlis ienunciaiion ieflecis concepis in Buddlism, Islam, and Cliisiianiiy ilai casi doubi
upon ile benefii of ile coipoieal woild. In seveial Hindu and Buddlisi iiadiiions, moyo is
defined as ile alluiingly lypnoiic, supeificial illusion of plysical iealiiy, and ile goal is io
bieal ile spell and io iealize numinous iiuil.
¸o
Exisience on eaiil is eplemeial, ile body
iempoiaiy, and biological life is noi only meaningless bui filled wiil suffeiing. Deail is
also ile poini of coniaci wiil ile eieinal.
¸i
In Islam, ile Aiabic woid Junyo means "lowei"
and connoies all ilai is woildly and iempoial. Tle Junyo may be beauiiful and pleasuiable,
bui ii is fleeiing, and ii is beiiei io iuin one's gaze on wlai is immuiable. Eveiyiling is a
iesi ilai can lead io paiadise oi lell. Tle Qui'an is cleai: "Nay (belold), you piefei ile life
of ilis woild; bui ile Heieafiei is beiiei and moie enduiing."
¸:
Cliisiianiiy wains againsi
sinful woildliness: "Do noi love ile woild oi anyiling in ile woild."
¸¸
Tlis seniimeni is
ecloed in Slining's lyiics "Tliougl Coiiidois of Oppiession":
Slowly,
passing ile oppiessed,
innoceni,
sons,
and dauglieis losi,
iiembling
in ile boiiomless depils of dailness,
successfully,
failing
in ileii seaicl.
To seaicl
ile ligli,
io seaicl,
salvaiion.
¸(

Self-desiiuciion oi self-laim opposes ile ego's naiuial inclinaiion foi self-pieseivaiion
(plysically and expeiieniially) and seives as a iesiameni io a peison's non-aiiaclmeni io
illusoiy life: one desiioys oneself, and in doing so one desiioys ile woild.
¸¸
Tlis connecis
wiil psycloanalyiic ileoiies by }ames Hillman, wlicl aigue ilai ile diive io lill oneself is
a demand foi ile piofound oveiiliow of daily life.
¸6
Tle music painis a puiiid exisience,
and claiges ilai ile woild is a peipeiual, degeneiaiive "wloie" (accoiding io Ondslapi's
OPEN A VEIN


ii
vocalisi Aceibus) wlo luies lumaniiy inio evei-deepei levels of lellisl dailness and
violence.
¸y
SBM is a miiioi and cieaiive iesponse io ile miseiy.
Suicide is muidei. Tle Ameiican psycliaiiisi Kail Menningei believed ilai ileie aie
iliee elemenis necessaiy in oidei foi someone io commii suicide: ile wisl io lill, ile wisl
io be lilled, and ile wisl io die.
¸S
In Mon Aqoinst Himself, Menningei wiiies, "Tleie is a
liiile muidei and a liiile suicide dwelling in eveiybody's leaii."
¸q
Kvaifoiil asseiis ilai ile
wlole objeciive of Slining is io ieacl people io desiioy ilemselves, oi io foice-feed people
wiil self-desiiuciive and suicidal imageiy and lyiics. Tle aim of ile band is io luii, io give
biiil io fuiuie psyclopails and a bieed of people wlo believe in ile desiiuciion of
manlind. He piesciibes an end io ile polymoiplous peiveise, obscenely pulsaiing
oveiabundance of life. Kvaifoiil siaies:
I laie life and I laie living, I iiuly, iiuly laie life in all iis fucling peiveise foims
. . . animals, naiuie, eveiyiling ilai giows musi be pui io deail. Bui ilai's jusi
faniasies. I ilinl ilai manlind is pieiiy good ai fucling ouiselves up in a way,
you lnow, bui if I can pusl ii a liiile bii ii's good.
(o

In ile documeniaiy video Block Metol Sotonico, le desciibes ile iliill le expeiienced
wlen le accidenially cui open someone's aim, ievealing ile bone, and also low le cui
someone's leg open, iool oui a piece of flesl, and iiied io "feed a wloie" wlo was sianding
neaiby (a peifoimance ilai le compaied io ile Cailolic Holy Communion iiiual).
(i

Kvaifoiil is noioiious foi passing oui iazoi blades ai conceiis. He combines cannibalisiic
piiesily gesiuies, iiiualisiic self-muiilaiions, and apocalypiic, anii-life seimons io
exieiminaie lopeful dieams and floaiing woild illusions.
(:

A suicidal laze, unieal lile a ioiiuious dieam
Old siinging menial wounds, siill iaw and fucling bleeding
Diowning in ile womb of miseiy, ile moilei of depiession
Tle slaugliei of all lope, ile giim deail of compassion
Sell youi soul io evil; sell youi soul io deail
. . . Suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide . . .
A dead empiy siaie inio ile iuins of my woild
A woild I lave alieady lefi, so many yeais ago


Ii is as Nieizscle elucidaied: "lope,÷in iealiiy ii is ile woisi of all evils, because ii
piolongs ile ioimenis of man."
((

Tlese musicians, lile ile liieiaiy aiiisis Anionin Aiiaud and Yulio Mislima, considei
suicide an aclievemeni. Aiiaud confides:
}ANET SILK
i:
If I commii suicide, ii will noi be io desiioy myself bui io pui myself bacl
iogeilei again. Suicide will be foi me only one means of violenily ieconqueiing
myself, of biuially invading my being, of aniicipaiing ile unpiediciable
appioacles of God. By suicide, I ieiniioduce my design in naiuie; I slall foi ile
fiisi iime give ilings ile slape of my will.


Tliougl suicide a peison iiiumpls ovei ile mundane, common, and ugly; a peison is mosi
leioic wlen le oi sle is unafiaid of ending lis oi lei life.
In }apan, an oiclesiiaied self-lilling is ioleiaied and consideied an aciion of lonoi
and iespeci. Hisioiically, seppuku, oi bori-kiri ("belly-cuiiing"), developed fiom ile
miliiaiy class and was a ieveied foim of suicide and a puiificaiion iiiual. Wleilei
voluniaiy oi obligaioiy, ile climax of ile ceiemony is deail by self-disembowelmeni: a lefi
io iigli slice deep in ile belly, and a final beleading by a specially iiained swoidsman.
Opening up ile abdomen symbolizes ilai ile ceniei of ile peison's being is undefiled.
(6

Auiloi Yulio Mislima ciiiicized ile moial and maieiial decadence impoiied inio }apan
fiom ile Wesi, clampioning a ieiuin io iiadiiions of Impeiial }apan and ile samuiai code
of conduci.
(y
He was obsessed wiil seppuku. Hoping io iesioie ile code of ile samuiai, le
cieaied ile Slield Socieiy, a piivaie aimy of eigliy-five men, wlicl Mislima desciibed as
"ile woild's leasi aimed, mosi spiiiiual aimy."
(S
On Novembei :¸, iqyo, Mislima and foui
Slield Socieiy membeis iaided and seized ile Tolyo-based Icligaya Miliiaiy Headquaiieis
of }apan's Self-Defense Foices. Fiom a balcony, le gave a confioniaiional and piovocaiive
speecl, imploiing ile ciowd of :oo seivicemen io ieiuin io ile iiadiiional ways of Impeiial
}apan. Mislima admonisled ilai ile }apanese ilougli only of money and lad no paiiioiic
oi spiiiiual foundaiion.
(q
Afiei lis speecl, wlicl was noi well ieceived, le walled bacl
inside ile Headquaiieis and commiiied seppuku. His koisboku (suicide assisiani)
compleied ile iiiual wiil Mislima's beleading, wlicl paiily failed wlen ile koisboku
iiied iliee iimes io sevei ile lead fiom ile body befoie one of Mislima's oilei acolyies
was finally successful.
¸o
Now legendaiy, ile coup and iiiualized suicide was iidiculed ai ile
iime, yei is emblemaiic of Mislima's idealizaiion of samuiai moialiiy and of lis exaliaiion
of suicide as an aesileiic aci, a way io pieseive ile beauiy of youil: "If you wani youi
beauiy io enduie you musi commii suicide ai ile leigli of youi beauiy."
¸i
Tliougloui lis
life, Mislima desiied io be noi jusi a man of leiieis and woids bui "a man of aciion," and in
oidei io ieclaim lis lonoi le followed a paiadigm of feiocious self-desiiuciion. On ile
appoinied day, le submiiied ile lasi pages of lis lasi bool io lis publislei and composed
lis deail poem:
A small nigli sioim blows
Saying "falling is ile essence of a flowei"
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Tlen ilose wlo lesiiaie aiiived.
¸:

Dead is legendaiy foi declaiing lis siance againsi ile iiendiness and commeicialism
of ile Exiieme Meial (in paiiiculai, Deail Meial) scene of lis iime. Bands lile Maylem
sougli a iadically evil, dail, and aggiessive sound, and moie bloody, iiansgiessive, and
ileaiiical siage slows.
¸¸
Tle oiigins of ile Blacl Meial scene came fiom a disillusionmeni
wiil mediociiiy, commeicialism, and poseidom; bands needed ile will io male ile violeni
and desiiuciive conieni of ile music ieal.
¸(
Tlis clallenge io ile mainsiieam is wlai diove
band membeis and fans beyond ile iaboos aiound self-muidei, lomicide, vandalism, and
aison. As ile sociologisi Keiil Kaln-Haiiis wiiies in Extreme Metol. Music onJ Culture on
tbe EJqe, "Tiansgiession, lile exiiemiiy, implies a sense of iesiing and ciossing boundaiies
and limiis." He coniinues, "Uliimaiely, iiansgiession is dangeious" and "boil dissolves and
affiims being."
¸¸
Tiansgiessive belavioi is empoweiing in ilai ii declaies wai on social
noims, auiloiiiy, and ile law. In ieims of suicide, sclolais of self-desiiuciion (sucl as
Hillman) aigue foi a moially neuiial and posiiive leimeneuiical appioacl io ile pioblem:
culiuially sanciioned aiiiiudes do exisi, if noi foi ile aci iiself, ilen foi iis plilosoplical,
spiiiiual, and poliiical significance. Tlis is ile ieiiain of SBM.
SBM abounds wiil ile iiansfoimaiive possibiliiies in coniemplaiing and deieimining
one's own deail. Tlis posiiion is expliciily liieial in ile name of ile band Male A Clange
. . . Kill Youiself. Band membei Ynleboigaz explains ilai le ieceived "some suicide leiieis"
in ile summei of :oo( ilai inspiied lim io "discovei a wlole new woild inside lis lead"
and io cieaie "desolaie landscapes of depiessive melodies."
¸6
He (along wiil lyiicisi
Naiieiale) used ile leiieis as a caialysi io exploie ile "dailesi side of lis psycle"
¸y
:
. . . As I diop lifeless io ile flooi.
Follow my fooipiinis of blood: my sieps of blood.
Leave eveiyiling belind you and siep inio my iealiiy.
Wleie no lappiness is found.
Feel ile wind ioimeni youi slin.
Feel ile sun buin youi slin and iuin io sione.
Feel my iazoi blades iongue and cui youiself deep and desiiably.
Lei ile blood iun in an oveiflowing siieam and submii io my suicide and youis.
Noiling bui deail in ilis life is ceiiain.
You may be in some siaie of lappiness bui none of ilis will siay ieal.
You aie iiapped in a spidei's web.
You migli as well jusi lill youiself.
¸S

Male A Clange . . . Kill Youiself ieminds lisieneis of ileii own moiialiiy, ile fiagiliiy of
life, and ile iiansiioiy naiuie of lappiness. Howevei, in spiie of ile music being a liminal
}ANET SILK
i(
space in wlicl io play wiil coniioveisial ilemes and language, wiiieis sucl as Haiiis and
ile ileologian }ason Foisiei ciiiique ilose aspecis of ile Exiieme Meial genie ilai
clampion deail and desiiuciion simply io slocl people and sell iecoids. Fiom ilis
peispeciive, musicians wlo jusi "iall ile iall" aie fales, in coniiasi io a musician lile
Dead, a man of aciion, wlo followed ile ideology io iis logical conclusion. Developing ilis
idea fuiilei (even ilougl ileii aciions aie in a diffeieni coniexi), suicide bombeis, self-
immolaiing monls and siieei vendois, and self-disemboweling wiiieis aie iiue SBM
aiiisis. As Camus ieflecied, "An aci lile ilis is piepaied wiilin ile silence of ile leaii, as is
a gieai woil of aii."
¸q

Euionymous's ploio of Dead on ile covei of Maylem's Down of tbe Block Heorts is a
visual iepieseniaiion of a complex discouise beiween music as an ageni foi individual
edificaiion oi social clange, and music as enieiiainmeni. Ii is a seminal ielic of ile violeni,
deail-woislipping oiigin of Blacl Meial, and an icon foi ilose wlo coniinue io play wiil
iis symbolic inveision of noimaiive values in oidei io be innovaiive and ievoluiionaiy.
6o

Tle fundamenial aesileiics of ile scene lave been iepioduced by ilousands of bands wlo
slowcase ieal and siaged aciions, and piojeci images of self-muiilaiion and self-
desiiuciion, in oidei io piovole ile audience oui of ileii conienied apaily and fiom wlai
Einesi Hemingway iefeiied io as "bacling inio ile giave."
6i
Suicidogenic leioes and
leioines celebiaie ile pleasuie of laving ile opiion io cloose deail, and wiil ii ile joy of
discoveiing ilai a peison musi casi away lis oi lei life in oidei io live. }oy is a iecuiieni
ileme in ile accounis of suicide suivivois and in ile iicl and vaiied ideas found in
suicidological liieiaiuie. In Geoige Howe Coli's November of tbe Soul. tbe Eniqmo of
SuiciJe, a iweniy-five-yeai-old man is quoied wlo males cleai ile iiiumpl le feli wlen le
decided io iale lis own life:
Ii was lile being in class and eveiyone aiound you is giving ile wiong answei . . .
Blowing youi lead off is ile answei. Tle answei io life, ile answei io youi
ideniiiy, ile answei io youi self-pieseivaiion. Tlai gun io youi lead is ile mosi
beauiiful answei. And even as you aie ilinling of lilling youiself, you can be full
of passion, full of life. I ilinl foi many people ii's ilai zesi io live ilai males
ilem leep wiapping ile noose aiound ileii necl. Tley'ie saying, "I'll slow you
low mucl I wani io live."
6:

How many people slowly suffocaie ilemselves in cusioms, labiis, and apaily? Tle end of
inquisiiive cuiiosiiy and expansive speculaiion is an eaily iniiusion of deail. Foi I Slali
Become, suicide is a way io bieal away fiom ilis smoileiing blanlei of uninspiied
leilaigy:
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A lasi, cloled bieail
Befoie lifelessly
Tle body langs

A cleei iises fiom ile ciowd
A sway in ile bieeze
And life coniinues.


Even ilougl ile imageiy and conieni of SBM's music may be moibid and sloclingly
painful, ii is puiposefully invesied in ile veneiable quesi io mainiain luman digniiy.
No single ileoiy can elucidaie ile complex moiives foi suicide. Howevei, ii is viial io
iemembei ilai in ile above lyiics foi "End Time" ile ciowd lappily cleeis as ile veil is
lified beiween ilis woild and ile nexi, and ilai ile acioi las a iecepiive audience, no
maiiei low disiuibing ile end game. Tleie is admiiaiion and iespeci foi ilose wlo
oveicome ile body's "will io live" and ilose wlo cloose io be masieis of ileii faie.
6(
Tleie
is pleasuie in iemembeiing one's fieedom io cloose deail, oi ai leasi ile fieedom io
cloose beiween available opiions. Suicide noies and siaiemenis by suivivois ofien expiess
ile claiiiy of ile Closen Deail: ile suicide bombei, foi example, may find moie
saiisfaciion fiom deieimining ile day and meilod of lis oi lei own deail ilan ile peison
wlo clings so passionaiely io life. Bui ii is noi enougl io jusi die; one's deail musi lave a
puipose. Tle velemeni examples discussed leie illusiiaie moiivaiions sucl as ielease,
ievoluiion, ievenge, and iiiual puiificaiion. Tle disiinci focus of Suicidal Blacl Meial
iiaces ilese muliifaiious answeis io ile suicide quesiion: ile lisienei is immeised in an
aimospleie ilai iesonaies wiil boil ile pleasuie and ile pain of self-desiiuciion; veins
aie slasled open io insisi ilai one is veiy mucl alive. As Dead's suicide noie wiyly ends:
"Excuse all ile blood. Lei ile paiiy begin."




('&*-
i
Open a vein
To waicl ii . . .
Ii fiis in
Too mucl ii . . .

Disinviie
Dis-disinviie
Disinviie
Wlen I'm looling alone
Tiying alone

}ANET SILK
i6
Melvins, "Disinviie," Gluey Porcb Treotments (Alclemy Recoids, iqS6). All lyiics iliougloui essay
ciied fiom EncyclopoeJio Metollum. Tbe Metol Arcbives, liip:]]www.meial-aiclives.com.
:
Also iefeiied io as Depiessive Suicidal Blacl Meial (DSBM).
¸
Albeii Camus, Tbe Mytb of Sisypbus (Haimondswoiil: Penguin, iqSo), ii. In conclusion, Camus
iejecis suicide boil plilosoplically and plysically, and le explains ilai ile iasl of living slould be
accepied. In coniiasi io ilis posiiion, ilis essay piesenis ideas ilai aie in favoi of ile individual's
iigli io cloose suicide and possible moiivaiions foi cloosing suicide. See Beaiiiz Scaglia's
"Plilosoply of Suicide," in On Fire for o Couse. Tbe Horror of Self-lmmolotion (Websiei's Digiial
Seivices, :oii), (y. See also, Miclael Clolbi, "Libeiiaiian Views and ile Rigli io Suicide" in "Suicide,"
¸.(, StonforJ EncyclopeJio of Pbilosopby, }uly :q, :ooS, liip:]]plaio.sianfoid.edu]eniiies]suicide.
(
Also iefeiied io as morononussoti bbovono, see V.F. Gunaiaina, "Buddlisi Refleciions on Deail,"
Access to lnsiqbt. ReoJinqs in TberovoJo BuJJbism iqq(-:oii, liip:]]www.accessioinsigli.oig]lib]
auilois]gunaiaina]wleelio:.liml. No doubi ilis siaiemeni aboui Buddlisi ilougli is a geneial-
izaiion and deseives a moie nuanced pieseniaiion, lowevei ile auiloi las limiied ile examples foi
ile sale of bieviiy. Considei ilis poem by Zen Masiei Haluin Elalu:
Tle monley is ieacling
Foi ile moon in ile waiei.
Uniil deail oveiiales lim
He'll nevei give up.
If le'd lei go ile biancl and
Disappeaied in ile deep pool,
Tle wlole woild would sline
Wiil dazzling puieness.
¸
See Laiiy Rosenbuig's accouni of low lis ieaclei led a mediiaiion in ile same ioom of a decaying
coipse. Rosenbuig, "Tle Supieme Mediiaiion," Sbombolo Sun, Novembei :ooo, liip:]]www.
slamblalasun.com]index.plp?opiion=conieni8iasl=view8id=iyq:.
6
Aiilui Sclopenlauei, "On Suicide," in StuJies in Pessimism (New Yoil: Cosimo, :ooy), :q.
y
Maiglaniia Lasli, Ecstosy in Seculor onJ Reliqious Experiences (London: Ciessei Piess, iq6i), :(o.
S
Mais Lundbeig, Block Metol Sotonico, DVD (Cleopaiia, :ooS). Inieiview wiil Kvaifoiil by Block
Terror Vebzine (Ociobei :oo¸), quoied in "Inieiviews," Sbininq, liip:]]sliningband.iiipod.com]
inieiviews-blaclieiioi.liml.
q
Lundbeig, Block Metol Sotonico.
io
}ames Hillman, SuiciJe onJ tbe Soul, quoied in Geoige Howe Coli, November of tbe Soul. Tbe
Eniqmo of SuiciJe (New Yoil: Summii Bools, iqqi), ¸(¸-¸((.
ii
Camus, Tbe Mytb of Sisypbus, ii.
i:
Tlese aliiuisiic viiiues aie noi limiied io ieligious discouise; lowevei, ile auiloi is using examples
fiom iliee ieligious iiadiiions foi ile puiposes of exploiing ile language used io desciibe spiiiiual
enliglienmeni.

Coli, November of tbe Soul, :¸¸. Tle iweniy-iliid clapiei of ile lotus Sutro is iepoiied io lave
been ile inspiiaiion foi ile monls and nuns wlo self-immolaied io pioiesi ile Vieinam Wai. Tle
clapiei iells ile sioiy of ile Medicine King Bodlisaiiva wlo buined limself as an offeiing io
Buddla.
OPEN A VEIN


iy

i(
See "Aiab Spiing," VikipeJio. Tbe Free EncyclopeJio, liip:]]en.wilipedia.oig]wili]Aiab_Spiing. See
also }osl Sanbuin, "A Biief Hisioiy of Self-Immolaiion," Time, }anuaiy :o, :oii, liip:]]www.iime.
com]iime]woild]aiiicle]o,S¸qq,:o(¸i:¸,oo.liml.

Al Alvaiez, Tbe Sovoqe GoJ (New Yoil: Random House, iqyi), io¸.
i6
Ann Maiie Olivei and Paul F. Sieinbeig, Tbe RooJ to Mortyrs' Squore. A journey into tbe VorlJ of
tbe SuiciJe Bomber (New Yoil: Oxfoid Univeisiiy Piess, :oo¸), xxi.
iy
Olivei and Sieinbeig, Tbe RooJ to Mortyrs' Squore, y¸.
iS
Alvaiez, Tbe Sovoqe GoJ, ioo. See also Sieve Tayloi, Durkbeim onJ tbe StuJy of SuiciJe (London:
Macmillan, iqS:), i¸o-i¸¸.
iq
Anai Beilo, Tbe Potb to PoroJise. Tbe lnner VorlJ of SuiciJe Bombers onJ Tbeir Dispotcbers
(Wesipoii: Piaegei Secuiiiy Inieinaiional, :ooy), iiS.
:o
Olivei and Sieinbeig, Tbe RooJ to Mortyrs' Squore, iiq.
:i
"Lasi Woids of a Teiioiisi," Tbe GuorJion, Sepiembei ¸o, :oii, liip:]]www.guaidian.co.ul]woild]
:ooi]sep]¸o]ieiioiism.sepiembeiii¸.
::
"Lasi Woids of a Teiioiisi."

Ii is inieiesiing io noie ilai ile Englisl woid mortyr deiives fiom ile Gieel woid "wiiness"
(mortys) and ilai ile Aiabic woids foi maiiyi and wiiness (sbobeeJ) aie ideniical. Tle maiiyi's gifi
of self-saciifice is iniimaiely iied wiil a public wiinessing (by eiilei people oi supeinaiuial beings) of
ile eveni: see Keiil Lewinsiein, "Tle Revaluaiion of Maiiyidom in Eaily Islam," in Maigaiei
Coimacl, ed. Socrificinq tbe Self. Perspectives on MortyrJom onJ Reliqion (New Yoil: Oxfoid
Univeisiiy Piess, :oo:), yS-yq. Considei also ai a conceii low ile audience wiinesses siaged self-
muiilaiion by fionimen sucl as ile Slining's Kvaifoiil: }osepl Allen, "'Dead' on His Lasi Album
Covei," Rock Stor Mortyr, Apiil S, :oii, liip:]]ioclsiaimaiiyi.nei]dead-on-lis-lasi-album-covei].
Wlile ile ieim auileniiciiy las been clallenged by posimodein culiuial ileoiisis, ii is used leie as
a ieim io desciibe a siaie of being in ile woild in accoidance wiil ile iiuil and iealiiy of one's sense
of self. See "Auileniiciiy," New VorlJ EncyclopeJio, www.newwoildencyclopedia.oig]eniiy]Auilen
iiciiy_(plilosoply).
:(
i Coiinilians i¸: ¸(-¸¸. Aposile Paul pioclaims ilai Cliisiians need noi feai deail because of
Cliisi's saciificial aionemeni foi lumaniiy's sins: "Deail is swallowed up in vicioiy. O deail, wleie
is ily siing? O giave wleie is ily vicioiy?" Tle soul is vicioiious.

Geoige Minois, History of SuiciJe. Voluntory Deotb in Vestern Culture (Baliimoie: }oln Hoplins
Univeisiiy Piess, iqqq), :6.
:6
Cailin Baiion, "Honoi and Saciedness in ile Roman and Cliisiian Woilds," in Coimacl, Socrificnq
tbe Self, ¸o. Tle eiymology of ile woid saciifice includes ile Laiin woid socrificore, 'loly-maling,' iis
iooi meaning socro, 'sacied iiglis.'
:y
Coli, November of tbe Soul, i¸¸.
:S
Gusiave Flaubeii, Tbe Temptotion of Soint Antbony, quoied in Coimacl, Socrificinq tbe Self, i¸¸.
:q
Male a Clange . . . Kill Youiself, "Clapiei III," Moke o Cbonqe . . . Kill Yourself (Toial Holocausi
Recoids, :oo¸).
¸o
"Maya (Buddlism)," KnowleJqe Rusb, liip:]]www.lnowledgeiusl.com]li]encyclopedia]Maya_
(Buddlism). See also }ason Foisiei, "Commodified Evil's Waywaid Clildien: Blacl Meial and Deail
Meial as Puiveyois of an Alieinaiive Foim of Modein Escapism" (PlD diss., Univeisiiy of Canieibuiy,
:oo6), S:; liip:]]ii.canieibuiy.ac.nz]biisiieam]iooq:]q66]i]ilesis_fulliexi.pdf.
¸i
Coli, November of tbe Soul, i¸y.
¸:
Súial al-A`lâ: i6-iy.
¸¸
i }oln :: i¸-iy.
}ANET SILK
iS
¸(
Slining, "Tliougl Coiiidois of Oppiession," Tbrouqb Yeors of Oppression (Unexploded Recoids,
:oo().
¸¸
Coli, November of tbe Soul, ::6.
¸6
See, foi example, }ames Hillman, SuiciJe onJ tbe Soul (Woodsiocl: Spiing Publicaiions, iqqy).
¸y
In Lundbeig's video documeniaiy Block Metol Sotonico, Aceibus fiom ile Blacl Meial band
Ondslapi commenis on wly lis music migli be jusi a pale iefleciion of ile diabolical naiuie of
eveiyday life: "I can iell you ilis, ilai if ilis wloie of a woild lasis even ien moie yeais you'll find
someiling even leaviei ilan Ondslapi. I can iell you ilai someiling moie advanced, someiling
moie devilisl, moie exiieme . . . I don'i lnow if ii will be iaping babies oi if ii would be buining
piiesis on local ielevision . . . I don'i lnow if ii would be some lind of genocide wlicl is filmed foi
ile cameia."
¸S
Coli, November of tbe Soul, :oi.
¸q
Kail Menningei, Mon Aqoinst Himself, quoied in Coli, November of tbe Soul, :yi.
(o
Lundbeig, Block Metol Sotonico.
(i
Lundbeig, Block Metol Sotonico.
(:
Tle }apanese woid ukiyo is liieially iianslaied in Englisl as "floaiing woild." Ii means a woild of
impeimaneni, fleeiing beauiy and amusemeni. A genie of }apanese painiing developed duiing ile
iyil io ile iqil ceniuiies ilai poiiiayed ile woild of labuli, couiiesans, and geisla, all divoiced
fiom ile iesponsibiliiies of ile mundane, eveiyday woild: "Definiiion of Uliyo-e," Bobylon, liip:]]
diciionaiy.babylon.com]uliyo-e.

Slining, "Claws of Peidiiion," Album lV. Tbe Eerie ColJ (Avanigaide Music, :oo¸).
((
Fiediicl Nieizscle, Humon, All Too Humon (Neeland Media, :oio), (:.

Anionin Aiiaud "On Suicide," quoied in Coli, November of tbe Soul, ::6.
(6
David Clidesiei, Solvotion onJ SuiciJe. An lnterpretotion of jim jones, tbe Peoples Temple, onJ
jonestown (Bloomingion and Indianapolis: Indiana Univeisiiy Piess, iqSS), i¸¸.
(y
Clidesiei, Solvotion onJ SuiciJe, i(i.
(S
"Yulio Mislima," PbilosopeJio, liip:]]plilosopedia.oig]index.plp]Yulio_Mislima.
(q
"Yulio Mislima," PbilosopeJio.
¸o
"Novembei :¸, iqyo," Tbe Yukio Misbimo Veb Poqe, ed. Dennis Miclael Iannuzzi, liip:]]www.
membeis.iiipod.com]dennismiclaeliannuzz]finalDay.liml. See also Coli, November of tbe Soul, i(i.
¸i
Yulio Mislima, quoied in Coli, November of tbe Soul, i(i. Considei ile famous line said by acioi
}oln Deiel in ile film Knock on Any Door (iq(q): "Live fasi, die young and lave a good-looling
coipse!"
¸:
Cailos Mal, "Tle Deail Poem of Mislima," No More Mr. Nice Poet, }uly ¸o, :ooq, liip:]]nomoie
misieinicepoei.blogspoi.com]:ooq]oy]deail-poem-of-mislima.liml.
¸¸
Miclael Moynilan and Didiil Sodeilind, lorJs of Cboos. Tbe BlooJy Rise of tbe Sotonic Metol
UnJerqrounJ (Los Angeles: Feial House, :oo¸), ¸S-6:.
¸(
Foisiei, "Commodified Evil's Waywaid Clildien," :(-:S.
¸¸
Keiil Kaln-Haiiis, Extreme Metol. Music onJ Culture on tbe EJqe (New Yoil: Beig, :ooy), :q.
¸6
Robeii Sun, "Inieiview: Male A Clange . . . Kill Youiself," Mirqilus Siculorum, May :ooS,
liip:]]www.miigilus.com]inieiviews]macly.liml.
¸y
HansKopf, "Inieiview wiil Ynleboigaz (Male A Clange . . . Kill Youiself, Anganiyi, Blodaiv),"
Mortem Zine, }anuaiy ¸i, :ooy, liip:]]www.moiiemzine.nei]slow.plp?id=(¸¸.
¸S
Male a Clange . . . Kill Youiself, "Clapiei II," Moke o Cbonqe . . . Kill Yourself (Toial Holocausi
Recoids, :oo¸).
¸q
Alvaiez, Tbe Sovoqe GoJ, qq.
OPEN A VEIN


iq

6o
"Yeais laiei, Neciobuiclei spole of ile impaci of Pei Yngve Ollin's icon: 'Some people became
moie awaie of ile scene afiei Dead lad sloi limself. Afiei ilai, cluicles siaiied io buin and ii jusi
weni ciazy leie. I ilinl ii was Dead's suicide ilai ieally clanged ile wlole scene. . . . A loi of young
musicians goi inio ile scene because ii was ile mosi aggiessive and violeni scene oui ileie ai ile
iime'": Allen, "'Dead' on His Lasi Album Covei."
6i
Einesi Hemingway, quoied in Coli, November of tbe Soul, :yi.
6:
Coli, November of tbe Soul, ::S.

I Slali Become, "End Time," Tbe PenJle Vitcb Triols (No Colouis Recoids, :ooq).
6(
Sclopenlauei, StuJies in Pessimism: "Ii will geneially be found ilai, as soon as ile ieiiois of life
ieacl ile poini ai wlicl iley ouiweigl ile ieiiois of deail, a man will pui an end io lis own life. Bui
ile ieiiois of deail offei consideiable iesisiance; iley siand lile a seniinel ai ile gaie leading oui of
ilis woild. Peilaps ileie is no man alive wlo would noi lave alieady pui an end io lis own life, if
ilis end lad been of a puiely negaiive claiaciei, a sudden sioppage of exisience. Tleie is someiling
posiiive aboui ii; ii is ile desiiuciion of ile body; and a man sliinls fiom ilai, because lis body is
ile manifesiaiion of ile will io live" (:q).
See also William Einesi Henley's "Invicius," (iSy¸):
Blacl as ile Pii fiom pole io pole,
I ilanl wlaievei gods may be
Foi my unconqueiable soul.

In ile fell cluicl of ciicumsiance
I lave noi winced noi ciied aloud.
Undei ile bludgeoning of clance
My lead is bloody, bui unbowed.

Beyond ilis place of wiail and ieais
Looms bui ile Hoiioi of ile slade,
And yei ile menace of ile yeais
Finds, and slall find, me unafiaid.

Ii maiieis noi low siiaii ile gaie,
How claiged wiil punislmenis ile scioll.
I am ile masiei of my faie:
I am ile capiain of my soul.

Tleie aie diffeieni iepoiied veisions of Dead's final siaiemeni. See Cliis Campion, "In ile Face of
Deail," Tbe GuorJion, Febiuaiy :o, :oo¸, liip:]]www.guaidian.co.ul]music]:oo¸]feb]:o]popand
iocl(; Moynilan and Sodeilind, lorJs of Cboos, 6:; and "Biogiaply," Pell Ynqve Oblin, liip:]]www.
fieewebs.com]peiyngveollin]Pages]Biogiaply.liml.












AT THE EDGE OF THE SMOKING POOL OF DEATH
WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM

Timothy Morton

In a iicl and exiensive inieiview, ile Blacl Meial band Wolves in ile Tlione Room aigue
ilai ile age of ecology is an age of lypociisy:
One of ile many coniiadiciions of Blacl Meial is ilai ii is a music ilai deciies
civilizaiion, bui ielies on so many modein coniiivances io exisi. I don'i ilinl ii is
a naiuial sound ai all. Ii is ieally ile sound of paiadox, ambiguiiy, confusion,
being caugli beiween iwo woilds ilai cannoi be ieconciled. I lave lad people
iliow ilis in my face befoie÷"low can you play music ilai is supposedly anii-
civilizaiion on eleciiic guiiais?" Fianlly I find ilis line of ieason boiing and
poiniless. I iemembei a common line againsi iioieis iiasling ile Nile sioie in
downiown Seaiile. Tleie was a famous piciuie of some blacl-clad lid smasling
ile Nile sign, bui zoom in and . . . al-laa!! He's weaiing Nile snealeis! I say,
wlo fucling caies? Cailaisis is oui objeciive, noi a lily-wliie and guili fiee
exisience. We aie all lypociiies and failuies.
i

Tlis veiy suggesiive siaiemeni iesonaies poweifully wiil wlai I iale io be ile time of
byperobjects, a lisioiical momeni in wlicl nonlumans male decisive and iiieveisible
coniaci wiil lumans, wiilin ile discouises of iaiionalism, empiiicism, and science. Of
couise, ilese coniacis and affiliaiions lave exisied iliougloui ile lisioiy of ile luman
species, and some culiuies lave aclnowledged ilem moie poienily ilan oileis. Bui ile
TIMOTHY MORTON
::
iime of lypeiobjecis males ii impossible foi onyone, onywbere, noi io be affecied by
nonlumans.
Tle noiion of lypociisy is based on ile faci of being iiapped inside a giganiic eniiiy,
oi a seiies of ilem, lile }onal in ile Wlale. I aigue ilai Wolves in ile Tlione Room
peifoim ilis eniiapmeni in ileii veision of Meial. By cieaiing sonic lypeiobjecis, ile
music of Wolves in ile Tlione Room is liglly congiueni wiil ile coniempoiaiy social and
poliiical siiuaiion. Moieovei, as allies of ile enviionmenial advocacy gioup Eaiil Fiisi!,
Wolves in ile Tlione Room lave peifoimed a veiy significani disioiiion of noimaiive
enviionmenialisi subjeciiviiy, also ielaied io ileii assumpiion ilai, "Againsi ile
lypeiobjeci we aie always in ile wiong," io adapi Kieilegaaid's pliase.
:

Hypociisy is noi simply a coniexiual niceiy ilai lelps us undeisiand wlai Wolves in
ile Tlione Room aie "aboui." Hypociisy is also diiecily significani in ile aiiwoils ilai
Wolves in ile Tlione Room pioduce. Hypocrisis is ile Gieel ieim foi ile fifil siage of
ileioiic: deliveiy. I slall aigue wly ilis faci is piofoundly significani foi undeisianding ile
poweiful noveliy of Wolves in ile Tlione Room's coniiibuiion io Blacl Meial. In
paiiiculai, deliveiy is ile peifoimaiive dimension of ileioiic, wlicl I aigue is a fully causal
dimension. By playing wiil lypociisy, Wolves in ile Tlione ioom aie exploiing
causaliiy÷exploiing, ilai is, diiecily iampeiing wiil ii. I slall aigue ilai in doing so
Wolves in ile Tlione Room allow foi ile possibiliiy of foims of speculaiive meiaplysics
ilai inviie lumans io ilinl aboui ile ieal, even as iley aie iiapped on ile "ouiside" of
ileii slin, unable io inlabii ileii own flesl.
&7* -5'4#(6 .''$ '/ "*%&7
Lile all good names, ile band name Wolves in ile Tlione Room evoles many ilings ai
once. Tleie is a ilione ioom, wlicl is iuined and oveiiun by wolves. Tleie is a ilione
ioom, in wlicl wolves aie ile queens and lings. Tleie is a ilione ioom, in wlicl wolves
accompany lumans, subseivieni and pioieciive. Tleie is a ilione ioom, in wlicl ileie aie
ciiminals wlo lave been placed beyond ile law: bomo lupus as Gioigio Agamben las
aigued, lumans wlo may be lunied and lilled, bui noi saciificed.
¸
Tleie is a ilione ioom,
in wlicl ileie aie pbilosopbers: "wolf" is Biuno Laioui's ieim foi "plilosoplei."
Ciicling aiound ile name, ilen, lile a pacl of wolves, is a pacl of quesiions. Tle wolf
pacl as quesiion: Wlo lei ilem in? Did iley aiiive of ileii own accoid? Wleie aie we?
Moie iellingly, wben aie we? Some legendaiy Noise pasi? Tle fai luman fuiuie? Tle neai
luman fuiuie? If we aie in ile fai luman fuiuie, is ilis ioo,ooo yeais fiom now, wlen
seven peiceni of global waiming effecis will siill exisi, slowly being absoibed by igneous
iocls÷iocls made of vaiious linds of Metol? Oi peilaps ilis is a posi-nucleai lolocausi,
AT THE EDGE OF THE SMOKING POOL OF DEATH



up io :(,ioo yeais fiom now, wlile pluionium is siill deadly. Tle piesence of wolves and
ile unceiiainiy aboui ile iime aie paii of one and ile same syndiome: ile eiupiion of a
basic, seaiing anxieiy.
Lile a iangled iliclei of iloins, ile calligiaply of ile band's logo cuis us, almosi
illegible, beauiiful yei siiange. Tle symmeiiy of ile logo defeais ile compulsion io iead
fiom lefi io iigli, "io male ii mean someiling." Tle maiied fibeis of ile Two Hunters
sleeve evole unseen ilings, unseeable ilings.
(
Wiiiing is iwisiing iiself inio ile fibeis and
filamenis of iiees: ciypiic, enciypied÷bui noi divoiced fiom Naiuie, only an ouigiowil of
ile same piocess.
Tle fibious calligiaply is of a piece wiil ile "naiuie" imageiy on ile covei of ileii
album DioJem of tbe i: Stors: giganiic waieifalls sliouded in misi, ile iocls coaied wiil
iiees.
¸
Riglily, ilis album covei is woidless. Naiuie is saying someiling io us, someiling
unspealable. Tle image, wlicl cannoi be pionounced, evoles ile sileni funciioning of
ilings. Ii is a woid ilai we can see bui wlicl is unspealable. Tlis is noi Naiuie as a
coiielaie of luman imaginaiion. Tlis is ile nonluman in iis mosi fully posi-Romaniic
mode, a mode ilai I leie call tbe smokinq pool of Jeotb.
Tlis is ile sound of Wolves in ile Tlione Room. Tle opening momenis of Two
Hunters, wlicl begins as ile faini sounds of iuial ambience, yei explodes inio a loiiifying,
beauiiful, loiiifyingly beauiiful sequence of cloids ilai My Bloody Valeniine would lave
lilled io inveni.
6
Tle opening momenis of ile laiesi album Celestiol lineoqe peifoim ile
same mysieiy, as if Wolves in ile Tlione Room aie mineis digging undei ile sonic woilds
evoled by ile sloegaze band Slowdive, io discovei a luge, abandoned cave coveied wiil
ciysials. In ilis sense, ile sound iiself is speculaiive and iealisi, iunneling beyond ile
depils of melancloly inio dailei, yei moie beauiiful, iealiiies.
Wly a pool of deail? Ii is as if Wolves in ile Tlione Room allow us io see wlai ile
Wleel of Life painiings of Tibei also allow: ilai life is caugli in ile jaws of deail. Tle
quiei iuial sounds aie only ile iip of a giganiic icebeig. Tle fiail flicleis of living aie small
iipples on ile giganiic pool of deail, a pool evoled in ile fjoid of sound ilai does noi
assauli bui iailei descends upon us wiil welcome, lapidaiy iniensiiy÷majesiic,
uncompiomising. How deep is ile pool? Wly aie ileie wolves in ile ilione ioom? Tle
quesiion of exisience iesounds, ile quesiion aboui exisience, tbe question tbot is existence.
Noi an innoceni quesiion. Oi peilaps yes, a puiely innoceni quesiion, ile only innoceni
quesiion, bui innoceni noi in ile sense of ignoiance, bui in ile sense of never bovinq
committeJ ony borm, any iime, any place (Laiin, innocens). Tle lind of innocence ilai
William Blale ialls aboui, a disiuibing innocence, noi naiveiy, bui aimed io ile ieeil,
wiil nonviolence.
TIMOTHY MORTON
:(
And as ile song descends siill fuiilei inio ile nexi song, "Vasiness and Soiiow," we
feel ile slaipness of ilose ieeil. Tle scieaming bieail of a voice noi iaised in angei bui
piicled io ile fiequency of ile violence of exisience, moving wiil ile piecise ioique of
suffeiing. Tle iuilless genileness of a i:i scale map of ile smoling pool of deail.
Wly is ile pool smoling? Misi seems io be iising fiom ii. Tle cold lissing of
disioiied guiiai and cymbals evoles ile way waiei vapoi iises fiom a cold pool in a foiesi
cleaiing, ile way diy ice seems io floai aiound ile dail lull of bass bins. Tleie is one
pool, one misi iising: noi a gioup oi colleciive of insiiumenis, bui a single insiiumeni wiil
seveial leads, leads of wolves, lile ile vicious, mouinful Tling in }oln Caipeniei's film, a
Tling discoveied by a Noiwegian wlo iuns io ile Ameiicans, iiying io wain ilem aboui a
wolf ilai is noi a wolf.
y

Wly tbe smoling pool, and noi a smoling pool? Simply because ilis is a ieal pool,
ilai pieexisis me. To use ile definiie aiiicle is io use ile mosi poweiful fiisi woid in iealisi
ficiion. Tleie aie many examples bui considei ile fiisi iwo woids of Oscai Wilde's Tbe
Picture of Dorion Groy: "Tle siudio . . . ." Wlicl siudio? Wly ilis one, ile one ilai is leie
alieady, befoie I siaiied ieading.
S
I find myself alieady in ile pool. I wale up diowning in a
fjoid, wlicl was always alieady ileie. Wlai seemed lile liiile iocls floaiing on ile ocean
suiface iuined oui io be ile iips of giganiic mouniains descending inio ile smoling pool
of deail. A woman's voice sings io me as I sinl deepei inio ile coldness, spelling oui a
iiiual cailaisis ("Cleansing"). Ii is clean in ile dailness of ile smoling pool of deail. Ii is
lonesi and uncompiomising. An immensely disiuibing peace floais ileie.
Tleie is noiling io do bui decide io live auileniically ai ile edge of ile smoling pool
of deail, now we lave enieied ile siill waieis in ile dieamiime of sound. And so, ile final
song on Two Hunters is a piomise: "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among ile Rocls and
Roois." Rocls and ioois÷luman oi inluman; living oi dead; oiganic oi inoiganic? Wiil
peifeci ineviiabiliiy, ile album fades inio ile lind of faini ambience wiil wlicl ii begins.
Yei ile end is ile sound of meadow biids, ile sweeiness of a summei's day. Was ile
smoling pool of deail jusi a dieam? Tle beginning is ile ilicl nigli of ciicleis and owls.
Wlai beclons us oui of ilis dailness?
Tlus ile iwo Naiuie samples funciion veiy diffeienily, yei wiil an undeilying uniiy.
Tle opening sound is ile beginning of dying, ile fiisi glisiening diopleis of liquid exiiing
ile life-foim as ile inside of ile being iuins inside-oui io face ile music. Tle closing
sound is ile ongoing ielief of ile end of dying, ile coinciding of ile essence of ilings wiil
ile way iley appeai, ile end of ile iifi, as ile smoling pool of deail seems io evapoiaie
inio a Noiwegian summei meadow.
Wleie aie we? Wlen aie we? Aie we in Waslingion siaie, wleie Wolves in ile
Tlione Room live (ile beginning)? Oi aie we in Noiway, wleie Blacl Meial oiiginaied
AT THE EDGE OF THE SMOKING POOL OF DEATH



(ile end)? We aie ile woild, ii seems, finally÷noi in ile loiiifying affiimaiion of a
Miclael }aclson, bui lonesily, in a being-iowaids-deail.
&7* %6* '/ %-955*&+9) $#/*=#(="*%&7 '( *%+&7
Tle ieim Heovy Metol evoles ile ioxic eniiiies ilai lumans lave foiged since a decisive
momeni in wlai geology now calls ile Antbropocene: iq(¸, wlen a ilin layei of iadioaciive
maieiials was deposiied in Eaiil's ciusi. Tle ieim Block Metol suggesis an
uncompiomising dwelling wiil ile poison and iniensiiy of ile nonlumans ilai now exisi:
pluionium, uianium, global waiming. Wolves in ile Tlione ioom dwells upon ile
dailness of Meial, ilai mosi clilonic of ilings, iefusing io even iiy io aiiain escape
velociiy inio ile ligl oibii of affiimaiive culiuie ilai sluns ile Eaiil beneail. As Sieven
Slalespeaie wiiies, "We aie a long way fiom naiuie woislip. If we aie dealing wiil a
ieligion leie, ii is moie lile a coniaminaiion, in wlicl spiiii goes io giound."
q

Robeii Oppenleimei wiinessed ile fiisi exploding nucleai bomb and said: "I am
become deail, desiioyei of woilds." He was quoiing ile BboqovoJ Gito, a iexi wlose
iecepiion in Euiope and Ameiica mailed ile beginning of ile end of Wesiein impeiial
oveiieacl, iypified by Hegel's plilosoply of ieligion.
io
Tle siaiemeni iesonaies wiil wlai
is spolen in ile cloius of Antiqone:
Many aie ile disiuibing cieaiuies on Eaiil,
Yei none is moie disiuibing ilan Man.
ii

Yei, ile loiiified amazemeni ai ile luman powei io slape ile eaiil and ocean is
simulianeous wiil a iealizaiion of ile depils of eaiil and ocean and all ile life-foims ilai
swim, ciawl, cieep and fly wiilin ile biospleie ilai iley ilemselves cieaie. Tley aie all
deail, desiioyei of woilds, in ile veiy faci of living: oxygen is ile fiisi enviionmenial
caiaclysm, along wiil vasi deposiis of iion in Eaiil's ciusi. Boil oxygen and iion oie aie
bacieiial wasie. On ilis view, ile woild iiself is ile desiioyei of woilds. Humans lave
enieied an Aqe of Asymmetry in wlicl ioweiing lnowledge, including ile iealizaiion of
infiniie innei spaces of fieedom and cieaiiviiy (exemplified by ile Kaniian sublime), is
equally maicled by ioweiing plysicaliiy. We lave enieied ile giganiic fjoid of ile nexi
momeni of lisioiy, wiiloui even lnowing ii.
Tlis is ieflecied in aii. Considei Hegel's lectures on Aestbetics. In ilese leciuies,
Hegel aigues ilai ileie aie iliee ages of aii, coiiesponding io gieaiei and gieaiei luman
lnowing. Fiisi ile symbolic plase, in wlicl plysical ilings ouisiiip lnowing; ilen ile
classical plase, a Goldilocls sweei spoi in wlicl ilings and lnowing seem equally
TIMOTHY MORTON
:6
balanced foi a fleeiing momeni; ilen ile Romaniic age in wlicl lnowing ouisiiips ilings.
As a Romaniic limself, Hegel ilougli ilai ii would be veiiiginous innei fieedom fiom
leie on oui.
i:
He made a misiale: le ilougli lis view was ile final one, ile snow capped
summii of luman lisioiy. He did noi iealize ilai, even on ile flawed innei logic of lis
own aigumeni (wlicl ilis essay does noi endoise), nonluman ilings would iise again io
iowei equal io luman lnowing, yei noi in a ieiuin io Goldilocls classicism. Insiead, ileie
would be a face-off beiween asymmeiiical opponenis: ile nucleai bomb exploding wlile
Oppenleimei lools on, loiiified. Infiniie innei space discoveis infiniie ouiei space, noi
jusi ouiside ile Solai Sysiem, bui in ile veiy coie of ilings. In addiiion, a new lind of
iiony las been boin: noi ile playful veiiigo of Romaniicism, bui ile deei-in-ile-leadliglis
iealizaiion ilai we aie caugli in ile iliclei of ilings, iiapped in a iloin busl, impiisoned
in ile iiee Yggdiasil. Ii is indeed a monsiious ieiuin io ile "piimiiive" symbolic age of
indigenous culiuies, even if you use ile logic of Riclaid Dawlins oi Sam Haiiis. Even
Dawlins exisis along wiil nucleai iadiaiion, and ile lnowledge of ii. Tle iliee ages of aii
ieiuin muiaied in ile Age of Asymmeiiy.

Wolves in ile Tlione Room, ilen, is a iip of ile
biancling Yggdiasil of ilis new plase of luman exisience.
Tle Yggdiasil iiee las, of couise, always been ileie. Tlis is noi a new plase of
exisience ai all. Ii is simply a momeni ai wlicl, even if you aie a meclanisi maieiialisi,
even if you aie a puie idealisi, oi even a solipsisi, you siill lave io deal wiil youi gaibage
can, and ile lnowledge of wleie ile gaibage goes, and ile giganiic island of plasiic bags
ioiaiing in ile Ailaniic Ocean lile some mad god. Tlis is ile momeni ofter tbe enJ of tbe
worlJ: wlen ile sioiy we lave been ielling ouiselves, ilai we live in a foiegiound wlose
exisience is sei off againsi a baclgiound, finally males no sense ai all. Wlen I can Google
Eaiil ile caip in my Englisl moilei's baclyaid pond, ile woild as a meaningful
baclgiound "ovei ileie" las ceased io exisi.
Tle deep geological faci of ile Aniliopocene aiises simulianeously wiil a deep
plilosoplical iefleciion on iealiiy, as ile Kaniian ciicle of coiielaiionism ilai iesiiicied
ilinling io, ai besi, a lind of PR foi "laid science" and "modein" social iealiiy begins io
slaiiei.
i(
Humans aie now faced wiil ile faci of coexisience: ile faci ilai exisience is
always alieady coexisience down io ile lidden depils of iis coie. Even if I am ile only
being in ile univeise, supposing ilis weie possible, I do noi coincide wiil myself. Tle l
ilai is wiiiing ilis is diffeieni fiom ile me aboui wlicl ile wiiiing is wiiiien.
Tleie is a deep iifi in ile univeise, ile iifi beiween essence and appeaiance: deepei
ilan ile diffeience beiween a subsiance and iis accidenis, wlicl fiom ilis poini of view is
only ile diffeience beiween two kinJs of oppeoronce. If we ilinl ieal ilings aie lile boiing
cupcales, and aesileiic appeaiances aie lile candy spiinlles, ilen we cleave io ile defauli
oniology ilai las plagued lumans÷and, I wani io aigue, all life-foims on ilis planei÷
AT THE EDGE OF THE SMOKING POOL OF DEATH


:y
since ai leasi ile days of Aiisioile.
If we wani io go any deepei ilan ilis, and ile pieseni ecological emeigency demands
ilai we do, we musi iiaveise dieamscapes in wlicl ile sligliesi misplaced fooifall could
land us in Hell. Wly? Because ii is veiy difficuli io cleave io ile ioique of suffeiing. Ii is
lile iiying io place one's land againsi a iapidly ievolving blade wleel. If we fail io maicl
ile speed of ile ioiaiion, we will be desiioyed. Tle sligliesi deviaiion fiom ile negaiiviiy
iequiied foi wlai I lave called Jork ecoloqy could be veiy dangeious.


In addiiion, we aie enieiing a siaie in wlicl ile oveiwlelming iealiiy of ilings is
accompanied by oveiwlelming feelings of uniealiiy, foi ile veiy same ieasons. In ilis
siaie, ii is easy io slip inio a pioieciive cynicism, wlose laid slell seems io slield us fiom
ile woisi we lnow, bui wlicl in iuin is biiiile. If cuiieni social condiiions peisisi iliougl
ile misapplicaiion of cynicism, all will be losi.
Tle cynic las alieady losi, in faci. Tlis is because "againsi ile lypeiobjeci we aie
always in ile wiong." Inside ile giganiic objeci called biospbere, inside ile giganiic sysiem
called qlobol worminq, all aciions, all aiiiiudes, all siaiemenis aie "wiong": incompleie,
ineffeciive ai some poini, weal in places, fiagile. Eveiyone is ieduced io lypociisy. Even
ile cynic: being cynical is a foim of lypociiiical lypociisy, now ilai we lnow we aie inside
a giganiic beasi. Tle cynic secieily lopes: if sle vomiis disgusiingly enougl, maybe ile
woild will clange. Tle cynic is a lypociiie in denial aboui lei lypociisy. Tle lypociiie, on
ile oilei land, embiaces lei failuie fully io giasp, aiiiculaie, oi iespond io ile siiuaiion in
wlicl sle finds leiself. Tlis is wly Wolves in ile Tlione Room desciibe ilemselves as
lypociiies. Tley lnow ioo mucl, as people wlo discoveied one anoilei iliougl Eaiil
Fiisi! Tley cannoi unlnow wlai iley lnow. Tley siand on ile edge of ile smoling pool of
deail, along wiil ile iesi of us. Sianding ileie is ile uliimaie aci of nonviolence, a
quiniesseniially poliiical aci, bui one ilai puiisis may find apoliiical, oi even aniipoliiical.
To pioieci leiself againsi ile lnowledge ilai lei slell is fiagile, ile cynic may
develop a ceiiain lind of nililism. Tlis is a diasiic misieading of ile smoling pool of
deail. Tlis is a niglimaie, bui ii is noi "jusi" an illusion. Ii is noi jusi a "manifesi image."
i6

Tle decisive momeni in a loiioi movie is wlen ile pioiagonisi accepis ilai "ilis is ieally
lappening." If we lnow ilai ii is an illusion, jusi a neuiological blip, ilen it isn't on
illusion. As Lacan aigued, "Wlai consiiiuies pieiense is ile faci ilai, in ile end, you don'i
lnow wleilei ii's pieiense oi noi."
iy
Tle iealiiy of ile smoling pool of deail is noi ile
iealiiy of some piegiven oniic cupcale. Noi is ile uniealiiy of a puie concepiual
consiiuciion. We aie ile smoling pool of deail, yei wlen I ieacl oui io ioucl ii, I only
ioucl ilis buiieifly iesiing on a flowei in ile Noiwegian meadow.
If we wani io go any deepei in oui social and plilosoplical jouiney, we musi descend
inio ile smoling pool of deail. Wolves in ile Tlione ioom piovide a lind of musical
TIMOTHY MORTON
:S
aniilisiamine ilai enables lumans io noi lave an alleigic ieaciion io woiling ai ile depil
necessaiy foi ieiiacing oui biolen coexisience wiil all beings.
('&*-
i
Biadley Smiil, "Inieiview wiil Wolves in ile Tlione Room :oo6," Nocturnol Cult, liip:]]www.
nociuinalculi.com]WITTRini.lim.
:
Soien Kieilegaaid, "Tle Edifiying in ile Tlougli ilai Againsi God We Aie Always in ile Wiong,"
in Eitber}Or. A Froqment of life, ed. Vicioi Emeiiia, iians. Alasiaii Hannay (London: Penguin, iqq:),
¸q¸-6oq.
¸
Gioigio Agamben, Homo Socer. Sovereiqn Power onJ Bore life, iians. Daniel Hellei-Roazen
(Sianfoid: Sianfoid Univeisiiy Piess, iqqS).
4
Wolves in ile Tlione Room, Two Hunters (Souilein Loid, :ooq).
¸
Wolves in ile Tlione Room, DioJem of i: Stors (Vendlus Recoids, :oo6).
6
Wolves in ile Tlione Room, Two Hunters.
y
}oln Caipeniei, dii., Tbe Tbinq (Univeisal Siudios, iqS:).
S
Oscai Wilde, Tbe Picture of Dorion Groy (London: Penguin, :ooq), ¸.
q
Sieven Slalespeaie, "Tle Ligli ilai Illuminaies Iiself, ile Dail ilai Soils Iiself: Blaclened Noies
fiom Sclelling's Undeigiound," in HiJeous Gnosis. Tbe Block Metol Tbeory Symposium i, ed. Nicola
Masciandaio (London: CieaieSpace, :ooq), i6 |¸-::j.
io
Geoig Willelm Fiiediicl Hegel, lectures on tbe Pbilosopby of Reliqion, ed. Peiei C. Hodgson, iians.
R.F. Biown, P.C. Hodgson, and }.M. Siewaii, wiil ile assisiance of H.S. Haiiis (Beileley: Univeisiiy
of Califoinia Piess, iqSS).
ii
Soplocles, Antiqone, ed. Maiiin D'Ooge (Bosion: Ginn, iSSS), ¸:.
i:
Geoig Willelm Fiiediicl Hegel, Heqel's Aestbetics. lectures on Fine Art, iians. T.M. Knox, : vols.
(Oxfoid: Tle Claiendon Piess, :oio), i::(¸-:((, i:(¸S, ::qq(.

Timoily Moiion, "Aii in ile Age of Asymmeiiy: Hegel, Objecis, Aesileiics," Eventol Aestbetics i.i
(:oi:): i:i-i¸S; liip:]]evenialaesileiics.nei]download]EAii:oi:_i:i_i(:_Moiion_HegelAiiAgeof
Asymmeiiy.pdf.
i(
See Queniin Meillassoux, After FinituJe. An Essoy on tbe Necessity of Continqency, iians. Ray
Biassiei (New Yoil: Coniinuum, :ooq), ¸.

Timoily Moiion, Ecoloqy witbout Noture (Cambiidge: Haivaid Univeisiiy Piess, :ooy), i(:-i(¸,
iSi-iqy.
i6
Wilfiid Sellais, "Plilosoply and ile Scieniific Image of Man," in Science, Perception onJ Reolity
(London: Rouiledge and Kegan Paul, iq6¸), i-(o; Ray Biassiei, Nibil UnbounJ. Enliqbtenment onJ
Extinction (New Yoil: Palgiave, :ooy), ¸-S.
iy
}acques Lacan, le seminoire, livre lll. les psycboses (Paiis: Ediiions de Seuil, iqSi), (S.






BAPTISM OR DEATH
BLACK METAL IN CONTEMPORARY ART,
BIRTH OF A NEW AESTHETIC CATEGORY

Elodie Lesourd

Ob, Soton! One onJ unique qoJ of my soul, inspire tbou in me sometbinq yet more, present
furtber perversions to my smokinq beort, onJ tben sbolt tbou see bow l sboll plunqe myself into
tbem oll!
i


Mis. de Saini-Ange's piayei could be ile one gianied io ile coniempoiaiy aiiisis wlo
considei Blacl Meial as an inspiiiiing ligli. Saian offeied ilem ile mosi exiieme cieaiive,
deleieiious, and (maybe) iiclesi foim. Aciing as Odin's iaven-infoimanis Huginn and
Muninn (wlose names iianslaie io "Tlougli" and "Memoiy"), aiiisis disseci a sysiem,
exploie ile someiimes obscuie meclanisms wlicl govein an oiganizaiion, and
appiopiiaie ile esileiical poieniial of ileii iaigei. Tlanls io ile displacemeni of ile
subjeci and a clange of siaie, iley delivei a new vision. Bui does ii mean ilai, using ilis
culiuial aiiifaci as a iefeieni, Blacl Meial is noi an accomplisled aii? Does ii need io be
bapiized by aii io exisi? If boil culiuial fields, coniempoiaiy aii and Blacl Meial (so-called
ligl and low), seem io be opposing oi confliciing, wlai enables oi moiivaies ileii
collision? Tlus we could asl ouiselves, low do aiiisis use Blacl Meial as a siiuciuial and
ilemaiic foundaiion foi ileii woil? A visual analysis of ile iefeieni signs of ilis musical
genie allows us io obseive ile piinciple of ievelaiion biougli by aii. Tle aci of iecogniiion
piesupposes io lnow alieady; io see is io leain. Tlis semiology aciually ieveals ilai Blacl
ELODIE LESOURD
¸o
Meial males ile mosi of aii io enlaige iis field of influence. Aii las ile capaciiy io suggesi
moie ilan ii slows and, using leimeneuiics, ile sign can be exceeded. If many aiiisis
apply a plenomenological appioacl iowaids Blacl Meial, ii seems ilai only a ciiiical
analysis would allow an exploiiaiion of iis lidden poieniial. If aii aiiempis io capiuie ile
elusive, io expiess ile inexpiessible, ilen aii as an exegesis could possibly be iis besi
inieipieiei. Finally, if ilis musical plenomenon wiinesses iis piopagaiion, wlai maiieis io
aiiisis is an abiliiy io iiansfoim Blacl Meial inio a new aesileiic caiegoiy. Ii means leaving
belind ile siaie of leieioiopia io become an ideal genie io wlicl ile aiiwoil could aspiie
io. Blacl Meial iesponds io oui need foi iiiual and, wlen ii is denoied by aii, ii ieacles
infiniiy. }usi as Olaf I, King of Noiway (qq¸-iooo CE), spiead ieiioi wiil lis diasiic
cloices, coniempoiaiy aii offeis ile possibiliiy io expand and io become a ieal
Gesomtkunstwerk. Tlis is noi a ieligious bapiism bui iailei a plilosoplical one. Ii is a
ioial immeision inio coniempoiaiy Tlougli.
+*/*+*(&- %- % 8%9 '/ *?.%(-#'(
Coniempoiaiy aii depends on a subjeci, even if ile subjeci is ieflexive. Tle appioacl can
be auioielic, oi noi, bui ii is always a maiiei of denoiaiion. Wiil ile aiiival of ile media,
aii iuined iis inieiesi iowaids populai culiuie wiil a cieaiive appeience. Ii ciiiically
consumes and buins io asles eveiyiling suiiounding ii.
Rocl music, iliougl iis immediacy and iis piopensiiy io cieaie meaning, was pione
only a couple of yeais afiei iis biiil io Ray }olnson's aesileiic expeiiences÷OeJipus (Elvis
#i) (iq¸6). Ii is wlen Rocl music evolved io Meial music, a musical genie ilai inleienily
expiessed a siiong awaieness of iis own exisience, ilai ile aii scene decided io analyze,
quoie, and disseci ile eniiie undeigiound culiuie. Tlanls io ilis ciiaiional posimodein
logic, seveial aiiisis lave consideied Blacl Meial as a poieniial subjeci. Wleilei
Rimbaldian seeis oi foollaidy iebels, aiiisis lave aiisen wlo aie deeply commiiied io
using ile musical movemeni of Blacl Meial as ile objeci of ileii quesi. Tlis peiilous
cloice is ielevani because iley aie ile ones wlo lnow ile esseniial wealil inleieni io ilis
coipus. Tlanls io aii and ieflexive woil, ile Blacl Meial movemeni ieacles fuiilei ilan
oilei subgenies: an exiiaoidinaiy deploymeni.
Ii is inieiesiing io ideniify ilese lniglis wlo, iliougl ileii effoiis io conquei an
uncleai and deseiied woild, lave foimed a new lind of legion. On an almosi sociological
field, we could obseive ilai ile numbei of ilese aiiisis las disiincily incieased since :oo¸.
Obviously we will noi go inio deiails io pieseni all of ilem, specifically because, facing a
iiemendous iasl, some aiiisis succeed ileii bapiism of fiie beiiei ilan oileis. We can
noiice ilai Blacl Meial, consideied in iis second wave, is a Scandinavian pioduci, buili and
BAPTISM OR DEATH


¸i
conceived on Euiopean foundaiions. Alilougl in ile lasi iweniy yeais Blacl Meial las
inspiied inieinaiional coniiibuiions (including Colombian and Taiwanese bands), ii is siill,
foi ile mosi paii, exclusively Wesiein. We can male ile same iemail conceining aiiisis
(even if ile aii mailei disioiis ilis daia in some way). Blacl Meial music was boin in
Noiway. As we will see laiei on, ii is naiuially ileie ilai, inspiied by ile aesileiic of ile
movemeni, ile fiisi aiiisiic aiiempis emeiged. Bui ii's ai ile exiiemes ilai ile powei of
Blacl Meial is ievealed. Wlile ile Ausiialian aiiisi Tony Gaiifalalis (boin in iq6()
obseived ile waves of Blacl Meial as an aduli, ile youngei Ameiican aiiisi Giani Willing
(boin in iqSy) coniemplaies and diaws upon a pasi ilai now iales ile appeaiance of iuins.
Ii emplasizes ilai iwo diffeieni geneiaiional peispeciives upon ile evenis aie made
possible and poieniially equally inieiesiing. Blacl Meial leeps on fascinaiing aiiisis long
afiei iis main oiiginaiing evenis.



Figuie i. Toibjoin Rodland, "In a Noiwegian Landscape i6," iqq(, c-piini, i(o x ioycm. Image couiiesy
of Nils Siæil, Copenlagen.
ELODIE LESOURD
¸:
Toibjoin Rodland, lnown foi lis iealisi and violeni ploiogiapls, seems io be ile fiisi
aiiisi io lave woiled on Blacl Meial, oi ai leasi wiil a Blacl Meial sensiiiveness. In iqq¸,
le piciuied limself as ile peisonificaiion of a young lonely iomaniic eplebe oveiwlelmed
by a feeling of coniiadiciion, ioin beiween ile call of naiuie and ile modein woild. Tlis
"quaiiel beiween ile old and ile new woild" would be ile main ieason foi lis psycle's
disoidei.
:
Rodland's ploiogiaplic seiies ln o Norweqion lonJscope (iqq¸-iqq¸) slaies
many conceins and visual codes wiil mosi of ile fiisi Noiwegian bands |Figuie ij.
Aciually, le and ile musicians slaied ile same koiros. Tley weie awaie ilai someiling
was aboui io lappen ai ilai place, and ai ilai iime. Ii was noi coniingency bui necessiiy.
As Rodland exemplifies, coniempoiaiy aiiisis inieiesied in ilis culiuie usually come
fiom ile same geneiaiion of musicians wlose woil iley iefeience. Wiiloui doing a
lagiogiaply, ilis essay ideniifies ile pioiagonisis in oidei io undeisiand wlai encouiages
ilem io woil on a vile maiiei. Mainly we need io poini ai ile iefeienis. Foi many people,
aii simply ieveals a few supeificial poinis inleieni io Blacl Meial, wleieas, in faci, some
aiiisis aie inspiied by ile siiaiegies and ile iconology ilai exisis beneail and beyond ile
music. Oilei vieweis quesiion Blacl Meial and diive ii inio a coinei. Alilougl aiiisis'
appioacles aie quiie vaiious, ileii aiiwoils ofien analyze many of ile same piecise
elemenis.
Lei's specify fiisily ilai, ilougl ii is esseniially ile second wave of Blacl Meial ilai is
auiopsied by aiiisis, ile ioois of ile genie in ile so-called fiisi wave aie noi foigoiien. In
:oo6, ile Bulgaiian aiiisi Geoigi Tuslev ouilined a fiagmenied face of ile band Venom in
a deconsiiuciive, eponymous painiing. Despiie low ile painiing's geomeiiic fiamewoil
neaily eiases ile subjeci, ile image aciually finds iis siiengil fiom absiiaciion.
Inielleciualizaiion iliougl absiiaciion does noi affeci Blacl Meial bui sublimaies ii. Tle
aiiisi Adam Sullivan also quoies Celiic Fiosi, a band fiom ile fiisi wave, as well as }osepl
Kosuil as majoi influences in lis woil. By placing ilese influences on ile same level,
Sullivan suggesis ilai ileie is poiosiiy beiween Blacl Meial and coniempoiaiy aii, and
moieovei ilai Blacl Meial as a "ilougli-objeci" could be ialen seiiously.
¸
In lis cui-ups
and collages, sucl as Tbe Reol Voice (:ooq), le piesenis an uncluiieied vision of ile Blacl
Meial movemeni in oidei io ieacl a ioned-down coie÷ilanls io ile use of an
incongiuous coloi code foi ilis musical genie and a ieduciion of signs.
Tle lisioiy of ile second wave of Blacl Meial, ile veiy one wlicl biougli Blacl
Meial oui of iis god-foisalen cellai, is appiopiiaied by aiiisis as ile mosi immediaie and
maybe ile easiesi sign emeiging fiom ile movemeni. Insofai as music is immaieiial, and
ineffable, aiiisis may iefei logically io concieie elemenis, lisioiical facis foi insiance, io
evole Blacl Meial. Tle facis and lisioiy of ile second wave weie almosi immediaiely
iuined inio myil, and aii (of couise) paiiicipaies in ile consiiuciion of a Blacl Meial
BAPTISM OR DEATH


¸¸
myilology. In :oo¸, Banls Violeiie iool ovei ile minimal aesileiic of a buini edifice in lis
famous woil UntitleJ (Cburcb), unveiling limself as naiiaioi. He does noi foigei ilai ile
main iling foi a plasiic aci is io iiansfoim simple anecdoies inio subsianiial woils. Based
on ile aiiwoil of Buizum's Aske EP (Deaillile Silence Pioduciions, iqq¸), Banls's
ieasoning demonsiiaies ile poieniial coniained wiilin ilese Blacl Meial aiiisiic mediums.
Similai io ile subgenie's lisioiy and myilology, Blacl Meial logos, ile ideniiiy and
incainaiion of a band ofien exiiacied fiom bands' album coveis, aie an inexlausiible
souice of cieaiion (as mucl as foi ile one wlo cieaies ii as foi ile one wlo ieceives ii) and
piobably ile fiisi aesileiic sign coming closei io aii sensiiiviiy. Tle Ameiican Anilony
Buidin, a modein figuie of ile cuised aiiisi, gives a piimaiy iole io ile fiisi Buizum logo in
lis censoied insiallaiion VooJoo Room ai ile :oo( Fiieze Aii Faii. Tle insiallaiion
iecieaies lis foimei gaiage wleie le used io ieleaise as a youngsiei, and wleie ile logo
was painied acioss a wall-lengil miiioi. Heie, ile insiallaiion siie is iiansfoimed inio a
nosialgic voiive aliai. Aiiisis can use logos as ieady-mades oi in a will of appiopiiaiion, bui
ii is impoiiani io see beyond ile sign iiself and io analyze iis giaplic oi semiologic
poieniial. Tle logos aie indexical, bui iley musi also be ieflexive.



Figuie :. Eiil Smiil, "Tle Glosi of }ames Lee Byais Calling÷Tle Coming of Wai (Absu)," :ooS,
claicoal on blacl iissue papei, yo x ¸o cm. Image couiiesy of ile aiiisi.
ELODIE LESOURD
¸(
Fiom ile image io ile message, ile lyiics lave io become an objeci io manipulaie.
Tley aie ile voice incainaied. Even if melody foiegoes speecl, ile lyiics aie ile body of
ile music. Wlen ile music siops, woids siay. Moieovei, woids may also be visual objecis,
and aiiisis aie veiy adepi ai playing wiil semaniics. Consideied as elemenis inleieni io
ilis music, sound, and conieni, iley aie logically in ile giip of aiiisis' cieaiive will. Tle
lyiics of Daililione, Empeioi, Absu, oi Beillelem aie ile subjeci of a diawing seiies
slown in Eiil Smiil's insiallaiion Tbe Gbost of jomes lee Byors Collinq (:oo6-y) |Figuie :j.
Tlis veiy clevei woil is a confioniaiion beiween aii and lisioiy iliougl }ames Lee Byais'
figuie, "ile aiiisi-aposile devoied io ile faiil's paiadoxes," and ile lisioiy of populai
culiuie iliougl iis dailesi side.
(
In a siiong symbolic game, we come acioss esseniial
visual elemenis sucl as ile peniagiam. Tle use of woids in an aiiwoil is a fiisi siep io
absiiaciion. Woids ilemselves could be consideied as geomeiiical foims, bui claiged wiil
poweiful meanings. In oidei io undeisiand ile uses of ilese (someiimes cabalisiic) signs
and io ieveal wlai is lidden, ii is ceniial io appeal io a leimeneuiic.
Aiiisis close io pui some disiances io music iiself and decided io inieifeie wiil ile
figuiaiion, ile incainaiion of music iliougl images.
Figuie ¸. Pei-Oslai Leu, video siill fiom Vox Clomontis in Deserto, :oio, (Film ploiogiaply by Peiiei
Holmein Halvoisen). Image couiiesy of ile aiiisi.
BAPTISM OR DEATH


¸¸
Coipse paini immediaiely appeais as ile main specificiiy ilai iefeis io ile genie.
Blacl Meial culiuie is veiy codified and obeys consiiiueni piecepis of iis musical
beginnings. Tle visual impaci of ile movemeni is unquesiionable and many aiiisis
colonize iis endemic feaiuies, exposing ii io ile iisl of caiicaiuie. Oui of ile wealil of
elemenis wiilin Blacl Meial culiuie ilai geneiaie meaning, ile foiemosi iefeieni is ile
coipse paini. Undeniable, indubiiable, and concieie, ilis suiface and ceiemonial elemeni
aiiempis a discuisive iebiiil undei ile covei of aii. Lile a naiiaiive façade, ii is an opening
io a moie ieflexive conieni. Claia Djian and Nicolas Leio, a Fiencl-Swiss duo, ieconsidei
ile menacing and monsiious appeaiance of ilis masled face in ileii Anqoisse seiies
(:ooq-:oio) by using siencils io iefine ile sign. Indeed, ile use of ilis iool, exiiacied fiom
aii and ciafis and uiban culiuie, and so unfamiliai io ilis musical genie, enables ile iwo
aiiisis io exploie ile capaciiy of ilis emblemaiic elemeni, wlicl could be iepioducible ad
infiniium. Howevei, ii is inieiesiing also io allude io ile aciivisi use of spiay paini by some
bands ai ilai iime. Tle Noiwegian aiiisi Pei-Oslai Leu uses coipse paini peiiinenily by
slifiing ile subjeci fiom sign io incainaiion, exieiioiiiy io inieiioiiiy. In lis video Vox
Clomontis ln Deserto (:oio), le iales advaniage of coipse paini io bioaden iis semaniic
consiiuciion |Figuie ¸j. He males limself up as a gioiesque Blacl Meial musician and
emplaiically peifoims again l Poqliocci, an opeia by Ruggeio Leoncavallo, in places
lisioiically linled io ile movemeni (ile Helveie basemeni, ile Holmenlollen cluicl).
Tlis siiong woil quesiions, noi wiiloui iiony, ile noiion of auileniiciiy and
iiansgiession.
Revealing ile man undei ile male-up does noi mean lumanizing Blacl Meial
musicians. Aiiisis, poiiiaying ilese laiiei, seem io be iuining claiacieis inio icons. Indeed,
if coipse paini iedefines ile face, poiiiaiiuie is ofien ai ile leaii of an aiiisiic woil. In
some aiiwoils, ile ieenagei is closen as ile absoluie melanclolic figuie wiil infiniie
poieniial, bui moie ofien, as exemplified wiilin ile piolific woil of Sieven Sleaiei (wlo
piesenis a ieal Meial Aieopagus), ii is ile musicians ilemselves wlo aie poiiiayed÷
lonqboirs iç (:oo(), Smoke (:oo¸), and Dovos (:ooy). Tlus Fiosi, Abbail, Infeinus, Vaig
Vileines, Gaall, Beleiii, Euionymous, Neciobuiclei, and Hellbuiclei lave become ieal
icons, in ile oiiginal sense of ile woid. Yei ilese poiiiaiis of musicians lave followed ile
opposiie diieciion of genuine icons: Aii iiansfoimed icons (objecis of devoiion) io "simple"
objecis of aesileiic deliglifulness, wleieas Blacl Meial musicians (aesileiic quasi-objecis,
diessed and weaiing male-up as siaiues) became icons iliougl aii÷maybe, finally, lile
aii iecenily did wiil masieipieces iuined inio iiieligious icons. Feniiz and Dead, in
paiiiculai, aie ile main muses of ile genie, symbolizing boil iouglness and fiagiliiy. Tley
aie ile mosi fiequenily quoied figuies.

ELODIE LESOURD
¸6
/+'5 -*5#'$'69 &' % 8%9 '/ 3*#(6
Tlanls io aii, Blacl Meial spieads and gains a consideiable exiension of iis field of
exisience. Aiiisis do noi siicl io iis dail, moiose, and coniemplaiive aspeci. Alilougl ile
iconology empoweiing ile exuliaiion of violence, lypei-masculiniiy, and maiiialiiy does
fascinaie, oui mosi valoious conqueiing lniglis iiy io deciplei ile monsiei by giving an
inieipieiaiion of ii.
Tley iiy io ieacl a spiiiiual level and, ai ile same iime, go deepei undei ile suiface
of appeaiances. Tleii vision moves away fiom ile signs and becomes inieipieiaiive. Tley
lave a noiable iecouise io Saianism, one of ile fundamenis of ile spiiiiual dimension of
Blacl Meial. Tlis Dionysiac and libeiiaiian call, exlilaiaiing boundless musicians, is
undoubiedly one of ile diiving foices of ile cieaiive piocess. Saianism, exploiied and
claimed by many bands, is ile affiimaiion of paganism's ieiuin÷"give us ile gods of
paganism" begged Sade÷and is also an openly admiiied iesisiance io Cliisiianiiy.
¸
Saian
is a iecuiiing figuie in aii lisioiy (ieappeaiing in ile iiil ceniuiy, noi io be ignoied in ile
i:il ceniuiy, and iesuiiecied in ile iqil ceniuiy). Since ile iq6os, le is an enligliened and
libeiaiing companion. Tle young Noiwegian Sindie Foss Slancle, aiiisi and cuiaioi of ile
exlibiiion Do wbot tbou wilt sboulJ be tbe key to tbe worlJ (ile esseniial Ciowleyan maxim
fiom ile Law of Tlelema), aiiacles gieai impoiiance io evil in lis picioiial woil. Aii
pieces sucl as Brinqer of liqbt, tbe worlJ is yours . . . luciferion! (:ooq) pieseni a leavy and
claoiic suiface wleie myilology, alclemy, and occuliism aie slamelessly mixed. His veiy
siyle evoles Blacl Meial giaplic design, a univeise wlose meclanisms and mysieiies le
peifecily masieis. Tle clumsy and fiendisl Saianism lauded by many malevoleni musicians
is couniei-balanced by a Piomeilean Saianism, liglliglied by aiiisis as ile biingei of
lnowledge. Tlis Lucifeiianism, in wlicl Saian is an eiudiie claiaciei, a puie cieaiive
souice (noiably meniioned in some Daililione's lyiics) ieminds us of Romaniic ideals.
Inielleciuals, wiiieis noiably, iniioduced Lucifeiianism in iqil-ceniuiy aii. Ii males sense
ilai coniempoiaiy aiiisis mainiain ii, and ilai Blacl Meial appeais as ile peifeci vecioi.
By mixing pagan and occuli imageiy, aiiisis ieveal ile linls beiween Scandinavian devil's
music and Romaniicism. Tle melanclolic and dail, iambling developmeni of ile psycle
allow a celebiaiion of lnowledge. Obviously, ile veneiaiion of naiuie, ile fascinaiion foi
ile pasi's magnificence, ile iejeciion of moialiiy, ile culi of ile genius, and a lind of
naiionalism aie iypically Romaniic conceins slaied wiil Blacl Meial. If Romaniicism is an
absoluie aii, does Blacl Meial's involvemeni wiil Romaniicism iuin ile genie inio an
absoluie music? Aciually, ii gains ilis siaie iliougl aii. Ii becomes puie, speculaiive, and
iis meiaplysical dimension males ii sacied. Aiiisis wlo iecognize ilis "Romaniic agony"
find ile aesileiics of loiioi and ieiioi as a souice of pleasuie, ile splendoi of ile
BAPTISM OR DEATH


¸y
monsiious. Tley ieinieipiei ilis iefeieni wiil codes paiiiculai io aii lisioiy, because ileii
fiisi aim is io fulfill ileii ioles as inieipieieis. Raising Blacl Meial io a spiiiiual level is noi
sufficieni foi some aiiisis wlo claim iis desiiuciion is necessaiy foi ii io obiain
iesuiieciion. Vaig Vileines, as a woiily and peilaps unwiiiing leii io a long plilosoplical
iiadiiion, expiesses ilis piocess: "If you wanna build someiling new, you lave io desiioy
ile old fiisi."
6
Desiiuciion is a piocess io engendei cieaiion. Tle analysis (ai iimes
exiieme) of elemenis exiiacied fiom Blacl Meial leads io iis deail, bui piomises also a iicl
iesuiieciion. We lave io go iliougl ilis io ieveal ile powei of ile subjeci. Aiiisis aie alin
io beiseileis, ilose figlieis wlo aie lidden undei wolves' slin in Noise myilology. Tley
appiopiiaie Blacl Meial's siiengil fiom wiilin iis own slin. Tlis slin iiself is siill a
poweiful and fiigliening signifiei, bui iis powei is aciivaied only wlen ii is woin. Some
aiiisis, in a concepiual appioacl, do noi buiden ilemselves wiil lnowing anyiling aboui
ilai wolf . . . sucl is ile case wiil ile Ameiican }ay Heiles wlo, in :oo(, used bands' logos
(sucl as Neciomicon's oi Belemoil's) foi amazing woils on papei. In ilese aiiwoils, ile
logos become open windows io foiesi landscapes and emblemaiic lales. He does noi iiy io
deciplei ilose siiuciuies bui capiuies ileii aesileiical siiengil. Tle iexi disappeais and a
iiuncaied landscape appeais, cieaiing a new uniiy. Tle faci ilai Heiles las no paiiiculai
aiiaclmeni io lis subjeci pioves ile auiloiiiy of ile sign.
A lasi foim of deiaclmeni in ielaiion io Blacl Meial immediacy is iiony. Tlis iionical
appioacl, disiani fiom ile coie, is noi ile leasi iniiiguing ielaiionslip beiween
coniempoiaiy aii and Blacl Meial. On ile coniiaiy, ii is absoluiely ielevani and
iepieseniaiive of low Blacl Meial is now judged and used by a paii of ile aii scene. Tle
Ausiiian Miclael Gumlold lindly and lumoiously misiieais ile caiicaiuial image of ile
Blacl Meial musician. He linls ilis iepieseniaiion io ile image of a baseball playei in lis
woil O.T (KoJoverqeborsom) (:oo6-oS). Tle playei dons coipse paini, lile a iidiculous
masl, and lis bai is coveied wiil spiles, lile ile Viling baibaiian club weapon used as a
bannei by many musicians. Tlese disiinciive aiiiibuies aie iiansfoimed inio iionical
iefeienis. Gumlold's scailing lumoi iuins io iiony in ile woil of ile Ameiican Russell
Naclman. In lis painiings ile famous Teuionic male-up is applied io oidinaiy faces, jusi
as if iley weie weaiing buffoon oi devil's masls. Tle dail side of ile luman condiiion
inieiesis Naclman. He ieenacis ile Divine Comedy and pioves ilai Blacl Meial can be ile
meiaploi of oui socieiy. His Polimpsest seiies aie ieally a iewiiiing of Blacl Meial and
ieligious lisioiies, and lis ciude caiicaiuiisi siyle iecalls illusiiaiions fiom ile genie's fiisi
fanzines. A demysiifying iiony, iinged wiil piimiiive enilusiasm, iuins oui io be a useful
siiaiegy. Tlese laiiei aiiisis lave succeeded in following ile movemeni's iiend iowaids
self-mocleiy. Tlis asceiic piaciice÷we aiiacl ouiselves÷ieveals a combaiive jeu J'esprit
ELODIE LESOURD
¸S
and slows some deiaclmeni. Ii allows Blacl Meial io exceed ile nililism in wlicl ii
pieviously seemed capiive.
Ineviiably, ilese aiiisis give a saicasiic and embezzled vision of ile movemeni,
foicing us io simulianeously quesiion ile noiion of auileniiciiy in Blacl Meial wlen
appioacled by aii, and of Blacl Meial iiself. Some aiiisis aiiempi io do a leimeneuiic of
Blacl Meial, io give an inieipieiaiion of iis codes and symbols, in oidei io ieveal wlai is
lidden beyond iis elusiveness. Ii is a syncieiic plenomenon ilai calls foi many iefeienis io
exisi. Diawing fiom ile ieal as mucl as fiom ile imaginaiion, Blacl Meial cieaies a new
iealiiy: a lypeiiealiiy wlicl simulaies someiling ilai does noi ieally exisi. Meanwlile,
Blacl Meial exiols ile viiiue of auileniiciiy as iis supieme value. Aiiisis poini iowaids ilis
fale auileniiciiy io ieconsidei ile genie's fundamenial basis, and iley lnow ilai
auileniiciiy is noi subsianiial io ile objeci bui is, iailei, an effeci pioduced by ile gaze.
Tle almosi obsessive appioacl of ile aiiisi Bjaine Melgaaid iowaids Blacl Meial ieminds
us of ilis ambiguous siaius, oscillaiing beiween iealiiy and imaginaiion. His compulsive,
ofien foimally violeni, diawings aie dug oui fiom lis confused menial univeise and coexisi
wiil moie symbolic woils, sucl as UntitleJ (Portroit of Vorq Vikernes) (:ooi), a piece
slowing a small, bionze-casi lead langing fiom a bonsai biancl. Is ilis a pieiense of
Odin's saciifice oi unfulfilled deail wisl? Tlen, in a iliisi foi iiuil, le inviied Fiosi io
peifoim in ile memoiable Kill me before l Jo it myself (:ooi), in wlicl biuial ileaiiicaliiy
biusles dangeiously wiil iealiiy. Fiosi's paiiicipaiion enabled lim io leave ile
simulacium and paiiicipaie wiil boil Melgaaid's peifoimance, and Blacl Meial iiself, io
aclieve a new and sudden impeius of puie auileniiciiy. Maybe we could say ilai,
following Nelson Goodman, iepieseniing Blacl Meial is noi copying ii, noi is ii only
inieipieiing ii, bui ii is defining ii. Tlanls io aii's movemeni beyond signs' limiis, Blacl
Meial ieacles new level of iniensiiy. Aiiisis clallenge ile noiion of auileniiciiy, ile nodal
poini of ile movemeni. Bui low does ilis auileniiciiy apply io aiiisis ilemselves? Do iley
ieally slaie iis beliefs? Blacl Meial is a domain of ilougli ilai can be eiilei exploiied oi
sublimaied by aii. Yei, Blacl Meial also fuels aii; and aii feeds ii bacl. Is ilai a faii
exclange? Can we only iall aboui exclange?
/+'5 2(#'( &' 3#+&7
"Tle ioad of excess leads io ile palace of wisdom," confessed William Blale.
y
Ii could
define Blacl Meial's desiiny. Tle wisdom ii yeains foi could be conqueied by aii. Bui wlai
could claiacieiize ile union of Blacl Meial and coniempoiaiy aii?
Tle union of aii and Blacl Meial cannoi be compaied io ile maiiiage of Heaven and
Hell in a Maniclean fiamewoil. Tlougl ile dualisiic opposiiions seem obvious÷aii (an
BAPTISM OR DEATH


¸q
eliiisi subjeci, wlicl supposedly incainaies beauiy, goodness, ieason) veisus Blacl Meial
(a moie populisi genie, iepieseniing ugliness, badness, eneigy)÷ii is ciucial io conceive
ile ieveisal of ilose values as a possible discouise. Tlis is piecisely wlai aiiisis woiling on
ilis musical ileme suggesi. Tle "auia" of ile woil is soiled and peiveiied, bui iis iefeieni
gianis a ievealed beauiy. Aii and Blacl Meial aie noi coniiadicioiy. Fai fiom ii. Tleii
fusion enables eacl one io ieacl a culminaiion, an exisieniial finaliiy. Aii males ile
insciipiion of Blacl Meial inio coniempoiaiy lisioiy possible and legiiimizes ii. If ilis
movemeni seems someiimes bluiiy, as iegaids io ile difficuliy io disciiminaie beiween ile
fale and ile genuine, ii ieacles, ilanls io aii, a new iiuil. Ii exaceibaies and slaies many
apoiia wiil coniempoiaiy aii. Boil appeai as escapisms, foims of cailaisis, desiies io
discaid ceiiain feais and feelings of piiy. Aii seems io be ile mosi effeciive way foi ilis
musical genie io ieacl an ecsiaiic siaie. Ii cleais ile suiplus and ligliens ile giey aieas. Ii
enables, above all, ile possibiliiy of annililaiing ile nililisiic enieipiise by puiiing foiwaid
ile will of life, of powei, of ligli. Tle bapiism ilai aii suggesis is lile a ievelaiion, a way io
access iianscendence. Ii is ¨ilis siiuciuiing opeiaiion lolding iogeilei a mass of evenis in
a single lisioiy."
S
If Blacl Meial needs aii io be compleiely accomplisled, ile opposiie
seems also iiue.
Could aii be a ilieai io Blacl Meial's iniegiiiy, and a nuisance io Blacl Meial's
developmeni and suivival? Peilaps ile way aii analyzes eveiyiling migli iend iowaid
dispossession, iowaid fading. Is ile muliiplicaiion of iefeienis a ilieai leading io Blacl
Meial's impoveiislmeni? Tle bapiism could iuin ilen inio a saciifice. Bapiism oi deail
. . . caused by aii. Ii seems necessaiy, even viial, io iale ilis iisl.
Maybe we need io give a new definiiion of ile way aii compielends Blacl Meial. If
Blacl Meial is geneially well accepied as a modein vision of Romaniicism, ieieading
lisioiy baclwaids, "againsi ile giain," we may considei anoilei speculaiion on iis
aesileiical piojeciion: Blacl Meial is, concepiually and aiiisiically, Baioque.
Ii is aboui ideniifying ilis eniiiy as a caiegoiy, as a movemeni, no longei musical, bui
auionomous and finalized. Ii las iiiegulai, claoiic, and clangeable aspecis; ii is ile
impeifeci peail of music. Iis siiengil piecisely lies in iis siiangeness. Ii is claiacieiized by
iis excesses, lypeiboles, and amplificaiions, as well as iis will io escape fiom a fiame, io
suipass and iianscend iiself. Tliougl ile piism of aii, Blacl Meial las become a
meiaploiic beyond Blacl Meial iiself. Ii is a paiiiculai foim of sensibiliiy ilai can evolve io
an ideal genie aimed ai by ile woil of aii. Ii is by ile agency of aii ilai ilis genie las io
lead io a puie aesileiic foim. Ii peifecily incainaies ile aesileiic ideniiiy of oui iime and
suggesis, by ile ieveisal of values, a ieal clange of wlai consiiiuies beauiy. Ii biings new
codes of appieciaiion and ii is ile peifeci emblem of ile cuiieni expiessiveness.
Conclusively, ii's faiily obvious ilai ile cleaiesi ilougli emeiging fiom all ile possible
ELODIE LESOURD
(o
ileoieiical labeling aiiempis is ilai Blacl Meial could be defined as a new aesileiic
caiegoiy by iiself. Ii is also definiiively, and liieially, a Gesomtkunstwerk.
Tle young, Noiwegian aiiisi Eiil Tidemann, foi insiance, iends io cieaie a ioial
fusion beiween ile iwo woilds, aii and music, and suggesis an iniiiaiion io ilis ileoiy. He
commiis limself, leaii and soul, io lis aii. In lis videos, le ofien appeais in ile middle of
slamanic acis, someiling beiween blacl mass and aciivisi peifoimance, weaiing ile face
of a fieslly dead deei. On ile occasion of ile Nidiosian Blacl Mass, a Blacl Meial fesiival
in Tiondleim in :ooy, le immeised limself in lis ieseaicl subjeci wiil lis insiallaiion
Kick out tbe Titons. Heie, video and diawings aie joined wiil beleaded animals' faces and
dislocaied limbs and piesenied as siage sei. Tle faci ilai le iales paii in a coniexi
unfamiliai wiil coniempoiaiy aii slows ilai le iales iisls wiil ile peicepiion of lis
woil. Finally, ii is ile aii scene ilai sanciioned lim by canceling ile siudio le was
gianied. Tlis eveni demonsiiaies Blacl Meial's poieniial dangei io aii. Ii's a ilieai,
visually and moially, io ile public. To come bacl io ile ioois of Gesomtkunstwerk, we
piimaiily need io iall of aiiisis wlo aie musicians, and vice-veisa. To lool ai ile
possibiliiy of defining Blacl Meial as a new influeniial caiegoiical concepi is io accepi ile
gieainess and ile siiengil of iis associaiion wiil aii, and io considei ii as ile possible
biiil of a ioial woil of aii. Aii finds in music a naiuial exiension of iis expiession.
Figuie (. Dimiiiis Fouiiis, "Blacl Tuda," :oo6. (Peifoimance wiil Em Kei, Pola-Yio, Aposiolos
Zeivedvas, and Neilesceiial ai Ileana Tounia Galleiy, May i(, :oo6). Image couiiesy of ile aiiisi.
BAPTISM OR DEATH


(i
Incidenially, many aiiisis aie also musicians and many musicians lave an aiiisiic
baclgiound. Tle iendency iowaids exclanges beiween ilese piaciices can be obseived in
ile field of Blacl Meial as well. Dimiiiis Fouiiis, lile many aiiisis, played in a band as a
ieenagei. He nosialgically iefeis io lis own diieci involvemeni wiil ile music by inviiing
ile band Neilesceiial io lis Block TuJo peifoimance in :oo6 |Figuie (j. He and iliee
oileis Gieel aiiisis, lidden undei laige loods and dail albs, suiiounded ile band playing
live. Did ile aiiisis meiaploiically appeai as ile guaidians of an occuli lnowledge oi,
conveisely, did iley siand foi a ilieai?
Some aiiisis lave siiongly puisued ilis double piaciice. Sindie Foss Slancle is
piobably ile mosi inieiesiing figuie iepieseniing ilis inieidisciplinaiy iendency. Because
ile aciiviiy of a siudio aiiisi is laigely soliiaiy, le las naiuially puisued a peisonal
accomplislmeni in lis music and added io all ile alieady exisiing one-man bands a new
company, ile band Uiaim. His deep exploiaiion of ile subjeci, muliidisciplinaiy appioacl,
and someiimes collaboiaiive piaciices as an aiiisi]cuiaioi, aie elemenis iecalling a
Wagneiian Gesomtkunstwerk. He is one of ile fiisi io inviie a musician of Blacl Meial inio
a wliie cube, noi foi playing lis own iole bui io exisi as an aiiisi. Daniel Viangsinn, ile
bass playei foi ile band Caipailian Foiesi, seems io be aiiiacied io ile fieedom given by
aii and iiies io expend lis field of cieaiion wiil music ai iis coie. He exlibiied lis video
Pbobio in :ooq ai ile Kuiani Aii Galleiy duiing ile Do wbot tbou wilt sboulJ be tbe key to
tbe worlJ slow in Tiomso. Pbobio is a global piojeci, including vaiious musical
collaboiaiions, ilai visually illusiiaies ile diffeieni songs of ile eponymous LP (Misaniiof
ANTIiecoids, :oio). Finally, Tlomas Gabiiel Fisclei (of Helllammei and Celiic Fiosi)
exploies ile endless wealil of aiiisiic cieaiion in an ouisidei piaciice wiil a moie peisonal
appioacl. He began in :ooy, by cieaiing a seiies of painied deail masls casi fiom lis own
face and painied in unique ways. Now, le examines iliee-dimensionaliiy, wiil scailing
ieady-mades÷dildos embezzled and iiansfoimed inio ieligious objecis. Ii is inieiesiing io
noie ilai ile appioacl of ilese iwo musicians ieinfoices, and even validaies, ile woils of
ile diffeieni aiiisis quoied befoie. Moieovei, aien'i ile laiesi musical aiiempis of a few
coniempoiaiy clevei bands ile closesi appioacl io ilis desiie io elevaie Blacl Meial io an
uppei level? Tle clallenging concepis and piinciples io suipass oneself aie slaied by
coniempoiaiy musicians and aiiisis. Posi-Blacl Meial musicians and aiiisis woil in
conceii foi iis uliimaie adveni.
Tle unsuipassable singulaiiiy of a plenomenon males ii an emblem, peilaps even a
new sysiem of ilinling. Blacl Meial is beyond music. Ii exceeds iis funciion of musical
genie. Ii iadiaies wiil iis sepulclial fiie on eveiy side of culiuie. Aii can dispeise ile
clouds ilai iesiiici ile passing of iis iays, and is among ile besi possibiliiies io ieveal ile
lidden siai. Blacl Meial is a suffeiing body ilai illusiiaies, in ile same spiing, all ile
ELODIE LESOURD


(:
luman dailness as mucl as iis viial impeius. Ii belongs io an indisceinible zone beiween a
finisled objeci and a fuiuie one. If ii is finisled, aii would be iis exiension. To plan ii inio
ile fuiuie is announcing iis ieiuin. If ii is noi finisled, aii is iiuly ievealing ii. If we
considei ilis movemeni as an access io a ceiiain woildview (Veltonscbouunq), inspiied by
Romaniicism and Saianism, ile desiie foi iiansgiession (based on affiimaiion and iefusal)
seems io aci lile ile uimosi souice of moiivaiion. Wiil iis iniiusion inio ile aii woild as a
iiie of passage, Blacl Meial, as a symbolic foim, aspiies io an exiension, a consideiable
piopagaiion, a (ie)biiil. Aii iales on ile exegeie funciion io unveil "ile logic of sensaiion"

of ilis epiplenomenon becoming a full aesileiic genie.
q
Tle woils of aii dealing wiil
Blacl Meial, using semiology io undeisiand iis mode of exisience, seem io be ile finisled
pioduci, ile uliimaie and final siage of ile Blacl Meial piojeci iiself. Fuiileimoie,
following Susan Soniag, wlo declaies ilai "aii is noi only aboui someiling; ii is
someiling," we can considei ilai aii is Blacl Meial.
io




Figuie ¸. Elodie Lesouid, "Oinameni and ciime (Hvis Lysei Tai Oss)," :oii, cui band i-sliii, epoxy
iesin, vaiiable dimensions. Image couiiesy of ile aiiisi.
BAPTISM OR DEATH




('&*-
i
Maiquis de Sade, "Dialogue ile Fifil," in justine, Pbilosopby in tbe BeJroom c Otber Vritinqs, iians.
Riclaid Seavei 8 Ausiiyn Wainlouse (New Yoil Ciiy: Giove Piess, iq6¸). Oiiginally publisled in lo
Pbilosopbie Jons le BouJoir (Londies: Aux d•pens de la Compagnie, iyq¸).
:
Fiiediicl Nieizscle, "On Moods," in journol of Nietzscbe StuJies : (iqqi): ¸-ii.
¸
Hannal Aiendi, "Invisibiliiy and Wiildiawal," in Tbe life of tbe MinJ (New Yoil: Haicouii Biace,
iqyS).
(
Klaus Oiimann, "Epiplanies de beaui• ei de connaissance, le monde de la vie de }ames Lee Byais,"
in jomes lee Byors, life, love onJ Jeotb (Siiasbouig: Les mus•es de Siiasbouig, :oo¸).
¸
Maiquis de Sade, "Dialogue ile Fifil."
6
Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, diis. Aaion Aiies and Audiey Ewell, DVD (New Yoil Ciiy: Vaiiance Films,
:ooq).
y
William Blale, "Pioveibs of Hell," in Tbe Morrioqe of Heoven onJ Hell (London: William Blale,
iyqo).
S
Paul Ricoeui, lectures ll. lo contree Jes pbilosopbes (Paiis: Seuil, iqq:).
q
Gilles Deleuze, Froncis Bocon. tbe loqic of Sensotion, iians. Daniel Smiil (London: Coniinuum,
:oo¸). Oiiginally publisled as Froncis Bocon. loqique Je lo sensotion (Paiis: •diiions de la Diff•ience,
iqSi).
io
Susan Soniag, "On Siyle," in Aqoinst lnterpretotion onJ Otber Essoys (New Yoil: Faiiai, Siiaus and
Giioux, iq66).
The night is no longer dead;
i t h a s a l i f e o f i t s o w n .
Alexander Binder
Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert
Ibrahim R. Ineke
Alessandro Keegan
Irena Knezevic
Allen Linder
Gean Moreno
Nine Yamamoto-Masson
There’s the sign: the loud screech of the final sound-check bursts through the dark venue. And then
an eerie silence. The muffled jabber of voices return to swim around my ankles once more, briefly,
reminding me that others are here. I have enough time to weave through the fog, towards the front of
the stage, and clear my mind with one, deep, resolutive exhale. . . . Wait for the sonic tide to break. And
then, it hits. A deluge. A solid mass. First the long and deep waves of the bass tones. I close my eyes and
fall. Struggling briefly to orientate myself. Shifting. I grasp out in an attempt to discover an analytical
path towards understanding—What is happening to me?—before releasing this part of my mind that
must find-a-way-through. It floods over me, through me: simultaneously enveloping and penetrating. I
stand, stepping my feet apart—slightly—to align with my shoulders, firmly planted within this massive
textual density that is spreading like layers of gauze, pervading the space. The vocals begin, emitting
short waves, occasionally piercing out from underneath the lengths of the guitar and drums. I feel sonic
pressure, released by the amplifier, pushing against my wrists and throat, and am overcome with the
sensation of sounds swirling around me, immersing me, plummeting into my ears. Everything that was
solid is now porous. I stand, exercising the strategic and exhilarating tightening and releasing of tension
maintained throughout the set. Giving in to the sensation of being suspended, the pleasure of being lost,
of not expecting, the impossible…
When Philip Tagg writes on the structure of Western music, in his Introductory Notes to the Semiotics
of Music, melody (since the Renaissance) is described as a linear, sequential entity, standing in front of
the texture of the accompaniment.
1
It is a recognizable voice, premiering high above the—sometimes
indistinguishable—ambiance of the music. Typically (in occidental music) the vocalist leads, as
the premier focal point of the performance, providing a single entry-point through lucid lyrics and
chorus. With a profane gesture, Black Metal inverses this—counteracting structural hierarchy and its
inherent monotheism. In describing the polyphonic, or polycentric, Tagg aptly cites the secular, visual
compositions within paintings by Hieronymus Bosch or Pieter Bruegel the Elder. So many entry-points
arise from the cacophonous moment of inception that there appear to be none-at-all. There is an all-
at-once-ness to everything. Eyes and ears dart across obscured terrains and a yawning void expands.
Perhaps, if there is not one clear answer, there are no answers? Nihilism is an exit strategy; you can
always simply leave and let the vivacious sounds thrash against the thick doors that slam behind you.
Or, you can enter it; let it engulf you. As if you were on the verge of drowning, you must enact here a
mortal fight to maneuver through its elongated duration, affirming your own will to power, transcending
your previously stagnant agency with a willingness to navigate through strange seas.
T h e n i g h t i s n o l o n g e r d e a d ;
it has a life of its own.
† Special thanks to Cláudia Azevedo for her insight and conversation during the inception of this undertaking.
In the following pages, images by nine artists evoke Black Metal visually. The punctum here is
obfuscation through texture. Within each image, complex layers imply both thickness and depth, offering
extended spaces to be traversed, experiences to be undergone, exertions to be overcome. Traditional
visual relationships between figure and ground are strategically reversed. Similar to the sonic event
described above—where the melody is buried beneath a combination of the drum’s blast-beat, the
guitar’s tremolo, and the amplifier feedback—each of these images emanate a dense, yet permeable,
temporal and spatial confusion in their depiction of vast and immersive spaces. The perceptive viewer
may recognize individual elements—trees, water, skies, stars, bones— but there is a rift: these images
are not representing the objects that you know they are. Using demotic materials, they create a visual
noise that is optically disorientating. It is a divisive technique. The mediations taking place are indeed
the substance of the images: we do not look at these images, but through them.
The skeptical nature of encounter that I am recommending within this introduction (double fistedly:
both sonically and visually) is a critique of the rational, analytical, representational, or measurable
explorations of time and space, in favor of an experience that Eugène Minkowski recognizes within
“dark space” or the phenomenological “lived space.” To describe “me-here-now,” you must abandon the
notion of distance: the qualitative impulse to geometrically measure, and thus definitively distinguish,
yourself outside and against your surroundings (and I would add, to equate your previous experience of
objects: the that-then to the this-now). It is in this dark terrain that living unfolds and personal freedoms
transpire. By intimately knowing and confronting this obscure and expansive depth laying before us
we are able to actualize our potential and intuitively plunge ourselves into it. The simulated fog of the
concert venue, the long drawn-out tones, the low rumbling of grays rolling across a photograph, multi-
directional perspectives, simultaneity, the whirling storm clouds, our ability to reach out and wrinkle/
shove time and space, the seductiveness of closing one’s eyes and navigating this private, seemingly
ambient, space… it is all this, I feel, Minkowski perceives when he observes in Lived Time: “The night
no longer is something dead; it has its own life.”
2
Within these curated pages, the obscure and abstract texture of Black Metal manifests as a veil that
replicates the substantial darkness of the night’s cloak. Night, momentarily displaced, perceived dead,
emerges from this disjuncture, overcoming it with a raw vitality. Inversing figure and ground; interchanging
melody and ambiance. The images express an opening of possibilities. Independent now from time and
space, they seethe with the qualities of a transitional phenomenon and gain a life of their own.
-Amelia Ishmael
1
Philip Tagg, Introductory Notes to the Semiotics of Music (Philip Tagg, July 1999). http://www.tagg.org
2
Eugène Minkowski, Lived Time, trans.by Nancy Metzel (Northwestern University, 1970), 405.
Alexander Binder
Pages 4-5: Untitled (Traum), 2009
Page 14: Untitled (Golgatha), 2011
Page 15: Untitled (Golgatha), 2011
Alexander Binder was born on the Halloween night of 1976, in the Black Forest/Germany. He’s a totally self-taught
photographer, having never attended a photo class in his life. Even his lenses are mostly self-built from optical toys,
old soviet cameras, prisms, or plastic crap. A fan of Hans Bellmer and Herbert List, Alexander creates mystical and
ethereal photos that are characterized by a strong passion for the spiritual, the surreal, and the occult.
www.alexanderbinder.de
Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert
Page 6: Grímsvötn, 2011
Page 7: Grímsvötn, 2011
On May 22, 2011, Iceland’s most active volcano—Grímsvötn—erupted full force, sending a cloud of ash 15 kilometers
in the air. The pictures here were taken in early June 2011, while a thick layer of dust and ash still covered parts of
the Vatnajökull glacier. The partially blurred images are the result of experimental techniques, based on optical lens
mistreatment by means of volcanic dust and ice as well as camera damage. Our work investigates the aesthetics and
ethics of a threshold between inside and out, hiding and showing. It depicts the planet as a complex system and reflects
man’s foreignness in the world. We use visual handicaps to alter the visible and the ways of perceiving it. Obfuscation
corrupts the process of perception and hinders the social construction of reality.
www.bouschet-hilbert.org
Ibrahim R. Ineke
Pages 18-19: Excerpt from “Blossom On a Thorn Bush” zine, xerografic print, 2011
Ibrahim R. Ineke is a draughtsman and curator, based in The Hague, Netherlands. He co-founded Baracca in 2005, as
a means to “think out loud” his artistic praxis and to show work by artists whose approaches reflect or influence his
own practice.
His artworks utilize and deconstruct the narrative strategies and visual structures of the comic book medium. Through
sequences aesthetically influenced by drone music, they assert both the autonomy and interdependence of images in
their use of layered xerographic noise, a slow gradual build, and hypnotic repetition.
www.melencolica.blogspot.com
www.spectralexistence.blogspot.com
www.baracca.nl
Alessandro Keegan
Page 20: Untitled 2, graphite on paper, 11 x 14 inches
Page 21: Untitled 1, graphite on paper, 11 x 14 inches
These black-and-white graphite drawings on paper share influences—such as nature, the sublime, growth, and
decay—with the Black Metal genre.
The imagery suggests partially formed, primordial environments, emerging from light and shadow. In this way, they
engage the theme of a beginning or a genesis. Untitled 1 is a landscape scene with a shadowy grotto. The mountain-like
protuberances in Untitled 2 have a relationship to the mountain peaks often found in 19th-century Romantic paintings.
I am interested in the subjective haze of Romanticism and fantasy art that is also a source of imagery adopted by the
Black Metal aesthetic and other “dark” subcultures.
www.akeeganart.blogspot.com
Irena Knezevic
Pages 22-23: Failure of Visible Universe, silkscreen on aluminum cinefoil, 2006
Failure of Visible Universe, conceived as an ongoing collaboration with the University of Chicago’s Department of
Astrophysics in 2006, is an annual index of vanished galaxies, imploded within imaging range of Earth’s telescopes.
The light that has vanished millions of years ago, has finally reached us— a record of good, old times.
The scientific material in this work, based on spectral imaging, is used as an artistic alternative to the mathematic
calculation of collateral damage. The astrophysicists involved are the guardians who watch time and space unfold,
without a flinch. Their powerlessness to intervene in the death of stars parallels, for me, the inability of consumers to
intervene in the market forces and political decisions that affect us everyday.
Especially pertinent in a time of recession and disaster, the editions were recently developed into personal one-offs,
where annual editions—corresponding to the year of worst personal failure by the person collecting the work—can be
ordered. The edition is sent flat, to be crumpled by the collector and hidden away behind bookshelves, under beds, or
any other place where it can gather dust and ruin.
www.allyouknowistrue.net
Allen Linder
Page 16: Alone at nite in the forest with only a flashlight, black ink on paper, 2009
Page 17: Correggio’s Buffalo, black ink on paper, 2009
I approach making a drawing as an adventure. I begin with a simple mark, a doodle, a scribble. And then another
and another. I make a conscious effort to try and avoid predictability. The mark making becomes a meditation
which both focuses my vision and expands my peripheral vision. The marks build up into textured layers of density
and complexity. I concentrate on the formal elements of line quality, light and dark, design and composition as the
drawing continues to build itself. Forms begin to suggest themselves through the interplay of value. Some forms are
refined, others merge and morph and others dissolve into darkness. I am attracted to deep, dark mysterious spaces.
I avoid narrative reference as long as I can. I don’t want to know where I am going. I want to be surprised when I
get there. I turn the page upside-down and sideways, searching for content in the evolving form. All at once, I see
exactly what it is and I assign the title.
www.lindersculpture.com
Gean Moreno
Page 12: Untitled, mixed media on existing paintings, 2007
Page 13: Untitled, mixed media on existing paintings, 2007
The images of this series are of accumulations over preexisting paintings by a well-known geometric abstractionist,
which are themselves a remake of a project that he produced in the late 1970s. They have something to do with the
possibility of the remake as it begins to crust and thicken and miss its grooves, allowing an Outside to geometric
abstraction itself to start oozing in.
Nine Eglantine Yamamoto-Masson
Page 8: From “Ouvertures” series, digital c-print, 2009-2012, 8.3 x 11 inches
Page 9: From “Ouvertures” series, digital c-print, 2009-2012, 8.3 x 11 inches
Pages 10-11: From “Ouvertures” series, digital c-print, 2009-2012, 8.3 x 11 inches
Nine Eglantine Yamamoto-Masson is a Berlin-based, French-Japanese curator, artist, and PhD candidate at the
Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (University of Amsterdam).
“Ouvertures” is an ongoing mosaic of photographs taken on the other side of suspended spaces. It plays with the lie
within the aesthetics of the Sublime and lingers on the mundane that makes them possible. The enacted “ouvertures”
refer both to the photographic apparatus as to the opening of an interstice within (or a disruption of) a habitus of
representation and viewing. The present selection is comprised of images from Siberia, Iceland, and the Philippines.
www.kinemanippon.org






FROSTBITE ON MY FEET
REPRESENTATIONS OF WALKING IN
BLACK METAL VISUAL CULTURE

David Prescott-Steed

#(0#.#&@8%$4#(6
Walling can be undeisiood as a iiansiiional piaciice wleieby a peison sieps inio, and
iliougl, a complex sei of spaiial and cogniiive ielaiionslips. An example of sucl a ileoiy
of walling can be seen in ile aci of siepping iliougl ile dooiway of a Goilic Cailedial
(Noiie Dame, foi insiance). Enieiing ile wesiwoil las long leld plysical and ieligious
significance foi Cailolic devoiees, symbolising one's depaiiuie fiom a woild in wlicl a
conceived God is incompielensible and indeieiminable (a iianscendenial space) inio a
space of communion wiil ilai God (an immanenial space). Eacl siep inio ile vasi and
oinaie inieiioi space of ile nave, and beyond, compiises a iiansiiional iiiual ilai puis ile
wallei in dialogue wiil ile sacied.
Considei also ile Siiuaiionisi Inieinaiional (SI)'s aiiempis io exploie ile many
possibiliiies foi inieiaciion wiil ciiy spaces iliougl psyclogeogiaplic ieseaicl (ieseaicl
quesiioning low ile buili enviionmeni influences low people ilinl, aci, and feel). Taling
inspiiaiion fiom ile eaily modein flôneur, Guy Deboid, Miclel de Ceiieau, and oilei SI
membeis would wandei aiound Paiis (and oilei ciiies) indulging ileii scopoplilic fancies
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED
(6
and iieaiing ile Paiisian aiiondisemenis as siies foi cieaiive, unsiiuciuied play. Piivileging
ile "mobilized gaze," ileii Jerives fiamed a negoiiaiion wiil piedominani, maieiialisiic,
and middle-class values.
i
In ilis example, walling embodies a iiansiiion iliougl unfixed
spaiial subjeciiviiies, wiilin wlicl ile body could become "a veiiiable depoi foi depaiiuie
and ieiuin."
:

Tle significance of walling ieacles beyond ile linesiological conceins of placing one
fooi in fioni of ile oilei, of iepeaiedly slifiing ile weigli of ile body. Walling and
ilinling aie iniimaiely eniwined. Ii is significani io a bioadei complex of culiuial
dynamics, bui ii ofien lacls iecogniiion÷lile a quiei aclievei wlo moves aboui undei ile
iadai. We can aiiiibuie ilis io walling's inleieni iepeiiiion, foi ii is so commonplace in
eveiyday life ilai ii baiely iaies a meniion; io coniemplaie eveiy siep would be exlausiing
and unnecessaiily iime consuming. Walling iales place, of couise, bui we foigei aboui ii
in oidei io conceniiaie on oilei ilouglis (e.g., of oui desiinaiion and iis associaied iasls).
Someiling as conceivably banal and monoionous as walling slips fieely beneail ile
giounds of ciiiical ilougli. In an abyss beneail cognisance÷beyond illuminaiion÷
walling enduies.
In ile coniexi of Blacl Meial music's visual culiuie, walling migli appeai io be a
iailei iiielevani iopic. Wly? Blacl Meial is famous foi iis Neo-Baioque ileaiiicaliiy,
allusions io Saianism and Paganism, coipse paini, images of buining cluicles, and
deail÷ilings ilai pieseni a clallenge io ile comfoiiing familiaiiiies of eveiyday life.
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


(y
Lisiening io Blacl Meial music, we migli imagine Odin waging wais, we do noi imagine
lim ialing a siioll down io ile mailei. Walling seems io be ioo oidinaiy a paii of ile
luman condiiion÷fai ioo conveniional io compeie wiil Blacl Meial's piovocaiive
melodiamas.
Tiuncaied by ile public's engagemeni wiil ile speciacle of Blacl Meial, ile less
exoiic piaciice of walling noneileless iemains an impoiiani piaciice wiilin ile genie. Iis
significance can be seen in iwo ieceni documeniaiies on Blacl Meial: Vice Bioadcasiing
Sysiem (VBS)'s True Norweqion Block Metol and Aaion Aiies and Audiey Ewell's Until tbe
liqbt Tokes Us.
¸
In ile fiisi insiance, Gaall (ile documeniaiy's leading figuie and ile
foimei fioniman of Goigoioil) insisis ilai ile film ciew join lim on a long iiel inio ile
Noiwegian iundia. Tle lile diaws oui aiieniion io ile meaningfulness of ile jouiney and
speals io ile auia of soliiude and enduiance, of a confioniaiion wiil ile unlnown and
luman poieniial. Gaall enfoices: "I become wlai nevei fails, following ile fooisieps
belind me." In Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, slow-moiion fooiage of Daililione's Feniiz
walling along a snowy foiesi pail seems io evole similai noiions of ile sladows of foimei
selves seeling an obscuied locus of self-auileniiciiy. Boil examples illusiiaie ile capaciiy
of walling io communicaie a deeply planied Blacl Meial aesileiic. Tlus, by way of
walling÷ilis aiypical objeci of analysis÷we find a new and unexpecied eniiy poini fiom
wlicl io exploie ile Blacl Meial landscape.
Bui ileie is moie io ii ilan ilis. Given ilai walling is a slaied expeiience, we may
capiialise on iis commonaliiy io considei low Blacl Meial migli offei new meaning io oui
own (i.e., ile lisienei's) walling. By using Blacl Meial io ie-ilinl an ofien ialen-foi-
gianied aciiviiy and io ilinl ciiiically aboui wlai is iypically, unciiiically, and
auiomaiically peiceived, we lave an oppoiiuniiy io defamiliaiise walling.
(
By defamiliai-
ising walling, oui aiieniion may be diawn io iis capaciiy as a cieaiive piaciice ilai is
culiuially and peisonally meaningful. In ilis sense, Blacl Meial ileoiy enables us io see
walling in a new ligli oi, foi ilai maiiei, a new slade.
In oidei io delimii ilis iuin in ile discussion, I diaw fiom a peisonal case siudy ilai
aiiiculaies my own day-io-day expeiience of walling wlile lisiening io Blacl Meial music.
Today, digiial media fosieis a cuiious iension beiween Blacl Meial walling and walling in
eveiyday life. I lave ofien found myself lisiening io Buizum's Dunkelbeit, Goigoioil's
Corvinq o Giont, oi Maylem's A Vise Birtbqiver wlile maling my way down a busiling, ciiy
siieei in Melbouine, Ausiialia and sensed a disjunciuie, a iupiuie, beiween iwo diveigeni
coniexis: ilai of ile unfoigiving Noidic landscape ilai ile songs, fuelled by Blacl Meial
images, slape in my imaginaiion, and my own maieiial iealiiy in a buili enviionmeni
punciuaied by concieie pailways and pedesiiian ciossings. Boil Tim Ingold's discussion
of ile diffeience "beiween walling on ile giound, in ile landscapes of 'ieal life,' and
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


(S
walling in ile imaginaiion, as in ieading, wiiiing, painiing oi lisiening io music" and Rey
Clow's ideas on ile Wallman offei ileoieiical coniexi foi ile appioacl io Blacl Meial
discussed in ilis essay.
¸
In lines. A Brief History, Ingold posiis ile aci of walling as a lind
of piocession ilai finds lim (ai ile ouisei of lis bool) linling walling io "weaving,
obseiving, singing, sioiyielling, diawing and wiiiing."
6
Ingold's "aniliopology of ile line"
diaws oui aiieniion io ile line's capaciiies as a "iliead" and "iiace" ilai exisis as mulii-
diieciional "iiansfoims of one anoilei" (:). He iiaces modein socieiies' noiion ilai
"siiaigliness las come io epiiomize noi only iaiional ilougli and dispuiaiion bui also ile
values of civiliiy and moial ieciiiude" io ile Renaissance, wleie ii was adopied fiom ile
Euclidean geomeiiy of moie ilan iwo millennia befoie (Euclid posiied ile piopeily lineai
line "as a conneciion beiween poinis ilai las lengil bui no bieadil"). Ingold's peisonal
seaicl foi lines in lis eveiyday life found ilem "in exeicise bools, flooiboaids, biicl walls
and pavemenis." He explains low ile idea of ile line belies iis complexiiy as a lived
expeiience and ilai along wlicl auiobiogiaply leals, seeps, and bleeds (().
Alieiiiy, we aie iold, is non-lineai. Tle oilei side of ilis coin, lowevei, is io
assume ilai life is lived auileniically on ile spoi, in places iailei ilan along
pails. Yei low could ileie be places, I wondeied, if people did noi come and go?
Life on ile spoi suiely cannoi yield an expeiience of place, of being somewbere.
To be a place, eveiy somewleie musi lie on one oi seveial pails of movemeni io
and fiom places elsewleie. Life is lived, I ieasoned, along pails, noi jusi in
places, and pails aie lines of a soii. Ii is along pails, ioo, ilai people giow inio a
lnowledge of ile woild aiound ilem, and desciibe ilis woild in ile sioiies iley
iell. (:)
Beyond ile posiiivism of modein analyiical ilougli, and cognisani of ile "doubi and
confusion" (and ieflexiviiy) of laie modeiniiy, Ingold noies ilai ile "lines ilai once weni
siiaigli io ile poini lave become fiagmenied, and ile iasl of life is once moie io find a
way iliougl ile ciacls" ((). As a piocess iliougloui wlicl a line is giown, sucl as wlen
one wiiies oi diaws, walling is noi simply a poini-io-poini inieipieiaiion of ile woild, oi
ile division of ile map of eveiyday life inio poinis. Insiead ii can be undeisiood as a
means by wlicl we migli gei "aiound" io a "place." Peilaps ilis will be iegaided as a place
of auileniiciiy, ieacled in ile couise of a meandeiing ilai insciibes iiself onio ile suiface
of ile woild and upon ile suiface of ile mind as a iiain]iiail of ilougli. Ingold says ilai
alilougl "we aie diawn io ceiiain iopics, and meandei aiound ilem . . . by ile iime we
ieacl ilem iley seem io lave disappeaied÷lile a lill we climb ilai no longei lools lile a
lill once we lave ieacled ile iop" (¸).
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


(q
Walling is also iiansiiional in iis capaciiy io iiansfoim low ile body ieads a space.
Bui low migli we male sense of ilai body? Remaining wiil Ingold foi now, ii is useful io
ouiline ile disiinciion le males beiween "navigaiing" and "wayfaiing" (i6). Tle navigaioi
iiaces a "compleie iepieseniaiion of ile ieiiiioiy" by way of wlicl a jouiney may be "pie-
planned." In coniiasi, ile wayfaiei's jouiney ieconsiiucis, and ilus ieinsciibes, ile
"iiineiaiy as one goes along. Only upon ieacling lis desiinaiion, in ilis case, can ile
iiavellei iiuly be said io lave found lis way" (i6). Foi wayfaieis, jouineying acioss a ieiiain
(Ingold's examples aie of Aniiquiiy and ile Middle Ages) eniails ieading
a sei of signposis, diieciion maileis oi siepping siones ilai enabled ilem io find
ileii way wiilin ile landscape of memoiy. Foi ilis finding of ile way÷ilis
guided, flowing movemeni fiom place io place÷medieval ieadeis lad a special
ieim, Juctus. (q:-q¸)
Ductus (fiom ile Laiin "leading") is used io denoie ile flow of ile jouiney of ieading and
wiiiing. Tlis denoiaiion can be ieasonably exiended io include ile flow and open-
endedness of walling as a iiansiiional piaciice ilai iales piocess iliougl maieiial and
cogniiive space.
Ingold's way of ielaiing "wiiiing" io "walling" iesonaies wiil ilis essay as a space in
wlicl ile flow of ile foimei pioceeds iowaids a view of ile laiiei (and by ile iime I ieacl
ile end, wlai I expeci io find migli noi be ileie ai all). By slaiing lis seaicl foi lines in
lis eveiyday life, le uses lis own expeiience as a valid souice of daia wlen seeling a way
foiwaid÷and along ile way, so slall I. Diawing fiom a peisonal case siudy lelps io infoim
a nuanced undeisianding of ile collision of Blacl Meial and walling in eveiyday life÷
wlai I playfully call "blaclened walling"÷in an expeiimenial way ilai I lope will fosiei
fuiilei discussion on ilis iopic. As a Blacl Meial enilusiasi living in a ieclnologically
advanced socieiy÷a veiy noisy culiuie÷I ofien lisien io Blacl Meial on my mp¸ playei
wlile I wall. In ilis sense, Rey Clow's analysis of ile culiuial poliiics of poiiable music
offeis ileoieiical coniexi foi ilis paii of ile discussion wiil a flow on effeci onio ile
oileis.
Clow's focus is noi on Blacl Meial, bui on Clinese Rocl music. Neveiileless, given
ilai "Clinese music iaises many issues similai io ilose of iocl and ioll in ile Wesi," lei
insiglis lend ilemselves io Blacl Meial÷one of Rocl music's mosi exiieme subgenies.
y

Paiiiculaily useful is Clow's ieading of poiiable music, wlicl ieminds us, says Simon
Duiing, ilai "ile powei of ile miniaiuie is noi only dependeni on iis culiuial-poliiical
coniexi. Ii belongs io ieclnology and ile body as well÷leie, io a paiiiculai conjunciion
beiween ile iwo, enabled and made concieie by ile Wallman" ((6:). Wleieas Ingold
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


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offeis a fiamewoil foi ilinling iliougl walling as line-maling in ile buili enviionmeni,
Clow aiiiculaies "ile equipmeni of modein nomadism" ((y(). Sle explains ilai poiiable
music playeis suppoii
a composiie mode of lisiening ilai involves muliiple eniiies and exiis, muliiple
iuinings-on and iuinings-off. If music is a lind of sioiage place foi ile emoiions
geneiaied by culiuial conflicis and siiuggles, ilen we can, wiil ile new lisiening
ieclnology, iall aboui ile pioduciion of sucl conflicis and siiuggles on tbe
bumon boJy ai ile piess of a buiion. In ile age of ile Wallman . . . ile emoiions
lave become poiiable. ((y()
I am ieminded of ile SI's impiovised meandeiings, bui jusi as mucl we may deieci a
ielaiionslip beiween Ingold's and Clow's insiglis. Clow's poini ilai ile poiiable music
device "offeis a means of self-pioduciion in an age wlen any emplasis on individualisi
posiiions amounis io a scandal" begs ile quesiion of wleilei lisiening io music, wlile
walling, speals closei io navigaiion oi wayfaiing ((y¸). Aie ileie condiiions undei wlicl
ii migli speal io boil? We may noie ilai "self-pioduciion" implies auionomy and lends
iiself io ile DIY aesileiic, wlicl Blacl Meial las long leld in ligl esieem. Ii also seis up
ile aci of walling as a plysical and emoiional ie-insciipiion. In ilis peifoimaiiviiy of ile
walling cieaiive self, scope exisis foi ile navigaiion of pie-iesied and pie-planned
componenis: ile iepeaied song, ile familiaiiiy of siieeis. Weaiing a band i-sliii migli add
io ile "auiism of ile Wallman lisienei |ilaij iiiiiaies onlooleis piecisely because ile
onlooleis find ilemselves ieduced io ile aciiviiy of looling alone" due io "liddeness" of
sound ilai leadplones affoid ile lisienei ((y¸-(y6). Auiism, as a coniexi of impaiied
social inieiaciion, is leie consiiucied by ile lisiening body÷ile lisienei aciively deiives
pleasuie fiom ile poiiable, meclanical appaiaius. Tlis appaiaius (a siiuciuie of viiiual
files ilai is liglly coniiollable: volume, iime limiis, cusiom equalisei seiiings) offeis
ieclnological suppoii foi poiiable, siiuciuied emoiions, and affoids some degiee of iespiie
fiom ile emoiional pioximiiy io ile colleciive, ile lusile and busile of ciiy claos, ilai can
oveisiimulaie ile senses. To wall is io imply a siand÷"'I am noi ileie, noi wleie you
colleci me.' . . . a 'sileni' saboiage of ile ieclnology of colleciivizaiion wiil iis own
insiiumenis" ((y¸). Ii is as if poiiable music is paii of a coping siiaiegy, wleieby ile
lisiening body may embiace ile soundscape of nomadicism in and iliougloui a liglly
iaiionalised public space sucl as a ciiy oi a subuib÷ile maieiial iealiiy undei wlicl ile
lisienei's body las been disciplined. Tlus, we migli imagine ile coniingeni body lisiening
io songs aboui ile libeiaied body and following ilis Oilei (an alieinaiive soluiion foi
living in ile woild) inio ile myil, and ile misi, of ile quesi foi ile self. We come full
ciicle, ieiuining io SI ilougli in noiicing ilai ilis saboiage wiiloui sound, bui wlicl is
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publicly announced visually, Jetournes ile walling body as a means io enlivening iis life-
poliiical poweis.
&' 8%$4 &7* #(/*+(%$ /#*$"-
S

|Wje musi iecognise in ile powei of ile imaginaiion ile cieaiive impulse of life
iiself in coniinually biinging foiil ile foims we encouniei, wleilei in aii,
iliougl ieading, wiiiing oi painiing, oi in naiuie, iliougl walling in ile
landscape. (:¸)
Given ilai Blacl Meial ileoiy is an aiiempi "io develop a ileoieiical fiamewoil on ile
basis of blacl meial iiself,"
q
ileie is good ieason io considei ile piomineni posiiion ilai
ile iole of walling occupies in ile coniexi of Blacl Meial visual culiuie. Bui wlai does
ilinling aboui walling mean foi ile music lisienei, i.e. ile Blacl Meial fan wlo is also a
paii of ilis piciuie? Ii is a quesiion ilai I lave asled myself wlile walling down ile ciiy
siieeis of Melbouine÷a space geogiaplical and climaiically incongiueni wiil many of ile
menial images evoled by ile sounds in my leadplones. To wlai exieni does my use of
Noiwegian Blacl Meial music, as an aiiificial soundiiacl foi ile maieiial iealiiy iliougl
wlicl I wall, fosiei a lind of "blaclened walling"? Can I speal of sucl a iling in Ausiialia,
a couniiy in wlicl myilologies of walling mosily eniail long liles iliougl ile busl
beneail ile seaiing summei leai? Afiei all, ii is noi ile ilieai of fiosibiie on my feei ilai I
would face wlile walling iliougl ile Aussie busl, bui anis' nesis÷noi ile leadiness of
aliiiude io coniend wiil, bui iailei poisonous snales and spideis.
Despiie some asseiiions made wiilin ile Blacl Meial communiiy againsi advanced
capiialism, ii is ilanls io a ieclnologically diiven consumei culiuie ilai I am able io wall
down a Melbouine siieei ai iam (oi ai any iime, foi ilai maiiei) lisiening io Maylem's "A
Wise Biiilgivei" (OrJo oJ Cboo) on my mp¸ playei. Heading lome afiei a (so-called) Blacl
Meial gig in Melbouine, walling along ile fooipail ai a pace fasi enougl io counieiaci ile
cold, ile music ieminds me of ile scenes of Gaall on ile mouniain oi Feniiz's slowed
down foiesi wall. I leai ileii conflicis wiil ile modein woild, bui am giaieful foi ile
digiial device ilis woild las affoided me. Wiiloui my mp¸ playei, I could noi caiiy ile
sound of iiebly, fasi-picled guiiais wiil me wleievei I go and biing io mind imagines of
ile sliveiing lands of musicians, playing and iecoiding music in ile icy iundia, as I siep
onio a iiam oi iiain duiing ile moining commuie.
Tlese days, my expeiience of exiieme music is mucl diffeieni ilan wlen I fiisi
became a fan. I iemembei being fifieen-yeais old÷a iime of emoiional and inielleciual
iiansiiion, fuelled mosily by iaging loimones÷boied wiil Meiallica and wiil Iion
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


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Maiden's vibianily colouied covei aiiwoil. I iemembei ieiuining lome one day, siiiing
down on ile beige lounge-ioom caipei of ile family lome, and playing Moibid Angel's
Alters of MoJness LP foi ile veiy fiisi iime. Noi only because ile sounds I leaid diveiged
fiom wlai I lad ialen io be culiuially accepiable, ile music spole io me aboui self-
auileniiciiy. Wlai I leaid was self-empoweimeni, a pioxy voice foi my own sense of self-
cieaiive poieniial, and my own dialogue wiil ile pasi and wiil fuiuie possibiliiies. Tlis
lind of subsiiiuiion is so common in music fandom ilai ii veiges on sociological clicl•.
Regaidless, ii las evolved iwo-fold: i) in ieims of ile bands wlicl lave, lile ilose befoie
ilem, ialen up ligl ioiaiion on my music playeis, and :) in ieims of ile music-playing
ieclnology iiself becoming smallei, ligliei, cleapei, and moie poiiable.
Tweniy yeais ago, I was lisiening io exiieme music, leaining ile lyiics, and
iesponding emoiionally and inielleciual io iis vaiious levels of cieaiive conieni wiilin ile
foui walls of my paienis' lome. I lnew noiling of capiialism oi of low ii coniinuously
fiamed my eveiyday expeiience. Today, I am able io iale Blacl Meial wiil me inio ile
bioadei social spleie and, wiil ii, a moie infoimed undeisianding of my culiuial
suiioundings. I can use ii as a soundiiacl io monoionous daily iasls÷fiom doing ile
disles io Tielldom (Til Minne . . .), io quicl-siepping down an escalaioi in an undeigiound
iiain siaiion wiil Forces of Soton Storms suiging iliougl my mind.
io
I am suiely noi ile
only one, foi despiie any allusions io individual empoweimeni ilai I migli diaw fiom ilis
expeiience, ii is, even if clallenged by geogiaply, one ilai is slaied.
Ii is in ilese momenis ilai I sense a iupiuie in iime and space, a iension beiween
menial images (ile Noiwegian landscape) and a maieiial iealiiy (a ciiy enviionmeni) ilai
infoims ile meaning I male of my aciions. Ii is in ilis conveigence ilai ile blaclening of
walling becomes conceivable; poiiable music enables ilis expeiience. In "Lisiening
Oileiwise, Music Miniaiuiized: A Diffeieni Type of Quesiion Aboui Revoluiion," Rey
Clow diaws aiieniion io ile communicaiive and iiansfoimaiive powei of ile Wallman:
We do noi ieiuin io ieal individual oi piivaie emoiions wlen we use ile
Wallman: iailei ile Wallman's aiiificialiiy males us awaie of ile impending
piesence of ile colleciive, wlicl summons us wiil ile infallibiliiy of ile
sleepwallei. Ai ile same iime, wlai ile Wallman piovides is ile possibiliiy of a
baiiiei, a bloclage beiween 'me' and ile woild, so ilai, as in momenis of
undisiuibed sleep, I can disappeai as a lisienei playing music. Tle Wallman
allows me, in oilei woids, io be missing÷io be a missing paii of lisioiy, io
wlicl I say: "I am noi ileie, noi wleie you colleci me." ((y¸)
Clow iells me ilai by walling down ile siieei lisiening io Goigoioil (foi example) I go
"missing," figuiaiively spealing, by way of ialing a cogniiive ieiieai fiom ile veiy
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colleciive ilai I plysically move amongsi. Clow is noi spealing of any specific genie of
music, bui by consideiing ile ileoiy in ielaiion io Blacl Meial, I am biinging io ligli a
gieaiei coincidence: ile noiion of "disappeaiance" and "missing" in lisioiy speals io Blacl
Meial's culiuial conflici wiil a long-dominani Cliisiian culiuie, and of ile lengils io
wlicl ile genie's "innei ciicles" lave gone io negoiiaie ilis conflici. Poiiable music is said
io fosiei a bloclage beiween self and socieiy and, in ilis wiildiawal fiom conveniional
foices, ii iendeis sucl a wallei almosi sladowlile. We may iemembei Rolsion's insigli
iegaiding ile necessiiy of disiance foi individualisaiion, and ilinl of coipse paini as being
uncannily illusiiaiive.
Bui, if ii is ioo diamaiic io speal of ile dead among ile living (albeii in leeping wiil
Blacl Meial ileaiiicaliiy), we can ai leasi considei ile way ilai a iailioad swiicl moves
iails laieially fiom one posiiion io anoilei; ilis bloclage iediiecis ile wallei io a new
spaiial possibiliiy and a ienewed social ielaiionslip. Clow's use of ile dieam meiaploi is
also inieiesiing, wlen ilinling aboui ile blaclening of walling in eveiyday life, given ile
daydieam's iepuiaiion foi indulging ile self in mind-wandeiing. Bui wleilei ile
landscape of ile mind slould be disiinguisled fiom ile ieal woild, and ilus low we migli
undeisiand ileii conveigence, is an issue ilai Tim Ingold las invesiigaied.
To summaiise, Ingold asls aboui ile diffeience "beiween walling on ile giound, in
ile landscapes of 'ieal life', and walling in ile imaginaiion, as in ieading, wiiiing, painiing
oi lisiening io music" (i¸).

He discusses foui examples: ile monasiic piaciices of eaily
medieval Euiope; ile painiing iiadiiion of ile Yolngu, an indigenous Ausiialian people;
ile wiiiings of Wassily Kandinsly; and a iieaiise by ile ioil-ceniuiy Clinese landscape
painiei Cling Hao. In eacl insiance, Ingold finds appieciaiion foi conveigence beiween
piciuies in ile mind and maieiialiiy÷poiniing io a significani oveilap beiween "ile
ieiiains of ile imaginaiion and of 'ieal life'" (:¸). Tle medieval monasiic piaciiiioneis, foi
insiance, "iegaided ilemselves as wayfaieis, iiavelling in ileii minds fiom place io place,
and composing ileii ilouglis as iley weni along by diawing on, oi 'pulling in,' ideas
lodged in places pieviously visiied." Reading iliougl Hao's Notes on Brusb-work, Ingold
obseives low
ile menial and ile maieiial, oi ile ieiiains of ile imaginaiion and ile plysical
enviionmeni, iun inio one anoilei io ile exieni of being baiely disiinguislable.
Tley aie lile couniiies wlose boideis aie iliown wide open io iwo-way iiaffic
wlicl, in passing fiom one couniiy io ile oilei, las io cioss no oniological
baiiiei. Sucl fiee passage is an offence io modein ilougli . . . . (iy)
Tlis is valuable foi oui puiposes, given ilai modein ilougli (in view of Vileines's,
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


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Gaall's, and Feniiz's commenis) is an offence io ile ioois of Noiwegian Blacl Meial. Tle
menial images ilai ile music evoles, iis iiiggeiing of memoiies, may also be iecognised as
"ouiwaid, sensible foims ilai give slape io ile innei geneiaiive impulse ilai is life iiself."
ii

As one sucl foim, a slaied woildly slape, walling is a velicle foi an exisieniial impulse,
someiimes also a moiivaiing anxieiy. Tle boideilessness of cogniiive ieiiain and plysical
iealiiy peimii noi ile conflaiion, pei se, bui a lind of collaboiaiion of one wiil ile oilei.
In ieims of my own expeiience as a Blacl Meial lisienei, ilis las been ile coupling of a
conceivably empoweied, asseiiive, and pioaciive body of ilouglis and meanings wiil my
own decision-maling piocesses.
'/ #0* %(" 5'1*5*(& A A A
i:

Tleie is someiling iniiiguing aboui ile image of blacl-clad figuies moving iliougl a
piedominanily Luileian, piciuie-posicaid Noiway. Peiei Besie's ploiogiapl of Einai
"Kviiiafn" Selvil, sianding in a cobbled Beigen siieei, capiuies ile momeni wlen an
eldeily lady sees lim, and lis siaie ai ile cameia includes us in ilis iension. Ai ile ceniie
of ilis iiiangulaiion of space, biacleied by ile luman subjecis, is disiance iiself. Kviiiafn's
sliiiless ioiso (coveied only by lis long, siiaigli, blonde laii) is seen in piofile wlile lis
face is iuined lefiwaid iowaids ile cameia. His posiuie implies ilai Besie's iequesi io iale
a ploiogiapl migli lave inieiiupied Kviiiafn's passage iliougl ile village iowaids an
unseen desiinaiion. Tle dynamism beiween ile self and ile culiuie ilai is expiessed leie
ieminds me of Holmes Rolsion's idea ilai
ileie is a ielaiive soliiude ilai is esseniial foi peisonal iniegiaiion÷a
sepaiaieness complemeniaiy io luman communiiy, iis polai opposiie. Naiuie
does noi define lumans in oidei ilai iley may be culiuied, bui neiilei can
lumans depend upon socieiy io male us luman. Eacl musi finisl limself. As an
eminenily poliiical animal, man las ile cuiious capaciiy io individualize
peisonal woiil. Bui disiance is esseniial foi ilis individualizaiion. So,
paiadoxically, unless one can come by a laleside sucl as ilis, and lei plysical
disiance loosen ile lold of socieiy upon lim, le cannoi find space and saniiy
wiilin wlicl io esiablisl and mainiain ile boundaiies of ile self. Wiiloui sucl
spaces ileie is no iogeileiness÷meiely fusion and lomogeneiiy. Alone we
cannoi be luman. Yei we cannoi be luman uniil we aie alone.


Tle necessiiy of soliiude piovides a dooiway inio ile ielaiionslip beiween ilinling and
walling÷one ilai we can siep iliougl io discuss iepieseniaiions of walling in Blacl
Meial visual culiuie. Ii is leie, ai ile laleside (peilaps similai io ile icy siieam in
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Espedal), ilai we migli bump inio Gaall and, if we aie a film ciew, may agiee io follow
lim up iliougl ile snow-blown mouniains on a wall io iemembei.
In full cosiume, Gaall comes acioss as a foimidable übermenscb, quiie ai lome wiil
disiance fiom common foll. We only need io iale a lool ai lis coipse-painied face and
bodily adoinmeni in ile video clip foi Goigoioil's "Caiving a Giani" io sense ile iniensiiy
of lis siage claiaciei. Bui, ii is in True Norweqion Block Metol ilai we see lim walling and
can gain an insigli on ile piaciice iiself. Fiom ilis, we may build ilouglis aiound low
ilis iesilience migli iianslaie acioss iime and space, digesied by ile senses of fans acioss
ile woild, despiie ile poieniial disjunciuie ilai exisis beiween diveise culiuial and
geogiaplical ciicumsiances. We will wall iliougl walling (as ii is seen in ilis
documeniaiy), and lile Nieizscle in ile Sclwaizwald, male some noies along ile way.
Tle image of ile soliiaiy male iiudging iliougl a snowy foiesi, synonymous wiil
Blacl Meial, connoies ile individualisi's jouiney, ile soliiaiy and coniemplaiive passage
iliougl ile exiieme naiuial enviionmeni. Undeisiandably, wlen ile VBS film ciew
(including Peiei Besie) aiiives ai Gaall's lome in Espedal, Noiway iley aie somewlai
neivous aboui wlai is going io lappen. Tleie is a feai of ile unlnown confionied, ai some
iimes moie piessingly ilan oileis, by ile exiia effoiis ilai isolaiion imposes on bodily
funciions. As ile co-pioducei Rob Semmei explains:
. . . no ieleplone, no noiling. . . . His bioilei was ile only one wlo lad
plumbing in ile louse, and lis bioilei lived aboui a mile up ile ioad. So eveiy
iime I needed io iale a slii oi anyiling, I lad io wall, liieially, in anlle ligl
mud, because ii lad been iaining foi seveniy-iwo days siiaigli.
i(

Iniiially in ilis documeniaiy, Gaall ialls aboui ile impoiiance of self-ieliance, of
following noi a univeisal God bui ile "God wiilin youiself, because ilai's ile only iiue
God."

Tle "fooisiep" meiaploi gives focus io Gaall's absiiaci ilouglis, and we begin io
deieci ile significance of walling even befoie wiinessing ilai aci iiself; ile iepieseniaiion
of walling is alieady undei consiiuciion and spealing ile language of Blacl Meial. As
Gaall coniinues, commeniing on ile piesence of God in naiuie and naiuie's giowil, we
see ile fiisi scenes of lis bacl as ile cameia follows lim walling foiwaid iliougl ile
foiesi.
Tle iusling iiveis, ile foiesi (dense wiil iiees and misi), and a vasi mouniainous
slyline iepeaiedly sei ile coniexi foi ilis adveniuie. Waiiing foi a bieal in ile lazaidous
weailei, ile film ciew spends iliee days wiil Gaall, afiei wlicl iley agiee io follow lim
io a place ilai le consideied io lold gieai impoiiance. Howevei, iley aie unpiepaied and
follow lim, as co-pioducei Ivai Beiglin iecalls, "blindly inio ile wildeiness. Only iliee of
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


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us lad jacleis, only iwo of us lad boois, and none of us lad any idea wleie le'd iale us."
i6

Gaall explains ile iouie iley'll need io iale, waining: "Ii's quiie a long jouiney." "We'll see
low long we male ii," Beiglin ieplies.
iy
Tley sei off fiom ile valley iowaids a snow-capped
mouniain in ile disiance. Tley sei off, ill-piepaied in many ways; Semmei, foi example,
las only plasiic bags iied aiound lis feei io siop ile waiei fiom geiiing beyond lis sloes.
Goigoioil's "Sign of an Open Eye" piovides a suiiable soundiiacl: "Tleie is a god in man,
and in naiuie."
iS

As ile ciew iiels wiil Gaall iliougl ile sliubbeiy, expeiiencing difficuliy
iecognising ile pailways ilai Gaall lad ialen befoie lis incaiceiaiion, lis pievious
conveisaiion coniinues as a voice-ovei. He explains ilai le las "no inieiesi in geiiing a
flocl of sleep ilai's jusi following me . . . ilen I would be jusi as bad as socieiy is, so feai is
necessaiy io sepaiaie ile ones ilai's |sicj willing io be led oi ile one wlo cloose io lead
limself."
iq
Ii can be said ilai, by using feai io cieaie disiance beiween limself and oileis,
Gaall exposes lis vulneiabiliiy. Siill, seeing Gaall alead of ile gioup, wiil ileii
exlausiion becoming incieasingly appaieni, piovides a moie convincing visual cue. Tle
slois of ile wliie wildeiness would be compleiely ai lome on any Blacl Meial album
covei. Tle ciew caive a iiacl iliougl ile ilicl snow wleie, ligl up in ile mouniains, ile
aii is ilin. As we waicl Semmei, le seems io be suffeiing ile mosi and is losing lis
paiience. Siiuggling io bieaile, le siops walling and siaiis io panic. Semmei's iefleciion
upon ilis expeiience is ielling of wlai many peilaps expeci of Blacl Meial and low an
inieiesiing cogniiive space opens up wlen a figuielead of ile genie clallenges ilese
expeciaiions, jusi by walling, and low we migli lave foimeily ilougli of ile aciiviiy:
And ai ilis poini I jusi, fucling, weni inio a panic, and I was jusi lile, you lnow,
ilis is fucling siupid. I don'i lnow . . . you won'i even ieally iell us wleie you'ie
biinging us, oi wly you'ie biinging us, oi wlai ilis is aboui. . . . Ai a poini I was
jusi lile, I don'i caie wlai ile fucl is ai ile iop of ile mouniain, you lnow wlai
I mean? . . . Ii males no diffeience io me. We'ie gonna |sicj jeopaidise ilis wlole
eniiie piojeci foi some siupid fucling naiuie wall. Tlis is aboui leavy meial,
you lnow? Tlis is aboui a band. Tlis isn'i FielJ onJ Streom magazine.
Gaall las led ile film ciew inio ile middle of nowleie÷an aiciic iundia÷wleie even ile
film cameia is ilieaiening io fail. We aie iold ilai iley lave aiiived ai a lome buili long
ago by Gaall's giandpaienis, wlo lad lad no cloice bui io caiiy eacl piece of building
maieiial wiil ilem fiom ile valley, pasi ile iiee line, io ile mouniain's iop. To ile
unsuspeciing, ilis insigli is enougl io evole a menial image of Sisyplus÷a ling fiom
Gieel myil wlo was condemned by ile Gods "io ceaselessly iolling a iocl io ile iop of a
mouniain, wlence ile sione would fall bacl of iis own weigli."
:o
Howevei, sucl an image
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


¸y
comes undei false pieiences, foi Gaall las since made cleai ilai ilis was noi ile lome of
lis giandpaienis afiei all, bui iailei a luniing cabin.
:i
Wlile ile sioiy males foi a
poweiful dialogue wiil iime, ilis dialogue is misinfoimed. Neveiileless, even as ile
illusion disappeais, Sisyplus iemains. Foi, wlaievei ile desiinaiion, wlaievei iis meaning,
ile aidoui of ile jouiney exisis and ilai is meaningful enougl. As Camus says, "|ijle
siiuggle iiself iowaid ile leiglis is enougl io fill a man's leaii."
::
Tle jouiney is filled
wiil iiself, noi ielying on life-iianscending myilology foi accessing a gieaiei, moie unique
oi auileniic, spleie of meaning.
Gaall's voice ieiuins: "Tle supeiman, and ile ideal, will always conquei, oi always
iise above no maiiei wlai. Bui you cannoi pui down youi swoid, because ilen, ilen you
lose."

Again, ile slaied expeiience lnown as walling is cloaled in individualism. Tle
jouiney is empoweied wiil a giand ileioiic of iianscendence÷moie ilan simply a sense
of aclievemeni, oi saiisfacioiy exlausiion ilai migli follow one's small-siepping iiiumpl
ovei a clallenging naiuial woild. I am ieminded of ile oil painiing Der VonJerer über Jem
Nebelmeer (Tbe VonJerer obove tbe Seo of Foq) (iSiS), by ile Geiman aiiisi Caspai David
Fiiediicl, wleie ile soliiaiy wallei, laving finally ieacled ile summii of ile iall
mouniain, peeis oui inio ile misi-filled disiance of lis lomeland, engaged in a foim of
Kaniian self-iefleciion in wlicl ile luman condiiion is ile objeci of deep coniemplaiion.
:(

Tle "plysical" gives way io ile "myilical," bui iemains a viial ancloi.
Fiiediicl's painiing las been used in ile iomaniic depiciion of Fiiediicl Nieizscle.
Engaging wiil ile ouidoois, foi Nieizscle, was a celebiaiion of ile gifi of life. He would
lave liled io iend moie ofien io lis gaiden, if ii ladn'i been foi lis consiani siomacl
pioblems ofien confining lim io lis lome. Neveiileless, wlen ile weailei and lis lealil
peimiiied, ii was Nieizscle ile wallei wlo woiled in an aploiisiic wiiiing siyle,
piefeiiing io joi down sloii buisis of ilougli. Peilaps lis ievelaiions aboui ile
übermenscb (ile supeiman) occuiied io lim as lis legs moved, as lis blood incieased ile
speed of iis ciiculaiion, and as lis biain ieleased enougl endoiplins io inciease lis
aleiiness, fuiilei fueling lis iiain of ilougli: "Only ilose ilouglis ilai come by walling
lave any value."


Nieizscle was noi alone in piaising ile piaciice of walling. Tle Gieel plilosoplei
Aiisioile (¸S:-¸:: BCE) made a labii of walling wlile giving leciuies, and lis disciples aie
lnown colleciively as ile Peiipaieiic Sclool (fiom "peiipaieiic," meaning iiineiani,
iiaveling, wandeiing, nomadic, migiani). Tle Peiipaieiic Sclool piovides a piecedeni foi
Nieizscle as well as foi Heideggei, wlose soliiaiy iiels iliougl Sclwaizwald (ile Blacl
Foiesi, souileasi Geimany) weie similai io Nieizscle's in ile way ilai walling iool place
for ilinling. Gaall iales paii in a plilosoplical and plysical legacy daiing bacl :,ooo
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


¸S
yeais÷well befoie Cliisiianiiy esiablisled iiself in Viling Noiway, appioximaiely one
millennium ago.
In Gaall's case, as ile jouiney piogiesses, ile benefii of a cleaily visible pailway
diminisles. Ii is a iiail undei eiasuie by ile falling snow (ecloing ile iiansfoimaiion of
foiesi pails duiing Gaall's incaiceiaiion). Tle passage of iime ensuies some degiee of
coiiosion÷compaiable io ile way ilai ceniuiies of luman iiaffic lave woin away ile
names of ilose eniombed beneail ile flooi of Wesiminsiei Abbey in London (in
paiiiculai, visiiois can lappen upon a nameless qil-ceniuiy slab woin smooil by
couniless passing fooipiinis). On ile Noiwegian mouniain, walling iemains; ile fooisieps
made by walling ideniify ile pail in ieiiospeci wlen ii comes iime io finding one's own
way bacl lome.
Tlis iension is pieseni, I ilinl, in ile idiosynciaiic and iailei paiadoxical pioveib
ilai Gaall aiiiculaies elsewleie in ile documeniaiy: "I become wlai nevei fails, following
ile fooisieps belind me."
:6
Tle iwisi in ile iail of ilis pliase disoiieniaies, bui in doing so
ii also manages io expiess a locaiion, as if ile spinning iiself, ilougl veiiiginous, could noi
lelp bui imply ile pioximiiy of an oiganising ceniie÷one ilai offeis, ai leasi, a place on
wlicl io fall and iesi. Foi wlai I ilinl le means is ilai, especially wlen ile passage of
iime las meani ile eiasuie of a iiail÷lile ile Geiman faiiy iale "Hansel and Gieiel," in
wlicl Hansel leaves a iiail of bieadciumbs so ilai le and Gieiel may find ileii way bacl
lome÷ile abiliiy io see wleie you lave come fiom is paii of caiing foi ile self. Ii plays
inio ile idea ilai lnowing (even feelinq) lisioiy eniicles one's expeiience of ile pieseni
and ile fuiuie. Ii mails a suivival siiaiegy, a sense of ceiiainiy, in ile face of muliipliciiy.
Sucl a dialogue wiil iime is fed, only in paii, by insecuiiiy, an exisieniial anxieiy÷of
couise, ile iiail lefi by Hansel was consumed by lungiy biids. Gaall, in pieseniing limself
as being in communion wiil ile naiuial landscape, woils io pie-empi ilis lind of
vulneiabiliiy. In faci, io ile exieni ilai ile iiel diaws aiieniion io ile plysical limiiaiions
of ile film ciew, Gaall's appaieni iesilience, by coniiasi, consolidaies iiself wiilin ile
gieaiei speciacle.
Using music as a caialysi foi clange is one iling, and slaiing ile diive belind ii is
anoilei. Tleie is a siail diffeience beiween "ialling ile iall" and "walling ile wall." Ai
ile iop of ile mouniain, in ile ilin aimospleies of ile vasi and seemingly uninlabiiable
iundia, wiil fai fewei woids ilan sieps, Gaall is neveiileless in dialogue wiil iime by way
of ile peisisience of naiuie. As Anilony Giddens (diawing fiom }aneiie Rainwaiei) wiiies,
sucl a siaie of dialogue peiiains io ile auiobiogiaply as
a coiieciive inieiveniion inio ile pasi, noi meiely a clionicle of elapsed evenis
. . . Reconsiiuciion of ile pasi goes along wiil aniicipaiion of ile lilely life
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


¸q
iiajecioiy of ile fuiuie . . . a piocess of self-quesiioning aboui low ile individual
landles ile iime of lei lifespan . . . Holding a dialogue wiil iime means
ideniifying siiessful evenis (aciual evenis in ile pasi and possible ones io be
faced in ile fuiuie) and coming io ieims wiil ileii implicaiions.
:y

Gaall's cieaiive ouipui seems io be an expiession of lis auiobiogiaply, fiamed by ile
Noiwegian landscape: "Naiuie is a gieai influence foi wlai Noiwegian Blacl Meial is; ii is
. . . and ilai's piobably ile ieason wly ii's cieaied in ilese aieas."
:S
Of couise "walling ile
iall" necessiiaies ialing ile lisienei]viewei]inieiviewei beyond ile easily accessible facade
of Blacl Meial's ileaiiicaliiy, and inio iis day-io-day social belavioui. Ii is leie ilai we
encouniei ile pasi of an oilei, unlnown, almosi anaclionisiic÷bui, all ile same,
iniiinsic÷emoiional and inielleciual piocess.
Ai ile end of ile True Norweqion Block Metol documeniaiy, one of ile inieivieweis
asls a quesiion conceining wleilei Gaall feli lonely, and wlai ii was lile io be a lone
wolf. Gaall iesponds by accusing ile inieiviewei of asling ile wiong quesiions, of "noi
focussing on wlai's being iold." He ilen commences a blanl siaie ilai lasis ovei iwo-and-
a-lalf minuies. Ai fiisi ilis iesponse seemed iailei dissociaiive io me, and I began io
wondei wleie Gaall's mind lad wandeied. Was ii bacl inio ile foiesi, wleie ile iivei
flows beiween ile iiees? Was Gaall somelow diawing siiengil, oi sanciuaiy, fiom ile
esseniial soliiude of wlicl Rolsion spole÷ilai sepaiaieness÷as a way of indulging lis
complemeniaiiiy, and simulianeously opposiiional, ielaiionslip io luman communiiy?
Was le exploiing ile lind of disiance ilai is esseniial foi ile individualisaiion of peisonal
woiil? Having waicled ilese sileni minuies ovei and ovei again, I believe ilai Gaall
iemains fully cognisani. Occasional signs of iecogniiion in lis eyes suggesi ilai le's
maling ile mosi oui of a capiive audience, leeping full aiieniion upon limself. Tleie is a
sense of disiance leie ioo, bui ilis seems io lave less io do wiil seeling emancipaiion
fiom oileis ilan in manipulaiing ilem, wleiein pioximiiy is viial.
Ii seems ilai Gaall's inviiaiion io iale us foi a wall inio naiuie was always going io
be ile lind of ieflexive wall ilai would ineviiably led bacl io Gaall and lis ielaiionslip io
ile woild. He poinis us in ile diieciion of ideas and places ilai aie beyond walling bui, all
ile same, walling piovides someiling of a caiiiei, a visual velicle, foi oui exploiaiion of
ilese ilings.
:q
Ii piovides us wiil a maieiial iefeience poini by wlicl io exploie a space of
Blacl Meial ilinling.

*( B- # "9.* -4'6*( C% 7#$$ #( "**. /'+*-&D
¸o


Tleie is ieason io suggesi ilai wlai we aie being slown, ilougl manifesi as ile aci of
walling, is ile ielos of self-auileniiciiy, wleie ile goal affoids oiieniaiion io a single
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


6o
individual amid muliiple and poieniially confliciing alieinaiive posiiions. In ile laie
modein eia, ile clallenge of muliipliciiy is ofien expeiienced visually: opiic neives aie
oveisiimulaied wiil diffeieni veisions of similai piompis io buy moie, consume moie, and
io believe ilai ilis will lead io lappiness. Tle pusl io measuie self-woiil iliougl
consumei goods comes ai a cosi÷someiling ilai is evideni in Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us. In
ilis documeniaiy, ile subjeci of modein consumei socieiy is one of wlicl Vaig Vileines
says:
Ii's veiy laid io iecognize ile iiuil wlen you aie bombaided by lies all ile iime,
eveiy minuie of ile day. You lave io go io sleep, and even in ile sleep, because
you dieam of ile impiessions you lave duiing ile day. You lnow, you'ie
bombaided by commeicials and compleiely senseless infoimaiion eveiy single
day. If you iuin on ile TV, you'ie bombaided; if you iuin youi lead in some
diieciion you see some sign, some commeicial, iead magazines, newspapeis,
senseless infoimaiion. Tle news aie ilemselves pioducis being sold. Eveiyiling
is meaningless. . . . Tle iiuil is of couise io be found, bui in a sea of lies iis jusi
impossible io find ii unless you lnow low io lool, wleie io lool, and wlen io
lool, and, of couise, ii's noi possible io jusi gei up in ile moining and say "Olay.
I'm going io find ile iiuil ilis day," and go find ii. You lave io iiy and fail, and
eveniually you will weed oui all ile lies and you end up wiil someiling ai leasi
similai io ile iiuil.
¸i

Vileines's poini leie denoies a quesi foi peisonal meaning, and ii is concepiually iied io
Baudiillaid's noiion of lypei-iealiiy÷a culiuial condiiion diiven by mass iepioduciion
wleie ile piolifeiaiion of adveiiising imageiy seems io lave been empiied of all iis
meaning (de-symbolised, lile wlen a single woid is iepeaied ovei and ovei again). Foi
someone wlo is oveiwlelmed by ile ieleniless ciiculaiion of commeicials and ileii
complicii ideas, ile seaicl foi meaning can become incieasingly uigeni. As Giddens poinis
oui,
|pjeisonal meaningless÷ile feeling ilai life las noiling woiilwlile io offei÷
becomes a fundamenial psyclic pioblem in ciicumsiances of laie modeiniiy. We
slould undeisiand ilis plenomenon in ieims of a iepiession of moial quesiions
wlicl day-io-day life poses, bui wlicl aie denied answeis.
¸:

Tle dialogue wiil iime is noi simply aboui nosialgia foi wlai las gone, bui a blaiani
awaieness ilai iime is now iunning oui, and a subsequeni uigency io aclieve some sense
of iesoluiion. As iime maicles on, ile need, ile iesponsibiliiy, io male life meaningful is a
maiiei of ongoing ievision and ienewal. Ii is a ieflexive piojeci ilai, via a ciiiical
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


6i
engagemeni wiil socieiy's noims and expeciaiions, "geneiaies piogiammes of
aciualisaiion and masieiy . . . |buij iley lacl moial meaning. 'Auileniiciiy' becomes boil a
pie-emineni value and a fiamewoil foi self-aciualisaiion, bui iepiesenis a moially siunied
piocess."
¸¸
Ii is inieiesiing ilen, in Vileines's subsequeni woids, ilai le uses a walling
meiaploi as a means io siiuciuie a self-affiiming ilougli:
Tle iiuil is lidden on ile giass, undei some iocls, in a lidden iiail, a foigoiien
iiail in ile foiesi and wlen you iiy io find ile iiail you will siumble. You will gei
some biancles in youi face. You'll male misiales befoie you finally find ii.
¸(

Heie, once again, walling is invesied wiil ile impoii of a ciiiical culiuial piaciice.



In Vileines's ieims, ilis piaciice seems io use ile noiion of walling as a means io
foiging a pailway iliougl self-awaieness. He views iiuil as laving been lidden fiom
sigli, belind oi beyond ile cluiiei of modein life, piesumably by ile socialising agencies
of Noiway's long-esiablisled Cliisiian culiuie. Given ilai figuiaiive language in geneial is
a funciion of absiiaci ilinling in eveiyday use, ilis cloice of meiaploi is inieiesiing in ile
coniexi of Vileines's incaiceiaiion in a maximum secuiiiy piison in Tiondleim, Noiway.
Duiing ilis iime, lis incaiceiaiion imposed a cleai and immediaie iesiiiciion io lis abiliiy
io wall veiy fai ai all. Wiil sieel bais and suiveillance cameias demailing Vileines's
plysical space, lis cogniiive space was exeicised; le lad ile clance io iead bools ilai le
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


6:
would noi oileiwise lave lad ile iime io digesi. Is ile iiuil of wlicl le speals pioiecied
by oi lidden wiilin ilis lisioiical undeigiowil? Wlaievei ile answei may be, Vileines's
"imagined walling"÷lis anii-capiialisi and anii-bouigeois ilinling÷woils io cleai a
space in wlicl le migli find limself.
In Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, ile aci of walling also caiiies ile ileme of self-
auileniiciiy as ii peiiains io Gylve "Feniiz" Nagell. Veiy eaily on in ilis documeniaiy, we
see ile bacl of Feniiz as le walls iliougl an Oslo siieei ai nigli. Tle sceneiy is in siail
coniiasi io ilai wlicl fiamed Gaall in True Norweqion Block Metol bui, once again, ile
viewei is in iow÷following a Blacl Meial leadei iliougl ile buili enviionmeni. Duiing
ilis scene, Feniiz speals of lis own musical pail and lis consequeniial loss of coniaci wiil
Vileines's poliiical pail. Tle walling meiaploi is alieady ai woil, focusing oui cognisance
of Blacl Meial lisioiy.
Bui, ii is ile fooiage of a blacl-clad Feniiz walling acioss snow and beiween iiees
(laiei seen in slow moiion foi special aimospleiic effeci) ilai gives ile viewei a sense of
ideniiiy and meaning ilai enduies iliougl iime and space in ile face of adveisiiy. We
don'i aciually see ilis paiiiculai fooiage of Feniiz uniil we aie pasi ile iweniy-one minuie
mail, by wlicl iime ile documeniaiy's numeious inieiviews lave esiablisled some
leadway inio ile eaily days of ile Blacl Meial scene. By ilis poini Olve "Abbail" Eilemo
and Haiald "Demonaz" N€vdal fiom Immoiial, }an Axel "Helllammei" Blombeig fiom
Maylem, and Vileines lave all slaied memoiies fiom ile peiiod wlen Dead commiiied
suicide. Tianspoiiing us bacl io ile pieseni, oui aiieniion is now on Feniiz, wlo can be
seen alone maling lis way iliougl ile snow. We waicl lim fiisi moving acioss ile fixed-
fiame fiom lefi io iigli, and ilen ile sloi slifis io anoilei fixed-fiame wleie le walls in
ile diieciion of ile viewei, waicling lis own fooisieps. Tlis fooiage of Feniiz walling
mails a iiansiiional poini in ile documeniaiy naiiaiive, and cieaies a visual biidge
beiween memoiies of Dead and Vileines's commenis on ile desiie io desiioy ile
Ameiicanisaiion of lis communiiy. Of couise, fooiage of walling, as a cinemaiic device, is
noi unique io Blacl Meial. Neveiileless, ii is an impoiiani paii of ile consiiuciion and
communicaiion of a Blacl Meial lisioiical naiiaiive. Foi ilis ieason, ile iepieseniaiion of
walling becomes iniiinsic io low we consume ilai infoimaiion.
Following ilese scenes of Feniiz's soliiaiy walling iliougl ile snow, we aie bacl on
fooi as we follow lim iliougl ile siieeis of Oslo ai nigli. We follow lim in and oui of a
slop befoie aiiiving wiil lim ai a male-slifi secondland goods mailei. Heie, le iecounis
buying an old iapedecl, foi ¸o Noiwegian lione, io use foi iecoiding iiffs and ieleaisals:
"Fucling sweei!"
¸¸
We ilen see lim sianding in fioni of a wliie baclgiound, announcing:
"I iefuse io siand couii-maiiialed foi maling ilis wlole undeigiound movemeni inio a
iiend iling. If ii's anyone, ii's noi us, bui I guess mosi people would say ilai." Tle iension
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beiween walling, sianding, and iefusing io siand iounds off ile fiisi iliid of ile
documeniaiy and focuses oui pail iliougl ile genie.
Wiil ile documeniaiy's aim io communicaie ile lisioiical, ideological, and aesileiic
coniexis of ile Noiwegian Blacl Meial scene, ii is baiely suipiising ilai ile naiiaiive
includes glimpses of a miliiaiisiic maicl iliougl ile siieeis, compiising men and boys in
unifoim caiiying iifles and Noiwegian flags, followed sloiily afiei by women weaiing
iiadiiional diess, walling iogeilei, and caiiying candles. Alilougl unideniified, ilis is
mosi lilely fooiage of Syiiende Mai (Noiwegian Consiiiuiion Day, May iy). Tle annual
eveni expiesses naiional ideniiiy and Noiwegian leiiiage, and in ilis coniexi ii ieinfoices
ile iension aiiiculaied by Vileines, Feniiz, and Ulvei's Kiisioffei "Gaim" Rygg ilai exisis
beiween Noiwegian and Cliisiian culiuies.
Walling en mosse las long lad poliiical foice. Tle mobilizeJ communiiy iemains
ceniial io ile visual piesence of vaiious movemenis as a way of giving voice io values,
beliefs, and ideas. Human iiglis, women's libeiaiion, and gay iiglis aie among many
culiuial issues ilai lave moiivaied walling in many ciiies aiound ile woild. In pioiesi
maicles, sucl as ile Maicl on Waslingion on Augusi :S, iq6¸ (oiganised by ile Ameiican
Civil Riglis Movemeni in opposiiion io iacially moiivaied employmeni disciiminaiion in
ile defense secioi) oi ile anii-wai iallies ilai iool place in ovei 6oo iowns and ciiies
aiound ile woild (fiom Bagldad io Clicago, acioss ile weelend of Febiuaiy i¸-i6, :oo¸)
walling las become a signifiei foi communiiy÷and, by viiiues of ilis, personol÷
empoweimeni. Oxfam Ausiialia's Wall Againsi Wani (a (o-yeai-old eveni ilai las iaised
ovei •io million foi long-ieim developmeni woil in :S couniiies) aims io combai poveiiy
and injusiice. Tle Naiional Wall foi Values evenis (oiganised by ile Sailya Sai
Oiganizaiion of Ausiialia and Papua New Guinea iool place on Saiuiday, Apiil i:, :ooS in
Biisbane, Sydney, Canbeiia, Melbouine, Adelaide, and Peiil) aimed noi io iaise funds, bui
as a gesiuie of commiimeni io Love, Peace, Tiuil, Rigli Conduci, and Non-violence. Tle
Gay Piide paiades ilai iale place eacl yeai in ciiies aiound ile woild piovide moie
examples of ile powei of walling as a communicaiive aci. Wlen made in view of a ciowd,
a iiibuie io Noiwegian leiiiage can pioceed as a fesiival÷socialized. In coniiasi ilougl, ii
would appeai ilai Vileines was moie inieiesied in cieaiing a speciacle.
Tle Faniofi Siave Cluicl aison, on }une 6, iqq:, was seen by many in ile Blacl Meial
communiiy as a symbolic ieclamaiion of pagan land ilai lad been appiopiiaied by
Cliisiian culiuie. Ii was iniended, as Vileines says of ile ciime foi wlicl le would soon
afiei be claiged, "io give people a slocl÷io male ilem open ileii eyes."
¸6
Even in ile
coniexi of Blacl Meial's coniioveisial lisioiy÷oveisladowed by violeni, couniei-culiuial
aciiviiies÷walling peisisis in a way similai io low soldieis aie said io be "maicling off io
wai." Oiiginal newsieel fooiage ialen in ile afieimail of ile Faniofi Siave Cluicl aison
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


6(
ie-used in Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us includes a momeni wlen a foiensic deieciive cioucles
beside a giavesione, looling io be colleciing a piece of evidence believed io lave been lefi
belind by ile aisonisi only a few louis befoie; ii is a single sloepiini. Foi beiiei oi woise,
ile Faniofi fiie was closely linled io ile Blacl Meial communiiy, and ilis conneciion is
noi coniesied leie (I believe ilai iis ielaiionslip io Saianism is cleaily flawed, noi iis
ielaiionslip io Blacl Meial). We do noi wiiness ile iole of walling in ilis insiance, bui we
do lave ile evidence.



In ile final scenes of Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, diieciois Aaion Aiies and Audiey Ewell
ieiuin us io ile scene of Feniiz walling iliougl ile snow beiween ile iiees, only now ilis
fooiage is in slow moiion. By slowing us ile aci of walling in slow moiion, we aie inviied
io considei ii in gieaiei depil, io pay closei aiieniion io ilis commonplace and ilus ofien
oveilooled piaciice. Defamiliaiizaiion "males ilings 'siiange' io male ilem iiuly
visible."
¸y
By slowing ilis aciiviiy down, we lave ile oppoiiuniiy io see beyond iis banal
familiaiiiy; ile incieased difficuliy ilis ediiing cloice males io oui obseivaiion inviies us
io considei ii in a diffeieni way. Wlai we find is ile way ilai ile aci of walling piovides a
loose iefiain foi ile Blacl Meial naiiaiive. We aie noi jusi looling ai walling, of couise÷
ile many deiails, sounds, and oilei images included in boil of ile documeniaiies I've
discussed all coniiibuie io ile oveiall iepieseniaiion÷bui wlai we lave foi Blacl Meial
visual culiuie, in ieims of walling in paiiiculai, is someiling lile a pail of conceniiaiion
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET



aiound wlicl ilai gieaiei sioiy is woven. Ii is a poweiful cinemaiic device, foi suie. Wlile
ii is noi exclusive io ilese films, ilis does noi mean ii's any less viial in geiiing a message
acioss.
%0+'-- &7* 1%0225
¸S

Given my aiieniion io ile plilosoplical and maieiial inieiaciions of ilinling and walling,
eniailing ieadings of iwo documeniaiy films, ii is fiiiing io iale inio accouni Asiia Tayloi's
documeniaiy film ExomineJ life. Excursions witb Contemporory Tbinkers wlen foimu-
laiing some conclusive iemails.
¸q
Tlis documeniaiy (also available as a bool) compiises
eigli dialogues, in eacl of wlicl one of eigli plilosopleis biings plilosoplical ideas io
ile siieeis of eveiyday life. Tle lasi dialogue, a conveisaiion beiween }udiil Builei and lei
fiiend Sunauia Tayloi, iales place duiing a siioll iliougl San Fiancisco's Mission Disiiici.
Heie, Builei asls wlai lappens wlen a peison walls in ile woild÷ile iole ilai iis
capaciiies migli play in low we feel in, and iespond io, oui enviionmeni. Wlai ii means
foi an able-bodied peison will diffei fiom wlai ii means foi Tayloi, a woman boin wiil
aiiliogiyposis, wlo cannoi wall bui coniinues, as do lei fiiends, sle says, io use ile woid
"wall" wlen communicaiing ilai sle is aboui io go and do ilis aciiviiy÷laidly suipiising
given ilai ile woid "wall" comes fiom ile Old Englisl woid weolcon (wlicl means "io
ioll").
(o

I was also siiucl by ile iesonance beiween ile conseivaiion beiween Builei and
Tayloi, and Ingold's afoiemeniioned disiinciion beiween ile navigaioi and ile wayfaiei.
Tayloi ciediis an inciease in ile public piesence of disabled people io ile public spleie's
incieased accessibiliiy: "people lave leained low io inieiaci wiil ilem |disabled peoplej
and aie used io ilem in a ceiiain way and, so, ile plysical access aciually leads io a social
access and accepiance." Builei iesponds, "Ii musi be nice noi io always lave io be ile
pioneei; ile veiy fiisi one . . . laving io explain: 'Yes I do,' you lnow, speal and ilinl and
iall and move . . ."
(i
Sle implies ile ielief of ile navigaioi wlo, wiil access io esiablisled
pailways, is saved fiom ile plysical and emoiional laidslips iequiied of ile wayfaiei.
If walling eniails posiuie, self-expiession, and cloice÷all poieniially as paii of a
siance÷wlai migli walling mean in ile coniexi of plysical disabiliiy? Afiei all, boil
Gaall and Feniiz aie cleaily able-bodied. To see blacl-clad male figuies maneuveiing a
wleelclaii iliougl ile snow would say someiling veiy diffeieni; I imagine ii would be a
iasl of inciedible difficuliy, and peilaps biing ilem fai closei io Sisyplus. Builei says ilai
nobody iales a wall wiiloui ileie being a ieclnique of walling. Nobody goes
foi a wall wiiloui ileie being someiling ilai suppoiis ilai wall÷ouiside of
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


66
ouiselves. . . . and ilai maybe we lave a false idea ilai ile able-bodied peison is
somelow iadically self-sufficieni.
(:

Foi Tayloi, ile myil of self-sufficiency is evideni wlen, because of lei plysical
impaiimeni, someiling so ialen foi gianied in ile modein woild as walling inio a coffee
slop and buying a coffee becomes a plaifoim foi demonsiiaiing peisonal abiliiy and
cloice. Tayloi says, "In a way ii's a poliiical pioiesi foi me io go in and oidei a coffee and
demand lelp simply because, in my opinion, lelp is someiling ilai we all need."

By
exiension, Tayloi's asseiiiveness is impoiiani as sle enieis ile slop as a iepieseniaiive of
disabled bodies and of low iley aie publicly peiceived. Tleie is a siail coniiasi beiween
Tayloi's mode of enieiing inio capiialism as a disabled peison demanding assisiance and
ilai of Gaall and Feniiz (wlo, ai leasi on ile suiface, boil 'lave' able bodies), wlo use
ileii walling bodies as social iesisiance (my ilouglis iiace also, fuiilei bacl, io Peiei
Besie's ploiogiapl of Einai "Kviiiafn" Selvil in Beigen).
"Wlai Can a Body Do?" Builei asls, flagging Gilles Deleuze's essay ilai, by ile veiy
naiuie of ilis quesiion, goes beyond ile iiadiiional appioacles io ile body ilai include
ile Caiiesian mind]body splii, quesiions of ile ideal foim, and so on. In Builei's view, ile
quesiion of wlai a body can do seives io isolaie "a sei of capaciiies, a sei of
insiiumenialiiies oi aciions, and we aie, lind of, assemblages of ilose ilings," and moves
us away fiom ideas aboui essences, oi "sloulds," io ilose of ile body. To demonsiiaie low
walling siands as a signifiei of oilei possibiliiies Builei iecounis a male, of aiound iS
yeais, in Maine wlo walled "wiil a veiy disiinci swisl |of lis lipsj÷a veiy feminine wall."
On lis way io sclool one day le was aiiacled by iliee of lis classmaies and iliown ovei a
biidge, wlicl lilled lim. Sle is iigli io asl low a peison's gaii could engendei ile diive in
oileis io commii muidei. "A wall can be a dangeious iling," sle says, if ilis is wlai a
body can do.
Noi only does Builei's clallenge io "essences" of ile body unseiile any claim io iis
viabiliiy as a signifiei foi auileniiciiy, lei conveisaiion wiil Tayloi nuiiuies a gieaiei
sense of low piivileged Gaall's and Feniiz's soliiaiy walls indeed aie. Wiil ilis we boil
aiiive and ieiuin. We ieiuin io ile oiiginal quesiion of wlai migli be meani by ile ieim
"blaclened walling," bui do so laving aiiived ai ile summii of Ingold's meiaploiical lill,
foi wlile walling and ilinling aie siill iniimaiely eniwined, walling now comes io mind
as someiling quiie peculiai÷oilei ilan iiself. Ai a disiance, we can considei low ile
filmic iepieseniaiions of Gaall and Feniiz, as ley Blacl Meial pioduciions, somelow
coniiibuie io ile myil of ile able body as a pie-iequisiie io life-poliiical powei, posiiing
walling as ile piedominani caialysi foi exisieniial iewaid. If a concepi of walling benefiis
fiom exiending beyond a noimalised body, so ioo musi ile meaningfulness of blaclened
FROSTBITE ON MY FEET


6y
ambulaiion iale plysical diffeience inio accouni (in a way ilai migli fuiilei pioblemaiise
ile visible ilai "iiiiiaies onlooleis," in Clow's ieims).
In ilis case, "blaclened walling" is seen io be less aboui ile aciiviiy of walling iiself
and moie aboui ile ciicumsiances undei wlicl one can move iliougl space÷walling noi
jusi foi ile sale of exeicise, pleasuie, oi geiiing io ile slops on iime. Wiil ile modein
woild (invesied in iiains, planes, and auiomobiles), ile slow, simpliciiy of a wall
(Walling? How pedesiiian!) seems io lave losi some of iis value. Howevei, walling is
capable of biinging one's focus bacl io a fundamenial quesiion of wlai a body plysically
needs io do in oidei io iiansiiion iliougl, and ileiefoie qo on, in ile woild. Peilaps
mouining ile foigeiiing of ile exisieniial significance of walling, "blaclened walling"
pays iespecis io walling as ile clance io exploie self-deieiminaiion and a ieadiness foi ile
unlnown.


('&*-

All video siills iliougloui essay aie scieenslois fiom Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, diis. Aaion Aiies and
Audiey Ewell, DVD (New Yoil Ciiy: Vaiiance Films, :ooq). Images couiiesy of Audiey Ewell ‚:ooS-
:ooq.

i
Anne Fiiedbeig, VinJow Sboppinq. Cinemo onJ tbe PostmoJern (Beileley: Univeisiiy of Califoinia
Piess, iqq¸), 6S.
:
Anne Fiiedbeig, VinJow Sboppinq, iio.
¸
True Norweqion Block Metol, piods. Peiei Besie, Rob Semmei, Ivai Beiglin, and Mile Wasllesly,
DVD (New Yoil: VBS TV, :ooy); Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us, diis. Aaion Aiies and Audiey Ewell, DVD
(New Yoil Ciiy: Vaiiance Films, :ooq).
(
Vilioi Slllovsly coined ile ieim "defamilaiisaiion" |ostroneniej in lis essay "Aii as Device" (iqiy),
using ii as a liieiaiy device io disiinguisl beiween poeiic and piaciical speecl. In addiessing ile
funciion of aii, Slllovsly explained low defamiliaiisaiion woils againsi ile "ovei-auiomaiizaiion"
ilai fosieis foimulaic culiuial aciiviiy. Vilioi Slllovsly, "Aii as Teclnique," in literory Tbeory. An
Antboloqy, eds. }ulie Rivlin and Miclael Ryan (Malden: Blaclwell Publisling Lid., iqqS), i6.
¸
Tim Ingold, "Ways of mind-walling: ieading, wiiiing, painiing," Visuol StuJies :¸.i (:oio): i¸-:¸.
6
Tim Ingold, lines. A Brief History (New Yoil: Rouiledge, :ooy), i. Subsequeni iefeiences io ilis iexi
aie made paienileiically, by page numbei.
y
Rey Clow, "Lisiening Oileiwise, Music Miniaiuiized: A Diffeieni Type of Quesiion Aboui
Revoluiion," in Tbe Culturol StuJies ReoJer, :nd edn., ed. Simon Duiing (New Yoil: Rouiledge, iqqq),
(6¸. Subsequeni iefeiences io ilis iexi aie made paienileiically, by page numbei.
S
Daililione, UnJer o Funerol Moon, CD (Peaceville Recoids; Music foi Naiions, iqq¸).
q
Tammy L. Casielein and Biam Ieven, "Review of HiJeous Gnosis. Block Metol Tbeory Symposium i,
by Nicola Masciandaio, ed.," Culture Mocbine, Augusi :oio |Reviewsj: i |i-6j; liip:]]www.culiuie
macline.nei]index.plp]cm]aiiicle]viewFile](o¸](i6.
io
Goigoioil, Twiliqbt of tbe lJols (ln Conspirocy witb Soton), CD (Nucleai Blasi, :oo¸).
DAVID PRESCOTT-STEED


6S

ii
Tim Ingold, "Ways of mind-walling: ieading, wiiiing, painiing," in Beinq Alive. Essoys on
Movement, KnowleJqe onJ Description (London: Rouiledge, :oii), iqS |iq6-:oqj.
i:
Goigoioil, Twiliqbt of tbe lJols (ln Conspirocy witb Soton).

Rolsion Holmes III, Pbilosopby Gone VilJ (Buffalo: Piomeileus Bools, iqSq), ::S.
i(
True Norweqion Block Metol.

True Norweqion Block Metol.
i6
True Norweqion Block Metol.
iy
True Norweqion Block Metol.
iS
Goigoioil, True Norweqion Block Metol, CD (Regain Recoids, :oo6).
iq
True Norweqion Block Metol.
:o
Albeii Camus, Tbe Mytb of Sisypbus onJ otber essoys (New Yoil: Viniage, iqqi), iiq.
:i
"Tielldom]Goigoioil inieiview-Gaall oS]oy," Block Niqbt MeJitotions - UnJerqrounJ Metol RoJio,
VSCA io6.i FM, podcasi audio, }uly (, :ooS, liip:]]bnm.podomaiic.com]playei]web]:ooS-oy-
o(T:¸_ii_io-oy_oo.
::
Albeii Camus, Tbe Mytb of Sisypbus, i:¸.

True Norweqion Block Metol.
:(
Miclael Edwaid Goiia, Tbe Bells in Tbeir Silence (Piinceion, New }eisey: Piinceion Univeisiiy
Piess, :oo(), xi-xii.

Fiiediicl Nieizscle, Tbe Twiliqbt of tbe lJols onJ Tbe Anti-Cbrist. or How to Pbilosopbize witb o
Hommer, ed. Miclael Tannei, iians. R.}. Hollingdale (London: Penguin Bools, iqqo), ¸6.
:6
True Norweqion Block Metol.
:y
Anilony Giddens, MoJernity onJ Self-lJentity. Self onJ Society in tbe lote MoJern Aqe (Sianfoid,
Califoinia: Sianfoid Univeisiiy Piess, iqqi), y:-y¸.
:S
"Tielldom]Goigoioil inieiview-Gaall oS]oy."
:q
Tle covei aiiwoil of Tielldom's Til Minne . . . (:ooy), wlicl feaiuies a ploiogiapl slowing ile
band membeis walling up a snowy lill, also uiilises ilis iepieseniaiional conveniion.
¸o
Daililione, Tronsylvonion Hunqer, CD (Peaceville Recoids, iqq().
¸i
Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us.
¸:
Anilony Giddens, MoJernity onJ Self-lJentity, q.
¸¸
Anilony Giddens, MoJernity onJ Self-lJentity, q.
¸(
Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us.
¸¸
Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us.
¸6
Until tbe liqbt Tokes Us.
¸y
Paiiicia Waugl, literory Tbeory onJ Criticism. An OxforJ GuiJe (New Yoil: Oxfoid Univeisiiy
Piess, :ooy), :i6.
¸S
Daililione, Rovisbinq Grimness, CD (Moonfog Pioduciions, iqqq).
¸q
ExomineJ life. Excursions witb Contemporory Tbinkers, dii. Asiia Tayloi (Canada: Splinx
Pioduciions, :ooS).
(o
New Sborter OxforJ Enqlisb Dictionory :, ed. Lesley Biown (Oxfoid: Claiendon Piess, iqq¸), ¸6i¸.
41
ExomineJ life. Excursions witb Contemporory Tbinkers.
42
ExomineJ life. Excursions witb Contemporory Tbinkers.
43
ExomineJ life. Excursions witb Contemporory Tbinkers.






BLACK METAL MACHINE
THEORIZING INDUSTRIAL BLACK METAL

Daniel Lukes

Fai fiom being a maiginal Blacl Meial subgenie, Indusiiial Blacl Meial is ceniial in
biinging oui Blacl Meial's ofien disavowed appiopiiaiion of maclinic noise and iis ciiiique
of macline socieiy. Tliougl iis engagemeni wiil "becoming macline" logic and
ioboi apocalypse, cybeineiic, and cosmic science ficiions, Indusiiial Blacl Meial iecon-
figuies Blacl Meial's diive iowaid ile inoiganic inluman as velemeni ciiiique of capiialisi
modeiniiy and ile indusiiial deail siaie.
$#1#(6 8#&7 1%"*+
Rydei Windlam and Peiei Vilmui's official Daiil Vadei guidebool Tbe Complete VoJer
(:ooq) cluclles ai some eaily meiclandise misfiies and mocls a iqyS colleciable model lii
Daiil Vadei Van by manufaciuiei MPC÷wlicl "could be piiied againsi a similai wliie
'leio' van in ile 'diag iace of ile galaxy'"÷desciibing ii as "cuiiosiiy ilai managed io slip
iliougl Lucasfilm appiovals."
i
Yei maybe ile maleis of ilai van weie onio someiling. In
:oii, Daiil Vadei is siill being used io sell cais. Tle Vollswagen Passai :oi: commeicial
"Tle Foice" feaiuies a young clild in a Vadei cosiume, wlo goes aboui a subuiban family
lome iiying io use "ile foice" io no avail. Wlen ile failei ieiuins lome, ile clild iusles
io ile diiveway io use ile foice on ile cai, wlicl iesponds by flasling iis leadliglis
DANIEL LUKES

yo
(siealilily aciivaied by Dad's iemoie ley). Tle clild siumbles bacl in asionislmeni, ile
failei iaises lis eyebiows io Mom, and ile piciuie of ile ieclnologically-ensconced
nucleai family is compleie.
In ile inieivening iliiiy-iliee yeais, Vadei las become a louselold deiiy, guaiding
ile leavily invesied and culiuially sanciioned inieiseciions of lumaniiy, ieclnology, and
indusiiial commeice. As luman]macline lybiid, Vadei is a posiei clild foi a naiiaiive of
necessaiy and ongoing symbioiic luman]macline ielaiions. Tle auiomobile is ai ile
pinnacle of ilis lybiidized way of life: iis ieai and fioni design aniliopomoiplically
iepioduces a luman face, wiil iis iwo leadligli "eyes" and giill "mouil," jusi as Vadei's
sliny blacl meial masl and lelmei mimic ile cai's pioieciive caiapace and lood, also a
leilal weapon. Yei Vadei is also an eniiiy ilai embodies ciiiical poieniialiiies. C•diic
Delsaux's ieceni ploiogiaplic seiies "Dail Lens" (:oo(-:oii) digiially iniioduces iconic
Siai Wais claiacieis and maclines inio coniempoiaiy luman, uiban, and indusiiial
landscapes, "locaiions ilai aie ile maleup of oui modeiniiy: pailing lois, peiipleial
zones, wasielands, foigoiien places" (ile Millennium Falcon pailed in a consiiuciion siie
in Dubai, sioimiioopeis undei a moioiway biidge, eic.).
:
In one ploiogiapl, Vadei is
viewed fiom belind, a lonely figuie suiveying ile consiiuciion of a massive, illuminaied
muliiplex againsi ile nigli sly: in Vadei's woild, maclinic consiiuciion and impeiialisi
indusiiial expansion nevei end. Tle Deail Siai, iiself peimanenily "undei consiiuciion," is
a flagslip symbol of ilis endless ouiwaid ieacl.
Tle influence of Daiil Vadei and Stor Vors on Meial music is manifold.
¸
Railei ilan
iiacing ilose liieial ielaiions, Vadei seives my puipose leie as a concepiual ciucible and
siaiiing poini foi discussing Indusiiial Blacl Meial (fiom leieon IBM: iionic acionym
uniniended bui welcome). A lybiid encouniei beiween Blacl Meial (BM) and Indusiiial
musics, IBM blaclens ile macline, bui also meclanizes, giounds, and gives a pulse io BM.
IBM diaws oui and claiifies BM's ciiiique of, and fligli fiom, Wesiein uiban capiialism's
coniempoiaiy indusiiial macline woild, pieseniing an aniiilesis io BM's mucl-vaunied
escape inio ile bucolic. IBM also foiegiounds ile siiuggle beiween viialisiic and
meclanisiic views of ile woild, wiil ile laiiei swallowing ile foimei. Tle disiinciion
beiween ile Fieudian deail diive, undeisiood as a ieiuin io ile inoiganic (becoming
mineial), and Deleuze and Guaiiaii's poliiicizaiion of said deail diive and maclinic
concepiual fiamewoil, seive me io iiace low a BM]IBM dialeciic favois ile meclanisiic
model, undeiscoiing BM's uliimaie godlessness. BM's giinding winds, fiozen iundias, and
gloiificaiions of ile mineial woild aie iead by IBM iliougl ile piism of apocalypiic
desiiuciion, macline science ficiion, and ile annililaiion of ile luman, io piedicaie a
meclanisiic paiadigm of exisience: ile even dailei side of BM's bucolic and Noidic anii-
BLACK METAL MACHINE


yi
lumanism. Finally, I obseive low ile genie of Cosmic Eleciionic BM consiiucis a blacl
box foi lumaniiy, a digiial epiiapl iiansmiiied iliougl ouiei space.

*?&#(0&#'( .'-&725%(#-5

Ii is aiguably ile case, in academic discouises and speculaiive culiuial pioduciions alile,
ilai wiilin discussions of "posilumanism" and ile "posiluman," bioieclnological
meanings occupy posiiions of concepiual dominance.
(
Bioieclnological posilumanism
(incieasingly associaied wiil "iianslumanism" and ile iianslumanisi movemeni, and
ofien seived by an aesileiic and concepiual fiamewoil spanning cyboig ileoiy, eugenic
dysiopia, and mysiical iianscendence) denoies an impiovemeni on ile luman, a foim of
iiuce wiil ile macline woild, a siaie of giadual and ineviiable symbioiic co-exisience wiil
maclines, a panoply of luman, macline, and animal ieconfiguiaiions. Slavoj ƒi„el
inieipieis ile Deleuzian "becoming-macline" as noi a subsiiiuiion of lumans by maclines
(wlicl is ile Terminotor scenaiio÷"ile old boiing iopic of 'maclines ieplacing lumans'"),
bui iailei as a foim of meiamoiplosis by wlicl ile luman giadually incoipoiaies
maclinic piosileses on ile level of ile body (pacemalei, leaiing aid, suigical nanobois)
and of ile menial appaiaiuses iliougl wlicl we negoiiaie ile social oi ile sociomacline
(ile Motrix scenaiio).
¡

Anoilei iype of posilumanism, wlicl engages ile aiguably moie liieial meaning of
"posi" as in "afiei" ile luman (las gone), may also be ideniified. Tle field of exiinciion
posilumanism clannels vaiious inieiseciing liieiaiy, plilosoplical, and ciiiical discouises:
ile Romaniic genie of iuinogiaply, ile "dying Eaiil" genie and apocalypiic science ficiion
liieiaiuie, and eco-ciiiical woils on posiindusiiial land and ciiyscapes. Ii exiends
Romaniic ideas of exiinciion and meiges ilem wiil ecological and speculaiive wiiiings of a
woild afiei lumaniiy. Unlile bioieclnological posilumanism÷wlicl imagines a
lumaniiy ilai lives on, albeii in alieied foim÷exiinciion posilumanism posiis and
speculaies an end io lumaniiy, ofien a ioial genocide of ile luman species. Fuiileimoie,
ii iadicalizes academic posilumanism's piojeci of siudying lumaniiy iliougl a
decenieiing of ile luman and a iianscendence of ile aniliopoceniiic piism, by imagining
woilds beyond ile exiinciion of ile luman and ile eiasuie of ile luman fiom ile
planeiaiy equaiion. In doing so ii opens up a speculaiive aesileiic endowed wiil ciiiical
poieniial acioss ile poliiical speciium.
In Romaniic iuinogiaply an onloolei÷oi "Loolei-On"÷suiveys and iuminaies on
ile iuins of bygone civilizaiions and empiies.
6
Peicy Byssle Slelley's "Ozymandias" (iSiS)
is aiguably ile mosi noioiious of ilese Romaniic iexis, insisiing upon "a ieleology ilai
dooms all of maieiial life as we lnow ii" by subsiiiuiing ile classical cyclical view of lisioiy
DANIEL LUKES

y:
wiil an apocalypiic "necessiiy of oblivion."
y
Dying Eaiil science ficiion meanwlile posiis
an end of lumaniiy due io a sun ilai las gone ioo cold (see Loid Byion's iSi6 poem
"Dailness") oi ioo loi (H.P. Loveciafi's and Robeii H. Bailow's Till A' tbe Seos, iq¸¸), oi as
an effeci of plagues oi nucleai lolocausi. Faniasies of ile woild as a iuin devoid of
lumans, accoiding io Nicl Yablon, may funciion as imaginaiive fiamewoils io iendei
visible social oi poliiical plenomena ilai may be oileiwise laidei io paise, seiving io
"unmasl ile conceiis of ile pieseni."
S
Tle woil of Mile Davis, in paiiiculai DeoJ Cities
onJ Otber Toles (:oo:), uiilizes ile conceii of ile "posiluman iuins" io iiace uiban
lisioiies: iliougl ile speculaiive image of ile ciiy as coipse, an auiopsy of iis life and
genealogies may be consiiucied.
q

A ieceni sucl woil, wlicl imagines a posiluman woild in oidei io consiiuci a
ciiiique of lumaniiy's ecological impaci, is Alan Weisman's "ilougli expeiimeni" Tbe
VorlJ Vitbout Us (:ooy). Tlis bool desciibes wlai would lappen io Eaiil if ileie weie a
ioial and sudden depaiiuie of ile luman species, emplasizing ile damage lumaniiy las
wiougli. Tle giadual deconsiiuciion of ile luman-made emeiges as "naiuie" opeiaies "iis
ieclamaiion piojeci" and iegains iis (iiglifully) owned planei.
io
Tle woild as a concepiual
ioialiiy is biolen down inio iis consiiiueni paiis: wlai comes acioss iliougl
iepieseniaiions of louses ilai ioi and collapse, ciiies oveigiown by vegeiaiion, walls
damaged and desiioyed by waiei, and subway iunnels ilai flood wiil waiei aie ile
meclanics of ecological maieiialiiy÷a "dail ecology" in ile woids of Timoily Moiion.
ii

Homing in on ile "impaci of indusiiialisi-capiialisi civilizaiion upon ile enviionmeni"
ilai will ouilive us÷non-biodegiadable plasiics, landfills, peiioclemical planis and
nucleai wasie, and "caibon dioxide levels (wlicl) would noi ieiuin io 'pie-luman levels'
foi a lundied ilousand yeais"÷ilis iype of posilumanisi exiinciion naiiaiive
ieiioaciively configuies ile luman (iliougl iis eiasuie) as an alien invadei, a desiiuciive
paiasiie, oi an illness io be defeaied.
i:
By imagining ile woild as beiiei off wiiloui us,
Weisman is able io faslion lis eco-ciiiique, wiilin wlicl ile luman iales ile foim of an
eiased aniiilesis, alienaied by consciousness fiom maiiei and ile blind meclanical
woilings of ile maieiial ieal. Tle luman is an abeiiaiive and desiiuciive excepiion io ile
iule of a meclanical and un-self-awaie "naiuie." To ieiuin ile macline io funciioning
oidei, ile viius of self-awaieness embodied by ile luman iequiies eliminaiion. Ai ile
poini of depaiiuie of ile luman viius fiom ile global body, "ile woild wiiloui us" peimiis
iiself "a luge biological sigl of ielief."


Exiinciion posilumanism consiiucis a speculaiive aesileiic and poliiical scenaiio
ilai iejecis capiiulaiions io ile necessiiy of ile luman and iis indusiiial accouiiemenis, as
if only iliougl imagining ouiselves gone (we will be gone if we coniinue on ilis pail) can
we foice awaieness of oui own polluiions onio ouiselves. Yei, ileie aie moie iadical and
BLACK METAL MACHINE



aniiluman end-faniasies, ones ilai fuiilei ieduce ile luman as glosily gaze. Weisman's
woild blooms and busiles anew wiil floia and fauna: foliage and vegeiaiion ieclaim ile
space iempoiaiily denied io ilem by concieie and sieel, wlilsi animals (now fiee of ile
piisons imposed on ilem by lumans) nesi undei biidges and aiop slysciapeis. Tle
oiganic woild blossoms again. Tlis is "sofi" exiinciion posilumanism. "Haid" exiinciion
posilumanism, by coniiasi, manifesis iiself noi as becoming-animal oi -vegeiable, bui by
becoming-mineial. Sigmund Fieud ilus explains ile deail diive (ToJestrieb) as a yeaining
io ieiuin io ile piioi siaie of ile inoiganic, befoie ile sepaiaiion beiween "animaie" and
"inanimaie" maiiei occuiied. In BeyonJ tbe Pleosure Principle (iq:o), iliougl an appeal io
vaiious coniempoiaiy biological iexis, Fieud imagines ile deail diive as "ile foices ilai
seel io guide life iowaids deail."
i(
Tle deail diive is undeisiandable io Fieud as a
biological sei of insiiuciions insciibed wiilin ile oiganism; ii is a funciion of ile
meiabolism wlicl is piogiammed foi finiiude. Tlis piocess funciions on micio and macio
levels. On ile foimei, eacl oiganism siiives io ieiuin io ile siaie of nonexisience wlicl
pieceded iis eniiy inio life. On ile laiiei, oiganic life as a wlole configuies iiself wiilin a
clionological ielaiionslip io ile inoiganic. In ile beginning, ileie was cosmic dusi fiom
wlicl oiganic life emeiged and io wlicl ii seels io ieiuin: ile funciion by wlicl "mosi
univeisal endeavoi in all living maiiei io ieveii|sj io ile quiescence (Rube: iesi, quiei,
peace, calm) of ile inoiganic woild."


Buzzing, dioning, and sluffling iecombinaiing oiganic life (oi biomaiiei, wiil iis
coiollaiy in ile foim of luman consciousness) ilus iales on ile qualiiy of noise, io wlicl
ile inoiganic cosmos appeais noi as piimoidial claos bui as laimony: calm, seiene, and
funciional÷ile meiaplysical music of ile spleies (musico universolis). Fieud's deail
diive yeains foi ile exaciiiude of scieniific inielligibiliiy, wleie exisieniial doubi and
slepiicism (endemic io self-conscious lumaniiy) is ieplaced by a siaie uniioubled by
anyiling beyond ile meie execuiion of iis own inexoiable and objeciive plysical laws.
i6

Swiss band Samael capiuie sucl seniimenis on ileii iqq6 album Possoqe÷wlicl
iales ile indusiiial siylings expeiimenied wiil on ileii Ceremony Of Opposites (iqq(),
iaicleis up ile leyboaids, slows ile pace io maiiial ilyilms ieminisceni of Laibacl, and
pioduces a piisiine and giandiose iiibuie io ile movemenis of space, ilapsodized wiil
gloiy in "}upiieiian Vibe," "Slining Kingdom," "Moonslin," and "Boin Undei Saiuin." In
Possoqe (passage beiween luman and mineial?), ile self is losi in ile giand movemeni of
ile planeis, as Voipl's diciaioiial vocals enunciaie lyiics as ilougl iley aie unalieiable
laws of plysics. A puiely leyboaid veision of Possoqe was ieleased laiei by
diummei]leyboaidisi Xyiias, iaiifying ile album's impaci even fuiilei.

DANIEL LUKES

y(
3*0'5#(6=5#(*+%$
Undei ile concepiual umbiella of "depiessive ilinling," Dominic Fox's ColJ VorlJ. Tbe
Aestbetics of Dejection onJ tbe Politics of Militont Dyspborio (:ooq) discusses ile "belaied"
BM of coniempoiaiy US aci Xasilui (belaied because ii cannoi lelp bui lool bacl wiil
nosialgia ai ile golden age of BM). Fox posiis ilai depiciions of a cold, aslen, oi
desiccaied woild (sucl as in T.S. Elioi's Tbe Voste lonJ, iq::) offei oppoiiuniiies foi
iadical poliiical engagemeni: "|ijle cold woild imposes iiself as final, ieiminal, because ii is
ile ieiminaiion of a woild, iis meiaploiical fieezing oi blaclening."
iy
Tle "peal oil"
naiiaiive (and iis aiiending ciises foi example) awalen us iliougl slocl, slaling us io
aciion iliougl an imaginaiive deadening of ile woild. Foi Xasilui's "depiessive ilinling,"
"life and deail aie ideniical: ile axioms of life aie axioms of deail. Tleie is no Jifference
beiween being alive and being dead, excepi ilai ile living suffei."
iS
In Xasilui, wlose
coniiibuiion io ile BM canon occuis iliougl "iniioveision" (a foim of self-oveicoming
pioduced by ieading BM iliougl ile paiadigms of giunge and nu-meial, iwo genies liglly
focused on a depiessed iecoiding subjeci), ile self is slalen inio aciion iliougl a
coniemplaiion of ile end:
|ijle cold woild of blacl meial is a delibeiaie fieezing of ile woild, fixing ii
wiilin a ieiminal image, in oidei ilai iis fiosi-biiien suiface may be slaiieied by
anonymous, inluman foices iising fiom ile depils of ile self.
iq

Tlis fiamewoil piovides a ieading of ile dubious legacy of ile Buizum model, in
wlicl BM becomes a paileiic aiiempi io iouse ile dejecied adolesceni consciousness,
alienaied inio ile faniasiic (ile Dungeons 8 Diagons oics ilai populaie Buizum's lyiical
panoiamas) and ilen violeni anii-social aciion in ile ieal woild (muidei, aison, eic). Bui
noi all BM is depiessed, oi funciions iliougl depiessive iiopes. Immoiial, foi example,
embody anoilei model, wlicl iends insiead iowaid ile sublime and ile comedic iailei
ilan ile iiagic.
:o
Immoiial's obsessive visias ovei fiozen and scoicled landscapes, cavei-
nous and fiosi-coveied panoiamas, and wliiiing, inlospiiable blizzaids ("Unsileni Sioims
in ile Noiil Abyss," "Tle Sun No Longei Rises," "Fiozen by Icewinds," Bottles ln Tbe
Nortb, "Giim and Fiosibiiien Kingdoms," "Wleie Dail and Ligli Don'i Diffei," "In My
Kingdom Cold," one could go on) offei a moie iadical ielaiion io ile inoiganic, aiiiculaiing
noi so mucl a measuiing of ile self oqoinst ile sadness of life, bui a sinling inio and above
ile laislness of plysical and geological exiiemiiy÷a becoming-ice and -iocl, a meiging
wiil ile mineialiiy of ile woild; oi a becoming-demon, dwelling wiilin ile ice iealm. Foi
Immoiial, naiuie is moie ilan a piop foi one basemeni-dwellei's depiessive consciousness.
BLACK METAL MACHINE



Tley iailei embody a iianscendence of ile self iliougl ice÷a becoming-iimeless demon,
enieiing inio a dance of geological iime.
Tle woil of Biiiisl science ficiion wiiiei }.G. Ballaid does a iloiougl, if exlausiing
job of ileoiizing a deail diive iowaid ile inoiganic via ile ieclnological (Crosb |iqy¸j
being iegaided as lis definiiive becoming-macline siaiemeni). Ballaid's wiiiings aie
obsessed wiil all linds of mineials, mosily solids: "Tle Cage of Sand" (iq6:), "Tle
Teiminal Beacl" (iq6(), Tbe Drouqbt (iq6¸), Tbe Crystol VorlJ (iq66), Concrete lslonJ
(iqy(), and Hiqb Rise (iqy¸). Tlese woils exude a sense of desiccaiion and aiidiiy, a woild
slowly diying up. Ballaid's claiacieis÷consciously siyled cipleis, "defined usually by liiile
moie ilan ileii piofession and a few iags of memoiy" and geneiic, dull-sounding, and
subily iionic suinames ("Maiiland," "Laing," "Vaugln")÷aie io be found diifiing amidsi
ile diying iuins, waiiing foi deail.
:i
In "Tle Teiminal Beacl," Tiaven finds limself in a
nucleai weapons iesiing siie, following ile deail of lis wife and clild, living oui lis lasi
days in ile midsi of luman indusiiial consiiuciions÷iuined bunleis and blocls in ile
piocess of iuining inio sand. In "Tle Cage of Sand" (wlicl piedaies by seven yeais ile
moon landing), iliee pioiagonisis (Biidgman, Tiavis, and Louise Woodwaid) ele oui a
siiange ieiminal exisience in a coidoned-off zone ilai las been coniaminaied wiil
noxious Maiiian sand. By day, iley lide fiom squads of waidens seeling io evici ilem, and
by nigli, iley waicl ile speciacle of oibiiing spaceciafi wiecls coniaining ile bodies of
doomed asiionauis÷floaiing giaves in space.
Ii is Ballaid's Tbe Crystol VorlJ ilai fully iealizes ile becoming-mineial faniasy. In an
unnamed couniiy in Ceniial Afiica, a piocess of ciysiallizaiion las begun io occui ilai
pioduces a bejeweled foiesi ilai beclons and enclanis ilose wlo siep among iis gleaming
bougls, claiming lumans io fuse wiil iis laidening giowils: an Oiienialisi, colonialisi
deail diive. Tlis "jeweled iwiligli woild" offeis ile seduciion of ieiminal calm, a slipping
bacl inio ile quiescence of ile inoiganic, bacl iowaids ile slowei ilyilms of geological
iime.
::
Tle ciysiallizing foiesi ilus piesenis a palliaiive io a lumaniiy, undeisiood as viial
planeiaiy abeiiaiion. Tle "ciysialline iiees," "jeweled casemenis," and "laiiice of piisms
iliougl wlicl ile sun slone in a ilousand iainbows, ile biids and ciocodiles fiozen inio
gioiesque posiuies lile leialdic beasis caived fiom jade and quaiiz," offei ile seduciive
faniasy of ile inoiganic as a simplei way of life, a dimension wleie ile unalieiable iules of
ile plysical woild govein uniioubled.


Tle posi-wai iexi ilai diiecily iies becoming-mineial wiil ile nucleai bomb is Kuii
Vonnegui's Cot's CroJle (iq6¸). Tlis cauiionaiy iale ieads Fieud's deail diive poliiically, as
an iiiesponsible, open-aimed embiace iowaid ile inoiganic via ile obliieiaiion of
lumaniiy and all oiganic life. Tlis occuis wlen lumans (lungiy foi dominaiion and
impeiialism) iampei wiil ile eco-maieiialiiy of ile ieal ai ile aiomic level, ielease ile
DANIEL LUKES

y6
plysical fiom iis iempoiaiy piison, and÷engendeiing an aiomic apocalypse followed by
an eieinal nucleai winiei÷inciie a new Gaiden of Eden ilai blooms, noi wiil siclness and
muiaiion bui wiil ile puie meclanics of ile mineial. Cot's CroJle iecounis ile ieleasing
of "ice-nine" inio ile woild by a "failei of ile aiom bomb." Tle ice-nine compound causes
all waiei on Eaiil io iuin io ciysial as ii is made io "siacl and locl in an oideily, iigid
way," falling fiom ile slies as "laid lobnails of ice-nine," iapidly iiansfoiming ile eniiie
planei inio a leaving and ilen quiesceni ball of iocl.
:(
Eveiyman pioiagonisi }onal, afiei
liding oui ile caiasiiople, veniuies foiil io belold a ciysial woild÷an endless winiei,
lumaniiy's iiieveisible iomb: "Tleie weie no smells. Tleie was no movemeni. Eveiy siep I
iool made a giavelly squeal in blue-wliie fiosi. And eveiy squeal was ecloed loudly. Tle
season of locling was ovei. Tle eaiil was locled up iigli. Ii was winiei, now and
foievei."


Deleuze and Guaiiaii similaily poliiicize ile deail diive, engaging Fieud's
developmeni of ile concepi in Civilizotion onJ its Discontents (iq¸o) as ile aggiession
pioduced by ile iepiessions necessaiy io foim socieiies. Foi Deleuze and Guaiiaii, ile
deail diive is meiely one funciion of ile sysiem of desiiing-maclines, noi an end-poini
ouiside of ii. Tle Eaiil is noi visualized as cold and giavely inanimaie, bui as maisly and
fecund. Ii is an oiiginal, ieiiiioiial "megamacline" (ile ieim is Lewis Mumfoid's) ilai
peimiis pioduciion iiself: a "gieai unengendeied siasis."
:6
Togeilei ilis piimiiive
ieiiiioiial macline and iis "immobile moioi" foim an oiiginal uniiy ieplaced by ile
spuiious uniiy of ile Siaie: "ile full body is no longei ilai of ile eaiil, ii is ile full body of
ile Despoi, ile Unengendeied, wlicl now iales claige of ile feiiiliiy of ile soil as well as
ile iain fiom ile sly and ile geneial appiopiiaiion of ile pioduciive foices."
:y
To ile iune
of a naiuializing Fieudian deail song (eiopopeio), ile siaie is ilai wlicl biopoliiically
iegulaies life and deail÷ile "Deail-Siaie," as Eugene W. Holland puis ii. Ii is undei
naiionalisiic capiialism ilai ile deail diive fulfills iis funciion as a meclanism foi
siemming suiplus pioduciion and iouiing excess bacl inio ile sysiem: "bombs aie ile
peifeci capiialisi commodiiy and an ideal soluiion io capiial's noioiious ciises of
oveipioduciion, inasmucl as iley blow up and immediaiely call foi ile pioduciion of
moie bombs io ieplace ilem."
:S

BM's exaliaiions of ioial wai, aiomic annililaiion, and nucleai winiei engage ile
ideological, ieclnological, and geological dimensions of ile capiialisi siaie as a deail
macline. Impaled Nazaiene's "Toial Wai - Winiei Wai," on ileii iqq( Suomi FinlonJ
Perkele (an album wlicl playfully iiaffics in and paiodies naiionalisiic ilemes and wai
imageiy) iepiises Indusiiial aiiisi NON's song "Toial Wai": "Yes we wani ioial wai! Yes we
wani fucling wai!" Noiwegian IBM band V::S lave based a iiilogy of albums on nucleai
apocalypse (including songs "Tle Biigliesi Ligli," "Unleasl Tle Eneigy," "A Pioplecy
BLACK METAL MACHINE


yy
Wiiiien In Uianium," "Tle Puiifying Flames," "As Tle Sly Opens," "Dead Men's Cloii,"
"Woild Wide Bombing Day," "Deseii Geneiaioi," and "Can You See Tle Ligli Now"). In
"Slui Ii Down" (on ileii :ooy album Violution), V::S's vision of ioial nucleai wai as a final
sluiiing down of ile macline of ile woild appeais wiil clilling claiiiy. Acceleiaied guiiai
iiffs iecieaie a iace iowaids desiiuciion as ile lyiics desciibe a ioial slui-down: "No need
io bieaile ] No need io live ] To igniie ile laie ] To desiioy ile woild . . . No lisioiy io
pieseive ] No life io iemembei ] No name io lonoui ] No deail io gloiify ] Slui ii
down."
:q
Tle woild as macline is being iuined off.
Tle "doomsday macline," populaiized by Sianley Kubiicl's Dr. Stronqelove (iq6(),
ieappeais envisioned iliougl BM's depiessive ilinling in UK band Slaldic Cuise's album
iiile VorlJ SuiciJe Mocbine (:ooq), wlose covei feaiuies ile symbol of a bomb wiilin a
cog againsi a dieaiy bacldiop of ied and blacl iuins. In cybeineiic BM aci Aboiym's Vitb
No Humon lntervention (:oo¸), ile woild iiself las become a vasi, meclanized, deail
macline: we aie ile "Cleinobyl Geneiaiion." Aesileiically, IBM subsiiiuies ile inveiied
ciosses and spideiy logos of iiadiiional BM wiil iadiaiion signs and indusiiial fonis.
E&8' 1%+#%(&- '/ &7* -%5* 5%07#(*F) #("2-&+#%$ 3$%04 5*&%$
Tlougl Ballaid piofessed io laving no inieiesi in music and io nevei laving puiclased a
musical iecoiding, le is veiy deai io ile Indusiiial communiiy.
¸o
His woild is one wleie
ile individual is ciasled by ile aicliieciuial macline÷a veiiical woild of sieel and glass,
ile luman seveied fiom ile Eaiil. Tle field of biopoliiics (given piominence by Miclel
Foucauli in ile mid-iqyos), siudies ile ways in wlicl we in laie modeiniiy accepi,
iegulaie, and disavow socially sanciioned, indusiiially-oiganized deail. Higlligliing ile
causaliiies of cai deail ai lome and colonial wai abioad, Deleuze and Guaiiaii wiiie, "ile
Algeiian wai doesn'i lill moie people ilan weelend auiomobile accidenis, planned deail
in Bengal, eic.)."
¸i
"Oui age is ile one in wlicl a loliday weelend pioduces moie viciims
on Euiope's liglways ilan a wai campaign,"
¸:
adds Gioigio Agamben, spealing io ile
banaliiy of violence ilai colois ile fabiic of oui meclanized lives. Ballaid limself males a
similai poini: "Aboui |((,oooj people a yeai aie lilled on ile ioads in Ameiica. Of couise,
eveiy deail is deploied, bui colleciively ii's manslaugliei on a giganiic scale . . . ioleiaied
as paii of ile piice io be paid |foij ile soii of lives we've opied foi."
¸¸

Indusiiial music offeis a self-conscious iool foi coming io ieims wiil ile Deail Siaie.
Foi eais living nigli and day amidsi indusiiial noise (ile wline and juddei of consiiuciion
siie jacllammeis and diills; ile ioais, giunis, and wleezing of gaibage colleciion iiucls;
ile vicious sneei of leaf-bloweis; ile ciusling sliiels and squeals of ile subway; and ile
incessani giind, wliii, and scieecl of moving and siopping iiaffic), Indusiiial Noise
DANIEL LUKES

yS
"music" aiiiculaies iwo muiual and dialeciical funciions. Ii saicasiically ilapsodizes and
scailingly mocls ile living deail of posi-wai indusiiial socieiy:

ile ciiiiques of medical
science (SPK), ile plaimaceuiical-indusiiial complex and mass slaugliei of animals
(Slinny Puppy), neo-fascisiic naiionalism (NON, Laibacl, Minisiiy), and ieiminal uiban
ennui and soul deail (Godflesl, Nine Incl Nails). Bui, ii also aiguably seives ile funciion
of assuaging ile macline woild, as iis disjoinied and alienaiing swailes of noise and
iepeiiiive and meclanical ilyilms aie made pleasani, piopagaiing iiance-lile qualiiies.
¸(

Indusiiial and BM migli, ai fiisi glance, seem quiie unsuiiable bedfellows: BM
celebiaies and conjuies ile piimoidial, claoiic, eaiilen (clilonian and ielluiic), wild,
besiial, and piimiiive.
¸¸
Ii sings of÷and enieis inio÷ile ciaggy, faniasiical, pseudo-
lisioiical, medieval, fiozen-ovei, iiiualisiic, Sadean dungeon, incaniaioiy, blasplemic and
vampiiic, loiiific, iomb, giaveyaid, and ciypi. By coniiasi, Indusiiial music colonizes,
desciibes, ieplicaies, and de]ie-ieiiiioiializes ile meclanical and maclinic, clinical,
compiessed, and auiomaiic, ile enclosed, sieiile (and coniaminaied) spaces of ile facioiy
flooi, lab, lospiial, powei siaiion, and nucleai geneiaioi. Boil lowevei, ai a closei lool,
slaie a ciiiical ielaiionslip and aveision io ile indusiiial pieseni÷expiessed iliougl
disioiiion, dissonance, and mocleiy. BM sluns ilis woild by swooping off inio ile woods
and envisaging a pie-indusiiial epocl of oics, Vilings, and demonic foiesi dwelleis.
Indusiiial music faces macline socieiy by iending iis eai close io ile lum and ioai and
giind of ile facioiy's maclineiy in moiion, exaggeiaiing iis feaiuies inio a ioializing
facioiy woild. BM is wild and saianic; Indusiiial is cold and clinical. Bui boil aie iife wiil
blacl lumoi, evil glee, and saidonic angsi. Boil aie eniianced genies: Indusiiial enieis
inio ile iepeiiiive and peicussive logic of ilyilmic maclineiy÷ile engine and moioi, ile
fuzz and siaiic of iiansmission; BM pounds oui iis ilyilms fiom ile lum and ile wliii of
foiesi winds and glacial sioims÷bui ii does so tbrouqb mocbinic noise, wlicl ii disavows
and animaies wiil Dionysian spiiii.
Tlougl ile cioss-pollinaiion beiween Indusiiial and BM las noi lad anywleie neai
ile foiiune of ilai beiween, say, BM and classical music, ii las noneileless pioduced a
subsianiial body of woil and a landful of canonical ieleases, esiablisling a iapidly
developing ideniifiable aesileiic and an open field.
¸6
IBM is noi peiipleial io BM, bui
aiguably quiie ceniial io ii. Buizum's man-alone wiil (dium) macline siance, ieplicaied
by eveiy one-man BM band since, is ceniial io ile IBM iiadiiion. Saiyiicon and ile
Moonfog label puisued an openly Indusiiial aesileiic duiing ile laie 'qos and eaily 'oos,
wiil siandoui ieleases fiom Dodleimsgaid and Tloins, noi io meniion Saiyiicon's own
developmeni fiom pagan]medieval ilemes, imageiy, and sounds (foi example, ileii
albums Dork MeJievol Times, Tbe SboJowtbrone, and Nemesis Divino) io a moie clinical
and cold Indusiiial aesileiic (fiom Rebel Extrovoqonzo onwaids), Eleciionica and Remix
BLACK METAL MACHINE


yq
dabblings, and ile seivices of Indusiiial-fiiendly pioducei }eff 'Ciiiiei' Newell on :oo:'s
Volcono. IBM iniiojecis and blaclens ile Indusiiial genie, and iales BM io places ii nevei
ilougli possible: ile meclanical fuiuie of ioboi and cybeineiic science ficiions, in wlicl
ile macline las ieplaced (oi ilieaiens io ieplace) ile luman as ile dominani species; Tbe
Terminotor and Tbe Motrix fianclises, wlicl ie-imagine ile woild as vasi and giim ioial
indusiiial landscape.
¸y
IBM conceives of a woild ieiuined io iis funciion as meclanism,
sloin of luman consciousness's ciiiical oi eilical faculiies. Wlai is lefi is consciousness as
iecoiding and iiansmiiiing device. IBM ieinsciibes ile piomise of ioial luman
annililaiion, exiani in (iiadiiional) BM, io pioduce a posi-apocalypiic scenaiio iliougl
ile indusiiial language of ile biealdown of ile social macline and ile collapse of ile
body poliiic.
¸S

&7* 725%( 0'5.$*&#'( .+'>*0&
Oslo quiniei Red Haivesi (named afiei a iq:q muidei-filled Dasliell Hammeii novel)
assimilaie and blaclen Indusiiial's ciiiique of lumaniiy's onwaid meclanizaiion unio
obliieiaiion, io poiiiay a map of alienaied innei consciousness in ile seivice of coldei
exieinal negoiiaiions of ile ieiuin io ile inoiganic posiluman. Tleii woil (wlicl
includes :ooo's ColJ Dork Motter, :oo:'s Sick Tronsit Glorio MunJi, :oo('s lnternol
Punisbment Proqroms, and :ooy's A Greoter Dorkness) imagines a diive iowaid ile
ieiminally meclanical and becoming-macline÷a piedicameni io be mei wiil boil
iesisiance and capiiulaiion, wiil assimilaiion inio ile new macline oidei boil a
condemnaiion io luman lell onJ a ielease fiom ile piison of individual subjeciiviiy,
alienaied fiom ile meclanisms of ile univeise. Becoming-macline, oi inoiganic, is
becoming once again paii of ile fabiic of ile univeise. Red Haivesi's IBM ilus depicis a
scenaiio in wlicl we aie piivy io viialism engulfed by meclanism: swallowed up,
assimilaied, and locled inio giid-lile woilings of ile univeise as "Melanizm."
¸q

Sonically, Red Haivesi aie appiopiiaiing ile ieleniless dium macline and guiiai woil
of }usiin Bioadiicl's Godflesl÷blaclening and acceleiaiing ile Biiiisl duo's siaccaio
blocls of iiffage and laconic melancloly io focus on ile indusiiial woild as a iuin and end-
poini. In Godflesl, ile luman is subsumed inio ile macline as an aci of spiiiiual
iiansubsianiiaiion: an "all-consuming iiie of subjugaiion," as }onailan Selzei puis ii.
(o

Godflesl's music (Streetcleoner, Selfless, Slovestote) ieflecis ile desolaiion of ile posi-wai
failuie of leavy indusiiy, economic decline, and social anomie in ile posi-indusiiial
wasieland of Biiminglam and ile Noiil of England: Bioadiicl's songs aie iionic lymns io
ile faie of ile luman wiilin ile maclinic model, by definiiion fauliy. Splicing Godflesl
wiil Neuiosis's iiibal iaiioos and melanclolic (yei libeiaiionisi) peispeciives on ile
DANIEL LUKES

So
ieduced space of ile luman wiilin ile widei peispeciive of cosmic iime, and Feai
Facioiy's ioboi apocalypse lyiical scenaiios, Red Haivesi's music jiiieis÷neuioiically
sciaping, giinding, and meclanically clugging÷nevei quiie ieacling cailaisis. "Tle
Iicling Scull" (:ooo) seels and finds ile meclanical wiilin ile luman slull, alin io
Cliisioplei Conie's "Miniaiuie Biomeclanical Slull" sculpiuie (:oo(), wlile Red Haivesi's
"Godiecl" (:oo:) pioffeis a woild woiily of ile deail-indusiiial slull aesileiics of aiiisi
}oaclim Lueile, wlose goilic indusiiial-meclanic iableaux lave giaced Dimmu Boigii
albums:

In a woild coniiolled by maclines
Humans ideniify wiil maclines
Railei ilan iegaining coniiol ovei ileii lives.
Godiecl, ile nexi siep in evoluiion
A supeiioi being
Using luman planis as sensoiy oigans
Ii's ile end of ile woild as we lnow ii
Digiial life, bio-meclanical lell
Tiansluman expiess
Tlis is wleie you ciy oui.
(i


Tle luman las become a funciion of macline iepioduciion, ile woild las become a
conjunciion of meclanized desiiing maclines; ile luman and woild aie now cleaily
linled io one anoilei iliougl flows. Tleie is no sepaiaiion beiween ile oiganic,
inoiganic, macline, luman, oi animal: ile luman is an appendage of ile macline. As pei
ile woids of Maislall McLulan, ile luman las become ile "sex oigans of ile macline
woild, as ile bee of ile plani woild."
(:
Bui consciousness and self-awaieness peisisi: ile
luman may awale fiom ilis giid iliougl an aci of will (Tbe Motrix), io casiiaie macline
iepioduciion÷ilai wlicl Mail Fislei ieims ile "goilic piopagaiion" of meclanical
iepioduciion, sex and oiganic deail supplanied by ile sexless iepioduciions of inluman
indusiiial capiialism. Human subjeciiviiy is pioduced iliougl a iiaumaiic awalening inio
ile macline woild: ile poweilessness of ile luman in ile face of ile capiialisi socio-
economic "macline" is iendeied iliougl ile concepiual paiadigm of ile ioboi giid inio
wlicl ile luman is assimilaied, fiom wlicl ii dieams and figlis io awalen.
Red Haivesi's (ile "Red" is luman flesl and blood laivesied foi macline
consumpiion]iepioduciion) "Deail in Cyboig Eia" (:ooo) desciibes ilis piedicameni in
ieims of exisieniial confusion: "I am losi in a woild I cannoi undeisiand ] Teclnologies of
vision ] Teclnologies of deail ] Reconsiiuciion ] Repioduciion." Wlai is iequiied of ile
BLACK METAL MACHINE


Si
coniempoiaiy subjeci is submission io ile macline. Heie is wleie masoclism becomes
ile assuaging iool of macline culiuie, ieacling us io enjoy and find pleasuie in oui
impiisonmeni. As noied by }oln K. Noyes's Tbe Mostery of Submission. lnventions of
Mosocbism (iqqy), ile paiadigms of discipline and punislmeni ideniified by Foucauli aie
bui submissive adapiaiions io ile iigois of ile ieclnological and ile siiiciuies of macline
socieiy. Tle luman body beni "oui of slape" io accommodaie iis meclanical yole÷
wleilei facioiy, cubicle, cai, oi lapiop. Red Haivesi's lnternol Punisbment Proqroms' iiile
iiacl iiains iis eye on ilis foim of submission: "A siaie of compleie seivile obedience ]
Wlai lave I become? ] Peiveiied loyaliy: ioialiiaiian confoimiiy coniiol ieindociiinaiion
piogiams piogiess ] Wlai lave I become? Sysiemaiic eliminaiion."

Tle individual is
inieipellaied inio ile new woild macline oidei as feed foi iis maclineiy, meai fed inio
giinding caveins of sysiemaiized capiial flow: "New woild disoidei ] Melidown of ile
luman lap-iop ] You aie boin inio ilis woild ] To pioieci and seive ] Feed ile golden
vacuum of maclineiy."
((
We iepioduce, as food foi ile macline, io piopagaie iis
meclanisms. As Nicl Land puis ii, "capiial is a social suicide macline . . . compelled io
advaniage iis assassins."


By ile iime of ileii final album A Greoter Dorkness (:ooy), Red Haivesi's vision of
meclanized fuiuiiiies las iun oui of sieam, blown oui, and wasled up. Wlai iemains is
almosi bucolic: a dead woild in wlicl even ile maclines lave iiied of endless, senseless,
and sexless iepioduciion. Tle album sounds sedaied, ciacled, and falieiing. Aimageddon
las pioved io be a ilundeisioim: ile iealm of ile naiuial impinges and ilieaiens.
Maclines iusi, ioi, and giind io a lali as ile laigei sysiem, ile "gieaiei dailness" of ile
macline of ile woild, ieclaims and iales ovei. As foi Noiway, ile discoveiy of oil and gas
in ile Noiil Sea since ile sixiies las made ii a iicl couniiy: ile sevenil-laigesi expoiiei of
ciude oil in ile woild. Wlile BM dieams of a clean woild of ice, disavowing iis naiion's
subieiianean foiiune, IBM smeais, lile coipse paini, ilose icy faniasies wiil oil and giime.
3#<%++* 0'-5#0 #("2-&+#*-
In "AEP (Advanced Evoluiionaiy Piogiession)" (:oo:), Red Haivesi confiim we aie doomed
io iemain eaiilbound, in siiuggle wiil ile piocess of ile maclinificaiion of ile luman÷
suggesiing ilai ile gaze aiiuned io ile siais, so pievaleni in BM, is a slam. Tley do so by
puiiing io music paii of a speecl by wide-eyed Heaven's Gaie culi leadei Maislall
Applewliie, wlo peisuaded lis congiegaiion io join lim on ile passing comei Hale-Bopp
(ile culi commiiied a foiiy-membei mass suicide in Sania Fe, Califoinia on Maicl iq,
iqqy): "Lasi Clance io evacuaie ile Eaiil ] Ii's gonna be iecycled ] Wiped clean, wasled
ovei ] Youi only clance ] Gei off ile planei, now!"
(6
Blacl Meial las a iiacl iecoid of
DANIEL LUKES

S:
gazing ai ile sly, ile moon and ile siais: ai blazes in ile Noiilein sly, moons fieezing oi
in ile Scoipio, and demons ciicling in iime above iime. IBM builds slips io go ileie,
seiiing in moiion paiadigms of ile alien and ile cosmic, ieacling oui beyond ile
blaclening planei, and concepiualizing music as iiansmission beyond ile luman.
Noiwegians Dodleimsgaid aiiiculaie ilis uplifiing iiajecioiy, specifically on ileii
magnum opus 666 lnternotionol (iqqq). Tle album lools iwo ways: bacl in iime iowaids
ile ileological saianic, and ouiwaids iowaids ile global]planeiaiy and cosmic posiluman.
Tle covei aii depicis wlai lools lile an abaiioii, wiil blood pooling inio a diain, yei
(enlanced by spleiical line giapls) ii also conjuies io mind an aiipoii lobby, offeiing
depaiiuies io ile unlnown÷beyond ile deail of ile luman. Esclewing ile iegulai blacl
and wliie coipse paini favoied by BM acis, Dodleimsgaid (DoJ=deail, beim=lome,
qorJ=mansion) appeai as a muliicoloied face-painied band of posiluman, necio-cosmic
ieclnopiiesis (Mi. Fixii, Apollyon, Aldialn, Czial, Magic Logic). Waiped beyond lumaniiy
by ile nucleai fiie, Dodleimsgaid call in an incaniaioiy aci upon ile plysical elemenis,
involing ile "gloiious desiiuciion" of ion sioims io biing aboui apocalypiic desiiuciions.
Dodleimsgaid's music, wlicl spiings fiom a scene we migli call "Cainivalesque BM"
(including sucl aiiisis as Ved Buens Ende, Aiciuius, Fleuieiy, Solefald, Souice of Tide, and
Covenani]Tle Kovenani), leie clannels and iecasis Slinny Puppy's juddeiing, cauiionaiy
bio-indusiiial iale as ile celebiaioiy, bizaiie cainival of William Buiiougls-esque cosmic
piiaies ieacling oui iowaids new foims of deail and life in space.
(y
Tleii mangled
eleciionic beais, launiing synils, and off-liliei ilyilms do baiile wiil BM iiffage,
Piogiessive Rocl iendencies, and aional, disioiied clanis and lameniaiions.
Dodleimsgaid's iesiless gliicliness and abiupi iiansiiions piivilege iupiuie, paleiie slifi,
and muliipliciiy ovei giey unifoimiiy, dione, oi flow.
Dodleimsgaid's lyiical conieni assembles suiieal and posimodein woils of biicolage,
biidging Vedic appeals io calm iliougl ioial desiiuciion wiil nililisiic exuliaiions of
claos and violence and ile piimacy of ile piimoidial maelsiiom as ile aniidoie foi
coiiupi modeiniiy. In "Sliva Inieifeie" Dodleimsgaid disiupi lineai iime io conjuie an
end io binaiism, offeiing an example of science ficiion inieiplaneiaiy iiavel iliougl ile
piism of Oiienialisi xenoileology. Tle iiadiiional Noise gods lave now made way foi
moie esoieiic and invenied diviniiies. Svein Egil Hailevil (ala Logic)'s cascading leys
uslei in a dissonani, disjoinied ciescendo of iecombining synileiic iiffage, eeiily
meclanical beais, and lailequinized, angsi-iidden, declamaioiy vocals:
Gloiious desiiuciion
Gloiious cieaiion
Giimly folds wiil luminous elegance
BLACK METAL MACHINE



Winged beiween ile coiioded ambei
. . .
Diiecily fiom an ocean of floweis
Visual coniaci, planei BS----iS
. . .
Ol you aie ciysialline, I say, you aie made of pain
Foi only suffeiing can cieaie sucl beauiy
And only suffeiing can wipe oui youi ieais.
(S

"Ion Sioim" spasms and juddeis, smeaiing iis ioxic sonic pllegm acioss cosmic BM
acceleiaiionism. "Regno Poiiii" fliis beiween Tiip-lop ambience, buisis of meclanized BM
violence, and giinding Disco-meial, lyiically weaving a iale of gioiesque and cainivalesque
ieclno]fleslly]sadomasoclisiic]insecioid desiie. "Final Conquesi" glimpses once again ai
ile ciysial woild wiil agony and desiie: "Wondeiful and spasiic, wandeiing along and
clencling ] Tle climaie of fiozen iime ] Hideous and accuiaie wiil baie longing."
(q
Tle
album's closing iiacl "Compleiion" defines ile luman peiceiving subjeci beiween ile
binaiies of sioim and calm, seeling in ile laiiei a desiinaiion: "As all is said, we cioss ile
sioim ] And waicl ouiselves in piay ] Foi ilis no longei a muiani ilai sliveis ] Tlis is
leie io siay."
¸o
Beyond ile ioial wai of ile end, lumaniiy iemains as glosily eclo.
Tle cosmic sioim is Dodleimsgaid's closen paiadigm in 666 lnternotionol÷ileii
incaniaioiy woil beiween ile gloiificaiions of ile sioim ilai is claos, and ile desiie foi
ile calm afiei ile sioim ilai is luman consciousness÷envisaging fuiuie ieclno-muiani
peicepiive siaies ilai will ieplace ii. Sioimy aie boil ile piimoidial soup ilai piecedes
and engendeis ile oiganic iuin, and ile asiionomic Aimageddon ilai is ile sun as ied
giani (swallowing and buining up ile Eaiil). Tlai mosi BM of plilosopleis, E.M. Cioian,
similaily peiceives ile maelsiiom as boil a ielease fiom luman subjeciiviiy and a clance
foi ienewal as inoiganic maieiial, noi as cold mineial bui as loi gas (oi loi aii):

Lei us ieiuin io oiiginal claos! Lei us imagine ile piimoidial din, ile oiiginal
voiiex! Lei us iliow ouiselves inio ile wliilwind wlicl las pieceded ile
cieaiion of foim. . . . Lei eveiyiling be wiped oui so ilai, suiiounded by
confusion and disequilibiium, we paiiicipaie fully in ile geneial deliiium,
ieiiacing oui way bacl fiom cosmos io claos, fiom fiim io swiiling gyies."
¸i

-.%0* 6+%1*-
Bill McKibben's Enouqb. Genetic Enqineerinq onJ tbe EnJ of Humon Noture (:oo¸) objecis
io immoiialiiy piojecis, on ile giounds ilai iemoving deail (and ilus giving iise io a new
DANIEL LUKES

S(
species, bomo permonens) also iemoves ile limii againsi wlicl lumaniiy defines iiself.
"Wiiloui |ile limii of deail, ile deadlinej consciousness would caiiy liiile meaning; ii
would lave noiling io iub againsi, ii would spin lile a iiie on ice," siaies McKibben.
¸:
Tlis
may be a pioblem foi lumans bui noi foi "ile ioboi men ilai spin off inio ile fuiuie," wlo
will piesumably lave ieconfiguied ileii bodies inio iouglei maieiial ilan flesl and bone
io iale on ile duiess of inieisiellai iiavel.
¸¸

Tle compelling naiiaiive of ouiei space as lumaniiy's giave and final desiinaiion is
ile subjeci of Aiciuius's Tbe Sbom Mirrors (:oo:). To use ile woid "odyssey" io desciibe
ilis voyage would be impiecise, as no ieiuin is sougli. Insiead, ile voyage is endlessly
ouiwaid, unio deail. Tle album's covei combines negaiive images of iocl, a spaiial visia,
and a model diawing of a seciion of ile Apollo spaceciafi. Inside of ile album's boollei,
debiis of digiially scaiieied images foiegiounds ile sleleial pioiagonisi of ile dance of
deail. "Kineiic" begins by iniioducing ile woil in ile foim of a iiansmission fiom a
civilizaiion ilai is long gone, a message fiom ile pasi (as all aii is):
Welcome
ilis iiansmission
fiom a fallen siai
Ligli las depaiied
fiom ilis blacl sun
Bui please pui us on
io biing dailness down
fiom youi lead and lome
Oui enieipiise a success
as ieiuin is no opiion
oui eyes weie iemoved
foi oui own safeiy
Tlis disiance ioo gieai
foi you io leai oui ciies
neveimind iale ilis lamp
we aie beyond ligli
We leained so liiile
of inluman culiuie
befoie disappeaiance
weni iigli iliougl us
Tle moileislip
boaided by fools
we escape space
in oidei io ieacl
oui desiinaiion
BLACK METAL MACHINE



And if you aie lisiening
please iell us aboui ile iime
wleie and wlen we exisi
no moie
Foi wlen you go
we go wiil you
via woimloles.
¸(

Civilizaiions ilai lave ended coniinue io iiavel acioss space and iime in ile foim of
iiansmission: oui iime is speni faslioning a message io communicaie (io ouiselves) ilai
we weie ieally leie, and noi meie glosily figmenis of oui imaginaiions. Geosynclionous
saielliies oibii ile eaiil and speal bacl io us iliougl iiansmissions.
Tle suiface upon wlicl Tbe Sbom Mirrors insciibes iis epiiaplic message is a
negaiive one wlicl coveis ile logics of aniimaiiei and ile blacl lole as escape laicles
fiom ile luman: "Tlis negaiive lingdom ] ley loiiible and wliie ] ile angels all sione ]
passing ileii yeais ] loping io be saved ] fiom oblivion ] by oblivion" ("Niglimaie
Heaven"). Unlile IBM ilai scieams iis message amidsi ile ioaiing fuinace of maclines
gone laywiie, Aiciuius's vocalisi Tiiclsiei G. Rex (Kiysioffei Rygg) sings in clean soais,
enunciaiing lis woids foi claiiiy. Tle music is piisiinely pioduced, iiiumplani, and
melodic Piogiessive Meial, diawing fiom BM and consciously moving well beyond ii. "Siai
Ciossed" eniiusis io iime and space ile message of oui ending, pioducing ile oiganic
luman as inoiganic epiiapl:
We
oiganic images
dissolving eaiil
Oui fuiuie clildien
siaie ai us unfixed
fiom a iesidence of siais
in ileii sideieal slips
lo sailing beyond wiilin
. . .
And oui vision
goes baclwaids
. . .
All dieams end leie
wleie oui ciies began
iesounding in museums
of a woild we believed neveiending.
DANIEL LUKES

S6
Ouiei space is a negaiive leaven ilai piovides noi ile solace ilai ileie migli be
someiling "oui ileie," bui ile end of lumaniiy as communicaiion, oi iiansmission, io
ouiselves. Ii is ile eclo we seel and find in ile sileni music of ile spleies. And, ii is
endless ciiculaiiiy wlicl launis also Tbe Sbom Mirrors's final iiacl "Foi To End Yei
Again," wlicl configuies endings as endlessly cyclical÷in a sing-song cainival dance. Tle
iiansmission bounces bacl, and we aie caugli once again in ile loop, sluffling baclwaids.
"In space no one can leai you scieam," siaies ile infamous iag line io Ridley Scoii's
Alien (iqyq). Tlis is because sound waves need molecules lacling in ouiei space io
iiansmii ilem. Eleciiomagneiic waves, sucl as iadio waves, on ile oilei land need no
sucl molecules: io ilis poini, ile glosily effeci of asiionauis communicaiing via iadio.
Humans lave been sending oui oui own iadio waves inio ile cosmos since ile iq:os,
waves wlicl aie now beiween ¸o-ioo ligli yeais away. In addiiion, ileie aie oui own
iecoided messages io ile siais÷ile Aiecibo message (iqy() and ile Voyagei Golden
Recoids (iqyy)÷wlicl feaiuie iecoidings of animal sounds and music by Beeiloven,
Mozaii, Siiavinsly, Clucl Beiiy, and Guan Pinglu foi aliens io lisien io ai ileii own
leisuie wlen iley ieceive ilem.
Fiencl band Spelii (wlo iale ileii name fiom ile fifil module of ile Russian Mii
space siaiion, isolaied afiei a ciasl) consiiuci an aesileiic based on ilese spacewaid
communicaiive iendencies, faslioning Eleciionic BM as a foim of blacl box of ile luman
expeiience, a BM ieclno-launiology. Tle glosily siaiic ciaclle, dione, and launiing liss
of ileii ieleases "Asiial Desceni," "Planiom Realiiy," and "Disiuibing Signal" (Neor Deotb
Experience); "Hollow Coniaci" (Mescolyne); and "No Longei Human Senses" and "Noiling's
Benn Woiil Saving (Tle Piocession)" (Et Fuqit lntero Fuqit lrreporobile Tempus) ie-
piogiam, cui up, disseci, and paicl bacl iogeilei Buizum's mouinful dione wiil swailes
of wliie noise and discombobulaiing gliicles, io siand foi lumaniiy's necio-posiluman
digiial epiiapl. Afiei noiions of Cosmic BM as open (yei ieiminal) veisions of a posi-
lumaniiy÷blind, undead, and sailing iliougl space in ile new lind of lalf-life in
opeiaiion evei since iadio waves weie fiisi seni oui inio ile cosmos a ceniuiy ago÷posi-
Indusiiial Eleciionic BM iemains as eclo, afieiglow, and speciei of lumaniiy. Floaiing
code, communicaiing wiil noiling bui iiself.
/%"* &' 6+*9
Bacl on Eaiil (among ile lumans claiieiing aboui ileii end) ileie aie discouises ilai
aiiiculaie eco-desiiuciion as ile lasi accepiable foim of sadism: ile "iape" of Moilei
Naiuie oi ile Eaiil. Visions depici eco-apocalypse as one lasi, final oigy. Peilaps inspiied
by ile Tom of Finland diawing "Fucl ile Woild" (iqy:), wlicl depicis a musculai man
BLACK METAL MACHINE


Sy
copulaiing wiil ile planei in space, Swedisl Ciusi-Punl band Diillei Killei expiess ileii
pieoccupaiion wiil ile peiils of indusiiializaiion as a foim of planeiaiy iape by iiiling
ileii iqqy album Fuck tbe VorlJ, and giacing iis covei wiil a piciuie of ile Eaiil endowed
wiil a planei-sized vagina. On a similai noie, Maidul's ianl-feiislizing Ponzer Division
MorJuk (iqqq) feaiuies ile scieed "Fisifucling God's Planei." Bui, ii is Finnisl necio-
feiislisi "nucleai meial" band Impaled Nazaiene wlo specialize in aiiiculaiing ile end of
ile woild nucleai Aimageddon as a lolocausi oigy of sex and violence. Tleii iqq6 album
lotex Cult depicis ile ioial wai of ile end as lell-oigy, sexualizing BM's long-sianding
fascinaiion wiil puie lolocausi:
Kaimageddon waiiiois, possessed soldieis, We aie bacl fiom ile giave, ii's a
doomsday . . . Moioi aciion plallus, 666 ways io die . . . Tle ieiuin of nucleai
god, Alien miliiani, Doomsday maclineiy, Cybeigoai wai, alien }esus will fucl
youi face, youi soul, Hell on eaiil . . . Hammeiing down ile law, ilis is goai wai
. . . Masiuibaiing wiil a gun, vomii fiie and blood . . . My semen is made of
lellfiie.
¸¸

Tle album's David Palsei-designed aiiwoil feaiuies a mummified lead-casi of singei
Milla Luiiinen plugged inio a meclanical maiiix of wiies and plalluses: ile devil las
been encased wiilin ile macline. Impaled Nazaiene's iiieveieni lumoi ("Moioipenis,"
"66.6 S of Foieplay," "Masieibaioi," and "I Eai Pussy foi Biealfasi") suggesis ile suiiendei
io sexual Aimageddon as an aci of defiani, saianic laugliei. Tleii pievious album Suomi
FinlonJ Perkele (iqq() paiied ile iwo songs "Lei's Fucling Die" and "Genocide" as ile
uliimaie in sadisiic giaiificaiion, ioial genocide as also a foim of ieiminally masoclisiic
global suicide:
Genocide÷wlai we need is
Genocide÷all musi die
Scum being iaped, scum being lilled
Scum is dying, I leep on laugling
Genocide÷ii's ile fucling
Genocide÷all musi die.
¸6

Sex-lellfiie-apocalypse comes full ciicle io ieanimaie ile piimoidial claos÷wleie
individualiiy and diffeieniiaiion beiween subjeci]objeci, self]oilei, and oiganic]inoiganic
aie finally eiased in a singulaiiiy.
¸y
In Veinoi Vinge's iqq¸ foimulaiion, ile Teclnological
Singulaiiiy concepi (oi Singulaiiiy, as ii las come io lnown and populaiized by Ray
Kuizweil) is undeisiood io signify ile momeni in wlicl ile inielligence of maclines
DANIEL LUKES

SS
equals and suipasses ilai of lumans. Ii is an eveni loiizon in wlicl disiinciions beiween
luman and macline aie eiased. In ilis momeni we will be one wiil ile macline, alienaied
and splii no moie, finally joined wiil oui piosileiic oilei. Bui, eclipsing ilis in ile
culiuial imaginaiion is anoilei "singulaiiiy": ile oneness of giey goo melidown. Tle
lypoileiical giey goo scenaiio is wlai occuis wlen biovoious, self-ieplicaiing nanoiobois
(wlose job ii is io build siiuciuies ai ile aiomic level) malfunciion and consume ile
eniiieiy of caibon-based maieiial on ile planei, ieducing ile wlole woild io iiieveisible
sludge in a maiiei of days. Building on iniiial wainings sounded by K. Eiic Diexlei, wlo in
Enqines of Creotion. Tbe Cominq Ero of Nonotecbnoloqy (iqS6) populaiized ile pliase
"giey goo" (and wlo now iegieis ii, given ilai ii is incieasingly ile public's fiisi concepiual
poii of call wlen ilinling of nanoieclnology), Robeii A. Fieiias }i.'s papei "Some Limiis io
Global Ecoplagy by Biovoious Nanoieplicaiois, wiil Public Policy Recommendaiions"
wains ilai "Ecoplagic nanoiobois would iegaid living ilings as enviionmenial caibon
accumulaiois, and biomass as a valuable oie io be mined foi caibon and eneigy. Of couise,
biosysiems fiom wlicl all caibon las been exiiacied can no longei be alive bui would
insiead become lifeless clemical sludge."
¸S
Giey goo fuiuiiiies poiiend macline-faciliiaied
ieiuins io an inoiganic singulaiiiy, wleie all diffeience las been eiased and ile giey
maiiei of fleslly luman consciousness÷geneiaied yei iioubled by diffeience, paiiiiion,
alienaiion÷is finally eiased in a sleep of eieinal sameness.
Giey goo is also aiguably an analogue foi ile ciasl (cai oi oileiwise): a ioializing
iiaumaiic eveni in wlicl flesl and macline aie mangled inio a ieiminal oneness, a "new
flesl" io use David Cionenbeig's foimulaiion of a Ballaidian iiope: "In lis mind Vaugln
saw ile wlole woild dying in a simulianeous auiomobile disasiei, millions of velicles
luiled iogeilei in a ieiminal congiess of spuiiing loins and engine coolani."
¸q

Undeigiound music is iife wiil aiiiculaiions of iealiiy ciasl. Fiisi ile ioializing
convulsion, ile insiani cainival bizaiie, and genie-splicing maelsiiom (Meial, Teclno,
Noise, Fiee }azz, Slionl, Impiov), ilen ile lybiids (Giindcoie, Poweiviolence, Digiial
Haidcoie, Gliicl, Illbieni, Cybeigiind, and Poinogiind). Tle eiasuie of disiinciion and
diffeience in a momenious luicl, an iiieveisible movemeni claiacieiized by ile buisi,
spasm, convulsion, gliicl, and bleep. Tle ioialiiy of ile ieal is maggoi-ized inio an
ouioboiic, wliiling voiiex of meclanical fagociiaiion, a geneial "spazz": ile juddeiing
ejaculaioiy blasis and noise-sioims of Sun Ra, Lou Reed's Metol Mocbine Music, Meizbow,
Napalm Deail, }oln Zoin, Tle Boiedoms, Mesluggal, To Live and Slave In LA,
Agoiaplobic Nosebleed, }ames Ploilin, Aiaii Teenage Rioi, Tle Dillingei Escape Plan, and
Toial Fucling Desiiuciion÷oi ile newei names Wlouli, ……Paii, Coniiol Human Deleie,
Oiio Von Scliiacl, Kusaii Gama Kill, Tle Amenia, Gnaw Tleii Tongues,
iwiesiledabeaionce, Tampax Voiiex, and Veneiian Snaies.
6o
An unspooling, a sonic
BLACK METAL MACHINE


Sq
mangling: ile gleeful sclizoiic, eioiic, gioiesque, nonsense dance of maiiei in iis ioialiiy,
spazzing oui of coniiol. Afiei ilis, ile gieyness: ile siaiic of Ambieni BM: giey meial, ile
mouinful slumbei of a sea of giey. Tle fade-oui aesileiics of Ambieni BM: Asl Boiei,
Coldwoild, and Lociian. Tle inluman geological Ambieni Dione exlalaiions: Lusimoid,
Deailpiod, SunnO)))). Tle slow and endless dione of an ocean of mineial oneness . . .


('&*-
i
Rydei Windlam and Peiei Vilmui, Tbe Complete VoJer (New Yoil: Ballaniine Bools, :ooq), ¸6.
:
Dana }ennings, "An Eaiil Wleie ile Dioids Feel ai Home," Tbe New York Times, Decembei S, :oii,
liip:]]www.nyiimes.com]:oii]i:]ii]aiis]design]cediic-delsauxs-ploiogiapls-of-siai-wais-on-eaiil.
liml.
¸
Tlis includes Polisl Deail Meial band Vadei; ile baiiione, guiiuial and muffled qualiiies of Deail
Meial vocals, wlicl aiguably owe io Vadei's voice; Dub-Meial band Piaxis's album Socrifist (iqq¸),
wlicl (on iiacls sucl as "Deailsiai" and "Rivei") consiiucis a maiiial and miliiaiisiic Meial siyle
consciously inspiied by Empiie aesileiics; Dimmu Boigii, wlose albums lave become evei moie
adepi ai clanneling }oln Williams's iiiumplani scoies; and ile covei aii of Vondui's Cosmic BM
classic StriJsyfirlysinq (iqq¸) wlose depicis a iiiumplani Daiil Vadei and sioimiioopeis.
(
In Vbot ls Postbumonism? (Minneapolis: Univeisiiy of Minnesoia Piess, :ooq), Caiy Wolfe iales
issue wiil iianslumanism, aiguing ilai iis "ideals of luman peifeciibiliiy, iaiionaliiy, and agency
inleiiied fiom Renaissance lumanism and ile Enliglienmeni" (xiii), wlicl aie fai fiom "Haiaway's
playful, iionic, and ambivaleni sensibiliiy in 'A Cyboig Manifesio'" (xiii), iendei ii an iniensificaiion
of ile dogmas of lumanism iailei ilan a piocess foi looling beyond ilem. Wolfe iniends
posilumanism (as opposed io "ile posiluman") piimaiily as a concepiual fiamewoil conceined
wiil wlai may follow and ciiiique "lumanism," iailei ilan wlai may follow "ile luman."
¸
Slavoj ƒi„el, "Oigans Wiiloui Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences: Tle Realiiy of ile Viiiual,"
locon Dot Com, liip:]]www.lacan.com]zizbenbioilei.liml. By calling ii an "old boiing iopic," ƒi„el
seels io iiace a dicloiomy beiween Teiminaioi-siyle naiiaiives of maclines "ieplacing" lumans, and
Maiiix-siyle ones ilai imagine low lumans and maclines may co-exisi. Tle slifi aiguably
iepiesenis a posilumanisi iecogniiion of, oi capiiulaiion io, ile idea ilai life wiiloui maclines las
become an impossibiliiy.
6
Lauience Goldsiein, Ruins onJ Empire. Tbe Evolution of o Tbeme in Auquston onJ Romontic
literoture (Piiisbuigl: Univeisiiy of Piiisbuigl Piess, iqyy), ¸.
y
Lauience Goldsiein, Ruins onJ Empire, ¸-6. Goldsiein is leie quoiing Tlomas Biowne's Tbe GorJen
of Cyrus. Or, Tbe Quincuncioll, lozenqe, or Net-work Plontotions of tbe Ancients, Artificiolly,
Noturolly, Mysticolly ConsiJereJ (i6¸S). Tle iexi is available online ai liip:]]penelope.uclicago.edu]
lgc.liml.
S
Nicl Yablon, Untimely Ruins. An Arcbeoloqy of Americon Urbon MoJernity, iSiq-iqiq (Clicago:
Univeisiiy of Clicago Piess, :ooq), ¸. Heie, Yablon is discussing Waliei Benjamin's ilouglis on iuins
fiom Tbe Oriqin of Germon Troqic Dromo and Tbe ArcoJes Project.
q
Nicl Yablon, Untimely Ruins, :Sq.
io
Alan Weisman, Tbe VorlJ Vitbout Us (New Yoil: Picadoi, :ooy), i:i.
ii
Timoily Moiion, Ecoloqy Vitbout Noture. Retbinkinq Environmentol Aestbetics (Cambiidge:
Haivaid Univeisiiy Piess, :ooy), iSi-iqy. Tle concepi las alieady found applicaiion in ile nasceni
DANIEL LUKES

qo

field of BM siudies: iefei io Blacl Meial Symposium II: Melancology, Block Metol Tbeory,
liip:]]blaclmeialileoiy.blogspoi.com]:oio]o6]blacl-meial-ileoiy-symposium-ii.liml.
i:
Yablon, Untimely Ruins, :q¸.

Alan Weisman, Tbe VorlJ Vitbout Us, 6. ƒi„el caiegoiizes ilis vision as a definiiion of "faniasy ai
iis puiesi," (Slavoj ƒi„el, livinq in tbe EnJ Times |London: Veiso, :oioj, So) and a definiiion of ile
Lacanian gaze (ile impossible abiliiy io obseive ile meclanical goings on of ile woild as if we weie
noi leie): "wiinessing ile Eaiil iiself iegaining iis pie-casiiaied sense of innocence, befoie we
lumans spoiled ii wiil oui lubiis" (So). Weisman's ecological consciousness-iaising is viewed by
ƒi„el as a feiislisiic iomaniicizaiion of "naiuie" as caiegoiical innoceni. He suggesis ii is ile
"cessaiion" of indusiiial aciiviiy ilai "would cause a caiaclysmic imbalance" (So), iefeiiing io ile
posiiion of "an enviionmenial scieniisi" as a "good counieipoini" io Weisman's aigumeni. So ii is noi
ioializing indusiiializaiion bui iadical ecology ilai, pui inio piaciice, would biing aboui ile end: a
posiiion wlicl lools lile a peiveise apology foi indusiiialism. Benjamin Noys similaily iefeis io
apocalypiic exiinciion naiiaiives sucl as ile Roland Emmeiicl film :oi: (Columbia Piciuies, :ooq)
oi ile Hisioiy Clannel's life After People (:oio), wlicl involve ile eiasuie of ile luman fiom ile
planei as "fundamenially ieaciionaiy faniasies wlicl can only imagine iedempiion of oui fallen
woild on ile condiiion ilai lumaniiy ceases io exisi, oi is ieduced io ile 'iigli' numbei of ile
'saved'" (Benjamin Noys, "Apocalypse, Tendency, Ciisis," Mute. Grey Goo Grimoire :.i¸ |Apiil :oioj,
(6). As I lope is appaieni in ilis aiiicle, I wisl io considei apocalypiic exiinciion posiluman
naiiaiives fiom ile peispeciive of ile cauiionaiy iale iailei ilan ilai of ile escapisi and
conseivaiive faniasy. Dispuiing ile iigid and exclusionaiy dicloiomy beiween ievoluiionaiy poliiics
and "gieen" libeial labiis of eveiyday life (iecycling, composiing), suiely ile laiiei lave a beiiei
clance of iending iowaid ile foimei ilan ileii apaileiic oi cynical alieinaiives (in ile siiuggle
againsi ile iigli-wing poliiics of deiegulaiion, iiiclle-down, eniiilemeni, and ecological plundei).
Saying "no" io plasiic bags can be a fiisi siep io legislaiing againsi ilem.
i(
Sigmund Fieud, "Beyond ile Pleasuie Piinciple," BeyonJ tbe Pleosure Principle onJ Otber Vritinqs,
iians. }oln Reddicl (London: Penguin, :oo¸), S(.

Sigmund Fieud, "Beyond ile Pleasuie Piinciple," ioi. Tle novels of Coimac McCaiily ideniify and
desiie ile mineial. Tle unspolen, sileni pioiagonisi of BlooJ MeriJion (New Yoil: Random House,
iqS¸) is undoubiedly ile iocly Eaiil: ile geological siage on wlicl lumans ciawl and baiile lile
insecis. McCaiily's lovingly-ciafied ciags, cliffs, diops, iavines, valleys, and plaieaus unfuil confideni
of ileii exisience wiilin a fai vasiei iimefiame, as lumans suffei ile inadequacy of ileii limiied
slells. Tbe RooJ (New Yoil: Knopf, :oo6) is ceiiainly a naiiaiive wlicl ieaffiims ile value of ile
luman in ile face of a laisl and ieiminal becoming-mineial of ile Eaiil, bui ii is also one ilai
foiegiounds ile Eaiil as almosi lappy io ieiuin io an inoiganic siaie, a iiclly giey, unbuclling of
ile yole of ile luman and iis iiiiiaiing sciaiclings.
i6
Tleie lave been seveial aiiempis io equaie Fieud's deail diive wiil ile second law of
ileimodynamics: ile law of eniiopy wlicl "specifies ilai all foims of eneigy÷foi insiance, leai÷
iend io dissipaie wiilin a closed sysiem" (Fianl }. Sulloway, FreuJ, Bioloqist of tbe MinJ |New Yoil:
Basic Bools, iqyqj, (o6). A piciuie of ile univeise eniiopically iunning iiself down emeiges also in
ile ficiions of }.G. Ballaid.
iy
Dominic Fox, ColJ VorlJ. Tbe Aestbetics of Dejection onJ tbe Politics of Militont Dyspborio
(Winclesiei: Zeio Bools, :ooq), y.
iS
Dominic Fox, ColJ VorlJ, (S.
iq
Dominic Fox, ColJ VorlJ, ¸6.
BLACK METAL MACHINE


qi

:o
Especially iegaiding ileii widely-mocled ploio sessions wlicl live on as inieinei memes, and
ileii widely-paiodied videos.
:i
Will Self, "Tle Ballaid Tiadiiion" in }.G. Ballaid, Tbe Drouqbt (London: Fouiil Esiaie, :oii), :.
::
}.G. Ballaid, Tbe Crystol VorlJ (Faiiai, Siiaus 8 Giioux: New Yoil, iq66), iii.

}.G. Ballaid, Tbe Crystol VorlJ, q¸; Lociian's Tbe Crystol VorlJ (:oio) faslions a siiange and
ominous glimmeiing Ambieni BM woild oui of Ballaid's faniasy.
:(
Kuii Vonnegui, Cot's CroJle (Haimondswoiil: Penguin, iq6¸), ¸6.

Kuii Vonnegui, Cot's CroJle, i6S.
:6
Gilles Deleuze and F•lix Guaiiaii, Anti-OeJipus. Copitolism onJ Scbizopbrenio, iians. Robeii
Huiley, Mail Seem, and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: Univeisiiy of Minnesoia Piess, iqS¸), i(o-i(i.
:y
Deleuze and Guaiiaii, Anti-OeJipus, i(6.
:S
Eugene W. Holland, "Affeciive Ciiizenslip and ile Deail-Siaie," in Deleuze onJ tbe Contemporory
VorlJ, eds. Ian Buclanan and Adiian Paii (Edinbuigl: Edinbuigl Univeisiiy Piess, :oo6), i6(.
:q
V::S, "Slui Ii Down," Violution (Vendlus Recoids, :ooy).
¸o
Tlougl seemingly unconceined wiil music, Ballaid's wiiiings piofess an obsession wiil
iiansmiiiing and iecoiding devices as mysieiious and oiplic poiials inio oilei peicepiive
paiadigms÷lis claiacieis iuning in oi lisiening io glosily iecoidings. Foi Baudiillaid we aie living
in a iime in wlicl iime las siopped, and aie siucl in a loop ieplaying oui own eiiois lile a film,
"iewind|ingj modeiniiy lile a iape . . . |cjondemned . . . as Caneiii las ii, io ile ieiiospeciive
melanclolia of living eveiyiling iliougl again in oidei io coiieci ii all" (}ean Baudiillaid, Tbe
lllusion of tbe EnJ, iians. Cliis Tuinei |Palo Alio: Sianfoid Univeisiiy Piess, iqq(j, io).
¸i
Deleuze and Guaiiaii, Anti-OeJipus, ¸¸¸.
¸:
Gioigio Agamben, Homo Socer. Sovereiqn Power onJ Bore life, iians., Daniel Hellei-Roazen
(Sianfoid: Sianfoid Univeisiiy Piess, iqqS), ii(.
¸¸
j.G. BollorJ. Quotes, eds. V. Vale and Mile Ryan (San Fiancisco: RE]Seaicl Publicaiions, :oo(), :¸q.
Texi and biacleis oiiginally piinied in Mississippi Review (iqqi).
¸(
In "Violence in Tliee Slades of Meial: Deail, Doom and Blacl," Ronald Bogue puis foiwaid ile
idea ilai, accoiding io Deleuze, music "de]ieieiiiioiializes" sounds fiom ile naiuial woild in ile
piocess of sialing oui claim ovei a given enviionmeni, and ilai Meial (wlilsi noi exacily imiiaiing
ile sonic meclanics of ile macline woild) noneileless pioduces "sonic analogues of ile sounds,
ilyilms, and paiieins of ile modein ieclnological lifewoild," aiiempiing a "deieiiiioiializaiion of
ile diveise iefiains of coniempoiaiy indusiiial macline culiuie"

(Ronald Bogue, "Violence in Tliee
Slades of Meial: Deail, Doom and Blacl," Deleuze onJ Music, eds. Ian Buclanan and Maicel
Swiboda |Edinbuigl: Edinbuigl Univeisiiy Piess, :oo(j, ioo). Foi some ieason, ilis iiacl (maybe ioo
meiely ieaciive in Deleuzian ieims) does noi inieiesi Biogue, peilaps because ile genies le analyzes
(Deail, Doom, and BM) iend io disavow ileii ielaiions io maclinic culiuie, insiead seeling escape
in myilological and faniasiic iealms. Indusiiial music (by coniiasi) openly and consciously embiaces
iis ielaiions io ile macline woild, posiiing ilem as iis piinciple iaison d'†iie. Indusiiial music exisis
as a ielaiion io maclineiy, a way of ielaiing io, and sialing oui ile claim of ile luman wiilin ilai
woild. As if, in oidei io communicaie wiil ile maclines (wlo lave invaded) lumans lad leained io
speal ileii language and sing io ilem, peilaps io placaie ileii inexoiable onwaid giind. A siaiemeni
by Tliobbing Giisile visionaiy Genesis P-Oiiidge speals io ilis ielaiion, by wlicl Indusiiial music
exisis as an aiiempi io come io ieims wiil ile new macline woild: "iill ilen ile music lad been
lind of based on ile blues and slaveiy, and we ilougli ii was iime io updaie ii io ai leasi Vicioiian
iimes÷you lnow, ile Indusiiial Revoluiion . . . Wlen we finisled ilai fiisi iecoid, we weni ouiside
and we suddenly leaid iiains going pasi, and liiile woilslops undei ile iailway aicles, and ile
DANIEL LUKES

q:

lailes going, and eleciiic saws, and we suddenly ilougli 'We laven'i aciually cieaied anyiling ai all,
we've jusi ialen ii in subconsciously and ie-cieaied ii'" (V. Vale, ed., RE}Seorcb. lnJustriol Culture
HonJbook |San Fiancisco: RE]Seaicl, iqS¸j, q-ii).
¸¸
Benjamin Noys, "'Remain Tiue io ile Eaiil!': Remails on ile Poliiics of Blacl Meial," in HiJeous
Gnosis. Block Metol Tbeory Symposium i, ed. Nicola Masciandaio (Seaiile: CieaieSpace, :oio), iio-ii¸.
¸6
Honoiable meniions musi go io eaily noi-always-so-successful aiiempis ai mixing Teclno and BM,
sucl as ile woil of Mysiicum and Diabolos Rising]Raism, a collaboiaiive piojeci beiween Impaled
Nazaiene's Luiiinen and Neciomaniia's Magus Wampyi Daoloil.
¸y
See also Alejandio }odoiowsly and Fied Beliian's giaplic novel Meqolex (Los Angeles: Huma-
noids, :ooo).
¸S
Agamben desciibes low noiions of ile luman oiganism]oiganizaiion, based up uniil ile pieseni
on noiions of "becoming" (fiom animal io luman), lave now goiien siucl. Diawing fiom ile
Deleuzian ciiiical appaiaius, Agamben ieims ile discuisive meclanism wlicl pioduces ile
lnowledge of luman as beyond-animal ile "aniliopological macline." Bui now ilai value of ile
disiinciion las closed (lumans aie noi only animals, bui exisi exploiiaiively and symbioiically
iliougl non-luman animals)÷ile aniliopological macline is giinding io a lali, is "idling." Tle
luman piojeci is ilus configuied leie as an obsoleie macline ilai las ceased io funciion coiiecily,
and is now awaiiing someiling: subsiiiuiion, (geneiic) iepiogiamming, and maclinic ieplacemeni;
"|Fjaced wiil ilis exiieme figuie of ile luman and inluman, ii is noi so mucl a maiiei of asling
wlicl of ile iwo maclines (oi of ile iwo vaiianis of ile same macline) is beiiei oi moie effeciive÷
oi, iailei, less leilal and bloody÷as ii is of undeisianding low iley woil so ilai we migli,
eveniually, be able io siop ilem" (Gioigio Agamben, Open. Mon onJ Animol, iians. Kevin Aiiell
|Sianfoid: Sianfoid Univeisiiy Piess, :oo¸j, ¸S).
¸q
Tle iiile of a song on lnternol Punisbment Proqroms (Nociuinal Aii Pioduciions, :oo().
(o
}onailan Selzei, linei noies, Godflesl, Streetcleoner (Eaiacle, :oio).
(i
"Godiecl," Red Haivesi, Sick Tronsit Glorio MunJi (Nociuinal Aii Pioduciions, :oo:).
(:
Maislall McLulan, UnJerstonJinq MeJio. Tbe Extensions of Mon (New Yoil: McGiaw Hill, iq6(),
¸6.

Red Haivesi, lnternol Punisbment Proqroms (Nociuinal Aii Pioduciions, :oo().
((
Red Haivesi, lnternol Punisbment Proqroms.

Nicl Land, "Maling ii wiil Deail: Remails on Tlanaios and Desiiing-Pioduciion," in FonqeJ
Noumeno. CollecteJ Vritinqs iç8,-:oo,, eds. Robin MacKay and Ray Biassiei (London: Uibanomic,
:oii), :6¸.
(6
"AEP (Advanced Evoluiionaiy Piogiession)," Red Haivesi, Sick Tronsit Glorio MunJi (Nociuinal Aii
Pioduciions, :oo:).
(y
I lave ialen ile iiile of ilis seciion fiom a Covenani song off ileii Nexus Poloris (iqqS), a galaxy-
galloping ligl-poini of Cosmic BM. Tleii iqqq album Animotronic (by wlicl iime iley weie lnown
as Tle Kovenani), saw ilem puisue a Cybei-BM appioacl, looling io sucl acis as Rammsiein and
EBM foi inspiiaiion. Cybei BM las found adleienis, ilougl noi majoi commeicial success yei, in
sucl acis as T¸clnoplobia, Neo Infeino :6:, Neo Culiis, oOo, Blacllodge, and Alien Deviani Ciicus.
A biief meniion slould also go io ile subgenie of Cosmic Eleciionic BM, iepiesenied by ile Pinl
Eleciio BM aesileiics of Zweizz (biainclild of DHG's Hailevil), and ile Psycledelic Indusiiial BM of
Fullmoon Bongzai fiom Gieece.
(S
"Sliva Inieifeie," Dodleimsgaid, 666 lnternotionol (Moonfog, iqqq).
(q
"Final Conquesi," Dodleimsgaid, 666 lnternotionol.
¸o
"Compleiion," Dodleimsgaid, 666 lnternotionol.
BLACK METAL MACHINE




¸i
E.M. Cioian, On tbe Heiqbts of Despoir, iians. Ilinca Zaiifopol-}olnsion (Clicago: Univeisiiy of
Clicago Piess, iqq:), qo.
¸:
Bill McKibben, Enouqb. Genetic Enqineerinq onJ tbe EnJ of Humon Noture (London: Bloosmbuiy,
:oo(), i6¸.
¸¸
Bill McKibben, Enouqb, i6¸.
¸(
"Kineiic," Aiciuius, Tbe Sbom Mirrors (Ad Asiia Enieipiises: :oo:).
¸¸
"iqqq Kaimageddon Waiiiois," lmpoleJ Nozorene, lotex Cult (Osmose, iqq6). Pusling lome ile
poini, ile special ediiion album comes in a meial iin.
¸6
"Genocide," Impaled Nazaiene, Suomi FinlonJ Perkele (Osmose, iqq().
¸y
Tlis being BM, ileie aie also ilose wlo undeisiand apocalypiic singulaiiiy in iacial ieims: Fiencl]
Iialian quaiiei Ad Hominems's Plonet ZOG. Tbe EnJ (Musique and Tiadiiions, :oo:) and A New Roce
for o New VorlJ (Undeicovei Recoids, :oo¸), abbieviaied io ". . . Foi A New Woild" on ile US Elegy
Recoids double-album ediiion, wlicl feaiuie sucl iiacls as "Ausclwiiz Rules" (abbieviaied io "A.
Rules"), "Tle Psalmody of Sub-Humans," "Nucleai Blacl Meial Kampf," and "Aibeii Macli Toi."
¸S
Robeii A. Fieiias, }i., "Some Limiis io Global Ecoplagy by Biovoious Nanoieplicaiois, wiil Public
Policy Recommendaiions," Tbe Foresiqbt lnstitute, Apiil :ooo. liip:]]www.foiesigli.oig]nano]
Ecoplagy.liml.
¸q
}.G. Ballaid, Crosb (New Yoil: Picadoi, iqy¸), i6. See Viius's Corbeort (}esiei Recoids, :oo¸),
anoilei Cail-Miclael Eide (Czial) piojeci, foi an example of posi-BM wlicl places ile auiomobile ai
ile ceniei of iis conceins.
6o
Veneiian Snaies's aesileiic iesoluiely puisues ilis scenaiio's infiniie iecombinaioiy possibiliiies in
ile covei aii foi ileii :oo6 album CovolcoJe Of Glee AnJ DoJoist Hoppy HorJcore Pom-Poms, wlicl
feaiuies cows ioin apaii by maclines in ile sly.









THIS IS ARMAGEDDON
THE DAWN MOTIF AND
BLACK METAL’S ANTI-CHRISTIAN PROJECT

Joel Cotterell

Rising concomiianily wiil ile adveisaiial nililism of Blacl Meial, discouises of dailness
lave claiacieiised ile genie's visual and iexiual aspecis since iis genesis.
i
And yei, Blacl
Meial's focus on all ilings dail and nociuinal finds iiself apposed wiil invocaiions
(peilaps less fiequeni, ilougl equally significani) vis-ò-vis ile genie's defining anii-
Cliisiian piojeci of ile Dawn. Woiling complemeniaiily wiil saianic invocaiions of nigli
and dailness, Dawn's iole÷as a soii of "ligli ai ile end of ile iunnel" ilai nigli
iepiesenis÷is of iiemendous impoii io Blacl Meial's ideological siiuggle. Ii is ile goal of
ilis aiiicle io siiuaie ile Dawn moiif wiilin ilis siiuggle. Fiom ilis gained lnowledge, we
may examine ai once low Blacl Meial may infoim oui undeisianding of ile Dawn, and
low Blacl Meial peispeciives on ile Dawn and iis culiuial weigli migli influence oui
appioacles io Blacl Meial ileoiy and ideology.
Wlile ile Dawn as a lyiical moiif feaiuies piominenily in ile Blacl Meial canon, foi
ile sale of claiiiy and in iespeci of ilis aiiicle's consiiainis, we will conceniiaie oui
analysis on iwo of ile moie piomineni iieiaiions of ile Dawn moiif: "Awaiiing ile Dawn"
fiom Piimoidial's iqq¸ ielease lmromo, and Saiyiicon's "Tle Dawn of a New Age" on ileii
}OEL COTTERELL


q6
iqq6 LP Nemesis Divino.
:
Piomineni, ilai is, foi ile aiiisis' ligl piofile in ile inieinaiional
Blacl Meial scene and ile ceniialiiy of ile Dawn moiif io ile iexi's meaning. We will
addiiionally considei Inquisiiion's "Siiile of ile Moining Siai" (Neforious Dismol Orotions,
:ooy) and Nazxul's "Diagon Dispiious" and "Iconoclasi" (lconoclost, LP, :ooq), foi ileii
significance as moie ieceni woils ioucling on ile Dawn moiif.

&7* $20#/*+#%( 0'(('&%&#'(- '/ &7* "%8( 5'&#/

So ilai we can beiiei undeisiand ile ielaiion of ile Dawn moiif io ile Blacl Meial
paiadigm in wlicl we encouniei ii, we ougli io biiefly considei ile iole ilai Dawn
imageiy las lisioiically played wiil iegaid io Cliisiian ileology. Dawn, foi insiance, is ile
iiadiiional iime of ile Euclaiisi÷a summoning of soiis of }esus Cliisi. Ii is a iime of
beginning and puiificaiion, wleie ligli is sled, and confusion and dailness banisled.
¸
Tle
paiallels beiween ilis piocess of "puiificaiion" and ile iedempiive iepuiaiion of Cliisi aie
obvious: iliougl Cliisi, puiificaiion; iliougl Dawn, ligli.
Eniei Blacl Meial, and wiil ii ile ialing (oi peilaps libeiaiion) of ile pioveibial
ioicl of culiuial iepieseniaiion of Dawn. As is undeisiood in boil Cliisiian and Blacl
Meial peispeciives, Dawn is ilai paii of ile day-nigli cycle ilai unfuils ligli upon ile
woild. Ii is a iime of iebiiil, a(n) (ie)awalening of ilougli and expeiience. Tle
obfuscaiing dailness offeied by ile nigli is lified, ieplaced by illuminaiion and claiiiy. In
ilis way, ile Dawn offeis libeiaiion.
Wlen woiling wiilin ile anii-Cliisiian ideological piojeci of Blacl Meial, io invole
ile Dawn is io invole ile Lucifeiian. Tle biilliani iise of ile sun, ai once seaiing and
ievelaioiy, is an embiace of ile foibidden lnowledges ilai ile coming of Lucifei÷"son of
ile Dawn"÷iepiesenis.
(
As we will soon demonsiiaie, because ilese Lucifeiian lnow-
ledges necessaiily exisi ouiside ile bounds of divine appioval, iieiaiions of ile Dawn
peimii ile escape fiom, and ile desiiuciion of, Cliisiianiiy's symbolic auiloiiiy. As ii
weie, we iuin oui bacl on ile Failei and Son wiil ile iise of ile sun.
Ii is insiiuciive io iefleci foi a momeni on ile claiaciei of ilis iejeciion, ilai lailing
ile Dawn and Lucifei ile Moining Siai wiilin a Blacl Meial coniexi slould be an anii-
Cliisiian aci is unsuipiising.
¸
Wlai is impoiiani in ieims of ilis aiiicle's coniiibuiion io
Blacl Meial ileoiy is ilai we considei bow ilis opposiiional aci occuis, and, in doing so, io
beiiei undeisiand Blacl Meial's esseniial ideological claiaciei.
Blacl Meial poses ile aiiival of Dawn (and wiil ii Lucifei) as a violeni eveni.
Inquisiiion lail a Moining Siai ilai strikes, piomising io "obliieiaie" ile sons of Cliisi. Ii
ilieaiens io "exieiminaie ilem, annililaie ilem," leaving in iis wale a bloodied and
"inveiied" woild in wlicl "oui ways" (ile ways of ile Blacl Meiallei) aie claimed by ile
THIS IS ARMAGEDDON


qy
veiy acis of exieiminaiion, annililaiion, and obliieiaiion.
6
Tle siale of ile Lucifeiian
Dawn's aiiival is noi so mucl ile esiablislmeni of a new oidei, bui ile upsei and
annililaiion of ile old.
Sucl an undeisianding of Lucifei (ile Moining Siai, leiald of ile Dawn) is ialen up
by Nazxul in lconoclost. Refeience is made in ile iiile iiacl and in "Diagon Dispiious" io a
violeni aiiival of ile Moining Siai wlicl will "slaiiei alabasiei spleies" and "desiioy
iiansieni iemples," "joining io foim an aimy ] ilai no losi eileieal can wiilsiand."
y
Again,
ile Dawn iepiesenis foi ile Blacl Meiallei a violeni obliieiaiion of iiansieni, ilougl
ouiwaidly, siiong siiuciuies and sysiems.
As an aside, ii is noiable ilai ile Blacl Meiallei's ielaiionslip io ile Lucifeiian Dawn
is, in ile majoiiiy of cases, passive÷we wiiness ile Dawn, we waii foi ile Dawn, we
welcome ile Dawn, eic. Tle Blacl Meiallei may "join" ile Lucifeiian Dawn's desiiuciion
oi iale aciion io speed iis aiiival (as in ile case of Saiyiicon's Jetournement, discussed
below); lowevei, in ile end ile desiiuciion wiougli by ile Lucifeiian Dawn would appeai
io be exieinal io, and mucl gieaiei ilan, ile Blacl Meiallei. Ii is beyond ile scope of ilis
aiiicle io inieiiogaie ile anii-lumanisi qualiiy of ilis plenomenon, ilougl ii is an
inieiesiing poini io iaise in any case.
Having esiablisled someiling of a lnowledge of ile claiaciei of Dawn's aiiival and
ile violence ilai accompanies ii, we ougli now io fuiilei explain ile condiiions]iaigeis of
ile annililaiion wiougli by ile Dawn so ilai we may beiiei undeisiand ile ieal impoii of
ile moiif vis-ò-vis Blacl Meial's anii-Cliisiian piojeci.
&7* "%8( 5'&#/ %(" .+#5'+"#%$,- E%8%#&#(6 &7* "%8(F
"Awaiiing ile Dawn" is valuable in ilis iegaid as ii piovides an iniimaie accouni of ile
Blacl Meiallei's pie-Dawn expeiience and, consequenily, of piecise plenomena wlose
Dawn-biougli demise is aniicipaied wiil ielisl by ile Blacl Meiallei.
S
Wiil ile opening
lines ("Liliil . . . my biide, a love of sin so deep ] Wounds of lusi won'i evei leal") singei
A.A. Nemileanga's avaiai quiie cleaily ideniifies ilese plenomena foi ile lisienei. Tle
song's savage, leaving insiiumeniaiion combined wiil ilese lyiics indicaies a fiusiiaied
cainal longing ilai possesses ile avaiai, causing lim io "yeain," "weep," "wiiile," and
"iwisi."
q
Cleaily, issues of obsiiucied oi painful desiies aie ai play leie. Ii is wiil ile
ieflexive quesiion "am I io pay ile wages of sin?" in ile iliid veise ilai we begin io giasp
ile naiuie of ile spealei's enviionmeni (also ile poieniial casualiy of Dawn's aiiival). Tle
line is an unambiguous allusion io sciipiuie, wlose significance is iwofold. Fiisily, ii
alludes io ile exisience of a Cliisiian moial sysiem wlicl is imposed upon Nemileanga's
avaiai÷voilò ile objeci io be annililaied by ile Lucifeiian Dawn. Secondly, ile avaiai's
}OEL COTTERELL


qS
quesiion ieveals ile exisiing moial fiamewoil io be no meie souice of guili oi slame, bui
a sysiem ilai langs a claige of deail ovei ile lead of ile sinnei. Liiile wondei ilai ile
Nemileanga's sinning avaiai slould awaii ile Dawn, lail Saian, and obsessively asl of ile
"iidings" ilai Lucifei may biing÷ai siale is ile Blacl Meiallei's life! Wleilei oi noi ile
Dawn offeis a new moial fiamewoil appeais unimpoiiani÷ile spealei may "iuin my face
io a new age" ilougl ouilines no bluepiini foi a ieplacemeni foi ile cuiieni oidei besides
iis absence. Tle value of Dawn foi ile Blacl Meiallei as pui foiil by Piimoidial lies in iis
libeiaioiy desiiuciiveness.
&7* "%8( 5'&#/ %(" -%&9+#0'(,- E&7* "%8( '/ % (*8 %6*F
If Piimoidial diaw on ile Dawn moiif as a piomise of ile fuiuie desiiuciion of Cliisiian
moial fiamewoils, ile use of ile Dawn moiif in Saiyiicon's "Tle Dawn of a New Age"
iepiesenis ile iealisaiion of ilai piomise.
io
Given ilai oui analysis of Saiyiicon's
invocaiion of ile Dawn moiif is lyiical in focus, we may pieface oui analysis by
commeniing on ile faci ilai ile song's lyiics aie ialen almosi eniiiely fiom ile biblical
Bool of Revelaiions.
Lyiicisi Saiyi engaged in liiile suiface-level iexiual inieifeience, wiil any ediiing
being mosily siiuciuial in naiuie, in oidei io foige a consisieni lyiical naiiaiive. Beginning
wiil Revelaiions 6:S, ile passage is a ie-ielling of ile biblical pioplecy of ile coming of a
"pale loise" and iis iidei Deail. Accompanying Deail is a blacl loise wiil a ciowned,
conqueiing iidei wlo biings wiil lim ile unpiecedenied disfiguiemeni of ile woild:
And ileie was a gieai eaiilquale, and ile sun became blacl
as saclcloil of laii, and ile moon became as blood.
And ile siais of leaven fell unio ile eaiil,
even as a fig iiee casieil lei uniimely figs,
wlen sle is slalen of a migliy wind. And ile leaven
depaiied as a scioll wlen ii is iolled iogeilei,
and eveiy mouniain and island weie moved oui of ileii places.
Talen in iis oiiginal sciipiuial coniexi, ile above iexi consiiiuies a foieielling of ile End of
Days÷ilai is, ile effeciive desiiuciion of ile piofane woild in piepaiaiion foi ile ieiuin
of }esus Cliisi. Wiil Saiyi iiiumplanily pioclaiming in ile song's iniioduciion ilai "ilis is
Aimageddon," ile lyiics foieiell, lowevei, of no messianic iedempiion and none of ile
divine puiificaiion oi iewaid ilai migli be expecied io follow ile biblical End of Times. In
ilis way, ilis desiiuciion desciibed in ilese lyiics is ai fiisi glance absoluiely congiueni
THIS IS ARMAGEDDON


qq
wiil Blacl Meial's violeni and opposiiional claiaciei. Ii is ilus iempiing io considei ilese
lyiics unpioblemaiically iiue io Blacl Meial's ideological coie.
To do so would be easy, ilougl in bad faiil. As las been widely aigued, we simply
cannoi lold a iexi up as a diieci signifiei-iefeieni linl÷ile iexi musi be undeisiood in
ieims of iis ielaiion io oilei iexis.
ii
In oilei woids, we cannoi neaily divoice "Tle Dawn of
a New Age" fiom iis sciipiuial ioois. Tlis puis us in someiling of a bind, lowevei÷ileie
is now a gieai iension beiween Saiyiicon's affiliaiion wiil Blacl Meial's anii-Cliisiian
ideological piojeci and ile fundamenially Cliisiian oiigin of "Tle Dawn of a New Age" as a
fundamenially onti-Cliisiian iexi.
We can iesolve ilis iension, and in doing so beiiei undeisiand Blacl Meial's bioadei
piojeci, by consideiing Saiyiicon's paiapliasing of sciipiuie (apocalypiic oi noi) as a soii
of saianic Jetournement of Cliisiian auiloiiiy ovei ilis insiance of culiuial
communicaiion. Guy Deboid defines ile aci and plenomenon of Jetournement as a device
io iendei subveisive ideas ilai "lave congealed inio iespeciable iiuils."
i:
By cieaiing a
sense of disiance "iowaid wlaievei las been iuined inio an official veiiiy" (ile idea of ile
end of ile woild as a piecuisoi io ile iedempiive ieiuin of Cliisi, foi insiance), ile device
of Jetournement ieveals ile "official veiiiy" in quesiion as someiling ilai is noi immune io
oi ineligible of being quesiioned. As a iesuli, ile violeni iemoval of sucl a veiiiy fiom iis
auiloiiiy-gianiing coniexi obliieiaies noi only ile veiiiy's veiiiy, bui ile coleience of ile
eniiie sysiem wlicl las peimiiied ilis veiiiy io ieign as iiue. Tle sciipiuial iexi
(lisioiically gianied divine auiloiiiy) appeais in sucl a way ilai ii is eminenily
iecognisable as sciipiuial, yei sufficienily modified so as io be ioially unlile any expeiience
one could lave in iis iiadiiionally "piopei" biblical seiiing. Saiyi peiveiis veise oidei by
following Revelaiions 6:S wiil Revelaiions 6:¸÷io wlicl le adds a pliase of lis own
inveniion. Sucl lyiical inieiveniion las ile effeci of disiancing ile lisienei and ile iexi
iiself fiom ile auiloiiiaiive ceiiiiude of ile iexi's sciipiuial oiigins, and in doing so
dissolves ilis veiy ceiiiiude. Tle dissoluiion of ceiiiiude and auiloiiiy is diiven lome by
iis paiiing wiil savage insiiumeniaiion and vocal deliveiy.
Detournement, as discussed in Deboid's Tbe Society of tbe Spectocle, is a plenomenon
wlose veiy exisience is coiiosive io any iype of sign sysiem ilai finds iiself assailed by an
aci of Jetournement÷ilai is, ii is noi so mucl ile aci of Jetournement wlicl undeimines
ioialiiaiian sign sysiems bui tbe foct tbot sucb on oct woulJ be possible. In Deboid's woids,
"Jetournement founds iis cause on noiling bui iis own iiuil as ciiiique ai woil in ile
pieseni."

Relaiing ilis bacl io Blacl Meial's anii-Cliisiian piojeci, we can see a similai
anii-ioialiiaiian plenomenon ai woil in "Tle Dawn of a New Age." Wlen viewed as a
blaclened, saianic Jetournement, ile song's assauli on ile outboriiy of iis lyiics' souice las
ile effeci of undoing ile ioialiiaiian owneislip of meaning ilai ile invocaiion of sciipiuie
}OEL COTTERELL


ioo
las lisioiically legiiimised. Saiyiicon's Jetournement can be iead as a saianic ievoli of ile
liglesi oidei.
i(

Ai ilis poini we aie claiged wiil ile iasl of explaining low Saiyiicon's saianic
Jetournement ielaies io ile Lucifeiian Dawn. Foi if Saiyiicon's saianic Jetournement las
simply accomplisled ile desiiuciion of Cliisiian sysiems of auiloiiiy (useful ilougl ilis
iasl may be), wlai mannei of "illuminaiion" las ialen place? Wlai soii of day does ilis
Dawn biing?
We lold ilai ii would be fiuiiless io seaicl foi a "ieplacemeni sysiem" ilai we can
label ile "New Age" biougli aboui by Saiyiicon's Dawn. Wlai ilis iieiaiion of a Lucifeiian
Dawn iepiesenis÷as in ile cases of Inquisiiion, Nazxul, and Piimoidial÷is quiie piecisely
an absence of ioialiiaiian Cliisiian modes of ilougli and auiloiiiy. Indeed, Cliisiianiiy's
self-peipeiuaiing and self-legiiimising auiloiiiy is buined away by ile saianic solai iays of
ilis Lucifeiian Dawn. To expeci anyiling io be lefi in ile wale of ile Blacl Meiallei's
Lucifeiian Dawn is io ignoie ile boundaiies of canonical Blacl Meial's esseniially
oJversoriol naiuie.


0'(0$2-#'(
Common io all examined invocaiions of ile Dawn moiif is ile idea of ile "piocess" of
Dawn as a violeni desiiuciion of Cliisiian sysiems. Wiilin a Blacl Meial coniexi, lailing
ile Dawn÷and Lucifei ile Moining Siai along wiil ii÷becomes a gesiuie of iejeciion of
ilese sysiems' auiloiiiy and ile welcoming (oi paiiicipaiion in . . .) ileii annililaiion. Ii is
loped ilai oui analysis of ile iole of ile Dawn moiif in Blacl Meial las illuminaied iis
impoiiance vis-ò-vis ile genie's anii-Cliisiian piojeci. We would paiiiculaily liglligli ile
noiion ilai Blacl Meial need noi be iesiiicied io discouises of dailness and nociuinaliiy
in oidei io iemain iiue io iis adveisaiial ideological ioois.


('&*-
i
Pioio-Blacl Meialleis Venom biiiled ile genie's name and iis discouise of dailness wiil Block
Metol (iqS:). Fiom ileie, we wiiness a liiany of dailness and nociuinaliiy wiilin ile canon÷wiil
ile appeaiance of bands and ieleases sucl as Bailoiy's "Nocieinal |sicj Obeisance," Empeioi's ln tbe
NiqbtsiJe Eclipse, Daililione's UnJer A Funerol Moon, Buizum's "Dungeons of Dailness",
Saiyiicon's Dork MeJievol Times, eic.
:
A seaicl of Tbe Metol Arcbives daiabase ieiiieves ovei (oo songs beaiing ile woid in ile iiile.
Considei also ilai ilis seaicl excludes songs noi feaiuied on full-lengil ieleases: EncyclopoeJio
Metollum. Tbe Metol Arcbives, liip:]]www.meialaiclives.com]seaicl]advanced]seaicling]songs?
songTiile=Dawn8bandName=8ieleaseTiile=8lyiics=8ieleaseType=i8genie=blacl‡meialˆsongs.
THIS IS ARMAGEDDON


ioi

¸
Elizabeil Siuaii, "Exploding Mysieiy: Feminisi Tleology and ile Saciamenial," Feminist Tbeoloqy i:
(:ooS): :¸:.
(
Ronald F. Youngblood, "Fallen Siai: Tle Evoluiion of Lucifei," Bible Review i(.6 (iqqS): ::-¸i, (y;
Caiel Rowe, "Illuminaiing Lucifei," Film Quorterly :y.( (iqy(): :y |:(-¸¸j.
¸
As well as being commonly consideied one of Saian's iiiles, "Lucifei" (as many lave poinied oui) is
a name iefeiiing io Venus, ile "Moining Siai." Tle complex and evolving ideniiiy of Lucifei is
discussed in ile above-ciied "Fallen Siai" by Youngblood and L.T.I. Penman in "Repulsive
Blasplemies," Dopbnis ¸S.¸]( (:ooq): ¸qy-6:o.
6
"Siiile of ile Moining Siai," Inquisiiion, Neforious Dismol Orotions (No Colouis Recoids, :ooy).
y
"Diagon Dispiious," Nazxul, lconoclost (Eisenwald Tonsclmiede, :ooq).
S
"Awaiiing ile Dawn," Piimoidial, lmromo (Cacoplonous Recoids, iqq¸).
q
We speal of "cainaliiy" in iis sexual sense in ilis insiance, ilougl ile apposiiion of "wounds" and
"lusi" suggesis a bluiiing of any disiinciion beiween ile "sexual" and ile "fleslly" meanings of ile
ieim.
io
"Tle Dawn of a New Age," Saiyiicon, Nemesis Divino (Moonfog Pioduciions, iqq6).
ii
Noiably in }acques Deiiida, Of Grommotoloqy, iians. G. Spival (Baliimoie: }olns Hoplins
Univeisiiy Piess, iqy6), i¸S-i¸q.
i:
Guy Deboid, Tbe Society of tbe Spectocle, iians. Donald Niclolas-Smiil (New Yoil: Zone Bools,
iqq¸), i(¸.

Deboid, Society of tbe Spectocle, i(6.
i(
Ai ilis poini we migli addiess ile concein ilai Saiyiicon's saianic ievoli is gianied ioo mucl
ciedii÷ile cluicl iemains poweiful, and Saiyiicon aie fai fiom ile fiisi gioup io aiiacl Cliisiian
modes of ilougli and auiloiiiy. Tle value of "Tle Dawn of a New Age" lies in iis siaius as a
noiewoiily coniiibuiion io Blacl Meial as an anii-Cliisiian discouise.

Tlis noiion of Blacl Meial as an adveisaiial genie is discussed in }uliei Foislaw's "Meial in Tliee
Modes of Enmiiy: Poliiical, Musical, Cosmic," Current Musicoloqy qi (:oii), i(o-i6:, and buili upon in
Huniei Huni-Hendiix's piovocaiive essay "Tianscendenial Blacl Meial: A Vision of Apocalypiic
Humanism," in HiJeous Gnosis. Block Metol Tbeory Symposium i, ed. Nicola Masciandaio (London:
CieaieSpace, :oio).

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