(The following post was written by guest contributor Happy Metal Guy.)
The unmetal have risen. How protected are you from them?
Only ignorant fools decry the severity—or even the existence—of the unmetal plague. This handy article is your key to surviving the metalocalypse, and hopefully it will enable you to make it through young enough to revitalize the human gene pool. Make haste, for every second you waste in contemplating the validity of this article is a second gained for the cunning horde out there that is always actively seeking out ways to infect you. Everything you need to know to safeguard yourself and your loved ones against the ravenous unmetal can be found here through 10 unproven, fishy-sounding tips. Don’t be an ignorant fool, this article can save your life.
1. Learn to spot the signs!
Prevention is the best cure—this cliché aphorism never made more sense in today’s unmetal epidemic. Argonium may be an untreatable virus at the moment, but Mother Nature is not without her sadistic sense of humor. Thank Lemmy that she’s kind enough to throw in all those obvious symptoms to warn us of infected individuals, which ranges from body graffiti such as tattooed Chinese characters whose bearers usually don’t even know their meanings, to severely gauged earlobes (that seem to serve the purpose of encouraging another form of alternative copulation) and faux hawk or “tsunami” hairstyles, to name just a few off the foremost atoms atop the needle-sharp tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg. In summary, the gist is that the most commonly seen members of the unmetal can have appearances that lean to either end of the following two extremes: resembling either Frankie Palmeri or Andy Biersack. The special infected, however, are a more dangerous and cunning breed and will be discussed last in this article.
We apologize in advance for the following post. It’s the latest bizarro episode in the long-running soap opera that Gorgoroth has become. We can’t think of why it would have any redeeming value for you. But the story is just so fucking ridiculous that we couldn’t resist.
The immediate controversy concerns the release by Swedish label Regain Records of a live performance by black-metal legends Gorgoroth and a resulting lawsuit brought against Regain by former Gorgoroth members Gaahl and King ov Hell. Over the last week, Gaahl and King, on the one hand, and Regain, on the other, have engaged in a MySpace exchange over the resolution of that legal case — and someone is either lying or deeply confused.
Just in case you might not find this as funny as we do, we’ll give you the Cliff Notes version of the exchange first — but to appreciate the full, whacked-out hilarity you would need to read the details supplied after the jump. Cliff Notes version:
Gaahl/King opening salvo: Fuck you Regain Records!
Rejoinder by Regain: No, fuck you, you corpse-painted morons!
Reply by Gaahl/King: I beg to differ — fuck you, you pencil-necked bean-counters!
Now, the details . . . (after the jump)
Last December we wrote a post called Black Metal Navel-Gazing, which was some generally disrespectful commentary about a six-hour symposium on black metal held earlier that month at a bar and nigthtclub in Brooklyn. The symposium, called “Hideous Gnosis,” was attended by an odd combination of academics (including two who traveled from England for the event), music critics, and at least one actual black metal musician, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the frontman and guitarist from Liturgy.
In response to our sarcastic rant, we got some thoughtful, temperate comments (and some info from the symposium organizers), which prompted us to generate some somewhat less sarcastic follow-up posts here and here.
Having had some fun at the expense of “Hideous Gnosis,” it’s only fair that we do ‘em a solid by informing you that the symposium’s contents and related documents (including photos) have now been published in hard-copy form. For details and info about how to buy the book, go here.
But don’t expect to see a book review here at NCS. Our brains are too small to understand this stuff. We’re more suited to listening to black metal than reading about its theoretical underpinnings and implications. In fact, we think we’ll listen to Valkyrja right now. Join in if the spirit moves you:
1. Valkyrja: Catharsis (Contaminate the Earth)
Can you give me 8 minutes of your time? I don’t mean the time it will take you to read this, but 8 minutes I’ll invite you to spend streaming a song afterward.
I don’t ask that lightly. Once upon a time, early in the last century, or even a very few years ago, 8 minutes would have been nothing. But I appreciate that today life moves quickly, our attention spans are limited, and whether we use our time wisely or frivolously, 8 minutes still counts.
But if you’ll consider that request, now imagine this: You are who you are, but you’re not who you are at this moment. Instead, you’re crouching on a sodden plain at the crest of sunrise. You’re wet and cold. Your clothes are thin, and insufficient to repel the chill. The darkness envelopes you, and you are alone.
You’re hungry and shivering, and when the sickly light grows brighter, though not bright enough to fully penetrate the fog and the rain, you will be fighting. Not for yourself alone, but for someone you love – your spouse, your brother or sister, your parents, your soulmate, anyone for whom you imagine you would risk your life – or for something within yourself that’s important.
Those you love are behind you, or what is important to your self is within you, and in front of you is a threat. You may be a man or a woman, but you are alone, and no one else will aid you. Your life may be forfeit, but there is a chance. And if all else fails, you will go down with a scream of defiance on your lips and you will do what damage you can to your foe before the end arrives. (if you’re still indulging this weird post, continue reading after the jump . . .)
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this post, we focused on the recent exploits of ex-Gorgoroth vocalist Gaahl. Gaahl has publicly supported the burning of churches in his native Norway. Norwegian churches don’t much care for Gaahl’s rhetoric (shocking, isn’t it?). They are now pressuring Norway’s National Stage to drop Gaahl from the cast of a black metal musical scheduled to be performed there in May. They might succeed.
You may remember that this isn’t the first time or the first place where Gaahl has run into trouble for being offensive to institutional religion. In 2005, he and Gorgoroth narrowly escaped criminal prosecution in Poland for staging a concert that featured impaled sheep’s heads, satanic symbols, and a mock crucifixion by naked models doused in blood. Poland has laws that prohibit behavior offensive to people’s religious beliefs.
Gorgoroth are not the only corpse-painted dudes who’ve had run-ins with those Polish laws. Which brings us to Behemoth (more after the jump).
Editor’s note: This isn’t the Part 2 of “Burning Ideas” that we originally planned to run today. But some breaking news directly relevant to what we wrote in Part 1 shoved the original Part 2 off the front page. So the original Part 2 has become Part 3, and we’ll run that tomorrow.
I’ve never been to Norway, but I know a few things about it that are different from the good old US of A. In Norway, for example, you can stage a black metal musical at Den Nationale Scene (translation: The National Stage), one of Norway’s oldest and most renowned theaters, as part of an annual international music and culture festival. And as we wrote yesterday in Part 1 of this post, you can apparently include in your cast a guy like Gaahl, ex-Gorgoroth vocalist and twice imprisoned advocate of church burning.
Oops! Not so fast. Check out this breaking news as reported by Blabbermouth yesterday:
The artistic director of Den Nationale Scene (DNS), the renowned Norwegian theater where Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal (GORGOROTH,GOD SEED, TRELLDOM) is set to make his musical debut this May, is reconsidering his decision to cast the former black metal vocalist for the upcoming “Svartediket” production.
Bjarte Hjelmeland is under pressure from both the clergy and the director of at Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen International Festival), the annual international music and cultural festival where the “first-ever black metal musical” is set to receive its premiere, because Gaahl has once again made it clear that he supports and condones the church burnings associated with the early Norwegian black metal scene. . . .
Hjelmeland says he will travel to Oslo to have “a long talk” with Gaahl about his statements to the media before making a decision on whether to allow the singer to stay involved with the musical. “It is important, both for me personally and on behalf of DNS, to completely distance ourselves from the attitudes Gaahl has expressed in the Bergens Tidende interview,” Hjelmeland says.
“My beliefs are diametrically opposed to his. I pretty much grew up in church and consider myself a Christian. . . . I was not familiar with Kristian‘s past when I hired him to do ‘Svartediket’. And I could not possibly have known that he would come out and publicly support these serious crimes.”
Tell you what: I’d pay decent money to be a fly on the wall when Mr. Hjelmeland has that long talk with Gaahl. (more after the jump . . .)
I had another late night. But today I’m gonna resist the urge to bail out on my journalistic responsibilities by posting more Elize Ryd-style cheesecake. Instead, we’re returning to our more usual serious-minded, thought-provoking metal journalism. We’re going to talk about burning churches, burning Bibles, and burning ideas.
And because we provided some eye-candy for the dudes yesterday, we’re gonna show how even-handed we are and start off today with some eye candy for the ladies. Feast your orbs on this delicacy:
Okay, so it’s licorice-flavored eye candy.
This handsome Norwegian is named Gaahl. That’s not the name his momma and daddy gave him. They liked the name Kristian, as in Kristian Eivind Espedal. But when Kristian started playing black metal circa 1993, he must have decided it would be better to have a name that sounded like throat-clearing. And voila! Gaahl!
As you black metalists out there well know, Gaahl is one of the more notorious figures in a fairly notorious genre. During his ten-year stretch with Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth, he was imprisoned for assault in Norway in 2002, and then imprisoned for a second nine-month stint in 2006 for allegedly assaulting and torturing a man for six hours while collecting his blood into a cup and threatening to make him drink it. (read more after the jump . . .)
So much to hear, so little time.
I liked Dutch blackened death metal band God Dethroned‘s 2006 album The Toxic Touch, and “On Wings of Pestilence” was one of those songs I came back to repeatedly. So when the band released its latest album, Passiondale, in April 2009, I promptly bought the CD. But something happened. I got distracted and I didn’t listen to it right away. I can’t remember why — other than the fact that I have the attention span of a hummingbird.
I listened to it this week for the first time — only nine months late — and was utterly blown away. The music is sick — the best this band has done in eons. But that’s only part of the story. This is one of those rare metal albums with a concept and lyrical content that are completely integral to the music and that turn what you hear into something profoundly more powerful. “Epic” is an overused word, but truly, that’s what Passiondale is. (more after the jump)
On December 15, the New York Times ran a story about an academic symposium held in Brooklyn called “Hideous Gnosis,” which explored intellectual aspects of black metal. We posted some generally disrespectful commentary about the event, and got some thought-provoking reactions. We posted a follow-up piece earlier this week about one of the papers delivered at “Hideous Gnosis,” which analyzed whether it’s even possible for someone who buys into a black-metal worldview to talk about black metal. Today we’re continuing the discussion – but this time with a surprise contributor.
NCS welcomes, as our first guest writer, our favorite metal blogger from New Zealand — Steff from STEFF METAL. We’ve already written about her blog, which you owe it to yourself to check out, and she kindly accepted our invitation to add her wit and wisdom to NCS (because we could definitely use more of both). And unlike your NCS Authors, Steff is a black metal maven.
To set the stage, we got this comment on our original rant about “Hideous Gnosis” from a writer named Shinjuku Thief:
“I would disagree with your assertion that metal, particularly black metal, is about expressing emotion. What characterises a lot of BM, for me, is the absence of emotion . . . . I think although you scoff at anything remotely ‘intellectual’ you’re espousing a theory of your own . . . . That is the contradiction of metal, it claims to be primal, atavistic, earthy, of the body, but in reality it is so controlled, has so many codes, rules and boundaries that the fans in a supposedly unthinking manner enforce at every level. . . . [I]ts not spontaneous or relying on our innermost urges, its a well honed aesthetic and conscious action that is very much thought about.”
So, with that intro, here are Steff’s thoughts (after the jump):
Back on December 15, the New York Times ran a story about an academic symposium held in Brooklyn called “Hideous Gnosis,” which explored intellectual aspects of black metal. We posted some commentary about the event that basically made fun of the whole thing. We threw around words and phrases such as “pointy headed academics,” “fucking pretentious,” and “blather.” I think we also implied that all the participants were douchebags.
Hey, it was easy to do. Sort of like clubbing baby harp seals, except without the back-splatter. And what did you expect? We’re an extreme metal site, which by definition means we pretty much disrespect everyone except the bands who work their asses off making the music we live by, and a few metalhead writers who do what we’re trying to do, except do it a lot better. And we never feel guilty about it.
Well, almost never.
We got a couple of comments on our bushwhackery that have at least given us pause — one from the “Hideous Gnosis” symposium group itself and one from Shinjuku Thief. We’ll talk about the first one today and the second one soon after. And for musical accompaniment, we’ll stream some new black metal that will core out your skull. Read on after the jump.