I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.
In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post.
I’m the only metalhead I know who subscribes to The New Yorker magazine, though I’m sure there are other metalhead subscribers out there. But probably not many. I usually read the movie and book reviews because the writing is so good, even though I almost never get around to reading the books or seeing the movies themselves. Most weeks, that’s all I can manage to do, usually because I don’t have the time to read more.
Sasha Frere-Jones is the magazine’s pop-music critic (though what he writes about is really more eclectic than the term “pop” might lead you to believe). He’s also a member of bands called Calvinist and Piñata. I usually read his stuff, too, but not because I have much interest in the music he covers; again, I admire the writing.
Today, the on-line version of The New Yorker published a Frere-Jones piece that I read because, for a change, I was interested in the subject matter as much as the writing. The subject is American black metal, with a particular focus on Wolves in the Throne Room and Liturgy. I found it amusing because it’s being written for an audience that probably knows nothing, or next-to-nothing, about black metal, and reading it is like seeing our tiny, extreme genre of music through someone else’s eyes.
Also, remarkably, it doesn’t use the words “fuck”, “fucking”, “brutal”, “pummeling”, or other words most of us are used to seeing (or in my case, using) in descriptions of metal. You can read the article via this link, or you can go past the jump, because I’ve pasted it into this post.
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:
I don’t read The New York Times regularly. I’ll make a wild guess: I bet most visitors to this site don’t read it either. If you do, you need to rearrange your priorities. There are only so many hours in the day, and you’d be happier if you spent more time here at NO CLEAN SINGING, or any of the linked sites over to the right, and less on The New York Times. But though I don’t read that paper regularly, I’ve got friends who do, and three of them e-mailed me about an article that appeared there today entitled “Thank You Professor, That Was Putrid.”
The word that first came to mind after I read it was “bizarre.” The second word was “fucking pretentious.” The article describes a six-hour symposium on black metal held last Saturday afternoon at Public Assembly, a bar and nigthtclub in Brooklyn. The symposium, called “Hideous Gnosis,” was attended by an odd combination of pointy-headed 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. (That can’t possibly be his real name, can it? Gotta be a black metal stage-name.)
The academics presented papers with such mouth-watering titles as “The Counter-Reformation in Stone and Metal: Spiritual Substances,” “Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya,” and “Perpetual Rot: Obsessive Cycles of Deterioration.” I can sum up my reaction like this: “Reading About Hideous Gnosis: Regurgitating in My Lap.”