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.