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. Continue reading »