Monday, May 09, 2011

The Nature of Black Metal

It is all too simple to imagine black metal is only about obsessions
with darkness and evil, with death and Satan. Resist that temptation.

Despite the iconography and imagery that many (but not all) black
metal bands use, there is something far more basic at play here.

Black metal is the weed, the bramble, the creeping vine--seemingly
doomed to stay underfoot. Ah, but let the creepers find some object
that dares in its hubris to reach towards the heavens! Then its
rhizomes will probe, seeking purchase, turning tiny fissures into
gaping crevasses, drawing sap from the evergreen, climbing
relentlessly over rock, rending branches from their trunks, eroding
stone walls, inevitably and eventually leaving naught but ruin in its

Ah, but there are some things that the growth of black metal cannot
overrun. The mountain has too broad a base to be pulled downward by
mere tangles. The ocean is too vast and too briny to be drained. The
stars are too distant, with an abyss between us and them. To these,
the ancient ones that shall remain long after we and our works have
turned to dust, we bend our knees and bow our heads. Even the forest
brings us awe, even as individual trees are felled. Not that these are
any more eternal than we are, but they have earned our respect and

That is the true legacy of black metal. And those who fail to
understand surely will be choked by overgrowth.

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