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Christian Black Metal

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2 minutes ago, BlutAusNerd said:

It's just always struck me as hypocritical that preachy Satanism is perfectly acceptable to even non-satanist metal fans, but any degree of Christian influence in the lyrics of any given band amounts in dismissal and derision, or at the very least, a caveat of "they're pretty good for Christians I guess". Not saying that this is directly where you're going here, but the religious nature of the Satanism portrayed in the lyrics of bands that you play like Dissection and Deathspell Omega seem a whole lot more heavy handed to me than the likes of Incubus or Paramæcium. For an anti-religious person, it seems hypocritical that blunt lyrics of one religion are more acceptable than others.

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I actually listen to neither DSO nor Dissection with any frequency, and never enjoyed Dissection much even back in the day.

To go on a tangent: I might take Satanism more seriously (and be more annoyed by it) if I'd grown up in Satanic communities, where people routinely told me I was going to heaven if I didn't start coming to the coven meetings, and maybe wouldn't let me play with their kids unless I went to kiss the goat's anus on Friday night with the rest of the joiners. But that's not how it worked out.

I know I've talked about this before. When I was growing up, it was the Christians who were the bigots. I lost friends because they got carted off to summer camp and came back saved enough that they couldn't hang out with anybody who wasn't saved too. Someone's parents tried to convince my parents to let their preacher perform an exorcism on me. The bus driver would yell at me about Jesus on the way home from school. A teacher of mine got suspended (thankfully) the year after I left (thankfully) for inviting a preacher to come proselytize the class. And I got to watch the beginnings of that "youth movement" that taught kids that Christianity was all about being a cool, persecuted rebel, just like everybody else on the fucking playground. Watching this whole attitude worm its way into national politics and popular thought over the intervening couple of decades is an ongoing source of irritation. Anyway, schlocky bullshit Satanism of the Deicide school was part of my youthful rebellion, and I still enjoy the songs, and yet somehow I've never wanted to go out and kill someone just for being Christian, and can't quite grasp what "revocating" the "agitator" even means, and that's OK. 

There are other bands I enjoy that fall into that same schlocky category, like Belphegor, or Sacramentum, and I just don't take it seriously at all. I don't think they do either. I can't see why I should. Akercocke is probably the "serious" Satanic band that I most enjoy, but I find their lyrics more personal and evocative, rather than preachy (which I could also say about the weird occult Catholicism of that last Type O album, or the vague positivism of Lykathea Aflame).

More broadly, to your question of whether it's hypocritical: if it was a level playing field, it would be. My spitball opinion is that youthful rebellion and catharsis are two very important functions for aggressive music, and it's hard to fulfill those functions when your point is to reinforce a dominant, and in places oppressive, cultural regime. Nearly antithetical to attempt it, in fact. The rise of the Christian right's butthurt perception of itself as a permanently persecuted majority, which I can't help but see as a tactic in a much wider political context, has given a generation of kids the notion that they're actually rebelling by writing anti-atheist polemics - never mind that atheists are statistically the most maligned and least trusted group in national surveys (although sadly Muslims have caught up), and aren't allowed to hold office in some states, while Christianity, and whatever constellation of beliefs is currently assumed to accompany that, remains a dominant force in mainstream culture. In our subculture, it's had a leveling effect: everybody's being sincere. There's an illusion that everyone is entitled to their rage, probably reinforced by the media paradigm of "two sides to every story" with the "truth" somewhere in the "middle". But, maybe because of the momentum of metal's history of singing about the dark sides of human nature, maybe because a lot of people can tell that the playing field is not actually level, Christianity still can feel incongruous in the context of metal music.

I enjoy some intensely Christian music, and I'll even sing along with some of it, but it tends to be the more poetic, evocative, allusive words that interest me, either talking about stories which I can think of as interesting mythology, or attitudes that have a universal appeal. I've talked to Iceni about reverence before, a sense that I get very strongly from some choral music, and something I love and seek out in music and in nature. But no, I don't see anything hypocritical about not wanting to listen to some asshole's shitty high school poetry about how I'm a bad person because I don't share his worldview. Like I said, dude can write whatever he wants, I'll take a pass.

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Christian music in the classical music field is awesome. A lot of choral music is great. I even find some Christmas Carols catchy. But in black metal, no. There's a time and a place for everything. And black metal is neither the time nor the place for Jesus worshipping or giving the thumbs up for clean living. 

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I recenty stumbled upon some unblack metal. Surprisingly to me it seemed as good as black metal. Personally the religion/beliefs of the artist dont make any difference to the quality or my opinion of the music. I wonder what you guys think about unblack metal?

Here was the song:

 

 

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3 hours ago, fjm said:

I recenty stumbled upon some unblack metal. Surprisingly to me it seemed as good as black metal. Personally the religion/beliefs of the artist dont make any difference to the quality or my opinion of the music. I wonder what you guys think about unblack metal?

Here was the song:

 

 

This is pretty cool. I guess a bit of a B grade Dark Funeral/Emperor thing going on. I'm now checking out their album 'The Covenant Progress' because I wanted to hear what they sounded like with keyboards. It's very frenetic in a clattering way which takes away a bit of the potential atmosphere for me, but I guess it's alright. Oh shit, the intro of track 2 on 'The Covenant Progress' is a huge rip-off of the intro from 'Where Dead Angels Lie'. How ironic! 

It's all wrong though. What's wrong about it isn't that it's created by Christians, but that it's about Christianity, and i just don't see how the mood and tone of black metal like this can function as a means to affirm an organised, even political, force for 'goodness' and harmony like Christianity.

Like I posted above, I think Christianity has a place in great music, but the raison d'etre of black metal is to make tangible a personal rebellion that dismisses light, order and conformity; three things that, for better or worse, Christianity is about. Black metal is about the joys of rejection and the pleasure found in both a personal and social destruction (even if that is only as a philosophical concept for most listeners).

Christian black metal, no matter how harsh and well executed, is black metal with a smile and a handshake, and, like non-alcoholic beer, it just doesn't work for me. 

 

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