Idol Chatter

Academics are known to get geeky about popular culture, especially if we’re talking about the mythologies of Joss Whedon across his many shows, especially Buffy, or anything to do with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and lately, professors are jumping on the “let’s talk about the greater significance of Twilight” bandwagon.
But black metal? Not to be confused with the likes of Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson, black metal is “all scoured howls, nonsyncopated blast-beat drums, and cold, trebly guitars. It sounds like it’s rotting, and that’s the point: black metal represents decay, radical individualism, misanthropy, negativity about all systems, and awe of the natural world…In a way, black metal runs on a very old cultural motor: loss of faith, and the hysterical fear and sadness that come with it,” writes Ben Ratliff of the New York Times in his article, “Thank You, Professor, That Was Putrid” about a recent, academic symposium that explored the greater significance–especially the spiritual and the religious–of black metal music.
Paper titles at the conference included Emory Professor Eric Butler’s “The Counter-Reformation in Stone and Metal: Spiritual Substances” which “talked about black-metal music — in its second-wave, largely Norwegian form — as a cryptic expression of Roman Catholicism,” and the University of Central Lancashire Professor Niall Scott’s lecture which discussion of how, “black metal as part of the ritual of confession”:
“The black metal event is a confession without need of absolution, without need of redemption,” [Scott] said. It is, he added, “a cleaning up of the mess of others.” He invoked the old English tradition of sin eating by means of burial cakes, in which a loaf of bread was put on a funeral bier or a corpse, and a paid member of the community would eat the bread, representing sin, to absolve and comfort the deceased. “Black metal has become the sin eater,” he intoned. “It is engaged in transgressive behavior to be rid of it.”
Not my cup of tea music wise, but the article about the phenomenon itself is fascinating.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus