Friday, August 31, 2012

Nein. Ist schwarze metal scheisse.

Since its genesis in the early 1990s, black metal is a genre that has transmogrified wildly, both informing and having been informed by the surrounding culture. As much as bm "hates," no musical style is an island, however badly it may want to be, and this cultural outflow and influx was/is inevitable. From the very beginning, there were bm bands that I loved to hate (names withheld), who commodified / slicked-up the music in a way that seemed to betray its arch, subcultural identity—with light shows, super-tight arrangements and virtuoso stylings. What impressed me, as a man already well into my 30s when I really started listening, was that bm was a genre of youthful enthusiasm, rage, frustration, and immense creativity, inspired by the darkest emotions, seemingly (to me, anyway) custom-designed for demo cassettes, 7" singles, and CDs and LPs that despite some production value, still sounded like they were recorded live to 1 or 2 microphones in some shitty basement. Black metal was my teenage eruption, the "youth" I missed out on, as I began grabbing up releases left and right, starved for inspiration.

As RB, last night's guest DJ, pointed out in our off-air conversation, the mid-1990s to early 2000s was a boom period, where black metal spread across the globe, and perhaps thousands of bands formed and released demos, and this period especially was extremely well-represented in RB's playlist. He's a deep collector, and his collection is a dazzling array of gorgeous CS-LP-CD covers that would easily fill several photography-fetish books, to say nothing of the sheer sound on these ragged musical artifacts.

Needless to say, the original, Norwegian template for the genre has morphed 1,000 times over, much to my and RB's delight (and presumably that of any deep bm fan), with each artist running down their own, unique, arterial road. In our fast-paced information age, black metal still strikes me as music that's passed hand-to-hand, ear-to-ear, individual-to-individual—a manic subcultural explosion that refuses to stop, or even rest.

Every selection from RB's pile was a gem (like a true WFMU DJ, he brought along twice the material req'd to fill the available time), and the arc of bm's history was represented thoroughly and comprehensively as his sets evolved. Noted in the playlist comments were Asmodee (pre-S.V.E.S.T.), Wulkanaz (unreleased LP preview!), Cult of the Lizard God, a track from Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 (!), and my own "noise-bridge" selection of HHL. It goes without saying that last night's selections were the mere tip of the hateful, blackened iceberg, especially when one contemplates what's potentially "out there" for the taking.

Check out last night's playlist and audio archive (with some stunning tape-cover scans embedded into the comments field!), by clicking on our Kung-Fu-cannibal fighters above—still taken from the eccentric, Chinese horror-comedy classic We're Going To Eat You.

Coming next week on My Castle of Quiet—an exclusive, live set from Sutekh Hexen! More info at the MCoQ Facebook group page > "join" the event!

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