Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities

From the snow-covered environs of Norway and secluded graveyards of England to the dark forests of Germany and remote woodlands of Poland and Ukraine, an unstoppable Black Metal beast has dominated the extreme end of the musical scale for more than two decades.

Black Metal is an aesthetic, an emotion, an attitude and, for many, a way of life. Exposing the inner workings of your delicate eardrums to unbridled screams of primeval fury, an unending torrent of galloping rhythms and indomitable wall of buzzing guitars is like being thrown head-first into the whirling eye of a chthonic vortex. Black Metal can be disturbing, invigorating, provoking and empowering. One persistent and enduring image that is often associated with Black Metal is that of semi-comedic corpse-paint, futile church-burnings and Satanic ritual; but the genre itself can often take on a decidedly political and cultural form and many of its exponents have controversial views and opinions that are frequently overlooked by the commentators of the underground music industry.

We aim to examine some of those tendencies in Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities. Ever since Varg Vikernes was courting media headlines for all the wrong reasons, Black Metal – like a fine wine, perhaps - has matured a great deal. The steady process of counter-cultural ripening has led to the formation of various sub-genres, among them Viking Metal, Progressive Black Metal, Blackened Death Metal, Symphonic Black Metal and National Socialist Black Metal.

So whether you like your Black Metal traditional and ground-breaking like Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer; raw and brutal like Mayhem, Emperor and Immortal; slick and polished like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Old Man's Child; or politically controversial like Graveland, Drudkh and Absurd; this book is for you.

Contributors include:

  • Troy Southgate
  • Tony 'The Demolition Man' Dolan (Venom/Atomkraft/M-Pire of Evil)
  • Jeff 'Mantas' Dunn (Venom/Mantas/M-Pire of Evil)
  • Hendrik Möbus (Absurd)
  • Alex Kurtagic (Supernal Records)
  • Jarl von Hagall (Der Stürmer)
  • Alexander Wieser (Uruk-Hai)
  • William Vithólf (Fanisk)
  • Gareth Giles (Hrafnblóð)
  • Matt Kay (Wodfreca Records)
  • Vijay Prozak/DeathMetal.org
  • Elena Semenyaka
  • Erik Proft
  • Smierc Polarstern
  • Neil Hiatt
  • Nils Wegner
  • Chris G. Hicks

Signed copies of Black Metal: European Roots & Musical Extremities are now available to pre-order. The book will be around 200 pages in length and costs just £15 with free postage to anywhere in the world. The Paypal address is:

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Aristokratia journal


The Greek word "aristokratia" translates loosely to "rule of the best." After that point, things get even less clear. Who are the best? Does rule mean they are appointed to modern bureaucratic governments, or rule as divinely-ordained kings? Best of all, there's plenty of variation between those extremes.
aristocracy. A vague term, derived from the Greek aristokratia, meaning the rule of the best. In ancient Roman society it was represented by the patricians. It is broader than peerage or even nobility. In common parlance, it was usually taken to mean the upper classes or ‘betters’ and was confined largely to landowners. Since, unlike peerage, there was no legal definition, it was a matter of opinion who constituted the aristocracy, whether the concept included the gentry, and, if so, how far down that group it went. - The Oxford Companion to British History
Vague as it seems to us now, aristokratia once meant something very clear: every nation had a culture, and the founders of that culture who proved themselves to be the best became the aristocracy, or a group of large landowners who managed the society. The original idea meant they owned land in order to manage it, but our modern conception is a bit confused because we own things in order to own them, not for any other purpose.

Aristokratia Journal

Luckily, "aristokratia" is going to get a redefinition soon. From the people who brought you The Occult Tradition, Northern Traditions, The Radical Tradition and other groundbreaking publications comes a new journal, Aristokratia Journal. This promises to be an investigation into rule, the best, and rule of the best using the ancient Greek idea of aristokratia as a starting point.

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