The end of history: Painkiller and Abruptum

Mischaracterising the Cold War’s end as the end of history has since morphed into an amusing theoretical anecdote; a historical touchstone for our own turbulent age; as if desperately exploring every aspect of the early 1990s will provide clues to our future. For underground metal however, a case can be made for our history’s end … Continue reading The end of history: Painkiller and Abruptum

Diversity on the Eye of the Needle: Darkthrone and Summoning

1994 was something of a turbulent watershed for black metal. Some of its most revered works were released, some or all of which regularly make top multiple-of-ten lists to this day. It was also the year that many of its most infamous crimes were brought to light, and for a brief time the world beyond … Continue reading Diversity on the Eye of the Needle: Darkthrone and Summoning

Somewhere under the black rainbow, solitude and obscurity: Burzum and Beherit

Here we have two artists that took the basic building blocks of primitive extreme metal as it was in the early 1990s, and produced music not of this earth. Black metal of this era will forever be mired in the actions and words of individuals within the scene. I’ll be dealing with none of that … Continue reading Somewhere under the black rainbow, solitude and obscurity: Burzum and Beherit

For the Love of Melody: Paradise Lost and Samael

Following the explosion of (what can only be called) mainstream success for death metal in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a backlash was inevitable. Growing out of grassroots tape trading and zine distribution, analogue social media if you will, death metal had caught the attention of major TV channels, record labels, and concerned parents, … Continue reading For the Love of Melody: Paradise Lost and Samael

Political correctness and virtue of causing offence

Defining words and actions as offensive is tantamount to declaring that your feelings have been hurt. This idea is nothing new. But people have extrapolated on this simple fact, and manufactured it into an anti PC war-cry. Advocates of political correctness are accused of trying to create a world without offence. Of trying to manufacture … Continue reading Political correctness and virtue of causing offence

Entropy of the family tree: has metal’s genre addiction reached breaking point?

It’s a well-established fact that metal has an unhealthy addiction to genre classifications. One look at our database over at metal-archives will tell you as much. It is not just the sheer volume of genres – many of which are  just the same groups of words shuffled around a bit – it’s also how important … Continue reading Entropy of the family tree: has metal’s genre addiction reached breaking point?

New Puritanism, New Mavericks, Censorship and The New Right

The other day I was walking to work listening to Slaughtbbath, a standard fair primal black metal outfit from Chile. And like the vast majority of dirty black metal artists, they ‘sing’ about blasphemy, desecration of the sacred, gore, death, all the lovely violent themes common to this violent variant on extreme metal. Occasional lyrics … Continue reading New Puritanism, New Mavericks, Censorship and The New Right