Everyone familiar with the "Black Metal" scene will agree with me on my observation that there's no Black Metal per se. Moreover the various definitions applied to Black Metal are not only non-congruent; they are contradictory to the point of canceling one another out. Why is that so? Many people consider Black Metal a subdivision of heavy metal; i.e. a basically juvenile, often asocial, and sometimes sexist form of loud, shrill, and aggressive rock 'n roll with, in this case, occult/satanic overtones. The "lifestyle" that goes with black/heavy metal is as good as any excuse for teenagers (and adults who forget to outgrow their adolescence) to role-act as Marvel comic super heroes committed to hedonistic excesses.
On the bottom line, this definition of black metal can be applied to many other "subcultures" as well. It's about rebellion of Generation X; about indulging in petty "freedoms" such as smoking, drinking, screwing around (and yes those are tremendous freedoms to any 15 year old); and about shocking parents, teachers and preachers. So far, there's nothing novel about black metal and nothing sublime either. The whole black metal era of the 1980-ies, as pioneered by VENOM and BATHORY, can be defined by the aforementioned point of view. Needless to say, all the pompous "rockstarsom" displayed by contemporary "black metal" bands such as CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR is just another show case of what heavy metal is all about; self-indulgence coupled with self-gratification. What this definition cannot explain about black metal however, is the tendency of black metal bands and fans alike to be carried away by violent rhetoric and complete disregard for Judeo-Christian morality; as exemplified by (and forever engraved on the minds of those who participated on and witnessed) the outburst of homicide and arson in Scandinavia of the early 1990-ies.
What, so asked many people now and then, has the torching of churches to do with the probably provoking, yet ever so harmless heavy metal "lifestyle"? The answer is, of course, nothing at all. The vocabulary and terminology of "music-biz" can not define what took place in Norway, Sweden, and to a lesser degree in other European countries, from 1992-1994, because music in this case was the means to quite another end than "rockstardom". It was a cultural atavism, a sudden and inexplicable plunge back into pre-Christian, medieval conditions in all but outward reality. Like the Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, would have said; Ancient archetypes resurfaced from our collective unconscious and repossessed receptive minds - which were, as a rule, still developing and thus especially impressible. The thus affected teenagers found themselves with an archaic state of mind and like in a mass-hysteria, they induced their condition unto others. It goes without saying that a, say, 18 year old adolescent who suddenly felt out of tune with his environment lacked the insight for a self-analysis.
There were but raw emotions, unformulated thoughts and a terrible need to express one's self. That is the cause for the frantic intensity put forth in the words, deeds and music of those protagonists in the "True Satanic Hordes" and the "Black Circle" of Sweden and Norway respectively. Like someone speaking in tongues, they tried to translate their inner turmoil, their "Weltschmerz"; but were equally misunderstood by all but a few. That their living anachronism was labeled "Black Metal" is an immaterial side-note. There was a music wise similarity to the Black Metal bands of the 1980' ties, but in everything else these Norse musicians constituted a class of it's own. They were fiercely opposed to the "music biz" as a matter of course. However, given the psychological rather than sociological nature of this phenomenon, it oughtn't perplex us to have watched the key players of Norse Black Metal coining terms with their mind-set of surrendering to the overwhelming outward reality sooner or later.
The compulsion for their extreme demeanor wasn't to be found but within themselves, although the peripheral (as seen from a European standpoint) location of their home countries has certainly intensified the symptoms of this compulsion. In hindsight, quite a few of the former "Black-Metal extremists" either wonder about or rationalize their former words and deeds. It should be noted that the probably most quintessential Norse black metal dates back to the era of 1991-1994, and could never be encompassed ever since. The archetypes, most prominently of the "dark side" of European, Heathen pantheon, have not vanished however. They matured along with those they possessed, until musicians of the Norse Black Metal tradition recognized and acknowledged them for what they are. While in between 1992-1994, Heathenism was apparent only rudimentary and partially clouded by "Satanic" imagery or fantasy-motifs, this Black Metal has since been understood in Pagan terms only.
Indeed, the blossoming Pagan revival among European/American youth culture was initiated and inspired by the tumultuous and often bloody event that marks the advent of Black Metal in the 1990's. It is a grave misunderstanding to mistake the particular Black Metal for the in all but name different branch of Heavy Metal. Unfortunately, there are so-called "Black Metal" bands and fans who have missed or ignored the transition the archetypal Black Metal underwent since the slaying of Oystein "Euronymous" Arseth of MAYHEM on August 10th 1993. What they are dabbling in is the same confusion that afflicted the protagonists of the "Black Circle" in 1992/93 and would not allow them a correct analysis of the forces at work among them. This confusion, which accounts for some outrageous statements in early interviews, has been overcome long since however. Not so among the "misanthropic Satanic Nihilists", though, who consider Black Metal (as they define it) a "weapon"(sic)! for the propagation "annihilation of humanity". There we have individuals, teenagers at most, which suffer from delusions of grandeur. They think of themselves as a "elite", pray for "global nuclear war", and imagine the "death of mankind" - which is, by and large, nothing but "subhumans" anyway. This "philosophy", which draws upon every Hollywood - cliché of "Satanism" and does terrible violence to European thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche, has no psychological but a pathological cause.
It is this obnoxious definition of "Black Metal" which remains popular among, and this way indicates the extent of delusion at hand here, bands and fans from South America and Asia. One may suspect this misconception of Black Metal originates from their inborn lake of knowing about European archetypes. Hence they can not perceive and relate to anything but the most superficial symptoms of the archetypes at work here. That is furthermore underscored by their truly lame brained interpretation of National Socialism, which is incorporated in the image of such "Black Metal" - bands as another "manifestation of evil". The history of the National Socialist Germany is perverted by the same thoroughly false assumptions as every so often issued in Hollywood - propaganda. Where the Jews intend to pull their audience, however these insufferable "Black Metal" - bands revel in the alleged "atrocities" attributed to National Socialist Germany.
The archetypal Black Metal successfully mastered to interpret and to convey the archetypes from our collective unconscious. The proud identification with the Pagan heritage prompted bands and fans to take an active interest in Nationalist politics designed to preserve and to cultivate this very heritage. After all, heathenism is a folkish creed, and no genuine Pagan can turn his back on the concept of Blood (i.e. descent) and soil (i.e. origin). The archetypal Black Metal they listen to furthered the racial awareness and Nationalist engagement of many contemporary Pagans. This Black Metal is a rally - cry for those of our blood, motivating us to be committed and to remain steadfast in this our age of Ragnarok. Many bands and fans have too evolved the archetypal Black Metal to a definition unheard of; they say Black Metal is not music, but listenable ideology. This most sophisticated of all definitions gave rise to NSBM, National Socialist Black Metal. The NSBM is a refined tool of agitation and propaganda. It is now that music does not longer serve a trivial purpose such as entertainment, but is employed in an effort to compel the audience to take action. NSBM is a call to arms! While the sporadic violence of the "Black Circle" can be explained as discharge of overpowering archetypal dynamics by those concerned; the NSBM - activist is deliberately striking at will, in the full awareness of cause and effect. As rightly comprehended National Socialism is the supreme synthesis of Aryan archetypes and Aryan awareness, the NSBM is the equally supreme synthesis of revolutionary zeal and radical philosophy. It is NSBM that marks the logical conclusion of a movement set in motion by "A Blaze in the Northern Sky" ten years ago. Those who understood NSBM as a "music-genre" know nothing of it. NSBM is the audible quintessence of the born again National Socialism, and as such dramatically opposed to any definition that ignores the archetypal roots of Black Metal. NSBM is once again asking: "Do you want total war?!!"