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The Black Metal Antiquarium is the Internet K-hole of teen metal mayhem
11:30 am


black metal

You’ve seen it everywhere. The crudely-drawn goat that graces the cover of the first Bathory album is quickly becoming one of rock n’ roll’s most ubiquitous images. It’s the new Ramones t-shirt. And like the famous four’s memorable circle logo, the Bathory goat is often worn by folks who have never even heard the beastly sounds on that grisly 1984 album Bathory has endured because it’s so brutal, so inhuman, so extreme that it was literally shocking upon its initial release. It was the first real declaration of black metal war, the opening salvo in an ongoing campaign to kill Christianity (and false metal) dead with leather, spikes, and minor chords played a thousand miles an hour. Although Bathory was an actual band, it has always been identified by one character, frontman Quorthon (RIP). If anybody is responsible for ushering in the age of black metal darkness, it’s him.
Quorthon, early 80’s, looking more glam than grim

But was Quorthon just a frustrated glam-rocker? I’m sure there are snowy, fjord-y pockets of Earth out there where I could get hung, drawn and quartered for even suggesting such heresy, but if the Black Metal Antiquarium is any indication, around the the time of the first Bathory album, ol’ Tommy “Quorthon” Forsberg was into Motley Crue just as much as the rest of us were. It’s just one of the many compelling nuggets in this loosely knit collection of videos and photos that paint a vibrant, bloody, and occasionally hilarious portrait of the earliest days of black metal, from its creaky 80’s proto-black beginnings to the alarming wave of murder and mayhem (and Mayhem) that engulfed the scene in the 1990s.
Mayhem in their rehearsal space, late 80’s, clearly getting into the spirit of things.

Inspired largely by the cartoon Satanism of 80’s Brit metal-punks Venom, Scandinavian black metal exploded in the early 90’s with misanthropic bands like Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, and most infamously Mayhem, the most dangerous band in the world, a shadowy outfit with an extremely thorny history that includes self-mutilation, suicide, and cold-blooded murder. And this is while most of them were still teenagers!
Mayhem’s Euronymous, who would later be murdered by his own bandmate, Varg Vikernes.

What’s particularly exciting about the user-generated Antiquarium is that it is curated and archived by bands and fans who were there at the time in places like Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and South America, the epicenters for musical extremities throughout that tumultuous decade. That’s helpful, because it’s sometime difficult to tell one 17-year-old Norwegian kid in corpsepaint from another, particularly when the source is a blurry fanzine photo from 1992. Of course, it does sorta seem odd that this would happen on a Facebook page. In a better, more noble world, photographs of doomed Mayhem guitarist Euronymous sporting a half-shirt and a gross catfish mustache would be locked away in a forbidden vault somewhere, pressed between the pages of an arcane tome bound in human flesh. And maybe someday they will be, but this is still pretty cool for now.
While relatively sedate at this point—the millennial take on black metal (ambient BM, “Red” BM, “Blackgaze,” etc) is decidedly less psychotic than their 90s era counterparts—historically it is still the most overtly homicidal/suicidal rock genre ever created. And that’s not even counting all the burned churches and desecrated gravestones. It is a history of outright war against humanity, littered with beatings, bleedings, hate crimes, stone-cold murder, and painful, shrieking noise. And as the Antiquarium proves, through old photos, flyers, demo covers, zine pages and fuzzy shot-on-VHS video clips, it was created mostly by dopey teenage kids smearing their faces with clown makeup and aping their fave Venom and Black Sabbath records. It’s always good to remember that even the cuddliest kittens are hiding sharp claws.

Here are a few especially juicy entries..
These pre-teen monster-mash goofs would grow up to become Brazilian thrash metal masters Sepultura.
Emperor are now considered one of the most progressive black metal bands and vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn is one the most well-respected musicians on the scene. But in 1990, when the band was called Xerasia, he was just another teenage dirtbag ripping off Alice Cooper.
Black metal’s goth-goblin Mortiis, back when he preferred housedresses and bathtub suicides to elf ears and leather wings.
More metal mayhem (and Mayhem) after the jump…

Posted by Ken McIntyre | Leave a comment
Black Metal: Evolution of The Cult
10:13 am


Feral House
Black Metal
Dayal Patterson

Apparently yesterday’s “Cyber Monday”—a great American tradition, right?—was the single biggest online shopping day “in history.” (That’s how it’s being reported this morning, with a straight face). As someone who positively loathes the holiday season, the rampant consumerism, the hoards of mindless shoppers and all the rest of it, I think I have something DM readers might be interested in, and even if it’s not exactly your thing per se, it still might make a seriously rockin’ gift for someone you know. Especially for someone who really hates Christmas…

First off, to show you how objective my opinion truly is, I didn’t even know this book existed until it arrived in the post on Saturday. I did not seek it out. Secondly, it’s not on a topic that really tends to interest me all that much, either. But there it was, right in front of me. It was weighty to hold and a quick perusal said “definitive” to me loud and clear, obviously an attractive quality in a book. It looked interesting. It appeared to be very comprehensive. It’s a nicely produced object, too. It was calling out—in a voice that sounded oddly just like Mercedes McCambridge’s—“Read me, read me,”

It was thus that I promptly dropped whatever it was that I was doing and spent most of the day Saturday and part of Sunday between the covers of Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult by Dayal Patterson (Feral House). It’s a fascinating overview of Black Metal written by a seriously otaku expert on the genre. At nearly 500 pages, it’s instantly the defining book on Black Metal, even a kind of minor masterpiece of the rock book form, featuring dozens of interviews with the luminaries (would that be the right word?) of the Black Metal scene. I got totally lost in it. I mean, hey, who doesn’t like books on extremist musical sub-cultures?

I got something from this book that I didn’t get from Didrik Søderlind and Michael Moynihan’s Lords of Chaos—which was more the tale of the church burnings, suicides, murder and general mayhem of the Norwegian Black Metal scene. Lords of Chaos, a classic in its own right, was a sociological examination of Black Metal, even a bit of a “true crime” book, whereas with Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, I came away with a list of albums that I had to hear. NOW.

My idea of what Black Metal sounded like, frankly had a lot to do with the personalities and the criminal incidents that many writers have focused on. I had never really listened to it, just read about it. What was presented to me, well, it just struck me as idiocy—drunken Viking idiocy mixed with a healthy dollop of goofy Lord of the Rings playacting and blasphemy. Blasphemy? Really guys? Blasphemy was kinda cool when John Lydon or Crass did it, but the idea of a bunch of Venom-obsessed Vikings on a bender singing about how they hate God and worship “evil” and stuff just struck me as something I’d never be interested in listening to in a million years.

I’m not saying this is necessarily accurate—it’s partially accurate to be sure—but it’s the idea that I had of the genre. All very interesting from a sociological perspective, but when I read Lords of Chaos, I didn’t rush out looking for any of the music. After finishing Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, I couldn’t wait to hear some.

Thank you, Internet. The first thing I listened to—and I turned this shit up so loud it felt like there was wind in the room—was Mayhem’s 1994 album, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, an iconic album generally agreed upon as one of the pinnacles of the Black Metal art form, an unholy grail if you please. Owing to the fact that to describe this music with adjectives like “Satanic” or “evil” would be utterly pointless when you can just hit play, crank this as loud as your speakers can possibly go, or right at the pain threshold if you’re wearing headphones.

Holy shit, right? Two of the members of this band were dead before this album even came out. One was the vocalist, a fellow called “Dead” who blew his head off with a shotgun, the other was the guitarist, “Euronymous” who was killed by the former bass player, Varg Vikernes, AKA “Count Grishnackh.”

Vikernes, who spent years in prison for the murder (and who has been in the news again recently for inciting racial hatred and glorifying war crimes) released this utterly demented one-man band album, Filosofem, under the name Burzum. I’m not endorsing this guy’s repulsive political views in any way (or that he named himself after an orc from Tolkien), but Filosofem, like De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, is an utterly mind-boggling work of art. It’s music that feels like it’s devouring you. It probably helps not to understand what he’s singing…

In any case, you can see what kind of fun I had with Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult. To me, there’s no gift better than new music, or a book like Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult that draws back the curtain on a musical genre perhaps previously overlooked, providing plenty of grist for the rock snob mill. Am I likely to become a raging middle-aged Black Metal fan? That’s perhaps a little far-fetched, but as I fan out through some of the groups that seem the most interesting according to the author, I’m liking what I hear. I think most serious music fans who would get this book as a gift would appreciate it as much as I have. It’s a winner, one of those books that leads to further (rewarding) discovery. I really can’t recommend Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult highly enough.

Below, Burzum’s closest thing to a single, “Dunkelheit,” the epic opening track from Filosofem. How the fuck did something like this ever get on VH1???

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Punk rock hysteria on TV show ‘Quincy’
05:39 pm


punk rock

Punk hysteria on TV. Faux punkers Mayhem play ‘Choke’ on Quincy episode Next Stop, Nowhere.

This Quincy episode aired on December 1, 1982. Some actual albums that were released in 1982: Black Flag - ‘Damaged’  Bad Brains - ‘Bad Brains’ Flipper - ‘Generic’ Exploited - ‘Troops Of Tomorrow’ Fear - ‘The Record’ Husker Du - ‘Everything Falls Apart’ Crass - ‘Christ: The Album’ Minor Threat - ‘Minor Threat’ Replacements - ‘Stink’ Descendents - ‘Milo Goes To College’ Meat Puppets - Bad Religion - ‘How Could Hell Be Any Worse’ Social Distortion - ‘Mommy’s Little Monster’.”  Reverend Dan

“I saw a blind man the other day / took his pencils and ran away”

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Scenes From The Malcolm McLaren Funeral

A horse-drawn carriage led the coffin of Malcolm McLaren through the streets of London today.  The coffin was black and spray-painted, “Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die,” the name, at one point, of the former Sex Pistols manager’s King’s Road clothing shop.

In celebration of the impresario’s life, McLaren’s son (and Agent Provocateur founder), Joseph Corré, urged people to enjoy a midday moment of mayhem: “Put on your favourite records and let it RIP!”  I’ll be playing this.

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment