Abazagorath Post 5

Do you think the post-9/11 American climate is more or less accepting of extreme metal bands than the time before? If more – why do you think this is? Do you see the last few years of American history as a time of growing darkness, or period of openness where Americans are finally realizing the violent nature of the nation’s international political/diplomatic stance and are tasting some of the fears that other countries have experience for some time now?

If it _is_ a period of spreading darkness is this, in your opinion, something to be embraced or rejected? Do you think it will lead to something new – something in the national character/history/sentiment we have never seen before?

Headbanger’s Ball, featuring a lot of that screamo pseudo HC/ Metal shit, may be back and dimmu borgir may be on Ozzfest, but come on, I think it gives the masses a pretty weak impression of what Metal is all about!!! I think American society has taken a sharp turn towards conservatism since 9/11, so I don’t think there is any more acceptance of real extreme music. Look at what has unfolded over the past few months: all the publicity and fanfare over Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” the religious right pushing hard politically, the FCC suddenly taking serious action on “indecency on the airwaves.” The christians are trying to worm their way back into the forefront of American culture.

Besides that, I think most Americans are just brainwashed sheep ready to blindly follow the latest fads and trends, swallow what the mass media force feeds them and are more worried about their pricey gadgets and luxuries to really analyze what the fuck is really going on in the world. I suppose Americans now have a bit more fear in them regarding issues they never worried about, like terrorism, but have been forced into a mindset that leaves most with a really narrow, short-sighted world view. I think things could get very much “worse,” at least as far as the majority’s perception goes. I accept this growing darkness and embrace it. I think it could lead to something new if it rose to a certain level in which the complete social order was overturned.

Do you think the style of black metal, in itself, is open to “expansion” or aesthetic progression? At a point in the early ’90s many bands within the scene who called themselves “black metal” were also trying to widen the boundaries of the genre and explore different musical ranges of expression within it. After this initial period of experimentation a lull or returning decadence set in where, in order to “protect” a few essential elements of the style (or at least what they viewed them to be) a number of bands deliberately halted all aesthetic progression whatsoever and tried to coalesce around a form of metal that became increasingly conservative. Why, do you think, did this atavistic structure of post-Norwegian black metal develop? Do you think contemporary black metal bands usually view progression with suspicion now that the early Norwegian scene has been “corrupted” by commercialism? Where can black metal go from here?

To a certain degree, yes, I think that the art form can be expanded upon without losing the qualities that set it apart from mere entertainment for the masses. Unfortunately, at a point, all the experimentation that was going on started to dilute the essence of Black Metal and the meaning began to get lost.

The resulting backlash against the expansion or aesthetic progression was a reaction against this “weakening” of the style. It does seem that progression or even a decent handling of one’s instrument can be looked upon warily by some in the scene these days, but I think this idea has been taken a bit too far…. Too many use this concept as a crutch to legitimize shitty music!!!

On the other hand, you still have bands that can tread firmly within the conservative confines of the style and still manage to create something that explodes with an energy that is fresh and innovative. Cases in point, WATAIN’s “Casus Luciferi” or DEATHSPELL OMEGA’s “Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice.” As many times as the genre has been pronounced dead, there are those who still continue to proudly march forward and keep the flames burning… We plan to be among them for some time to come…