Monday, December 01, 2008

More Thoughts on Lords of Chaos

Towards the middle of the book the authors interview two men who write for what the book describes as Norway's "cultural newspaper," Morgenbladet: a Satanist of the old (Aleister Crowley-influenced) school and a Christian who writes on theological matters. They were both discussing the rise of the association between Satanism and Black Metal in Norway and had some interesting theories, but what I found resonant enough to write about was their comparisons of Ihsahn and Varg Vikernes; how after speaking with Ihsahn, they both found his beliefs to be far more sophisticated in both their level of development (more because he had abandoned the idea of evil for evil's sake and settled on a philosophy that was pro-Satan and not just anti-Christ) and their desire for elegance. After reading their thoughts, I realized that the same desire for elegant evil was what I find so attractive about Ihsahn's music, both with Emperor and as a solo artist.

I'm a big fan of evil music - if that wasn't obvious from the blog's title - but I also need my evil music cloaked in different forms (which should also be obvious from the blog's title) to keep it interesting. Alternation between different types of metal certainly does the trick, but a closer examination of the albums I come back to time and time - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk, Blackwater Park, Images and Words (to name a few), and more recent additions like angL and Kolossus - reveals a fascination with brutality mixed with elegance. Beat me over the head with high-speed shreds, thunderous bottom ends, and bone-crushing pounding of drums; screech your images of destruction, alienation, and soul-destruction into my ears; put me through the mill of your sonic pain machine, but while you may earn my respect, you'll only win my lasting love if you mix that assault with elegant constructions that emphasize the beauty in your chaos.

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