Monday, March 25, 2013

If anything would get me to listen to more metal...'s Scott Seward's "Of Wolves and Vibrancy: A Brief Exploration of the Marriage Made in Hell between Folk Music, Dead Cultures, Myth, and Highly Technical Modern Extreme Metal" from Pop - When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt, ed. Eric Weisbard (Duke UP, 2012): 271-281. Some choices nuggets:

"With metal, I think it's that sense of immediacy and vitality that even mediocre examples of the genre can conjure up simply by virtue of hyperbole and that striving to be the most of something. The most base, or debased, or most grandiose, or most gloomy, or most triumphant. I respond strongly to unashamed displays of the will to power in most genres of any art. At the very least, I admire those who feel as if the infinite is within their grasp. No matter how misguided their central premise. Believing you are a badass is half the battle when it comes to creating something compelling" (272).
"Modern extreme metal—the hard-to-grasp stuff, the nasty stuff, the stuff that doesn't reach out to include you, the stuff that lives in its own world away from the crowds, and that doesn't try to soothe even in its beauty—reminds me more of jazz or rap or tricky modern classical music, which demand that you crack codes before they will break bread with you" (272-3).

"The truth is, metal needs its puerile and unsavory elements to be as strong a form as it is. If you exclude the bad and the ugly from art and only focus on the good, then you are truly living in fairyland. Also, you are your grandmother. A song entitled "Strangled by Intestines" will not be to everyone's taste, but dig a little deeper and you will learn that its author, Joe Wolfe (of the group Heinous Killings), is revered by hundreds as one of the greatest low-tone goregrind vocalists of all time" (274).

"Metal has always been a great place for people who don't feel they belong in the world. And metal artists go to great lengths to create a home, a place, a life, a philosophy, a religion, out of the tools of their art. Or they go out of their way to trumpet the merits of their own small patch of soil...I can dig the sentiment. In the 1980s, I was a big admirer of British anarcho-punks like Crass and Flux of Pink Indians, and the idea that some of these groups had punk-rock communes seemed so cool to me. In the states there was the Dischord house and the Better Youth Organization. Punk boy scouts, really. I would have looked for a like-minded place or cult myself at the time, but I've never been fond of gardening" (274-275).

"Even a cursory glance through the interview section of The Convivial Hermit magazine - an excellent chronicle and repository for the wit and wisdom of scores of kindred spirits in the metal underground - will reveal more evidence of a longing to be left alone to create in peace than of overarching theories regarding the superiority of any one race" (276).

And, finally, a quote from Ulver from their 1999 Metamorphosis EP: "We are as unknown to you as we always were" (281).

And, lo, once I stopped snickering, I actually got something from Faroe Islands' Tyr. Something like, ya know, the will to push forward:

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