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Black Metal: Beyond the Darkness
Synopses & Reviews
Black Metal is a genre often maligned as overtly concerned with nihilism, destructiveness and an insular obsession with Satanism and aggressive nationalism. In reality, it is a constantly evolving vehicle for musically and ideologically progressive groups and artists, one that is increasingly forward thinking despite maintaining a purity of expression that is tied to the past.
The formative events that, in equal measure, shocked and fascinated the tabloids of Norway and the international Metal underground in the early 1990s have given way to pan-academic appraisal, far-reaching musical appropriation and new conceptions of regional and stylistic self-identity.
Black Metal — Beyond the Darkness aims to look past the much-discussed Second Wave spearheaded by groups and artists such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and Emperor, with a new focus on a number of the forms lesser-reported international scenes; developments in the selling and distribution of Black Metal through labels, stores and distros; idiosyncratic aesthetics and inherent notions of theatricality; Black Metals relationship with the world of Fine Art; and oral recollections of the genres development, amongst other topics.
Illustrated with previously unseen archival photography, record covers, ephemera and other diverse aesthetic documentation of the genre, Black Metal — Beyond the Darkness includes newly commissioned essays by Nathan T Birk, Louis Pattison, Nick Richardson, Jérôme Lefèvre and Diarmuid Hester, as well as newly prefixed texts by Brandon Stosuy and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, alongside testimonials by groups and individuals including John Metalion Kristiansen, Ulver, Imperial, Trine + Kim Design Studio, Nicola Masciandaro and Jon Thorns” Jamshid.
Black Metal: Beyond The Darkness is a contemporary reader on a genre often maligned by the press as overtly concerned with nihilism, destructiveness and an insular obsession with Satanism and aggressive nationalism. In reality, Black Metal is a constantly evolving vehicle for musically and ideologically progressive groups and artists, one that is increasingly forward thinking despite maintaining a purity of expression that is tied to the past.
The book aims to look past the infamous second wave of Scandinavian bands such as Mayhem, Burzum and Darkthrone, and their links to the tabloid-baiting spate of suicides, murders, church burnings and controversial right-wing rhetoric which overshadowed the scenes creative output in Norway in the early 1990s, and which is the overwhelming focus of most of the published material on the subject. Though these aspects are necessary to a comprehensive understanding of the form, Black Metal: Beyond The Darkness, follows the style of Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and its Legacy, by providing an overview in an in-depth reader format, bridging the gap between conventional accounts of the scene and the new pan-academic focus on Black Metal as a conduit for socio-cultural expression.
Black Metal features a chronological historical overview of the genres developments; a multitude of band profiles and case studies on classic records; information on seminal record labels, peripheral industry individuals and shops; archival visual material; and a range of essays discussing Black Metals inherent relationship with radical environmentalism, fine art, sexuality, transcendentalism and theatrics, amongst other topics.
Bands featured include: Bathory, Burzum, Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Blut Aus Nord, Xasthur, Wolves In The Throne Room, Darkthrone, Immortal, Hellhammer, Liturgy, Weakling, Ulver, Immortal, Enslaved, 1349, Krallice, Rotting Christ and the associated artists of the French Les Légions Noires movement. With commentary by leading experts in the field Black Metal provides a unique insight this progressive music genre.
About the Author
Brandon Stosuy is Editor at Pitchfork, a Contributing Editor for the Believer, and a Music Curator at MoMA/PS1. He writes Pitchfork's monthly metal column, Show No Mercy, and curates a series of underground metal shows using that name. Stosuy has collaborated with the artist Matthew Barney on various events and two zines, TUBAL CAIN and ADAC, and has worked with Kai Althoff, Peter Sotos, Philip Best, Brody Condon, Sasha Grey, Tony Conrad, and others on art installations and performances. Stosuy's anthology of Downtown New York literature, Up Is Up, But So Is Down, was selected by the Village Voice as one of their 25 favorite books of 2006.
Nathan T Birk has been writing prolifically about underground black metal for the past decade, in publications such as Metal Maniacs, Terrorizer, and Unrestrained. Presently, he is the editor of Zero Tolerance, where he has spearheaded an even deeper focus on underground black metal. During that time, he scored the first major interviews with the likes of Funeral Mist, Xasthur, Watain, Leviathan, and Peste Noire. He currently resides in the United States.
Louis Pattison is a London-based writer, who has written for publications including Uncut, Zero Tolerance, NME, Guardian Music, The Quietus, Frieze and the Big Issue. He was editor of Plan B, an acclaimed independently published music and culture title.
Nick Richardson is a London based editor and journalist. He contributes to the London Review of Books and The Wire, among other publications.
Frances Morgan is a music and film writer based in London. From 2004 to 2009 she edited, and then published, Plan B magazine, and has written for publications including Frieze, Sight and Sound, The Quietus, Terrorizer, New Statesman and Electric Sheep. She recently contributed essays to Loops (Faber and Faber) and The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (Strange Attractor Press), and works as an editor for Strange Attractor, Sound and Music and others.
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