21 February 2012

001 - The Preface

I start off with a warning: you will most likely hate what’s on this blog (and consequently me, the author) for slandering your favourite band or release, for supporting the wrong bands, for revealing some ugly truths (or beautiful lies), or for whatever other ‘personal’ offense you will read in it! Every choice I make will piss someone off, so I decided early on to go no-holds-barred on this.

Ever since I realised the first pressing of The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal people have been asking me about my own views on the whole black metal phenomenon. Even though I have relatively clear opinions on black metal, I am against expressing them in an encyclopedia, first because of the objectivity of the undertaking and therefore my objectivity as its writer / researcher, and second because opinions can be fine-tuned or altered over time. Any view given now can become irrelevant in the future, when a radical influential aspect has unveiled itself or a new and accepted influence has challenged, and perhaps changed the scene.
Meelhuysen, The Encyclopedia of Dutch Black Metal, p.3 (introduction, revised edition April 2010).

There are people that believe that associating with metal music and its accompanying ‘culture’ is a sin belonging to youth, and when you grow older you get ‘smarter’ and start looking into safer, tamer, homely, more ‘intelligent’ forms of music. As a result some people drift off to A.O.R. (Adult Orientated Rock; the Valium-laced and castrated brother of regular rock music; probably lost their balls together with their long hair) or find delight in safely eccentric popular bands from their early metal-years (I guess that might be Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, Soft Cell, Prince, Yello, Nina Hagen, Queen, and Beastie Boys for me). They deny or trivialize the fact that they liked Slayer for many years and had hair longer than their wives have. “That’s history, I was just a stupid kid back then,” is what they say in that light-hearted apologetic tone we have all heard more than once in all kinds of different situations. There is a word for that, and that word is Betrayal. And that betrayal is not only targeting the music and its (former / current) fans, but in yourself as well.
     It’s what I found in a Dutch ‘New Age’ magazine that summons it up quite nicely:

Once you sell out your rebel heart you’re lost. You will conform yourself more and more as time goes on and the music you once loved will move further and further away from you. You outgrow the music because your heart closes itself from it, and your mind takes over. But your mind knows it needs music, and it will provide you with material from a more popular genre. This will work for you, but you will never feel the burning passion and intense happiness as you did in those good old days.
Siepman, “De waarheid achter true metal”, p.82; it’s my own translation from Dutch to English.

If you read this introduction and think: hey man, I’m a fan of A.O.R. and there’s nothing wrong with it at all, maybe you’ve neglected to look into your briefs for a while: this book is not for you! But if you think, I don’t mind the hair, but -shit- I’ve lost my gonads as well somewhere along the line, this book might put you back on track and give you a chance to grow them back. You may even discover you’ve missed a whole world of unruly dark pleasures passing by, and grow yourself two sets, just to be sure… Even though my own musical preferences have passed the boundaries of good/bad taste at points (I do listen to more than (black) metal; possibly to the chagrin of some of the scene’s tight-assed ‘elitists’ that think they nailed the point of being ‘true’ black metal), I will probably never be able to shake my allegiance with metal music. I can say that my balls are still intact!

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