Me and black metal

Emperor, a symphonic black metal band

Recently I’m developing a more positive attitude towards black metal, and that’s mostly because of what I’ve learned about it. Particularly, black metal in Norway.

It’s mostly ideological persuasion though. I have come to understand the Norwegian scene as an expression of individualism in opposition to the ways of Norwegian society. By the time the black metal scene was forming, Norway was quite the socially democratic state, and group mentality and traditional social roles were encouraged. Not to mention, the Christian church had a powerful role in Norwegian society. The black metal scene in Norway was started by young musicians who disliked Norwegian social norms and wanted to rebel against that, and they saw Satanism and their music as a way of rebelling against the establishment. Since then a series of church burnings struck Norway in the 90’s and many black metal artists were attributed to them (some artists did burn churches, some didn’t), and they were also attributed to a few killings.

The Fantoft stave church in Norway burning to the ground (taken in 1992).

The church burnings, in my opinion, were a protest against the Christian establishment and the “power” of the church, but it’s not just in the Satanic spirit. Some black metal artists prefer to operate under the banner of paganism, particularly Scandinavian paganism, as opposed to Satanism and the occult, as they feel it works much better for them. And these days, many black metal artists sing about life and nature, particularly winter, which would tie in well with their aesthetic style. Whatever suits them and their raw style.

To be honest though, I’m not gonna go crazy here. It’s still the occasional black metal I like for whatever reason, and I still can’t get into the aesthetic style, but I do sympathise with black metal’s idea in some way.


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