Thursday, January 7, 2016
On Falsity In Metal
There is no True Metal. All of it is False. There is nothing but False Metal. And this is a very good thing. Metal comes from falsity, and falsity is what gives it life, and compels its doom. Metal was born from Led Zeppelin who were born from The Yardbirds. Ripping off (sometimes acknowledged, sometimes not) African-American Blues songs and heavily amplifying them for stadium audiences is not True. There were zero claims to authenticity except a sincere fandom on the part of LZ. They really dug the blues, as did the entirety of the White English Blues scene, but Authentic it was not. When Alice Cooper started as a band, rather than a person, but became a person, there was a legend about spirit possession by an executed witch. This may or may not be true, but it isn't True. We are talking about some psych-garage kids from Arizona who wanted to play like the Beatles and moved to LA and fell into decadent glam rock and bad-trip culture and came out Alice Cooper, Rock Stars, who counted Elton John among their biggest fans and who had a Las Vegas-inspired stage show until their lead singer assumed sole identity as Alice and fired the rest of the band and appeared on Hollywood Squares and The Muppet Show and is a pretty serious golfer back in Arizona. Were KISS born as a Demon, a Star Child, a Space Person and a Cat? Did they plan on becoming Superheroes with their own Marvel comic book and TV Movie in which they defeat a diabolical theme park employee? Kinda, but is that True? No. But it is true. Like, it actually happened. They made it happen. It became true for everyone in the world. That is magick. Was Quorthon named Quorthon at birth? No, but he mixed up Venom with Celtic Frost and Kate Bush and Motorhead and Viking Legends and Satan and invented Black Metal as we know it. Was that pure or True? Absolutely not. It was filthy and mongrelized and hybrid and wrong. And that is why it is brilliant and people listen to Bathory for inspiration today. King Diamond is the heir to Alice and Kiss directly and immediately. He makes massive stage productions built on a Broadway model which are fictions that he himself has composed in order to function as a horror show. The kids in Norway who after Celtic Frost and King Diamond painted their faces and took on new names were not speaking to the restoration of an actual past as much as they were attempting to make space for themselves and their art in a rigid, conformist society. Their brand of Black Metal was portrayed as a 'return to fundamental roots', but every fundamentalist movement is never a return, but a making of an alternate world, a future homeland which can be imagined and projected. Was Mortiis born a goblin or dungeon troll with an elaborate bank of synthesizers? No, but he became one through magick. To be someone who insists upon the Trueness or Kvltness of Black Metal is to fundamentally misunderstand it. Rock And Roll is about becoming what you are not but really are by making the false real, by actualizing fictions that always seem ridiculous until they become realities, and then they are indispensable. I am telling everyone now, you don't want to be on the Truth Brigade in the Culture War For Black Metal. If that was the case, there would be no Black Metal to begin with, let alone USBM. To stand with True Black Metal against False Metal or 'Hipster Metal' puts you in the category of the people who supported 'Trad Jazz' against the Beatles, who supported the Teddys against the Punks. To insist upon an orthodoxy which has never existed, to have a dress code, a sound code, a behavioral code, a code of identity is to be walking around in Neo-Edwardian velvet jackets and pompadours in the late 1970's and beating the snot out of kids wearing Clash T-shirts with safety pins in them. This is a really important point, more important than just subculture or scene politics. The truth is, is that Black Metal, and Metal in general, is for everyone who wants to listen and can listen, for everyone who stands up to an imposed orthodoxy and says no. There are people who are imprisoned and killed for being metalheads in places where orthodoxies have made this illegal, and this has happened in Amerikkka just as in anywhere else. Rock And Roll is Magick. It allows escape from one layer of identity to another, to blossom into the person you can be, which everyone will acknowledge you as, once you pass through the fire of bravery which is Falseness. It is braver to be False, to endure ridicule and death threats and shunning and scorning, and physical assault, for adopting a glamour, an aura of Magick, to engage in alchemical transformation. Metal might be born in Falsity, but its Trueness is always in its Becoming, not where it is at. Reject Fixity. Reject Orthodoxy. Embrace Beauty. Embrace Becoming. Hail!