I'm not generally a fan of black metal, no; beyond my overall aversion to Cookie Monstering when it comes to any kind of singing, my gut reaction when I see somebody in corpsepaint, looking Mëtäl and wannabe-badass, is roughly the same as when I see barbarians with gigantic beer bellies and rode-hard wenches in chainmail bikinis at RenFest. Which is to say that I just chuckle and shake my head. Great for them, sure, but not for me.
At the same time, though, I find myself fascinated by the existence of the whole black metal scene -- these guys (since it does seem to primarily be guys) seem to not just view the music and image as something fun to do that they love, but treat it instead like a blueprint for their whole freaking lives. They one-up the Rennies by living this shit, day in and day out, it seems like. Not that that's necessarily a good thing, mind you; I read Michael Moynihan and Didrik Soderlind's Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground with a sick sort of dread in the pit of my stomach, particularly when they dealt with the church burnings, the Mazi leanings, and the murders that've been tied to the scene.
Still, I can't help but want to see what the hell's going on inside these people's skulls, especially after seeing H-town expat photojournalist Peter Beste's awesome photos of Norwegian black-metal dudes hanging around in caves and isolated cabins in the Scandinavian wilderness, from his book True Norwegian Black Metal. Check out some of 'em here. (I mean, c'mon; the spiky wristbands alone are absolutely priceless, y'all.)
All of the above is to explain, by the way, why I'm finding tomorrow's showing at Domy of Until the Light Takes Us so damn enticing. It's a documentary look at the black metal scene, produced by musician Aaron Aites and artist Audrey Ewell, that looks at the history, impact, and aftermath of the whole thing.
Here's the official writeup:
Until the Light Takes Us is a feature length documentary about black metal: an ideological movement/music genre comprised of metal musicians, murderers, church-burners, and suicide victims. The film examines the birth and explosive arc of black metal through the eyes of the scene’s leaders, who tried to change the world using music and symbolic acts of violence.
Three men lead the scene: one is dead, one’s in jail for killing him and inciting a wave of church arson, and one continues to release albums in the genre they created. The musicians blur the line between music, art, activism and terror, and successful visual artists (including Harmony Korine, who makes a cameo) are now recontextualizing it as contemporary art in galleries and museums around the world. Part (post)modern art movement, part terrorist movement, and part rock scene, the film tells a story unlike any other.
Details time: Friday, August 7th at 8:30PM; door charge is $9 (a little steep for a movie, I know, but this is low-budget indie filmmaking, and these folks need to not go bankrupt, right?). Oh, and I owe a shout-out to Houston Metal Music Examiner Brett Stevens for this one -- his blog was the first place I heard about the film, waaaaay back at the beginning of July. Thanks for the heads-up, man...
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