Conflict between scenes
There was said to have been a strong rivalry between Norwegian black
Conflict between scenes
There was said to have been a strong rivalry between Norwegian black metal and Swedish death metal scenes. Fenriz and Tchort have noted that Norwegian black metal musicians had become "fed up with the whole death metal scene" and that "death metal was very uncool in Oslo" at the time. A number of times, Euronymous sent death threats to some of the more mainstream death metal groups in Europe. Allegedly, a group of Norwegian black metal fans even plotted to kidnap and murder certain Swedish death metal musicians.
There was a brief feud between Norwegian and Finnish scenes during 1992 and 1993. The feud was partly motivated by seemingly harmless pranks; for example Nuclear Holocausto of the Finnish band Beherit made prank calls in the middle of the night to Samoth of Emperor (in Norway) and Mika Luttinen of Impaled Nazarene (in Finland). The calls consisted of senseless babbling and playing of children's songs, although Luttinen believed them to be death threats from Norwegian bands.
Notably, the album cover of Impaled Nazarene's Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz has "No orders from Norway accepted" and “Kuolema Norjan kusipäille!” (‘Death to the arseholes of Norway!’) printed on the back. The Finnish band Black Crucifixion criticized Darkthrone as "trendies" due to Darkthrone originally being a death metal band.[
This section may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. More details may be available on the talk page. (October 2008)
Taake vocalist Høst - the inverted Christian cross is often used by black metalers to signify their opposition to Christianity.
The first wave bands had a Satanic image, most of them not being ideologically connected to Satanism; with the second wave, Satanism as an ideology defined black metal. Bands associating themselves with black metal are generally opposed to Christianity. Arguably, this is the only coherent sentiment among those defining their music as black metal. Artists who oppose Christianity tend to promote atheism, antitheism, paganism, or Satanism.
In a Norwegian documentary, Fenriz stated that "black metal is individualism above all", and artists tend to be supportive of individualism, although followers of Euronymous tended towards support of anti-individualism. According to Benjamin Hedge Olson's master thesis, "Black Metal is characterized by a conflict between radical individualism and group identity and by an attempt to accept both polarities simultaneously". Occasionally, artists write lyrics that appear to be nihilistic and misanthropic, although it is debatable whether this represents their mentality. In some cases, black metal artists have also espoused romantic nationalism, although the majority of those involved are not outspoken with regard to this. Nonetheless, many black metal artists seek to reflect their surroundings within their music. The documentarist Sam Dunn noted of the Norwegian scene that "unlike any other heavy metal scene, the culture and the place is incorporated into the music and imagery". An article in the Chronicles of Chaos zine noted that "An overriding feature of almost all black metal is the fascination with the past". Regarding this, Aaron Weaver from Wolves in the Throne Room said in an interview: "I think that black metal is an artistic movement that is critiquing modernity on a fundamental level saying that the modern world view is missing something".
Regarding the sound of black metal, there are two conflicting groups within the genre: "those that stay true to the genre's roots, and those that introduce progressive elements". The former believe that the music should always be minimalist – performed only with the standard guitar-bass-drums setup and recorded in a low fidelity style. One supporter of this train of thought is Blake Judd of Nachtmystium, who has rejected labeling his band black metal for its departure from the genre's typical sound. Snorre Ruch of Thorns, on the other hand, has stated that modern black metal is "too narrow" and believes that this was "not the idea at the beginning". Eric Horner of the Montana, USA band, Throne of Malediction states that "I personally think black/extreme metal takes something that can be called 'fashion' and makes it true 'art'. Though many bands base it on Satanic belief, I disagree that it is the only way to be 'black metal'. Black metal to me is pure emotion and individuality with a real vibe to it. It is a genre where beautiful piano compositions can sit next to screeching banshee vocals and raw guitars. It has no limits, as far as I'm concerned".
Some prominent musicians within the scene maintain that black metal does not need to represent any particular ideology. For example, Jan Axel Blomberg said in an interview with Metal Library that "In my opinion, black metal today is just music". Likewise, Sigurd Wongraven stated in the Murder Music documentary that black metal "doesn't necessarily have to be all Satanic, as long as it's dark". An article in Metalion's Slayer fanzine attacked musicians that "care more about their guitars than the actual essence onto which the whole concept was and is based upon", and claimed that "the music itself doesn't come as the first priority".
The downward-pointing pentagram is commonly used by bands in the genre.
Black metal was originally used as a term for extreme metal bands with satanic lyrics, although most of the "first wave" bands only used satanism for shock value; one of the few exceptions was Mercyful Fate singer and Church of Satan member King Diamond, whom Michael Moynihan calls "one of the only performers of the '80s Satanic Metal who was more than just a poseur using a devilish image for shock value".
Mayhem guitarist Euronymous was central in establishing an ideology for the Norwegian black metal scene. He and his followers rejected Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan, instead promoting a "hard-line, misanthropic devil worship". Benjamin Hedge Olson wrote that they "transform[ed] Venom's quasi-Satanic stage theatrics into a form of cultural expression unique from other forms of metal or Satanism" and "abandoned the mundane identities and ambitions of other forms of metal in favor of religious and ideological fanaticism". Bands who were not Theistic Satanists were not deemed "black metal" by Euronymous and other important members of the Norwegian scene, like Faust of Emperor. At the time, bands with a 'Norwegianesque' style, but without Satanic lyrics, tended to use other terms for their music. Today there are still prominent musicians – such as Infernus, Arioch and Erik Danielsson – who insist that Satanism should be foremost. Some bands have moved from Satanism to Paganism; as black metal traditionally is defined by Satanism, "for many 'purist' black metallers, this latter move disqualifies a band as 'black', placing it instead beneath a variety of other modifiers: pagan, Viking, troll, forest, and the like"