EDITORIALS

IS “UNBLACK” METAL STILL BLACK METAL?

There has been much discussion over religion in all types of music, especially metal but can Christianity really break through into the black metal scene? Bands like Antestor and Horde wanted to prove just that in the 1990s. The exact start of the Unblack Metal movement is still disputed to this day. The Australian band Horde’s 1994 release Hellig Usvart brought the concept and the term “holy Unblack Metal” (a word play on Darkthrone’s slogan “Unholy Black Metal” used on the albums A Blaze in the Northern Sky and Under a Funeral Moon) to media attention, while the Norwegian band Antestor was already formed in 1990 as a Death/Doom Metal act and released its demo The Defeat of Satan in 1991, before they began changing towards Black Metal on their 1994 album Martyrium.

It is still a strange thing that these “Unblack” Metal bands would come to be in a genre known to be, especially during the second wave, as “anti-Christian.” Is it possible to merge their religious views into a genre created against their religious views? With bands like Burzum (Varg Vikernes was convicted of four church burnings, including that of the Fantoft Stave Church, an eleventh-century national landmark. He later used a picture of the burned church for the cover of his EP Aske), Emperor (Guitarist Samoth was sentenced to sixteen months in jail after being convicted of church arson in Norway and drummer Faust, traveled to Holmenkollen Chapel with Euronymous of Mayhem and Varg Vikernes of Burzum with the intension of bombing the chapel. When the homemade bomb they put on the altar refused to detonate, they soaked hymnals and bibles in gasoline and lit them on the altar, burning the church to the ground), Hades (now Hades Almighty)(Guitarist Jørn Inge Tunsberg, was also convicted for burning down a church in Åsane, Norway, and spent two years in prison) as well as many others showing their commitment to hatred of Christianity, why would these “Unblack” Metal groups want to take part if they’re not wanted?

Many Black Metal bands have stated many times that they have anti-Christian views, beliefs and ideology and believe that it has even ruined their proud heritages in native countries of origin. Many have said that the proud Norwegian pioneers of Black Metal did these crimes of arson because they believed the growth of Christianity was ruining their sacred land and heritage. Gaahl of Gorgoroth stated in an interview for the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey:

“Church burnings and all these things are, of course, things that I support 100 percent and it should have been done much more and will be done much more in the future. We have to remove every trace from what Christianity and the Semitic roots have to offer this world.”

Black Metal will never be accepting of this movement of “Unblack” Metal bands nor anything to do with any religious beliefs in the genre but I personally do not see it changing the progress of the growing amount of these disciples of Christian Black Metal.

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