Black Metal Satanica
Missionaries brought Christianity to Scandinavia in the 11th Century, supplanting the old Pagan gods. Some people are still pissed off about that. Black Metal Satanica is an overview of Scandinavia’s extreme black metal scene, tracing the music’s roots from Venom and Bathory up to the present day. No real definition or stylistic guide is given for the genre; I picked up growly vocals, distorted guitar riffs and frenetic double-bass drumming. Some say the cold and dark climate of the area serves as inspiration, as do ancient folk songs. Lyrically the music seems to focus on Satanism or traditional Viking gods with a large dash of misanthropy.
Oh, and these guys hate the Christianity. You might remember the wave of church burnings in Norway a few years back. There were also some murders, grave desecrations, and suicides linked in some way to the black metal scene. The interviews are all pretty fascinating – listening to laid-back Scandinavians talk about hating “animals, nature, everything that grows” or describing Mayhem’s deceased frontman, Dead, inhaling a raven corpse from a plastic bag before shows, or hearing about a guy who called himself It, as he was too evil to have a human name is a pretty interesting way to spend 80 minutes. Also of note is watching the interviewees thrown for a loop at the mention of Christian black metal. However, it is hard to say who Black Metal Satanica is aimed at. Die-hard black metal fans are likely to know this stuff already, and newcomers are likely to have questions at the end. Like, how did the growly vocals start? Wouldn’t it shock the squares more if they could understand the lyrics? What is the difference between death metal and black metal? And why does that narrator have to over-enunciate everything to make it sound more evil?
Overall, Black Metal Satanica is a fascinating look at a little-known metal sub-genre and worth a watch.