Marie Cachet Le Besoin d’Impossible


To begin with, we should make it clear that whatever is written here on the ideas proposed in Le Besoin d’Impossible by Marie Cachet are the sole interpretation in the understanding of this reader. French is not my strong suit, though it is manageable in writing, and though Cachet’s propositions are set forth in a very formal and logical manner, metaphysical treatises are not known for their accessibility. That said, I am glad to have been able to make it through with a dictionary in hand and a resonance with many of the ideas being put forth, especially towards the end.

It should be clear that this is but a casual, and rather short, commentary on and an emphatic recommendation of the book; the book is short but dense, and is designed to take the reader step by step in logical derivations. It is not precisely a ‘fun’ read, for it is straight up metaphysics, but it does make some bold and interesting points as part of the journey of reason it takes the reader on. If I have misunderstood, I hope the reader and Marie Cachet will forgive me; on my part, I also try to elaborate my own thoughts on this wonderful book.

It is also worth mentioning that upon finishing this book, it struck me that it is actually an excellent formal companion to Varg Vikernes’ Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism, also published in 2016. Besides that, it seemed to me like the remarks of Cachet towards the end of her book pertaining artistic creation and the ‘temporalization’ of the Eternal in them were an excellent descriptor of the whole intent of Burzum‘s music.


§ The Need for Transcendence


   The main idea of Le Besoin d’Impossible is that humans not only have a predisposition towards the need of finding meaning in the things they do and their life as a whole, but are even hardwired to do so. That means that the moment they find themselves in a position where all transcendent ideas, such as religion, myth, and ideals in general, are taken away from them, they enter a cycle of despair. These ideas are understood beyond what moderns would refer to as ‘superstition’ or ‘mere beliefs’, and require the comprehension of a different mode of thought in a world where religion attains the character of the objective in the eyes of the individual.

The topic is rather well-suited for our modern world, in which a greater part of the population has fallen into this mode of thought; the lower way of life that cycles between the need to survive and the need to escape from the life of survival. Today, humankind believes it has been freed from what it sees as the chains of religion; in truth, it has only changed a kind of religion for another. When before it looked towards the gods and the priests, perhaps, now it looks towards the government and the science establishment. Whether people want to dispute the validity of such claims does not change the fact that people in general do treat these authorities as their new anchor for meaning and purpose.

 The book is divided into three parts in which it presents the claim, elaborates a metaphysical core of thought and thence presents a higher conclusion based the first two. Not deeming myself completely in command of the arguments, I will only briefly explain what each of the three chapters of the book were roughly about.

The first was an establishment of certain premises for the book, including the idea of despair as motivation in modern man to surrender to faith (concentrating on the Christian religion); how this also part of the entertainment humans look for to distract them from the desperation that arises from their own realization of how little they understand and have within themselves. The book necessarily starts from an accurate condemnation of Darwinist Evolution and Freudian Psychology as the companions of the Judeo-Christian faith as the main promoters of guilt and thence blind faith in modern man.


§ We live the Beauty of Eternity


The second chapter goes into a brief metaphysical exposition of the point of view that matter is all there is. That space may permeate matter but that there is no such thing as space without matter; furthermore, that time is the evolution (the change) of matter. This seems to be roughly put together with the Descartian idea of cogito ergo sum (something I was never convinced of, and now am sure is not valid —think hard enough on your own, or read Kant), to then, basically, put forth the idea that all there is for us to know is what is experienced. The latter I consider, perhaps, one of the weakest points in the book, if only because I digress with Descartes.

More interestingly, and arising from the trinity of existence in space, matter and time, is the idea of Eternity within each moment. Such a derivation needs but self-honesty and a logical, mentality stripped off sophistry and unnecessary convolutions that can see through to the bases and simple origins. The idea is that your recollection of the past is merely a present interpretation of reconstructions and hints of memory, the future that has not come to pass does not really exist, and so all that you really have is a continuous fluxion of states that we call the immediate present.

Since in that moment we are perceiving a finite bit of the total of existence, that is, we as finite beings are presencing the all that is, by our available means of perception, essentially infinite, we can say that Eternity, the Eternal, as a whole, is captured or peeked through in every waking moment. That is to say, the window is there, and we are living through it throughout or continued existence. The option to actually stop and witness it or to keep summoning the imagined past or the non-existent possible set of future situations is a decision. The door is there, says Marie Cachet, and it is the individual who chooses to open it as much as he will, or to close it completely.

Le point de vue seul doit changer pour transposer le sujet humain et fini dans l’Éternité, le présent. En effet, le corps, ou même la conscience humaine, est fini(e) et limité(e), mais l’Éternité est bien présente, partout, et l’unique présent. Nous pouvons comparer l’accès de l’homme à l’Éternité à une porte que le sujet peut ouvrir plus ou moins ou fermer totalment.


§ Knowledge of the maze we tread


 As a direct consequence of the derivation of the accessibility of the Eternal in the experience of every conscious human being, the idea of divinity is discussed. Divinity as an amoral (as in lacking the idea of good and evil) state of what is and what permeates reality, as opposed to what humans project onto it. Our relationship to this Eternal, and to the Divine, would appear to lie in the degrees in which we are aware of it and in how we think of it or make use of it.

Its amoral —neutral, as Cachet says— nature in itself is uncaring in the human moral sense; and any distinctions lie only in how close we humans get to perceiving it as it is. Cachet wanted us, from the beginning of the book, to move away from the modern concept of subjective and objective as if they were dichotomies that represent what is real and what is imaginary. And so this ‘subjectively’ perceived divinity is ‘objetive’ in that it is a thing in itself, though perhaps not in the sense that modernity uses the term to signify ‘scientific material confirmability’, and must be approached through inner changes of oneself.

In tandem and as an introduction the concept of will is presented; the will not as a creator, but as the instrument that enables us to redirect and channel forth the Eternal —the infinite— into finite forms that are reproducible in one way or another. Will is also presented as the attraction between spaced out particles of the eternal, which through this separation and polarity create every kind of motion and ultimately represent love at both a higher and more earthly levels.1

The crown of the book, and of these beautiful derivations, is found in the arrival at the traditional idea of the labyrinth of life lived with a transcendental awareness; that in presencing the Eternal, and so connecting with the Divine in ourselves and in everything else, we may rise in that Present and contemplate the maze that life is; in so doing we descry the center of the maze, and so attain our own secret purpose and meaning.

Such words may appear as mere words to those who will not plunge into the depths on their own and need to be guided; but such a feat, and such a world, can only be attained and traveled to through that contemplation and by that stopping of time into essentially what is. To do so is an individual effort, and one that requires simply that one directs one’s senses; it is a simplifying towards what is always there, and away from the complex illusions that abstractions and hubris have created.


Footnotes

It bears mentioning that this idea echoes ancient Indian cosmogony, and Greek philosophy; both of these also find more obscure and esoteric correspondences in the incredibly ancient lore of Hyperborean Europe. More than a few serious works have been written on this topic, but a certain one should be referenced that touches on the traces of Scandinavian lore which can be found in Vedic lore with remains in certain vestiges in ancient Persia. These three constitute the main trilogy of ancient Aryan foundation, as I understand. The interested reader should refer to The Arctic Home of the Vedas, by Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

Amongst the Ruins —A review of Nihilism

brett_stevens_-_nihilism_a_philosophy_based_in_nothingness_and_eternity-600x900Nihilism: A philosophy based on nothingness and eternity, Brett Stevens’ new book, opens the door to the author’s mind by giving us a picture of childhood in suburban America in a well-to-do, middle-class family. This is the typical family that would be considered privileged and fortunate by all standards of modern society. Despite this, signs of internal turmoil, dissatisfaction and desperation are evident all over the place under the thin veneer of smiles and good intentions.

Brett Stevens attempts, in Nihilism, to go to the root of causes from the human vantage point through a meta-philosophical1 exploration of the factors. Through the author’s tutelage, it becomes obvious that good intentions mean nothing when negative results come about, and that the universal occurrence of perfectly shaped smiles usually betrays emptiness and a lack of clear goals. In this book, we find a rejection of all political and ideological systems in exchange for a return to a search for the wisdom and discernment of the ancients.

Underlying this is the idea that essence and holistic results are more important than temporal form and localised effects, the first of which is but a vehicle while the second has little actual consequence on its own.


§ The situation


One of the greatest paradoxes of the society in which we live in is its supposed avowal of diversity in both thought and way of living. In truth, what we find is far removed from freedom and is rather a passively enforced and very effective system whereby the average citizen is lead to act as a government informant and an agent of one central liberal and “progressive” pseudo culture2. It leads to authentically different ideas (rather than those that appear as new but are little more of the same in a different presentation) being shun outright once they are detected as non-compliant with the central system’s requirements.

It is assumed that because, in contrast to traditional cultures, modern civilization accepts variations in sexual tendencies, race mixing and entertainment, it is somehow more accepting and open-minded. In truth, it is as close-minded as traditional cultures, while the only difference is what it allows and what it does not. What is also overlooked is that we are, in fact, imposing a different order over those who are traditionally minded. How are we to differentiate among them? Isn’t modern civilization, because better informed as a result of technological and scientific advancement, in a better position to judge the way things should be done?


§ A proposition


Brett Stevens advocates nihilism as a gateway to realism and idealism which, hand in hand and dealt with higher intellect, take the mentality of the individual towards transcendentalism. In a summarised manner, it is an extreme acknowledgement of what is without trying to impose human illusion over the tangible and measurable universe, only to then head towards the highest ideals that we can think of in an ever-ascending path. The beneficent effect of this outlook is twofold: first, it bypasses any impulse towards compromise and mediocrity, and second, it forces us to consider the permanent first of all, and the temporal in view of it.

Furthermore, to achieve such a vision, humans are required to put aside their egos, and so any illusions of socially-imposed egalitarianism in favour of a holistic vision of what is good as per ultimate consequences. Unfortunately, some divide this into two black-and-white categories in the common means versus ends dilemma, which is only so for those afflicted with narrow minds and short sightedness. Each question should be evaluated in its own context, not dealt with in prescribed absolutes such as “this is bad/good”, and rather as “what will the effect of this course of action be in this condition?”.

Realistic values, then, are created through the consensus that follows addressing each situation with respect to visionary criteria that does not sacrifice the whole to avoid having to take a hard decision. Values also vary between kinds of people and markedly so between people from different cultures and races. True freedom comes not from an inclusive government that forces its own overarching values over distinct groups that must accommodate to it, but from independent groups that are free to choose their own values within their own terms of existence.

Modern, democratic-liberal imposition is tyranny for those who do not agree with it. The typical, childish response by college-like types accustomed to having their ideas protected so long as they pander to the majority (seeing as democracy is a popularity contest, not a reaching towards actual solutions), is that anyone who does not agree is free to go live far off on a mountain. Even if we were willing to do so and were successful in building outlying posts of a new/different culture, we know that if these became influential and highly successful there are no out-of-bounds regions for modern, globalised governments.

The peace-loving modern West would only consider such communities as breeding centres for outlaws and/or extremists deserving to be imprisoned, tortured and “re-educated”. Just ask any country in the last 120 years that has been successful in escaping the clutches of international banking and corporatism: they have all been summarily “brought to justice for their crimes against humanity” sooner or later. Thus, change will have to be slow and encouraged from within to survive the collapse of the diseased body of a civilisation that has been crumbling for millennia (technological advancements notwithstanding).


§ For those who seek, not for those who wait


These propositions, however, are not aimed at trying to convince anyone by way of sentimental appeals, but rather a presentation of logical and common sense statements that can be taken by someone willing to go through them rationally and make up his or her own mind. The implication that many of subpar intelligence, lacking mental honesty or irreparable egotism will almost surely reject the ideas in this book from the very start without understanding them is a tacit given. This does not mean that there is an attitude of requesting complete compliance, but that the contents require an honesty and wilful consideration that escapes the vast majority of people in a capricious and self-deceiving world afflicted by globalised modernity.


1 Meta-philosophical in the sense that it is not an attempt at creating a full philosophical system, but to use philosophical references to indicate the contours and boundaries of a precise idea that is to serve as starting point for later stages.

2 The compendium of modern secular “values” which reflect centuries of Judeo-Christian indoctrination could be called a pseudo culture instead of an authentic one by virtue of the fact that they are super-imposed on people rather than born naturally from an organic consensus arising through generations of individuals interacting with those within their actual community.

Eremita Produzioni, November 2016 Overview

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§ A First Observation


The Hermit as an archetype can be described as a willful separation of an individual for the purpose of entering a creative space separate from the rest of the human-world where he can both reconnect with himself and intensify his perception of the natural-world. Works produced by Eremita Produzione share in common is a very distinctive atmospheric tone and simplicity that is very close to melodic ambient music. What intensifies this separation is the touch of punkish black metal that underscores the long, captivating melodies, giving them a combination of deep-seated aggression with an overarching sensibility. These releases, it seems to me, strike a very interesting balance between powerful surges that penetrate and the attentive empathy that are more receptive.

For all this talk and personal impression, however, several of these releases have a conceptual inclination that favors the esoteric Roman and through it an awe and reverence towards the Indo-Aryan spirit and their historical traditions. The greater part of the sentiment common to these bands, and indeed the overwhelming feeling in the case of Infamous, is that of reverence for nature and the laws that make its feral and dangerous beauty possible. Thus, by approaching and reconnecting with the Roman spirit while simultaneously reaching out to the muliebral manifestations of Mother Nature, the host of releases of Eremita Produzione seems to approach an interesting esoteric balance.


§ Releases


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Solitvdo Hierarkhes

The first impression of the basic expression style that Solitvdo shows us in this release may at first stress our patience as the vocals clearly lag behind the potential of the music as a whole. Furthermore, the simplicity of riffs may also, at first, take some time to take in so that one allows the strengths of the album to show themselves as the compositions run their course. The result of waiting and letting Hierarkhes show us what it has is very rewarding. This is a work that feels very lyrical, as repetition allows for synth orchestration to extend their meaningful melodies. These are not allowed to become the sole purpose of the music and a blasting rhythm explodes in the percussion, while guitars sometimes support the melody and at other times take the front stage. The topic of the album is clearly reflected through the music on its own and an irrefutable heroic spirit in the traditional sense permeates the whole work.


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Kshatriya’s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos

It is refreshing to see an Italian exploiting and expanding on the theme of the Indo Aryan spirit that unites the caste-based Indian system with that of the disciplined Romans. Kshatriya takes a very raw approach rather than try their hand at any attempt to emulate either of these cultures’ popularly-known sounds. In Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos we hear a melodic but very aggressive black metal of the kind based on a general punk-like technique extending into expressive constructions that play very little with repetition and focus in motif build ups as well as contrasts between them which through melodic shape justify transitions through bursts.  In sound and guitar methodology, Kshatriya bears a resemblance to Gevurahel, from Argentina (the Italians of Latin America). The most obvious shortcoming of this release is that while it has the potential of being progressive and symphonic in its overall structuring, it bites its own tail by allowing returns to riffs and sections, and not having the patience to continue songs through a longer and more descriptive arc.


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Infamous / Rovina split

The Infamous half of this split contains two new songs and a song from the latest full-length album, Tempesta. The new songs are on the punk-like side of Infamous with a more limited melodic interplay in contrast to its developed style in ‘Tempesta I’. It is, in fact, the Rovina side of this split that shines with a dark light, a will to dig deeper into the confines of a soul ready to destroy the mundane world and bring about a new Aeon. Rovina’s two songs display a far more clear and expressive play of melody, as well as a particular passionate exposition that contrasts with the more laid back contemplation of Infamous. I personally do not invest into splits as I see them as a compromise to publish new music or a way to support newer projects, but I am very much looking forward to Rovina’s next full-length.


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Infamous / Solitvdo / Warnungstraum Il Rifugio del Silenzio

‘The Refuge of Silence’ starts with the most mellow side of Infamous, showing us just how flexible S.A. has become within his unique and very personal artistic voice. This is more Infamous speaking and crafting a whole different work with its delicate, vaguely Indie-like melodies in a raw black metal frame-work and development. Solitvdo is here still on a facet that still reeks of Insomnium while displaying the musical sensibilities that will later crown them in their 2016 full-length. This is excellent melodic black metal, however still slightly anonymous or faceless with a strange reliance on Indie voices to a degree that is annihilated in Infamous but dominates a little too much in Solitvdo. Warnungstraum starts out sounding positively evil and definitely heavier than its two split-partners. Melodic eloquence is not lacking and is completely on par with the rest of the material on this release. It’s heavy and dense riffage do lend it a far more serious and noticeable presence and it seems a natural and good choice that its two songs are placed at the very end, closing off with the best.


infamous tempesta 2015

Infamous Tempesta

The most mature and refined piece of work by Infamous since In Solitude and Silence sees S. A. finding sure footing in his own sense and voice. The foggy production and energetic execution on this album conspire to further instigate the sensation of waves clashing against rocks in a show of gleeful force that propels life forward. A full review of this album has already been written here.


immerso-in-un-bosco-di-querce

Solitvdo Immerso in un bosco di querce

Delicate, nuanced and balanced music that does not lack in development but is held back by its seemingly utter lack of a personal voice. Immerso in un bosco di querce  is appreciable as a pure piece of melodic metal composition in terms of its compositional merit but not as holistic art. A good first step by Solitvdo, but only as it serves to set the stage for the later Hierarkhes.


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Infamous Rovine e Disperazione

Although not lacking in quality, this is possibly the most generic state that Infamous has stumbled upon. The artistic voice of S.A. seems to take a back seat here while the music advances through a combination of tropes while only the character of the melodies shaped by Infamous’ own modal preference seems to offer hope. Overall, Rovine e Disperazione is disappointing in light of what we find in the first album. Tempesta completely rectifies this situation, taking the project to a whole new level of realisation.


§ An Afterthought


It is the little pockets of closed groups such as the obviously related circles that Eremita Produzione nests under its wings, or the one that currently thrives in Dutch-Germanic lands with the likes of Sammath/Kaeck and Tarnkappe/Gheestenland, the ones that carry the torch of those who can channel a natural spirituality through a holistic music. On the other hand, one who perceives and understands music at its different levels would have to laugh at the likes of the obvious Qabala/Qliphoth inspired stomp rock and drone/war “metal” bands that live off their words with very little musical worth to speak of. Far richer have been the incursions of those seeking to channel nature, land and a presencing without words.

Scenes mean nothing; scenes are for socializing, but social groups and acceptance does not make great art. It is in great individuals with a singular and penetrating vision who are also possessed of a keen sensibility that great art finds its birth. It is elitism in the sense of being able to discern what is best in a context, not out of sentimentality, but in service of transcendent beauty, that brings about music that is, in being and action, sorcery of the most potent kind. As such, it must be taken in voluntarily. Once immersed in it and being open to its effect, the music will keep revealing things within and without.

This constant revealing is what we find in immortal masterpieces like Burzum’s Filosofem, but which one will not find in the engaging and sensitive music of early Abigor because it remains on a technical material level of understanding. The same can be said of the music of Watain, who not being even close to the formal prowess of Abigor, rely completely on hooks and cheap technical arrangements that consider impact but are completely oblivious to the multiple layers of communication possible to musical construction.

The error does not have to be explained through knowledge or ignorance of formal musical education —Abigor’s members are classically trained, Burzum’s single mastermind is not— but rather an internal compass that signals the way through to a building that is in tune with the motions of nature. To claim to be producing chaos on purpose for metaphysical reasons is to engage in the same attitudes that lead hipsters to ironically listen to certain music or dress in a certain way. The reasons may be different, the attitude may have different roots, but the result ends up being the same. It is all appearance and no substance; or simply a diluted version of what could be worthwhile.

Hail those who will go to the roots, those who will face reality rather than hide from it in fatalism; hail those who will take action and become better without flinching when having to cut away the bad.


§ Selections from Eremita Produzione


Evaluating these albums not by their surface appearance or the momentary appeal as the shock of every riff and every moment makes its temporary abode in the pleasure centers of the mind, but in a combination of a penetrating analysis of form and structure as well as a sensing and immersing of the carrying-through that each of these works accomplishes as a ritual for he who knows how to undertake it. These are, however, based early impressions, and the true test is always Time.

The most significant and mature releases here are the Solitvdo’s Hierarkhes, Kshatriya’s Vsque ad Sidera Vsque ad Inferos and Infamous’ Tempesta. The rest are good as samplers or as snapshots of some of the bands in less developed states. Solitvdo’s Immerso in un bosco di querce lies clearly in this situation, while the longer discography of Infamous is able to contribute with Rovine e Disperazione a different facet of an already mature musical project. The incontestable superior release in this list is, beyond a shadow of doubt, Tempesta.

As a whole, there is much more to see in the small collection that Eremita Produzione shows us than in most other labels boasting many more releases with first-grade productions. This is unsurprising as underground labels and extreme spiritual endeavours result in a higher density of content, while they may not be as catchy or shiny. Underground music of the best caliber tends to be humble in its technical display but invariably immersive in its pensive attunement with nature.

Records and Books

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Some of us who are into both music and literature will have detected that our mind tends to draw conscious parallels between certain records and books. The deepest and most significant of these come as a result of unconscious links that seem to bubble up into our awareness after spiritual1 involvement with the corresponding written and sonorous works makes its mark upon the person. While the relationship between said works can and should be detectable at the conscious level to the point that a rational explanation can be given, this is the least important and only the most superficial trait of the experience that constitutes their linkage.

There are a few books and records that I personally have lived and felt in my own way so that they remain fixed and mutually referential in my mind so that when one of them appears in front of me, the other’s image is immediately summoned as if by an artifice outside my conscious control. I do not profess to have deep knowledge or imbatible comprehension of any of them and only seek to share an experience in which I am sure I am not alone with the intention of giving testimony of a wondrous and most profound intimation. That a single curious and hungry mind might find delight and treasure herein will have justified the raison d’être of this publication.


§ An Eternity in Flowing Darkness

Of The Poizon of god and The Secret Doctrine


These two works certainly approach the question of the universe and being from very different mentalities. One is an occultist steeped in erudite tradition and submission to masters, the other is an arrogant yet profoundly intuitive apprehension of the universe as lord and living gateway between this and other dimensions. Both speak of a presencing of a cosmos through direct experience, but their tendencies and attitudes carry them towards two different sided paths, hence a different course of action and ultimate interpretation when it comes to courses of action to be taken in manifest reality.

Tpoizonofgodhe Poizon of god was Rex Ebvleb’s way of telling those who could listen and understand that the precise shape of his experience was leading to a holistic transcendental post-nihilism (the “nihilism as a gateway” of Brett Stevens) that would dissolve the very being of the god of the mundanes. The conspicuous lack of references to standarised occult terminology is of note; a further clue of this individual’s independence and pragmatic sobriety when it comes to dealing even with what some consider the most profound spiritual experience. The arrogance which might be easily detected is quickly understood as a tool and a realist reaction of the mundane, rather than the superficial garb that is worn by most self identified occultists and especially satanists.the secret doctrine 3 volumes

The Secret Doctrine is Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s undeniable magnum opus and is one of the few works in occultism that is invariably praised by both left and right hand path advocates, not to mention the few actual practitioners that do speak out. Blavatsky rose above the comprehension of her times and brought forth a monumental work that has survived superficial slander of all kinds and has proven itself once and again with the passage of time and the further dissemination of ancient wisdom in the scholarly circles of both the occultist and the establishment academic.

There is a pensive and latent intensity to both works that spans the full spectrum of reality which has led me to associate both strongly. They also both hide behind a rather abstruse presentation, although where the one is deliberately obscurantist, the other is attempting to guide the student through an esoteric method necessary for the comprehension of mysteries. Where the one challenges, the other invites.

Be that as it may, for myself, the way these two have been almost inextricably connected derives from their fortuitous causal conjunction arising from my interaction with a notable artist (S. A. of C. A. ) who opened a mental path which led to my own first intuition regarding both of these works. It was in practice that I felt that these two could be experienced together in a complimentary interaction of a particular apprehension of either within the mind.


1 Some would rather use the word “emotional” here, but I beg to differ as to the implications the two provide regarding the origin and nature of the experience described.

Triumph of the Underground


Ψ A SATANIC UNDERGROUND Ψ


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The underground has always been the abode of dissidents and their ideas, the place where what is suppressed by the status quo thrives in organic growth. Not all underground movements are the same, and we will fall in line with one or another depending on our ideological and spiritual allegiances. To those of us for whom the current reigning paradigm of Magian stagnancy and complacency in decadence is repellent and an antithesis of all that is good, it is its most blasphemous and contrarian underground branches that seem the most appealing.

The idealistically adversarial nature of the underground during the Kali Yuga increasingly finds in symbolic darkness and the force of arms (whether psychic or physical) as products of a holy fire to wield against the enemy’s fire. This is the result of a balanced and rational assessment; however, the realism of this underground mentality appears extreme only by virtue of the ruinous state of mankind.

Instead of a complacent and cowardly slow decay, those who would see the best possible humanity flourish would rather welcome a calamitous and drastic change that shakes the world if and only if it clearly leads to the dissolution of the establishment. So it is that in this a most historic day for mankind, the throne of filth that mans the golem comes to be occupied by an unlikely face reviled by the dormant zombies of the majority simply for showing them everything that politicians truly are.

A Dawn of Triumph for those who lurk in the shadows working within an aeonic mindset —the centuries-long fall. In this day of celebration, we do not place ourselves in the hands of another businessman; we step aside and let his bestial nature wreak havoc among the mundane homo hubris.

To commemorate this we present a short list for a dark celebration in this article riddled with significant lengths, counts, initials and endings. Let him who is excellent and valiant revel in everything that is contrary to the liking of the mundane mind, not because there is merit in contradiction, but because the impoverished nature of the mundane mind lies on the opposite pole in relation to excellence and honesty of thought and action. Welcome Death and Art and The Devil!


Υ Prowler 88 Υ

The Path To Glory, Will Be Born In Blood

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 Blasphemy has served the purpose of leading the spirit of the most dangerous and serious underground movements. In our day and age, being against the teachings of the Catholic Church may represent a theoretical heresy to the institution, but it means little in the real world. What really represents a blasphemy and a heresy today is sympathizing with those who were destroyed in the second great civil war of Europe. It is not racism or violence that is bemoaned, but NS culture.

Recommended reading: Hitler, the Ultimate Avatar.


⊕ Рабор ⊕

За Тридевять Земель

За Тридевять Земель


A necessary component of this underground as a nexion is to cultivate the individual’s relation to nature. This begins with a wonder as well as a love for nature that foments shunning the crippling aspects of civilization. The way that recognizes Mother Nature as a part of the universe that exists within us as well will attempt to understand it to work and develop in accordance with it. The goal is attunement with the motions and not a constant fear.

Recommended reading: Can Life Prevail? by Pentti Linkola.


θ Satanic Prophecy θ

Azoth

azoth


 Ahead lies the setting of the sun and a crescent moon to light the way to a ritual in this red, stony desert bereft of living water. To open this gate and increase its influence in front of plinth while holding a swinging thurifer requires a chanting out, an acting out, not merely a reading and theorizing. This is internalization and transformation. To reach this point is not merely to mature but to reach a state of fermentation; a penultimate goal.

Recommended reading: The Star in the East.


Varg Vikernes Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism

reflections_on_european_mythology_and_polytheismThe present book is, as the title suggests, a series of reflections and afterthoughts regarding the ancient and original European traditions now generally denominated as “paganism” (a word used by the Christian world to refer to anything different in a derogatory manner).  The study of European traditions is taken up and explored by Vikernes, not with the distanced aloofness of a scholar trying to match foreign theories to a strange phenomenon completely disconnected from himself, but as someone who cares for it as someone would care for a loved one  —a living thing in the full sense of the expression (for it certainly is, a point I am sure Vikernes would agree with).

The present article will briefly go through what the writer considers the main themes and their attitudes that stand out when one first reads this book.  It is important, however, to point out that it becomes apparent to the sensitive reader that Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism has a rather personal touch to it, like most of what Vikernes does, and one feels as if he were sitting close by talking and expounding on the topics at hand, immersing both himself and the listener in a magical well of knowledge that melds with experience.  It mixes the giving out of facts with insightful pointing out of relations and cross-references, sprinkling the discussion of certain topics throughout different texts so that they build up in the mind of the reader.

“To me only the beauty of European polytheism remains”

— Varg Vikernes, ‘The Lord of the Elves’

These are given in a rather unapologetic tone proper of esoteric treatises which do not make claim to a perfection of the text but which deem the reader worthy enough to receive the statements as they are and then proceed to judge on their own.  The mistaken modern view that  expects a writer to keep apologizing and self denigrating so that the reader does not think he is pretentious is a waste of energy, time and material resources.  If only people would consider content before rhetoric, and then proceed to the discourse only after they have understood the value and significance inherent in the content itself, something close to a proper understanding of things would be possible for the public.


§ Correction of outsider interpretations

aemilianus

Christians destroying symbols of European culture.

The most important feature of Vikernes’ writing and attitude that should be considered as the most important for even the casual reader is the attempt he is making at correcting the biased and often twisted view of ancient European traditions.  Somehow, in the sudden upsurge of views that sought to bring respect and awe for traditions of the East as well as American aboriginals and other foreign groups, the establishment forgot that before the invasion of Christianity, Europe also had equally valid and rich customs that deserved the same degree of respect.  Furthermore, they forgot that these being their own, they deserved an even larger amount of attention.

This may, at first, sound like bigotry, but it can be easily shown it is not when one points out that it is natural and proper that the Chinese person protects and seeks to understand the ancient cultural roots of his folk1; so are the Quiches of Guatemala encouraged and protected that they may cultivate their Mayan roots free of the invading oppression of colonial Christianity and sterile modernity.  Why should it be any different for the peoples of Europe?

“When I — arrogantly as some have claimed — said in the foreword to my book Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia that there are no good books (at least not in English, German or Scandinavian) out there about our mythology and religion, to some degree save The Golden Bough, by the anthropologist Sir James Frazer, this is what I mean; just about everything we know about our mythology from these books is seen through dense Judeo-Christian filters and interpreted in a Judeo-Christian light, it is twisted and distorted, and is unrecognisable.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘Shadows amongst the Ruins’

The point he makes is very important because while we have striven to correct our views on, for instance, Hinduism, so that we can try and understand (as far as that is possible for us as foreigners) them from their own perspective, no such attempt has been made by academia to understand the original traditions of Europe, we have been seen as lowly enemies by the invading and strangling thought of Christianity as an aristocratic way of controlling large masses of people.  Thus arose the image of the Witch-cult2 as an enemy of all that was “proper and good” in the eyes of the authorities throughout Europe, while these were most probably just the extreme expressions of the actual local culture.


1Mythos gives rise to Culture and Culture gives rise to Folk, and Folk gives rise to Race.”, K.

2 The reader may want to refer to Margaret Alice Murray’s book, The Witch-cult in Western Europe; though certainly not perfect and based on conjectures from sparse evidence, this is a book despised on an ideological level because it challenges the standard conception people have of Europe to the point that they start to panic when confronted with the idea of a Europe unified by underground expressions of original culture.


§ A physical and psychological naturalism

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It is important to clarify that, to the best of my knowledge, Varg Vikernes is a traditionalist of the most pragmatic kind. The esoteric overtones which his subject matter contains are cut down by him after the manner of Sir James Frazer himself, who saw anything beyond material explanations as mere superstition.  Now, Vikernes does not strike one as having this opinion, for he believes in inspiration and the power derived from symbols and stories.  For him, however, this is simply manifested on the psychological level that then may transfer that into physical action.

This in itself does not contradict occult thought and is perfectly in line with it.  But we can perceive from the text that nothing higher than that in the manner of spheres of existence or levels of manifestation are implied. For him, the interpretation is of the most flat one can give to Jungian explanations of a collective tradition functioning through interaction with the human unconscious.  What must be clarified here is that Vikernes is not a mystic per se, because there is no conscious and direct search for a purposely created space.

The naturalism that he seems to follow with stoic resolution, however, clearly opens up a channel and we see in him, his thought and his artistic work traces of greatness and inspiration.  It might be further observed that contrary to the pretentiousness of self-aware mystics or would-be occultists of the common variety who make overt attempts at being something by following trends in fashion and ways of speaking, there is no such attempt at pretending in Vikernes’ work.  On the contrary, we find a constant flow of observations, facts, and conclusions which are then sprinkled with stout opinions.

We see action before speech, we see concrete results and facts instead of the empty banter of he who claims to experience but has nothing to show for it.  Not that proving your personal journey to someone else is important, in fact, the contrary is closer to the truth.  But Varg Vikernes stands out as an honest man of deep thought who exemplifies through action who he wants to be, offering us in his book the results of his meditations, as it were, through the eye of his own knowledge and experience.


§ Judeo-Christianity as alien to European customs

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The other prominent theme that runs throughout the whole of Vikernes’ work is his emphasis the fact that Christianity as stemming from Judaism is an alien religion that was imposed on European peoples.  That this is still contested by the public at large is unsurprising for they have been brought up believing that Christianity is essentially a European religion.  It is incumbent upon the writer to reassure the reader that Christianity was in fact an artificially adopted tactic by the aristocracy which was then used as a tool to oppress and manipulate the native people of Europe.

We do not need to refer at all to any of the books written by Vikernes to confirm this as anyone acquainted closely with Charlemagne’s unification of Western Europe and his involvement and use of religion to this end will already understand this.  The reason why any conquering aristocracy might want to make use of Christianity rather than stick to old religions of local variations is simple: Christianity’s character is essentially universalist. This means that anyone and everyone should be brought under its banner. In this, it mirrors Islam, which seeks to spread its righteousness like black clouds over the whole of the world (and the universe, if they could).

To make a clear distinction here, completely unrelated to the book under discussion, although Judaism is the indisputable father of those two other monotheistic religions, they do not share that attitude of ideological conquering, for Judaism is more of a closed ethnic and tribal authentic tradition that seeks to separate itself from outsiders through custom and race.  Vikernes does not speak about Judaism itself except in some passing light remarks, but we here recommend the reader to inspect books such as Maurice H. Harris’ Hebraic Literature, to understand both differences and roots of Christianity and Islam in Judaism. It is, furthermore, important in understanding its difference with European tradition as seen in Germanic, Celtic and Hellenic traditions, for instance.

Europe has a unifying general concept throughout its geographical territory that is expressed in particular modes that can be easily and directly correlated without much effort.  These all express the values of individual freedom and the value of a personal strength of will, even when under a leader and a duty towards tribe.  This contrasts highly with Judeo-Christiantiy which is, as a famous philosopher once said, “slave morality”. European tradition is one imbued with pride and one that seeks to find its place within a nature it admires and worships as mother. The desert religions, on the other hand, see everything as given to them by god to use as they see fit, and they see humans or themselves as separate from it.  Fundamental contrasts like this one go on and on.

“Man has a free will and is left to find his own way around in the universe, but he is not free from the consequences or the impulses of nature.  In ancient times this free will was seen as a sorcerous tool; a man with a strong will could by the force of his sheer will cause different effects in the world.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Power of Will’


§ A glorious rebirth

Despite the permanent theme of European traditions in opposition to Christianity, the dominating tones in Reflections on European Mythology and Polytheism remain in the reverential and calmly explanatory.  There is, furthermore, a very proud and hopeful outlook that believes in the rebirth of a European population that will reach back and connect with its original roots.  This is completely in line with the traditional beliefs of Europeans, which see after the twilight of the gods, the rule of new and perhaps lesser gods who then become the old gods themselves. This last bit cannot be understood correctly when Germanic/Scandinavian religion is sought to be Christianized or understood in terms of sterile anthropology or Freudian terms, but becomes readily apparent when understood and inspected from the inside out.

“Return to your roots! Like any tree out there, you too need your roots to survive: to grow tall and old, strong and beautiful.”

—Varg Vikernes, ‘The Roots of Europe’

Zealotry The Last Witness

zealotry-the-last-witness-coverZealotry first came into view as a death metal project by Roman Temin vowing to create technical yet atmospheric music.  The vision evoked would ideally have arisen from the intricate and distinctively gnarly riffs of bands such as Timeghoul, Demilich and Immolation; the last one of these three turned out to be the dominating influence, and their molding into a new and thoughtful work of metal would be handled carefully taking after the fashion of the craftmanship seen in the early work of At the Gates.  Zealotry’s debut, The Charnel Expanse, served as a first experiment in which we see the creator trying his hand at different approaches to reach a longed for ideal that was yet too abstract.  The result was somewhat incomplete and obfuscated, but promising work that was already imbued with a material depth in the treatment of music that was both focused and possessing its own personality despite the obvious references.

The direction taken by Zealotry in The Last Witness echoes the dense and fairly uniform texture of the last track in The Charnel Expanse, ‘The Unmaking’.  The author’s first impressions of the present album were not particularly positive, since his expectations were, perhaps closer to the titanic.  It was clear that Zealotry had refined its compositional technique, and that a musical voice had been found without a shadow of doubt, allowing for a constant delivery in quality and a very eloquent intricacy.  However, there was no apparent growth in a central concept from which spiritual influence, so to put it, would emanate; and that would allow Zealotry to depart from the condition of endearing pulp horror entertainment.

That said, wherever progress was to be found, it was considerable and more than worthy of mention as a classroom study in metal composition.  That is to say, while there is little conscious philosophical or spiritual communication here, the level of development of learned structures which seek a particular sentiment amount to such an efficient degree that communication of the unconscious feeling generates strong evocation through the sheer power of refined musical composition, if ultimately unclear and buried under layers of word-sounds.

To better understand the magnitude and relevance of what the work of Roman Temin is doing, we need to start from a discussion of the problems of death metal, its position when seen besides black metal, and how Zealotry approaches a partial correction, as well as the unique and exemplary progress it has spearheaded further than the members of the project may themselves realise.


§ The Failure of Death Metal

Out of all the so-called sub genres into which the original heavy metal of Black Sabbath has diversified, death metal is surely singularly capable of a direct emulation of the contrapunctal voice relations of classical music without the element of percussion detracting from it.  Straightforward rock beats in their standard usage, even as seen up to speed metal, turn even good neoclassical allusions into little more than jingles.  The reason for this is that those genres retain a pop mentality when it comes to structuring their songs.  Black metal in its most developed incarnation, on the opposite pole, moves well beyond local-area complications and tends to funnel elements into a pressurized space whose only escape route is upwards into a strongly emphasized spiritual manifestation that spins around a central holistic ray of guitar and percussion melded into each other.

Death metal is peculiar in that it is an explicit attempt to break the chains of rock-derived music through explicit music technique.  Contrast this to the parallel development in black metal of not minding the specific technique so much as its final application, hence black metal can only be understood when considering pieces as journeys.  Death metal’s percussion, on the other hand, took after the developments of the punk tradition in hardcore and grindcore, and even adopted jazz-like techniques that allowed a very spacious and expressive freedom.  Even more importantly, the approach to development was structural and took after what we see in the proper progressive rock of the 70s.

Death metal at large would nevertheless remain chained by its general refusal, as a movement, to step away from purely intuitive methods expressed through brute technical complication.  Most death metal acts of real interest and musical weight shone bright with material for their first release only, in which they distinctively displayed a very clear minded approach to structure which placed intelligibility first backed by structural developments aimed at developing it.  But then things quickly turned from what was a natural way through a structural and modal musical technique that evoked dread and terror, to a blunt imitation of forms without comprehending their refined relations and meanings within their concrete musical context.

This would eventually lead to an erroneous concept of innovation based entirely on how different the package appeared while the core was greatly simplified1.  As opposed to that, Black metal’s ultimate impulse and final differentiation came as a rejection of that ossification and banality that had come to defined death metal.


§ The guitar ensemble as classical quartet

Zealotry now take an important step in elevating death metal to an art of composition with the purpose of evocation.  It aims at this by consciously elaborating through the use of refined classical composition techniques2 which permit it to expand in synthetic statements without losing a strong sense of coherence as a result of tying distinct sections through the relations of their seeds in a manner that could be described as rational and logical.

Results brought forth through it can vary quite widely, and in the case of Zealotry, an asphyxiating counter-melody-based and baroque texture was selected.  Zealotry hereby create beautiful shapes through the interaction of the two guitar lines which do not rise and fade from prominence as did those of At the Gates With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, but rather saturate the spectrum.  If we are to look for some sort of comparison, it would be more accurate to bring to attention the work of Abigor in an album like Supreme Immortal Art in its comparatively loose arrangement which also maintains an obfuscating and unrelenting attack through very distinct and complementing guitar lines.

Temin has learned much from dark modernist quartet appreciation, and he lets the guitars breath with respect to each other, so that while the listener himself is given little pause, the density of the overall texture does not become overbearing because of the sensibly planned balances between saturation and spacing.  This is referred to as letting the music breath, for it literally does that.  Without this, the result is sterile.  In The Last Witness, however, Zealotry lost its temper at the last minute, and we see little distractions filling certain parts of the bass and the drums.  These are traditionally the joy of technical instrumentalists, but if not carefully integrated, they stand out as expressions of childishness, thereby detracting from the value of the whole as they infect spaces that would normally allow more breathing space for the music.


§ Caudal drumming

As the guitar lines arch and bend, push and pull in what reminds us of the magnificently forceful manner of Beethoven and the troubled mentality of Stokowski, drums try to match the intricacy of the guitars, but they miraculously manage to stay out of the way, leaving their own say until after the guitar has finished speaking.  Percussion is definitely not understated, but even in its technicality, it holds on first and then rushes after the guitars instead of competing for attention with them.

It is hard to tell if the merit lies in the drums themselves, which sound like a pretty standard approach to soft punch technical death metal drumming, or in the careful arrangement of the riffs, which only give a particular set of options for the drumming.  Whatever the case may be, the drummer did respond to the implied motions of the guitar riffs, and the original composer was also attentive enough to provide this spaces, even if only in a technical and rather sterile fashion.


§ Distractions, Detractions

What separates great music art from highly proficient musicianship and composition by themselves is degree of communication accomplished by the former.  Here lies the defeat of technical death metal in the face of the more expressive yet less crowded old school Swedish or Finnish variants.  This is not to say that death metal cannot be expressive, but in its name lies the key to understanding its limitation: it is focused on “the material”, so to speak, and it equates the adding of more notes and layers to an accomplishment in itself.

While Zealotry goes beyond mere appending or complication, The Last Witness is still afflicted and held back by a lack of clear  narrative curves as well as having too much of everything most of the time.  In short, the album is too uniform, despite its obvious inclusion of even small acoustic interludes.  These little sections are more like additions and, while forced into the rest of the music by justifying their relation through motif tying, are not representative of the usual variation throughout the work.

The narrative and progression of themes, the leitmotifs and such, are buried under blurry tech so much of the time that it is very difficult to appreciate them.  The beginnings of songs are clear in their statements, then they proceed through a couple of interesting changes, until they seem to dissolve into technical exercises that ultimately lead to no conclusion or particular place.  That several songs end in fade outs and codas in an album whose baroque music boasts of such intricate control and detail is a very telling sign of impairment.

If the album is so proficient and its composition methodology so exemplary, then where does the sin of which it is accused here lie? So the reader might ask.  The Last Witness is a milestone in death metal, reaching a degree of attention and study to its composition that is, as far as the author knows, unprecedented in the genre. This does not mean that it is perfect or that it was able to locate and defeat the source of failure of all technical death metal3, for it is clearly afflicted by it.

Now, the root of this shortcoming can be seen when we ascend one more level in the analysis of music.  The problem with discussing this level is that many are under the illusion that music can be divided into an objective and a subjective domain, when in truth everything is related, even if in a complex manner that is not directly perceivable.  Here we finally discuss the action of tightening and releasing, a pull towards form and stability and then a push towards chaos and a new surge of energy.  This takes place in several ways including but not limited to the variation of textures throughout a song, and the change of harmony or the density and speed of the notes, all of which is enhanced and affected by the element of percussion.

In The Last Witness, Zealotry maintain a fairly uniform texture throughout the whole song, the releases of which are attenuated by the encroaching dissonance that never even pretends to leave the premises.  Throughout a whole song, what you will hear are counter melodies in one mode, there is no play of harmony either explicit or implied, which accounts for another level of high-level stagnancy.  The drumming does not balance out the guitars and simply follows in matching intensity that is never an obstacle but does not have much to say or regulate on its own despite its flamboyant performance.

It seems now incumbent upon the author to bring the attention of the reader (and hopefully that of Zealotry) to the most important point here.  That is, the path upwards does not lie only in correcting these technicalities which have just been briefly described.  Each of the problems reflects a blockage or eventuality in the mental or spiritual, if you will, state of the composer.  It is not merely a matter of rational attention, though it greatly aids to have that helping hand as well.  While the spiritual source (which is the true source of all art, above rationality and not merely capricious sentiment) of Zealotry remains stagnated in the tar-pit of vague and inebriating murky feelings with no definite ideological extremism that twists and transforms the being of the composer himself, the music will remain the pulp fantasy entertainment and curious attraction it currently is4.


§ A Triumph of Tradition Assimilated

Held back by more spiritual matters, Zealotry has nevertheless managed to create a work that is surely far more than the sum of its parts.  It is not technique or construction that stands in their way, but the lack of a deeper well of inspiration. The great triumph of The Last Witness is, then, entirely based on a thorough study of metal worthy of the respect of any serious musician and would-be composer.

Temin went further than just studying the source of technical excellence in the classics or specific works he was interested in, he applied lessons and observations from classical music to help extend the variations of the metal form and its shapes.  Especially when it can be appreciated directly from the music that the present work is devoid of heavy abstract content or any form of strong spiritual tendency, is that we can see how far this study and correct processing of the technical aspect of tradition can take the work of an artist.

In The Last Witness, Zealotry gives us an amazing work that shows the power of tradition when use to develop an artistic voice.  This voice was found by Zealotry throughout the course of The Charnel Expanse and it was here used eloquently to demonstrate the richness of a riffcraft that is neither conservative nor avant-garde, it is healthily progressive, though not entirely natural.  Might we yet see Zealotry rise above the materialism that holds it back?  Let’s hope we may at least see other bands learn from the monuments to metal composition technique that have been built in The Last Witness.



1 Inner simplicity (vacuous meaning and mundane purpose) and outer complication —an inversion of the ideal outer simplicity and inner complexity. For a clear example, see the evolution of Gorguts from the progressive tour de force that The Erosion of Sanity was versus the comparatively stiff and clumsy Obscura.

2 Such as the growth from a minimal motif, the actual use of leitmotifs throughout song and possibly album, and the melody to counter-melody relations which Zealotry uses more than standard counterpoint.

3 Demilich does not count as a technical death metal band; historically, it antecedes that post-climax development and belongs to the so-called old school, the inner technique of which is also at the heart of Demilich’s music. Demilich is a quirky “old school” death metal band, not a tech death band. Something similar might be said of Timeghoul, whose famous second demo should be classified as a theatrical experiment through death metal.

4 It might serve the reader to contrast these faults, along with their corresponding accomplishments, with the much simpler and pop oriented Ananku by Serpent Ascending, a work with a great sense of musicality.  A closer example may also be found in Starspawn by Blood Incantation.

A Sinister Cat – Chapter 1: One more day


To those who will enjoy, to those who can let go and relax, to those who can see beyond, to those who will understand…


Mornings are always difficult.  The rheum that form around my eyes do not make it any easier.  Alas! A cat must do what a cat must do —and a sinister one even more!

percy - mornings are difficult


Slowly but surely, my natural beauty unveils itself as I grow more awake. One more day in which to commune with the Dark Gods has dawned.

Not much time has elapsed since that ominous moment when, after the pinch that drew blood from my finger, my body and soul were forgone to this dark path.


percy - mingle with the common folk 01

Now I mingle with the common folk. They take me in, believing I am truly one of them. Asleep sheep they are. Ivy, however, is different and her troubled heart is haunted by shadows as dark as her fur. There may yet be hope for her…


Oh, how truly oblivious are the profane! So easily is their mechanistic lock-step attuned to the whims of my free and powerful will!  See how I gather all but a few stragglers, making them slave towards my ends.


My day continues and I never stop sensing the flow and manifestation of my own Wyrd. I drown in forms of ecstatic contemplation as we all drift on… Dactylis glomerata is your name!


Tell me: have you ever drifted so far up your thoughts that the nightsky seems capable of engulfing you in a final cataclysmic event?

percy - tell me 01


Come the afternoon, all this wyrding through my life has exhausted me, and my mortal body soon falls into a deep sleep.


My name is Percival Draconis, and I am a SINISTER CAT.

Tarnkappe Winterwaker

hhr2016-27-tarnkappe-winterwakerAlthough metal has evolved through several micro phases between the inception of its true underground in a dark speed metal, including its first sober instantiation in Bathory’s The Return, and its final differentiation as an artistic movement nurtured in the bosom of metal, the notion that there is “first wave” and a “second wave” is utter nonsense (some even hold the belief in a “third wave”, which is not even metal at all anymore).  This fallacy is held as true by many an ignorant, but even though it does seem like a misconception becomes true the more it is repeated, it does not change the structure of physical reality.  Genre distinction on a musical level exists and is done at all levels, including this “lowest” physical level, hence, popular fallacies do not change the reality of music, only its perception and interpretation.

Tarnkappe bring in Winterwaker a black metal that demonstrates a maturity that does not abandon contact with the natural roots of the genre.  Hence, while other modern bands that attempt dumbing down and castrating the genre try to adopt some of its exterior tropes into the fold of post-rock or shoegaze, Tarnkappe wields a sword forged in the traditional way but with the advantage of three decades of refinements in composition.  These insights enrich and grow from the one and only black metal from the early 90s, themselves being, in turn, firmly rooted in Bathory. Taking Tarnkappe as somehow not taking interest in the developments of the genre is just completely misguided and shows a misunderstanding of the musical reality within which their music unfolds.

Percussion in Winterwaker takes after electronic music beats and double bass action, as most black metal well should.  Sharing a same drummer with Kaeck, the likeness can be felt, yet these are not generic patterns but actually react to the guitar riffs, making both instances incredibly different from each other despite the obvious familiarity.  This should never be confused with the influence of rock or of punk in its original form.  For in underground metal the use of the d-beat goes back to its roots in hardcore and eventually grindcore.  These drums show almost as much variety in expression as the guitars do, giving the impression of the fabric of the music contracting and expanding under the power of Will.

What strikes one the hardest in this album is the dynamism shown by the guitar players plenty expressions along the neck of the guitar.  Its lines remain remarkably singable, while it provides a surprising abundance of melodic ideas that are executed with a healthy variety of technical approaches that do not depart from a same style or texture.  This must be so, for the music of Tarnkappe is based entirely on huge guitar phrases that are tremolo picked without that impeding them from making imaginative and balanced use of the full spectrum of frequencies available to the instrument.  The music is composed over a main guitar and a complimentary guitar, which is not to be confused with leading and rhythm roles —mostly meaningless terms in proper (underground) metal.  The texture, in the tradition of classical European music, is mostly homophonic with all that you might expect within that paradigm.  On the metal application of this, sometimes the second guitar will echo and support the first in grayish afterthoughts or expanding it by playing a same note with a different technique.

As a black metal album of worth, every performing element in Winterwaker is indispensable or at least a significant contribution to the whole.  The latter can be rightly said of the vocals, which would be considered mixture when understood technically.  The performer dominates this technical aspect so well that he can express himself  with considerable liberty, painting the music in a wide range in the scale of grays; some of these colors are spread and granular, others are pointed and almost protuberant.  The sounds it emits are not limited to the words or rhythmic emphases alone, but perform curls, as well as prefixes and suffixes to the words it is in charge of carrying.  There are many similar vocal performances in metal, but none is quite the same as this one. What we see here is a consummated musician that knows himself and dominates his craft; the former being seldom encounter even among professionals.

Tempi stay rather constant within songs while comfortably varying throughout the album.  A strong sense of personality is felt in Tarnkappe that make transitions within songs and from one to the other smooth not because there is no considerable change, but because their own language is so under control that the band boasts of the capability of presenting an enriched and eloquent performance under the semblance of one face. To say that this is monochromatic would be a blatant lie or sheer blindness. To associate it with an “old school” is ignorance, for it is a continuation down one of the evolution and very well alive paths of black metal that have come to us arising from the influence harsh romantics of Niden Div. 187 and Kvist.  We see in bands such as Sammath, Kaeck, Gheestenland and Tarnkappe the more clear-minded version of it that is still deeply planted in the pummeling that represents the worship of the harsher aspects of nature and our place within it.

 

Serpent Ascending Aṇaṅku

serpent-ascending-anankuHere comes a very deceiving set of arrangements that should be tasted one by one but should nevertheless be seen as belonging together.  Each of them takes the listener through a smooth curve along the road that Ananku is possibly meant to symbolize.  This is not a literal journey, but rather concerns abstractions, solar illumination and equilibrated meditation.  In turning abstract, the music must be plainspoken and, in a way, aligned to a graspable language. Like many meaningful writings that are not obvious or part of the general domain of common thoughts, it deceives the audience at large because what its laid back language expresses amounts to concepts and constructions out of their reach.

It is part of the great misunderstanding of the arts of modern times that we see music and literature as separated in the wrong way.  For in truth they are simply different channels.  It is assumed today that good writing is plainspoken, logical and most certainly agnostic.  Music, good music that is, is expected to either only fulfill a utilitarian role or be objectively judged as greater based on a superficial evaluation of complexity (which we should rather name as ‘complication’).  For the acrobatics of the 18th and 19th centuries are now shunned, the unique and personal colloquial language of the 14th and 15th centuries seen as comedic, and the treasures of both are lost to robotic over-standarisation (e.g. Oxford and Chicago styles).  Music on the other hand is seen not only as having licence to but almost an obligation to create complicated music.  Never mind the inner complexity, which is an illusion according to the delusional post-linguistic philosophy.  Literature is dumbed down and made narrow for more people to understand and less room for divergence from the norm; music is pushed towards an inner simplicity and outer eccentricity to please the senses and forsake any attempt at real communication.

Ananku, then, challenges both, showing that a wonderful melody-weaving can take place in a way that it makes the most out of the natural range of predilections the human ear has for consonancy with slight dissonances, while using the metal paradigm in its pure minimalist way to grow sensibly within each of the chapters that would be called pieces and keep the whole under a tightly knit mantle of stylistic coherence.  Serpent Ascending is anything but forward looking, but that does not mean it is static or reliant on the past, for what is shown in Ananku is very much their own, and clearly so.  There is an overdoing of the standardisation, however, that holds back their growth here.  This is seen in the verse and chorus alternations which somewhat debilitate the strengths of its enchanting treatment of melody and voice leading.  Now here is where Serpent Ascending shows itself at its most subtle and sensible.  For the latter voice leading, in turn, enriches and folds the popular template it uses by obfuscating the borders of sections through an expertly maintained continuity of phrase.  This runs throughout and in spite of the advancing sections within each chapter.

Even though we see Serpent Ascending clearly departing from the strictly esoteric way of making music that has taken metal aesthetic to unassailable heights and dreamworlds unimaginable to the materialist, we see in Ananku a one-sided approach to understanding; esoteric in its language and symbols, but exoteric on the musical side, however beautifully laced its details may be.  In a sense, we can see that the whole as a magical ruse in which its worldly presentation is used to lure in prospects until they find themselves within an edifice which contains within itself the transcendental knowledge that is the point of it all.