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When Hell Freezes Over: Black Metal—Emancipatory Cosmopolitanism or Egoistic Protectionism?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Teaching and Learning in the Humanities (CeHum).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4767-7663
2019 (English)In: Music, Education, and Religion: Intersections and Entanglements / [ed] Alexis Anja Kallio, Philip Alperson, Heidi Westerlund, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019, p. 208-220Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the early 1990s, churches burned in Norway and fellow musicians killed each other in the name of Satan. Revolting against Christianity and praising the Antichrist, a new (anti)liturgical satanic music genre was defined: black metal.

This chapter aims to investigate and discuss Black Metal as music education and (anti)religious enculturation. This will be done in relation to philosophies where art and education are discussed as cosmopolitan in order to understand how Black Metal constructs itself as elitist and protectionist, and at the same time open and explorative. Black metal is an extreme branch of the heavy metal genre that propagates evil and celebrates Satan. Black metal can be understood as Satanist liturgic music that is in opposition to society. The chapters builds on interviews with young musicians within the genre and discusses these in relation to existing research on Satanism, Black Metal and religion. Satan symbolizes freedom and opportunities within the genre as the fallen angel who dared to oppose God. The ideals of the genre are individual growth, hate towards organized religion, and the possibility to access and develop the complete self through sublime and serious play with evil, hatred and fear. To achieve this they experiment with complex sets of expressions with the ideal of a “gesamtkunstwerk” where, the sonic, the visual and the theatrical all work together to achieve an unpleasant feeling in the audience. Black Metal challenges norms and taken for granted values and tries to deconstruct (or destroy) the fake, idyllic image of a well functioning society of free people by exposing and developing what is less pleasant in human nature and societies. Cosmopolitan education is here understood as promoting openness towards the unknown and a critical and reconstructive view of personal cultural heritage; an education that actively works to explore, share, scrutinize, respect and celebrate difference. While Black Metal is not overtly open towards other cultures, they actively explore the unknown and seek to interact with other cultural mediations. Black Metal pedagogy could inspire formal music education through its binary focus on existential aesthetic communication and artistic excellence. A celebration of the free will, creativity, critical thinking and ultimately a quest to reach one’s own full potential. At the same time Black Metal represents some of the more destructive, protective, anti-democratic and selfish ideas in present popular culture; simultaneously both cosmopolitan and anti-cosmopolitan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019. p. 208-220
Series
Counterpoints: Music and Education
Keywords [en]
Music education, Black metal, Cosmopolitanism
National Category
Educational Sciences Musicology
Research subject
Music Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123668DOI: 10.2307/j.ctvpb3w6q.17ISBN: 978-0-253-04374-0 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123668DiVA, id: diva2:1352482
Available from: 2019-09-18 Created: 2019-09-18 Last updated: 2019-09-20Bibliographically approved

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Thorgersen, Ketilvon Wachenfeldt, Thomas
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