Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hideous Gnosis: Schedule and Flyers

Black Metal Theory Symposium
December 12, 2009
The Public Assembly
70 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY
1:00-7:00 p.m.
$10 cover

A gathering dedicated to the mutual blackening of metal and theory.

I: 1:00-2:15
The Light that Illuminates Itself, the Dark that Soils itself: Blackened Notes from Schelling’s Underground
Steven Shakespeare
The Counter-Reformation in Stone and Metal: Spiritual Substances
Erik Butler
BAsileus philosoPHOrum METaloricum
Scott Wilson
(moderator: Niall Scott)

II: 2:20-3:30
Transcendental Black Metal
Hunter Hunt-Hendrix
Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya
Nicola Masciandaro
Perpetual Rot: Obsessive Cycles of Deterioration
Joseph Russo
(moderator: Steven Shakespeare)

Interlude: 3:30-4:30
Nader Sadek, Baptism in Black (Phase II)
Sym-posium (together-drinking)

III: 4:30-5:45
‘Remain true to the earth!’: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal
Benjamin Noys (in absentia)
The Headless Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Evan Calder Williams
Black Confessions and Absu-lution
Niall Scott
Meaningful Leaning Mess
Brandon Stosuy
(moderator: Scott Wilson)

IV: 5:50-7:00
Black Metal and Evil
Aspasia Stephanou
Red in a World of Black: A Discussion of Blood in Black Metal
Murray Resinski
‘Goatsteps behind my steps’: Black Metal and Ritual Renewal
Anthony Sciscione
(moderator: Erik Butler)

Sculpture by Lionel Maunz

Sponsored by Glossator and Show No Mercy
Organized by Nicola Masciandaro


* * *
Why do you compel me to divulge things that would better remain unknown to you?--Silenus

What coherent representation could express or portray so gibbous and infamous a nebulosity as the specter of a malign, chaotic perversion, itself a morbid blasphemy against nature? Molded by the dead brain of a hybrid nightmare, would not such a vaporous terror constitute in all loathsome truth the exquisitely, the shriekingly unnamable?—H.P. Lovecraft, The Unnamable

He is not a return to the past; he has undergone the corruption of the “present-day man” and nothing has more place within him than the devastation which it leaves . . . the memory of Plato, of Christianity and above all—the most hideous—the memory of modern ideas, extend behind him like fields of ashes. But between the unknown and him has been silenced the chirping of ideas, and it is through this that he is similar to “ancient man”: of the universe he is no longer the rational (alleged) master, but the dream.—Georges Bataille, Inner Experience

But suddenly the Mirror went altogether dark, as dark as if a hole had opened in the world of sight, and Frodo looked into emptiness.—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The black tablet of vision, I hold dear for the sake
That to the soul, it is a book of the picture of the dark mole of Thine. —Hafiz

Painting by E.S.S.E. (Eternal Secret Society of Entities)

“I’ve seen demons / And I’ve been shown things that no-one should see / And I know why birds alight from cables with no-one beneath / Who’s on the side of the angels / Who’s on the side of Satan / God’s not there anymore / I know why birds fly / No-one’s there anymore” (Caïna, “Hideous Gnosis,” Mourner [Profound Lore Records, 2007]).


  1. Hails, Glossator and ShowNoMercyNYC:

    It's hard to imagine that Theory can bring much to Black Metal, a fundamentally Romantic and anti-/pre-Theoretic activity. Blackened Theory -- destructive, chaotic evil, inhuman -- is imaginable. Theoried Blackness is harder to imagine. Can the tools of Theory be tools for Blackness?

    At least the "symposium" acknowledges an essential truth about Black Metal: it is different than a collection of musical, stylistic, or social tropes.

    So the discussions should be rewarding. If only one could cut out the tongues of the West Coast, Experience Music Project-funded types and their friend Sasha Frere Jones before they open their mouths. They believe that they are earnestly trying to understand, not just produce content for capital, but the required understanding is beyond their ken.

  2. Raw, Obsolete,

    Thank you for articulating the precise problem I want the symposium, not to 'address' or 'solve', but to intensify and exacerbate.

    As Reza says in the Glosator CFP, . . . to bask in the speculative glory of the problematic.


  3. I'm amazed, is this supposed to be an academic event?

  4. Andreas,

    Yes and no I suppose. Perhaps para-academic speaking-in-tongues? We will see what happens.

    Glad you are amazed.


  5. fuck, this is hilarious.
    In a bad way.

  6. The Return of the Freezing WindsDecember 7, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    Will there be a table space for merch/distro?

  7. RFW,

    There is no plan for one but you are welcome to set one up.


  8. RFW,

    There are some others who want a merch table too. Email me so I can put you in touch.



  9. While people can and should be meeting to discuss whatever they want, my stomach hurts to think of this as an academic event. 1. what's the reviewing process like? 2. who are your peers? 3. what is their qualification, and - most importantly - 4. why do you think there is sufficient depth in BM to warrant for such a bold title as BM theory? While I agree that BM can be and perhaps should be discussed academically for its contribution to arts & culture, I strongly disagree to claim that BM has any underlying theory, idiologically, politically, spiritually, etc., that you couldn't fit in its entirety on the back of a beer coaster. And although I have been involved in the BM scene for many years myself and listen mostly to BM today, I refuse to recognise any (substantial) intellectual achievements of this movement, because there aren't any - even quoting Nietzsche can't help over this fact.

  10. Andreas,

    Who says this is an academic event? Who says it is not? It is proposed outside of the parameters but with some of the trappings of academia (para-academic and sub/meta-metal perhaps)and for the sake of the "mutual blackening of metal and theory." What this means is for individuals to determine and experience (or not). But it clearly does not mean that theory and metal are to be construed as discrete categories. Instead it insists on some kind of connaturality between the two, a shared capacity for nigredo. Your concern and assumptions about the metal/theory boundary sounds similar to a comment someone made about the symposium at the Full Moon Productions forum: "I thought one puts occult into his black metal, not the other way around." So this says we are doing something *backwards*, but also beautifully suggests (apparently unintentionally) the potentiality of the backwards, in this case the realization of metal as an 'occult'/theoretical tool, which is of course an essential 'fantasy' of metal, especially BM. So the irony here is the possibility of a situation where the 'intellectual' may demonstrate himself to be a more serious and faithful and heavier metalhead (higher atomic number) than the 'fan' who worries anti-intellectually about the former murdering to dissect his god, where the merely cultural metalhead is made anxious by the harmless threat of someone who really believes (and therefore realizes in an essentially a-religious way) what to him is only fantasy or just 'music'. For further thoughts on the metal/theory boundary see the CFP for the forthcoming issue of Glossator on black metal. To answer your points more specifically:

    1)There is no review process.
    2)People who love and love to think about black metal.
    3)A will and capacity for #2
    4)Why do you think of reality as so shallow and/or human nature so timid as to be incapable of creating a knowledge- and joy-producing practice called Black Metal Theory? For this there is absolutely no requirement that BM *contain* its own significance as an essence to be simply explicated (BTW, do not hesitate to mail that beer coaster to my campus mailbox) or that BM itself (whatever that is) be the practice of a theory. "Intellectual achievement" ?



    p.s. quoting Nietzsche *always* helps: "This -- it turns out -- is my way -- where is yours?" -- That is how I answered those who asked me "the way." The way after all -- it does not exist!

  11. I find this whole thing laughable when you say you agree with "They believe that they are earnestly trying to understand, not just produce content for capital, but the required understanding is beyond their ken." but then put someone as asinine as Liturgy on the event.

    Your inability to come together outside of the theoretical trappings of corpses is quite telling. This loose movement doesn't need anymore of your bullshit.

  12. I imagine this to be more an event open to possibilities. Nothing is outside of power's discourses, Black metal signifies as part of the existing order, in the same way as theory. Bringing together both discourses will probably make more sense than most people think.

  13. Well said, latest Anonymous.

    All you knee-jerk bitch-and-moaners would do well to form your opinions as to the validity of this convergence after you've come and heard.

    Take all, take some and vomit other, take nothing--fine, but wait for the food to be laid out.

  14. someone please go along to this with a camera and then post the pics online. I want to see the faces of all the late-onset-puberty dweebs who attend.

  15. In terms of the calendar--and symbolically, too--the event's occurring between the Festival of Lights and pagan Saturnalia. Like Christmas. The revelers have found room at the inn, suckers. Overly earnest academics and sanctimonious metalheads can graze on the nettles outside while we're drinking. Maybe those herd animals, fattened on their own certainty, will wind up on the table. Caveat profanum vulgus.

  16. I think Black (as a color before anything) contains all the other colors... -It gets dark when you mix them all. And the black can be the absence of colors or the place holder of all colors. It depends how you look at it... if you look at it, of course. Something else can be added to these already defined blackness... or nothing can be added... So what is all the fuss about academic-nonacademic Black Metal? Why is it an unbearable idea of hearing multiple voices on the BM that some of you seem to claim it's your "holy" Black. I do not think the contributers to the conference have the high-pitched voices that command, demand, and, in doing so, territorialize unlike some of "postglossators" here already did.

    Someone says BM can't have an underlying theory, ideologically, politically, etc. Yet, this statement itself is reflecting a strong ideological view point since it draws its limits and make its own territory without sparing even a little hole on the wall... And who says that the conference will have an underlying theory? It might and it might not... Neither A nor B. (B as in Black, for non-identification...)

    (Let's change the subject!) After writing what I have written, I remembered that I know nothing about BM. But isn't it the point?


  17. In response to Oyku, Black Metal surely _does_ have an ontology. In fact, it is sufficiently powerful that not one of the presenters was able to pull Black Metal outside of its own realm. All they managed to do was to bring theory to Blackness.

    It may be that Black Metal is more open to academics and their tools, and the academy is more threatened and blind to Black Metal's power and/over critique. Academics, do you dare to overthrow the Theory that has made you its slaves and hidden from your eyes the glorious horrors of this disgusting world?

  18. Haha, this is utter faggotry. You couldn't script it. All of you should drink shit.

  19. What a bunch of fucking hipster shit! Christ almighty. What is it with assholes having to build altars to every-fucking-thing?

    Falsers. All of you.

  20. black metal is just a phase for 99% of the people who come to this meeting. to speak of it's origins and history coming from an american elitest (especially new yorker) standpoint is foolhardy at best, black metal was always portrayed as ancient and medieval for a reason, it takes its many roots in the old ways, old religions, and old fags that still talk about the symbolism behind venom doing what they did instead of doing anything themselves, from an occult or really any point of view. to gather and have a little discussion about important albums, feelings, and sentiments and how much it helps you disassociate from your christian culture are all meaningless vices because you subject yourself to them, none of black metal or the values it really pushes are ever forced upon you in this country or in your life unless you will them to. You can argue that BM can and cannot have an underlying theory all you want because in the end, you're critiquing the artist and not the art, and since one man bedroom faggotry is the all important stain on this scene, you'd basically be masturbating in front of the forum you've gathered. pointless and pretentious to no end, but perhaps if you use this energy towards something positive or meaningful in your life, whether that be to get a job or find a real hobby, i wish you luck, scum of satan's cock.

  21. hahaha quoting caina for black metal theory? fuck off falsers

  22. I'm getting strange feelings about black metal.
    I like it and i don't. I'm drawn to peoples detailed passion for it which is important in these excruciatingly conservative times for music. That said, I still find myself searching for music/sounds/people with outsider tastes. Just people doing what they feel is right. No genre hoppers or people looking for what maybe cool this season. Maybe there should be a music genre dedicated to neuroscience.

  23. interesting reading the comments about people who fear academia and try to put their 'cockblock' comment into it on what 'youre not suppose to do' with music. pretty telling from a scene (metal) where a majority of the participants are bullshit atomist/individualists who usually use the "to each their own" line for anything that makes them assholes (racist, sexist, etc). gotta hand it to em (and laugh).

  24. I wonder if a unifying theory (or indeed any type of defined intellectual manifold- however porous) is really what is needed in BM. I think the notions of individual perception and transgressive mentality inspired by BM music does invite philosophical musings, but i personally dont like to see it constrained or corralled by formalities or attempts at definite organisation…Especially by utilising frameworks already constructed by well-established philosophers.

    There’s too many arseholes both inside and outside of the fandom that try to do this already, for the wrong reasons. I think ultimately any attempts to unify or collate a BM theory is an attempt (either conscious or subconscious) to establish an intellectual hierarchy within the scene and I think this will be rejected by most fans as unnecessary and ill-intentioned hubris.

    My gut suspicion is that attempts to formulate, distill or reconcile a BM theory may be attempted by those outside of the fandom, or by some persons within it that are subject to a rather conventional identity crisis, who use extreme music purposefully as a way to pose and fortify themselves purely in contrast to mainstream media discourse and craft themselves an eclectic or idiosyncratic reputation. Thence, I fear that much discussion on this topic resembles the most prosaic and pedestrian forms of religious or political zealotry, ironically, revelling in the most superficial aspects of the imagery invoked by BM artists.

    I fear there may be a very subtle but important and corrosive subtext hidden within the insecurities of such proponents that betrays a sense of intellectual venality at the expense of true individualism and/or what is best for the discussion of the music or its themes.

    In short, I fear much (not all) of the theory and formulas proposed here are compromised by various degrees of attempts at self-promotion and intellectual chauvinism, rather than promotion of the BM medium…. Im lookin forward to the symposium in Dublin, but am a bit anxious. I hope i’m not right in what I wrote above, but I think I may just be…

  25. She will burn again tonight
    (she will always burn)
    But her spirit will survive.

    Quorthon, "Born for Burning," The Return

  26. Above Nicolas' last post -

    Grey Vampire Alert.

  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.