Open a Vein: Suicidal Black Metal and Enlightenment
Complete essay is available in the journal Helvete: A Journal of Black Metal Theory
Essay PDF online here.
Black Metal was born in suicide. The image of Per Yngve Ohlin (aka Dead) on the 1995 album cover of Mayhem’s Dawn of the Black Hearts, his blown out brains oozing out of his shattered skull, is an icon that foreshadowed the emergence of Suicidal Black Metal (SBM) bands who skirt the edge between ideation and action. For bands such as Shining, Make a Change...Kill Yourself, and I Shalt Become, suicide and self-harm are cathexes; death is the ultimate life lesson—we must reflect on it, embrace it...and do it. Albert Camus articulates in The Myth of Sisyphus, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.”
While Black Metal represents a broad spectrum of philosophical positions such as nihilism, existentialism, satanism, and abjection, within that spectrum is SBM’s celebration of self-destruction. What might be the function of this celebration?
© 2013 The Author, Janet Silk.
Image credit: Silk, promotional flyer, paper collage, 8 1/2" x 11"