• ‘Humörets Bottenvåning’: Suicide in depressive suicidal black metal music

    M.Selim Yavuz (see profile)
    Music and Sound
    Death, Heavy metal (Music)--Instruction and study, Musicology, Popular music
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Extreme Music: Hearing and Nothingness
    Conf. Org.:
    University of Southern Denmark
    Conf. Loc.:
    Odense, Denmark
    Conf. Date:
    1-2 December 2016
    black metal, black metal theory, extreme metal, metal music studies, Black Metal Theory, Metal Music Studies, Popular Music Studies
    Permanent URL:
    Melancholy, death, and the darker thought spectrum should not be considered separate from black metal at any point through its history. In contrast however, depressive suicidal black metal (DSBM) took these themes further in terms of their crudity, and more importantly it fixated on the ideas of death and suicide. The birth pangs of this style are observed in the popular media through 1990s and 2000s with the style being labelled many things including black metal, doom metal, and dark metal among others before settling on DSBM. The self-assigned style signifier ‘depressive suicidal’ shows both the intimacy of involvement of the community (for this case in particular, the musicians and the audience) and the fixation and the insularity of themes present in DSBM. The reason for this fixation may be interpreted from an ontological security point of view, more so as the internalisation of the death idea and an opposition to denial of death. Anthony Giddens defines ontological security as ‘persons having a sense of order and continuity in relation to the events in which they participate, and the experiences they have, in their day-to-day lives’, furthermore this ‘security’ may be broken down with an existential confrontation; a confrontation, as Philip Mellor suggests, which has ‘the potential to open individuals up to [Kierkegaardian] dread, shattering [their] ontological security’. Black metal theory also provides an important insider view to the interpretation in question from a philosophical standpoint. The proposed paper looks at DSBM music through this combined lens and interprets how the musicians, in their lyrics, approach the ideas of death and suicide to provide a cultural space –intended for audience- for this confrontation from either a visceral or a violent and forced angle in hopes to contribute to death studies within metal music.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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