Saturday, February 07, 2009

Black Metal Conspiracy (pt. 2)

Maurice Blanchot describes the Revolution and the Terror - not only those of the eighteenth century but those of the 19th and especially 20th century as well - as motivated by a fear of secret conspiracies:

"It is in the eighteenth century that the idea of a plot secretly fomented by some men against others brings trickery down from heaven and ignites within each individual a specific distrust, ready to flare up in violent action. To us this seems very puerile. Priests as conscious agents of a universal conspiracy, the world divided up into small groups of men who know, who choose and decide, a great number of others who know less and do not decide but act in conformity with the secret knowledge, and the ignorant masses, compelled to act and live in total incomprehension of the meaning of their movements - this view worthy of a novel, which in fact does fuel novels up through Radcliffe, Jean-Paul, Goethe and The Visionary by Schiller, seems to us painfully crude by comparison to the labyrinthine ideas of the Orient. And so it is. But this crudeness has considerable educational importance. It restores concrete reality to mystification, gives it a social form, lends it a human face and, dividing the world strictly between tricksters and the tricked, makes the former responsible and inclines the latter to violence. The idea of a plot presupposes the intention to deceive. 'I have nothing to do with it' loses currency as an excuse. The Revolution and the Terror are propelled by the idea of a responsibility which is always entire and won't stand for any qualification. To be suspect in the slightest means to be completely guilty, and that means death. To be suspect is to have within oneself something obscure and indecipherable, which must be read, inversely, as the proof of a clearly and intentionally evil undertaking - of membership in a shady intrigue from which death will separate one right away, in the most decisive, and, as it were, trenchant manner. The plainly displayed death by the guillotine's blade is meant precisely to cut clean through the snarl of the plot which no one would ever manage to untangle. This clarity is the clean decisiveness of reason, and reason also has the sharpness of that cut which isolates the head and, in certain cases, ironically prepares its apotheosis."

In one of the best-known photographs of Mayhem's Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth, he wore a long cape and flourished an épée (fencing sword), a weapon that points to the eighteenth century, the time of Alexandre Dumas "Les Trois Mousquetaires", Absolutism, Enlightenment - and conspiracies. Aarseth referred to the early Norwegian Black Metal scene as the "Black Metal Inner Circle", suggesting the existence of a small group of men "...who know, who choose and decide, a great number of others who know less and do not decide but act in conformity with the secret knowledge...".

Burzum's Kristian 'Varg' Vikernes killed Aarseth, thereby separating himself right away, in the most decisive manner, from the playful conspiracy of which he used to be a member. After murderously disentangling himself from Aarseth conspiratorial 'Inner Circle', he started to subscribe to an ideology of Terror, an ideology which committed the largest-scale killing out of fear of a Jewish conspiracy. That ideology of Terror was National Socialism. Thus, Vikernes's ideological position mirrored his actions, and both mirror Blanchot's interpretation of the eighteenth century developments with regards to conspiracies.


Nicola Masciandaro said...


And I love the way black metal conspiracy at once rejects all and claims ultimate destructive agency, transcendent agency of the margin, like a Derridean supplement to Apocalypse (?). Does this mean Varg killing Aarseth operates to ensure black metal conspiracy at the highest level of the outside, to perfect its in-operations, to make the nadir a site of empyrean conspiracy?


p.s. heart-felt reminder: the deadline for Black Metal Commentary proposals approacheth!

valter said...

Dear Nicola,

Yr comments sometimes make me feel like the gardener in Peter Seller's 'Being There': I'm saying something pretty simple, it's read as something very complex. I'm not well versed in Derrida!

But yes, I do feel that Varg killing Euronymous can be said to perfect Euronymous' abject conspiracy. This touches on my earlier posts on the murder, in the Euronymous As Kafka series.

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Cool. Valter=Black Metal Da-sein!

Leviatan said...

i love burzum