New Criticals

Transcendental Black Metal: A vision of Apocalyptic Humanism” was shared in the 2009 Hideous Gnosis Black Metal Theory symposium. It is simultaneously the band’s raison d’etre and their Achilles’ heel. In the piece, Hunt-Hendrix proposes that the form of black metal played with his bandmates, strips away the nihilist attitudes of the genre’s forefathers and expresses an engagement with life rather than retraction from it.

“Transcendental Black Metal is the reanimation of the form of black metal with a new soul, a soul full of chaos, frenzy, and ecstasy. A specifically American joyful clamor, which is also a tremor. Or maybe it is the opposite act: a peeling away of the husk of convention, the dead skin of clichés and a fresh exploration of the living soul of black metal, with the aim to reactivate its purest essence and produce something that grows from it but does not resemble its earlier incarnations because it is built from the ground up in a different time and place.” (Hunt-Hendrix, pg. 59)

While admirable in its intent, it was exactly the kind of high-minded perspective that threatened the purists. Ever the judging and dedicated fanbase, metal fans were quick to condemn the band for their intellectual aspirations. The fallout, along with mounting internal pressures relating to hard touring and partying, caused the band to take a brief hiatus, until now.