Why We Do What We Do – Beyond Light

Black metal is very important to me. It is one of those things that builds the foundations of who and what I am. I am a metalhead. Yet while black metal and metal in general are very important to me, I am not just a metalhead. I am not the kind of metalhead who feels the need to terrify everything and everyone I come across, though I can’t deny that this happens quite a bit. I am so much more than that. I want black metal to be more than that. While there is a certain joy I get from all the strange looks and the uncomfortable stares I get when I am decked out in my Marduk or Dissection paraphernalia or when my radio is blasting Horrenda or Mort aux Gueux.

I started in the metal world in a very strange way. My first time hearing any metal of any sort was Burzum. I found a link to “Devil worshipers use Tolkien’s Black Speech” and found the information was completely false but the concept of metal fascinated me. I didn’t listen to it much in my home, being raised by a step father who considered anything electronic and not about Jesus to be grounds for punishment. I found my ways though. I got into bands like Decapitated, Naglfar, and Slayer without drawing too much attention to myself. Once college hit, and a job in the music department of Hastings, I collected every metal album I could find. From Gorgoroth to Summoning to my personal favorite band of all time: Anata (I still think Greed Conquers All will someday see the light of day). Having all this metal at my fingertips I learned what I loved: atmospheric black metal, blackened death metal, brutal death metal, and pagan metal, and what I did not: anything-core, thrash, and NSBM (seriously fuck that shit). Most importantly however, was my urge to find bands that were not already on the huge metal labels. I wanted to find metal that was undiscovered. Not to be that man that found the band and helped them onto stardom (though I would love to be able to do that) but hear them and spread the word about how awesome I thought they were.

I want to be seen differently. I want black metal to be seen differently. Those of us in the tight knit community are often seen as psychopaths who gorge on sacrificed goat blood at witching hour, murder people, and bang our head on instruments and call it music. While I can’t deny that that sort of things exists in certain places and it appeals to a few of my black metal brethren. It doesn’t to me. Black metal ought to be at the forefront in metal for poetic and innovating thinking. This site, Resounding Footsteps (named after my favorite Akercocke song), is meant to make people think differently about the metal that they listen to, and strive to create. We are a society that is too stuck in the past, glorifying the early nineties in Norway so much that we don’t see that the world has moved on from it. It is time to create new innovations, a renaissance for black metal culture is coming but we are about to let it slip by us. Resounding Footsteps and I search out the smaller bands, the ones that are unsigned or signed to record labels so small that they only press 500 CDs or still print cassettes. There is innovation in these bands, forward thinking. I want to hear these bands; I want to hear the ways they are changing the metal landscape. As I said before, I don’t seek the bands out to help make them famous, I seek them out to see what new sounds can be offered and to let everyone else know that bands like this exist.

We can’t live in the glory days of metal anymore. We will go extinct as a genre if we merely hang our laurels. Darkthrone and Mayhem will always be giants for what they did in those days. Varg will always live in infamy for his feud with Euronymous (no matter whose side you take). Gaahl will always be a polarizing figure. But it’s time for new figures, new events, new sounds. Darkthrone, the might bastion of the grim and frost bitten didn’t even start out as black metal! They were a death metal band that decided to make something new, something more.

Resounding Footsteps will never review a band off a major label. I decided this simply because I felt that these bands don’t need my advertising for them. Are you going to listen to me tell you to go buy the newest Behemoth album? No. You already know if you will or not. Will you listen to me when I tell you to get the newest Mort aux Gueux album? Yes. Because you’ve never heard of them before and you can trust my opinion of them, that they are a band that is innovating and changing metal. Making our culture a better, more artistic, more honest one. That is Resounding Footsteps goal: make the entire culture of black metal better.

You’ll notice, too, that I don’t give a lot of low star reviews. The reason for that is simple. Why would I tell you I don’t like a certain band? Especially given that I don’t review bands that are already on major labels. I give good press to good bands, I don’t give bad bands anything. I think it’s better that way.

Dark ambient is another form of music that shows the darkness of the human soul and does not look away. It has been tied with black metal for me since the beginning of my journey into black metal. I love dark ambient that tells a story, an album that’s not just random sounds that sound interesting next to instruments that are tuned in strange ways. Dark ambient has an advantage over black metal in that it actually can tell a story with soundscapes, field recordings. Dark ambient has an atmosphere that no other genre of music can.

I am not a musician. I am not a vocalist. I tried many years ago with a band I called Black Lamentation. We performed once, to my great satisfaction and my step father’s abject horror, recorded that show and that was it. There are only four of us that have that recording. I may put it up someday but honestly, it’s not good. The music of course was great but the vocals, my part, were not something to write home about. I am glad I found out that I’m not a musician. I am a writer. That is how I plan on help my black metal brothers and sisters. I can write. I recently found the literary genre of neo-noir. I think it’s the closest literary genre to black metal. It’s uncompromising, it’s brutal, it’s dirty. So, I’ll write a neo-noir novel about us. About black metal. Beyond Light I’ll call it. The premise will be simple, all that I’ve been going on about, creating a newer, more well-rounded image of what our black metal culture is (we’re smarter, more artistic, and more philosophical than anyone and everyone else) and leaving behind the over-glorification of the past.

Everyone in this culture contributes, whether they know it or not. This is how I will contribute; this is how I will make the community that I love better.

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