A Visual History of Black Metal Demotapes Radicalism: Analogue Black Terror

Detail: Analogue Black Terror by Nuclear War Now !

‘Between the late 80’s and 2000 , a fringe of the extreme heavy metal youth culture decided to secede from the contemporary scenes to express their deep disgust and hostility towards  organized religions, democracies, human rights, the modern world, and humankind in general. Driven by hatred, misanthropy and Satanism, fueled by juvenile passion, and with very limited means, they produced myriads of home made Black Metal recordings which left no room whatsoever to tolerance, mercy, or any kind of positive energy. Some were spoiled brats in search for a reason to rebel, some were convicted murderers, arsonists, grave desecrators or rapists, others were merely incredibly talented artists with a sincere will to put their work in the service of a greater evil.’

Dissection ‘The Somberlain’ Promo demo tape 1992
Hard cloth-bound book, 260 pages, 13″x13″

‘Over the last several years, accomplished graphic designer and visual artist Jean Simoulin (also known as “Valnoir”) has painstakingly amassed more than 450 demo covers representing the most influential works of the Black Metal underground during the 1980s and 1990s. The purpose of this compendium is principally aesthetic; the graphic presentation and imagery depicted here is a manifestation of the spiritual rebellion of the era in all its nihilistic fervor and antisocial praxis. This was a time just before the ascent of a tyrannical array of silicon gods, before the ushering in of a new hegemonic system of secular mores, before the atomization of the social order. Black Metal was menacing, an oppositional force ripping away at the last threads of the social fabric and the religious and moral dogmas holding it together. The young men (and, occasionally, women) living at the margins of society found within this scene an exaltation of misanthropy and vehement disdain for the repugnant values of mainstream society, either through a return to a more virtuous pre-Christian past, or by accelerating the total dissolution of contemporary institutions and customs, heralding in a new Satanic eon. More than any other format, demo tapes showcase the elemental virtues of the scene’s early adherents. These were the most passionate products made by the artists, usually at a time before the bands achieved any recognition, when they strove to stand apart from their peers. The homemade covers, cut and folded by hand and adorned with photocopied images and type or handwritten text, are the purest distillation of the aesthetic core of the scene. These tapes moved around the world through the underground mail circuit, advertised in small zines and sold by the bands directly, or dubbed and traded among devotees of the genre. To assemble this book, Valnoir meticulously collected high resolution scans from primary sources of some of the most crucial and elusive demos created. The impact of the book comes not from the mere collection of images—many of which can be found online, though some cannot—but from the manner which they’ve been aggregated, correlated, and juxtaposed. There is also the reverent act of committing ink to paper, a permanence that is lost when images are merely set adrift on the ephemeral sea of the internet amid the whipping winds of informational entropy. This is an unparalleled presentation for a book of this sort. “Analogue Black Terror” is a cloth-bound 13” x 13” book containing 260 pages of high quality images, as well as essays by Valnoir, Nicolas Ballet, and YK Insulter of NWN! Productions.’

J. Campbell

Emperor ‘Wrath of the Tyrant’ 1992
Bleu Blanc Satan : Documentary retraces the birth of the black metal scene in France through unpublished archives and interviews of the main pioneers of this movement.

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