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Black Metal is a genre often maligned as overtly concerned with nihilism, destructiveness and an insular obsession with Satanism and aggressive nationalism. In reality, it is a constantly evolving vehicle for musically and ideologically progressive groups and artists, one that is increasingly forward thinking despite maintaining a purity of expression that is tied to the past.

The formative events that, in equal measure, shocked and fascinated the tabloids of Norway and the international Metal underground in the early 1990s have given way to pan-academic appraisal, far-reaching musical appropriation and new conceptions of regional and stylistic self-identity.

Black Metal — Beyond the Darkness aims to look past the much-discussed Second Wave spearheaded by groups and artists such as Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and Emperor, with a new focus on a number of the form’s lesser-reported international scenes; developments in the selling and distribution of Black Metal through labels, stores and distros; idiosyncratic aesthetics and inherent notions of theatricality; Black Metal’s relationship with the world of Fine Art; and oral recollections of the genre’s development, amongst other topics.

Illustrated with previously unseen archival photography, record covers, ephemera and other diverse aesthetic documentation of the genre, Black Metal — Beyond the Darkness includes newly commissioned essays by Nathan T Birk, Louis Pattison, Nick Richardson, Jérôme Lefèvre and Diarmuid Hester, as well as newly prefixed texts by Brandon Stosuy and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, alongside testimonials by groups and individuals including John ‘Metalion’ Kristiansen, Ulver, Imperial, Trine + Kim Design Studio, Nicola Masciandaro and Jon “Thorns” Jamshid.

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