I distinctly remember hearing black metal for the first time. And how did I come across it?
Yep, that’s right. As a matter of fact, it was this exact, cringy meme.
In typical 12 year old Sam fashion, I was very curious. I’d never seen corpse paint before, nor had I ever heard of Abbath. It goes without saying that the joke of the meme went way over my head, and that really bothered me. So, I set out to research this mysterious Abbath, completely unaware of what I was getting into. One of the first things I came across on my quest for knowledge was an interview with Abbath from a metal festival.
The moment I finished watching the interview, I was intrigued. It had not satisfied my preteen curiosity about who this strange man was, nor why he enjoyed painting on himself. Thus, my search was destined to continue. I ventured deeper into the very bowels of YouTube, only to find the most peculiar music video I, at that point in time, had ever seen- Call of the Wintermoon.
Despite the rather curious looking video, the music had me hooked right away. I bought the entire album, Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism, and embarked on a sonic journey that seemed questionable at the time. It was entrancing, in a way I had never experienced before.
As my search led me deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, another song caught my attention. It was a song called Antarctica, and it came from an album entitled Sons of Northern Darkness. At this point, there was no turning back. I was too far gone. I bought the album immediately and proceeded to be absolutely mesmerized by the classic tracks it contained.
Eventually, through my research, I came to realize that Immortal was a Norwegian band from Bergen, and that they played a strange genre called black metal. Their lyrics seemed to all be about nature and a fictional place called Blashyrkh. But the more I researched, the more I learned of the so-called “dangers of black metal”. And of course, the more warnings I heard against it, the more curious it made me to find out more. The more I found out, the more bands I listened to.
Immortal was really the starting point for me–a cliff from which I dived headfirst into the vast, uncharted world of black metal. At the time, I had no idea that seeing that meme would be the beginning of a journey that, to this day, has no ending in sight. Looking back, my music taste has evolved quite a lot and yet not very much at all since I was 12. I continued exploring black metal, and it has become one of my favourite subgenres. Even though I tend to listen to far more underground bands these days, I still love me some Immortal, and safely say that I always will.