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Second wave true Norwegian black metal: an ideologically evil music scene?

Jason Wallin (Department of Secondary Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Jeffrey Podoshen (Department of Business Organizations and Society, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA)
Vivek Venkatesh (Graduate Programs in Educational Technology, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada)

Arts and the Market

ISSN: 2056-4945

Article publication date: 2 October 2017




The second wave (true Norwegian) black metal music scene has garnered attention for its ostensible negative impact upon contemporary consumption. Producers and consumers of the scene, as potential heretics, have been associated with acts of church burning, Satanism, murder, and violence. Such actions have circulated under the signifier of evil, and have been associated with anti-Christian semiotics and pagan practices. Contemporary media has positioned such acts of evil beyond rational comprehension via the deployment of a rhetoric of evil. This enframement has evaded the psychoanalytic question of evil and the significant role of negative ethics in theorizing the allure and potential impact of black metal music. The purpose of this paper is to examine the evil in the music scene, its relation to ID evil, and its consumption and production practices.


Drawing upon Zizek’s (2006) development of evil through Lacan’s three registers, this paper examines evil production and consumption through a detailed analysis of true Norwegian black metal. The authors rehabilitate the complex corridors of evil against its conceptual collapse as merely the ontological absence of good. Via Zizek, the authors offer a reconsideration of the anti-establishment violent activities enacted by some proponents of black metal ideology. Herein, the authors deploy a reading of ideological evil in order to interrogate the role of enjoyment and desire at work in the black metal scene.


After extensive immersion in the true Norwegian black metal scene, the authors elucidate on the key issues surrounding good, evil and Satanism, and their relationships to production and consumption. What many might term as “evil” is far more complex than what appears on the surface-level aesthetics.


While there have been examinations of the black metal scene, there has been scant literature that delves deep into the symbolism of the Satanic and the evil beyond the surface. This paper sheds light on the value of exploring evil in a scene as something that is much more than the mere absence of what is considered good.



Wallin, J., Podoshen, J. and Venkatesh, V. (2017), "Second wave true Norwegian black metal: an ideologically evil music scene?", Arts and the Market, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 159-173.



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