Catholic Black Metal

There is a theory that black metal flourished in Norway because there was never a counter-reformation in Scandinavia. Philosophy Professor Justin E. H. Smith touches on this in his piece on Weird Catholic Twitter.

I recall years ago an academic talk on Norwegian black metal as a phenomenon explained by the absence of a Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia. That is, Catholicism and dark” rock subcultures alike fill the yearning that some people have for incense, dripping candles, archaic flourishes, and pompous spectacles of commanding men in outrageous costumes. In the parts of Europe where, in the 16th century, Martin Luther imposed a form of Christian faith that is the religious equivalent of Brian Eno or Kraftwerk, it is not surprising that an opposite musical culture flourishes in parallel that lets it all hang out.

It’s easy to come to the conclusion that you can’t completely satisfy the spiritual needs of a broad spectrum of people with either a high or a low church option. There are people who need to engage with the divine through the sense of reverence that is invoked by the sights, smells and sounds of a Catholic or Orthodox Church. Then there are those for whom those things may even impede their communion with the almighty and prefer the more direct and personal approach. Some people like Scandinavian black metal and some people like Kraftwerk.

faith noise

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