Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 21: The Turtles Have a Darkness Growing Inside Them

Last night while making dinner with the wife she asked me to peel some garlic cloves so she could mince them into the pan while I continued chopping veggies.

Me: I'll never forget the trick to peeling garlic cloves as long as I live.

Em: Why?

Me: Because of that video, Vegan Black Metal Chef.

Em: What?

Me: In the video when he's peeling the garlic cloves he talks about cutting their heads off and smashing them with a knife.

*At the 6:35 mark in the video*

Em: Oh.

Which brings me to the subject of today's post: Black Metal.

I am a fan of many types of music. I already outlined for you some of my musical tastes in a previous entry. Today I decided to focus on a musical style that really gets almost no mainstream attention (at least in the US).

I'm a fan of metal in general, but it's not a genre I can talk endlessly about. I know some bands and I can differentiate styles to a degree, but I'm not exactly what you'd call a "metal head." That being said there is something strangely alluring about black metal. It's sort of a macabre fascination I have, not just with the music, but with the culture. I don't really listen to it that often, but I do have an appreciation of it.

If you're not familiar with the black metal musical genre here are the basics. It is not a metal band comprised of only black men and women (more than one person has asked me this). It's mostly fast tempos, with heavily distorted guitars and growly or shrieking vocals. A lot of people mistakenly think black metal is satanic in nature. As far as I understand it that's not entirely true. A lot of it (coming mostly from Scandinavian countries) tends to be anti-christian, but not directly satanic. I'm sure all of this is very interesting to everyone reading but instead of continuing with a full lecture on the genre, how about I direct you to this link here. Don't worry, it's just a link to the Black Metal wiki page. Your souls won't be in any danger by clicking it.

Like I said, I have a fascination with it. I watched a documentary last year called Until the Light Takes Us and have added a few books on the subject to my Amazon wish list. The spread of musical influence and culture is almost always interesting and this is no different.

I also got to see a black metal show last year with a friend. Finntroll was touring the US around my birthday with Swallow the Sun and Moonsorrow (all from Finland). I showed my wife one of the videos from Finntroll's newest album. Her only response was to say, "You are so going to get sacrificed at this show."

I drew the turtles in the sort of stereotypical black metal costume pieces even though I consider them pretty ridiculous. They've got lots of points and black leather and I couldn't leave out the corpse paint. My impression is that the bands that wear this stuff are usually more concerned with the look or the theatrics of the genre than the actual music and meaning, but four turtles wearing spikes and corpse paint is more fun to draw than four turtles wearing black t-shirts and looking pissed off. I also put them in a snowy forest because black metal guys like things dark and cold.

--Here's the video I showed my wife when she was convinced I was going to be sacrificed.--


  1. They also kind of look like Kiss outfits ...

  2. See, theatrics. It was more difficult than I thought to give them individualized accessories. Plus the corpse paint doesn't always look like that. A lot of people do it less... cartoony looking I guess is a good way to put it. Here are a few good examples.

  3. Also I couldn't help but think a little bit about ICP while doing their corpse paint. I tried to make it look as little like clowns as possible, but there's only so much you can do. It's all about the attitude.